Archbishop backs Christmas against secularist push

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has come out in support of Christmas, stating, “most people of other religions and cultures both love the story and respect the message.”

And Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, backed by a survey of the general public, has said that Christmas has become far too materialistic.

Rowan Williams’ comments come amidst increasing concern about attempts to separate Christmas from Christianity.

Secular drive

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has also said recently that attempts to ban the mention of Christmas in public were part of a secular drive to push Christianity from public life.

Birmingham City Council launched a “Winterval” celebration in the late 1990s to combine multi-faith and secular elements with Christmas.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has said that Britain appears to have become ashamed of Christmas.


Commenting on the excessive commercialisation of the season Rt Revd Alan Smith said that traditional Christmas festivities have been “hijacked”.

He added that the season has been overtaken by “pester power” and materialism.

“We are left with little more than a materialistic Christmas, less about giving and more about self-pampering”, he said.


And a recent survey has shown that the general public is tiring of the materialistic emphasis placed on Christmas as well.

Out of 1,000 polled in the survey by The Children’s Society, 86% believe that Christmas has become too commercialised.

While almost half of those polled agreed that people still associate Christmas with its religious meaning, only 3% felt that giving and receiving presents was the most important aspect of the season.

Traditional joys

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said, “Rather than getting into debt or worrying about money this Christmas, The Children’s Society is inviting people to discover again the traditional joys of the festive season.”

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