The Bishop of Lichfield has said that Christians “should not be intimidated” into putting away crosses and crib figures at Christmas.
The Bishop, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, used his most recent pastoral letter to say: “No one goes to a Muslim country and expects local councils to silence the mosques out of sensitivity to Christians.”
He also said: “Ethnic minorities are far more anxious about the rampant secularism and commercialism that erodes all Christian standards than they are about their host country properly celebrating its Christian foundations.”
He added: “Sometimes I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing if in December we all wore a fish badge or cross necklace and sent out a loud message that Christians aren’t going to disappear quietly from the market place or put away our crib figures in a hurry.”
A further call for Christians to speak up for their religious traditions has come from the Bishop of Chichester, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.
Rt Revd John Hind said: “There is growing hostility in the public towards witnessing our faith in society and this has been shown in a number of recent attempts to marginalise the meaning of Christmas or to suppress the rights of believers.
“I hope all Christians respond enthusiastically by wearing external symbols of our faith.”
Just this week the Employers Forum on Belief (EFB) suggested that putting up religious decorations could be seen as discriminatory by non-Christian staff.
Also this week the Conservative Party came under attack after its official Christmas card made no reference to Christmas. The Party moved quickly to produce a card with the words “Merry Christmas”.
Most people in Britain want to keep Christ in Christmas, according to a poll published by Theos in October 2009. An overwhelming 85 per cent agreed that “Christmas should be called Christmas because we are still a Christian country”.