Christians who fear being marginalised are having their anxieties fed by David Cameron, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has said.
Writing in a national newspaper, Lord Carey warned that the Government is “aiding and abetting” a hostile secularisation “every step of the way”.
And the former leader of the Church of England also warned of an “aggressive secularist and relativist approach” behind the plans to “change the nature of marriage”.
Lord Carey’s comments came as a survey showed more than two thirds of Christians feel they are part of a “persecuted minority”.
Commenting on the poll, Lord Carey said: “Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the Prime Minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.
“He seems to have forgotten in spite of his oft-repeated support for the right of Christians to wear the cross, that lawyers acting for the Coalition argued only months ago in the Strasbourg court that those sacked for wearing a cross against their employer’s wishes should simply get another job.”
Lord Carey, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1990s, also strongly criticised plans to introduce same-sex marriage – warning they risk ‘alienating’ many.
Writing in the Daily Mail, he commented: “As David Cameron knows, I am very suspicious that behind the plans to change the nature of marriage, which come before the House of Lords soon, there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society together for time immemorial.
“By dividing marriage into religious and civil the Government threatens the church and state link which they purport to support.
“But they also threaten to empty marriage of its fundamental religious and civic meaning as an institution orientated towards the upbringing of children.”
Lord Carey also warned of a lack of protection for registrars and teachers in the same-sex marriage legislation.
And he commented: “The danger I believe that the Government is courting with its approach both to marriage and religious freedom, is the alienation of a large minority of people who only a few years ago would have been considered pillars of society.”