Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has condemned Britain’s marginalisation of Christianity and has called on believers to stand up for their faith.
Speaking at an event organised by the Christian Broadcasting Council Lord Carey said: “It is clear that we must stand up against the marginalising of faith. We must constantly remind society of its Christian roots and heritage.
“As I wrote recently, if we behave like doormats, don’t be surprised if we are treated as though we are.”
During the address Lord Carey also called for Christians to “prevail upon politicians” to speak up for their beliefs.
He said: “I simply cannot imagine any Prime Minister of England saying that his major concern is that Britain remains a Christian nation. And that reticence is a scandal and a disgrace.”
The former leader of the Church of England also lamented the relegation of Christianity to the personal sphere during his address.
He said: “What is happening in Western Europe is not persecution but a marginalising of faith which seeks to portray it as a matter of personal conscience only.
“Some examples of this originate from a mistaken but well-meant political correctness that is anxious not to upset minority faiths by seeming to ‘privilege’ Christianity.
“Hence the regular ‘pantomime’ every Christmas where some local Council or another absurdly gives Christmas another name.”
Lord Carey also warned of an aggressive campaign by atheists to banish faith from the public sphere.
He said that since 11 September “a new breed of atheists have moved into the public square arguing that Christianity, or any other faith, should have no role in public life”.
He added: “This strident and bullying campaign seeks to ban faith schools, in spite of the clear evidence that such schools perform better than many others.
“We have reached a point where politicians are now criticised and mocked for merely expressing their faith.”
In January the Bishop of Winchester warned that Christians who work in the public sector risk being squeezed out of their jobs because of a wrong use of equality and diversity laws.
He said: “My concern is for Christians, for the churches, for members of other faiths and their attempts to do what any honest believer would by not keeping their faith in some little box, only getting it out at home or with fellow believers.
“There is also a much greater danger for our society in that we could reach a point where Christians, and peoples of other faiths too, find it increasingly difficult to survive in the public service, and, indeed, in Parliament.”
A recent Christian Institute report revealed the extent to which Christians in Britain are being marginalised, often by equality and diversity laws.
The report, called Marginalising Christians, catalogues numerous cases of Christians being sidelined by public bodies, popular media, employers and facing barriers to public funding.