The Government has allowed intolerance against Christians to grow, the Conservatives’ shadow minister for community cohesion says.
A clip from Baroness Warsi’s speech to the Conservative Party conference
Baroness Warsi, a Muslim, was speaking at the Conservative Party conference yesterday. She said forced secularism is “not the British way”.
In her speech she said: “Under Labour, the state has become increasingly sceptical of an individual’s religious belief.”
She pointed to cases of Christians being sidelined because of their faith.
“We’ve all seen the stories,” she said, “how appalling that today in Labour’s Britain a community nurse can be suspended for offering to pray for a patient’s good health.
“How awful that a school receptionist could face disciplinary action for sending an email to her friends simply asking them to pray for her daughter.”
She was referring to the cases of nurse, Caroline Petrie, and school receptionist, Jennie Cain.
Both cases hit the headlines in February together with the case of a Christian foster carer struck off for allowing a 16-year-old Muslim girl to become a Christian.
Baroness Warsi continued: “At the heart of these cases lies a growing intolerance and illiberal attitude towards those who believe in God.
“The scepticism of senior Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris driving this secular agenda has now grown to become an ideology permeating through many aspects of the public sector.
“It’s an agenda driven by the political-elite, who have hijacked the pursuit of ‘equality’ by demanding a dumbing down of faith.
“It’s no wonder that this leads to accusations in the media that our country’s Christian culture is being downgraded.
“For many their faith brings them closer to their neighbour, it’s the driver for their voluntary work, it’s the basis of their social action. And for many, faith is the basis for some of the best schools in our country.
“This scepticism against faith communities and in some case outright hostility, is both wrong and dangerous.”
She added: “Forced secularism is not progressive, it’s not Conservative and it’s not the British way.”