Jesus ‘set example of love and sacrifice,’ says Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on people to use the principles at the heart of Christianity to overcome society’s problems.

In his Easter message, Mr Corbyn said the religion’s emphasis on peace could not have more urgency around the world than it does today.

The Labour leader has in the past insisted that belief was a private matter, as he denied being an atheist.

Mr Corbyn urged people not to become overwhelmed by domestic and international situations this Easter.

“We hear painful stories every day, of homelessness, poverty or crisis in our health service – or across the world, of the devastating consequences of war and conflict, including millions forced to become refugees.

“It would be easy to retreat into our private lives because the challenges seem overwhelming, or allow ourselves to be divided and blame others.

“But we need to respond to these problems head on, through action and support for social justice, peace and reconciliation.

“Those principles are at the heart of Christianity. And Christians throughout the world will this weekend be remembering Jesus’s example of love and sacrifice, and the Easter message of redemption and peace.

“At a time of growing conflict, that message of peace could not have more urgency throughout the world.

“I meet Christians, and others of all faiths and none, on a daily basis, who share and live those ideals: people who give their time for others, to run food banks, protect the vulnerable, look after the sick, the elderly and our young people.

“That spirit of respect for each other, peace and equality is one we can all share. So to all Christians and those of all faiths and none, have a happy and peaceful Easter.”

In an interview with The Huffington Post UK in 2015, Mr Corbyn said: “I respect all faiths, I probably spend more time going to religious services than most people, of all types.

“I go to synagogues, I go to mosques, I go to temples, I go to churches, and I have many humanistic friends and I have many atheist friends. I respect them all.”

Pressed on whether it was inaccurate to describe him as an atheist, the Labour leader said: “There are so many things about me written that are unfair, unjust and ill-searched that it would be wrong. I’m not going any further than that, belief is a private thing.”