Christians in Britain are too soft and should be more outspoken in defence of their beliefs, according to Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Besides advocating a “tougher church”, Lord Carey also called for the immigration system to prioritise immigrants who respect Britain’s historic Christian values.
Lord Carey made his remarks in an interview for BBC Radio 5 live’s Breakfast programme.
He said: “I think we need a tougher church. We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people.
“We have got to be more outspoken.”
Stressing the importance of the issue, the former Archbishop said: “I worry about my grandchildren.
“I want this country to carry on being one that values the Christian heritage, but most of all values the democratic standards and all that this country has fought over.”
Lord Carey also said immigration policy should focus on new immigrants “sharing our values” otherwise the country risked becoming destabilised and separated into ghettos.
A member of the parliamentary Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration, which has recently spoken out on the issue, Lord Carey said priority should be given to immigrants whose values are compatible with Britain’s Christian heritage.
He emphasised that he was not calling for a ban on non-Christian immigration, but warned that current immigration policy would lead to “deep trouble”.
Lord Carey also wrote a column in The Times yesterday in which he said: “It is my firm view that our society owes more to our Christian heritage than it realises and to overlook this inheritance of faith will lead to the watering down of the very values of tolerance, openness, inclusion and democracy that we claim are central to all we stand for.”
He added: “Just as we should expect immigrants to subscribe to democratic principles, abide by our laws, speak English, support freedom of speech and a free press, so they should also respect the Christian nature and history of our nation with its broad, hospitable Establishment.”
The former Archbishop’s comments have been contrasted with those of his successor, Dr Rowan Williams.
In 2008 Dr Williams provoked major controversy when he suggested accommodating parts of Muslim Sharia law into the British legal system.
Instead Lord Carey’s views echo Dr Michael Nazir-Ali’s strong warnings about the threat to Britain’s Christian values from radical Islam.
Dr Nazir-Ali stepped down as Bishop of Rochester last year to work with persecuted Christians overseas and Muslim converts to Christianity in Britain.
He said that to counter radical Islam, and aggressive secularism, “there must be a clear recognition of where Britain has come from, what the basis is for our society and how that can contribute to the common good.”
Earlier this week the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague warned that Europe faces Islamisation because it has denied its Christian roots.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said Europe will “pay dear” for having left its spiritual foundations, and said that it was now in the last period when a chance remained to do something about it.
“Unless the Christians wake up,” the Cardinal said, “life may be Islamised and Christianity will not have the strength to imprint its character on the life of people, not to say society.”