Religion is playing a growing role in the keynote speeches of political leaders at their main party conferences, partly because of the threat of terrorism, according to new research.
References and allusions to religion by Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders at their autumn conferences peaked in 2001, at the time of the September 11 attacks, research by Theos, the public theology think tank, found.
But the organisation, which looked at keynote conference speeches by leaders of the three parties from 1998 to 2007, said there had been a "general upward trend" in the use of religious language since 2001 by party political leaders.
In spite of the famous words of former communications adviser Alastair Campbell, "We don't do God," Labour leaders, under Tony Blair for the main part, and from last year, Gordon Brown, have led the field in religious language with a total of 98 references in conference speeches over the decade.
Conservative leaders made 65 references, with Liberal Democrat leaders making 23 references.
The study examined direct religious references made by the party leaders through mentions of Biblical passages and religious affairs as well as religious rhetoric or allusions such as the use of the words blessing, prayer, mission and salvation.
Theos said the increase in references to religion was driven by the growing presence of religion as a significant national and geopolitical issue.
Paul Woolley, Theos director, said: "Our research demonstrates that even if traditional Judeo-Christian concepts are not drawn upon directly by party leaders, there is still an underlying use of them.
"Christian ideas and stories are part of the national heritage and powerfully influence our mindset.
"The research also shows that religion, largely but not entirely due to the threat of terrorism, is more significant as a geopolitical force than it has been for many years. In one respect, modern politicians cannot afford not to 'do God'."