Colin Firth was born in Grayshott, Hampshire, England. He grew up in Nigeria, the United States, and in Winchester, Hampshire, England.
Firth comes from a religious lineage. Both of his parents were born in India of Christian missionaries–his maternal grandparents as Congregationalist ministers and his paternal grandfather as an Anglican minister. His mother was a lecturer in comparative religion, and Firth described her as pantheistic with lots of interest in mysticism.
So, where does that leave Firth himself? That’s a little tougher to answer. Most websites that speculate list him as pantheist with Western-style Hindu leanings. But as far as I can tell, Firth has never said that himself.
All I know of Firth is that his exposure to many religions throughout his youth gave him a respect of many diverse spiritual practices. Talking about how he found it difficult to relate to intolerant classmates growing up, he said,
There was an immense cultural diversity under my own roof throughout my entire upbringing, and I consider that to be absolutely nothing but a privilege! And so, to me I supposed it was the norm and so I found any kind of racists remarks or any kind of religious prejudices among my own peers very, very difficult to take.
I imagine that this diverse upbringing in an academic household (his father was also a University lecturer), either turned Firth into an agnostic or a meta-religious adult.
Firth is incredibly involved and opinionated about politics both at home and abroad. As far as British politics are concerned, Firth has had trouble finding a party to support his liberal worldview. First he was with Labour, but threw his support behind the Liberal Democrats in 2010 claiming Labour had abandoned their values. But then after the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition with Conservatives that year, and reneged on their promise to cap tuition hikes, Firth withdrew his support from that party as well, saying he was unaffiliated.
Firth’s political activism extends beyond domestic party quibbles. He is a defender the rights of tribal groups, particularly the Bushmen in Botswana. He’s also spoken out in defense of those seeking asylum in the U.K. His support of a nurse from the Democratic Republic of Congo in imminent danger of deportation, is cited as the reason he was granted a last minute reprieve. In Firth’s plea to the public for support, he wrote,
It seems extraordinary that when it comes to ‘asylum seekers’, ‘immigrants’ or anyone else whose label makes them somehow dismissible, we are content to forfeit our usual standards of decency and humanity. We in this country shouldn’t flatter ourselves that we are so far above the enormities of ethnic cleansing displayed in Rwanda or the Balkans as long as we are prepared to acquiesce in the rooting out and expulsion of desperate, innocent, courageous and talented people, including children and families, in order to send them places where will be killed. It is as irrational as it is cruel.
He isn’t going to sugarcoat it for you, that’s for sure. Firth is an avid supporter of democracy and voting is incredibly important to him. (About the British monarchy he said: “It’s a problem for me, unelected bodies.”) And he is certainly one British citizen who is using the power of free speech to the fullest.