Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has warned that there are attempts to “stealthily and subtly” brush aside the Christian faith in the UK.
Lord Carey was writing in a leaflet promoting a “Not Ashamed” campaign which encourages Christians to express their beliefs in public and at work. The campaign is organised by the religious liberty group, Christian Concern.
The former Archbishop cautioned that even though Christianity has contributed much to the civilisation of the UK, a new climate “hostile” to that tradition is now developing.
He said examples of the sidelining of Christianity have been mounting in recent years: “Teachers and council employees are suspended for offering to ‘say a prayer’.
“A devoted nurse is banned from wearing a cross, a British Airways worker told to remove hers”, he said.
He also noted the plight of Roman Catholic adoption agencies, most of which have closed or have been forced to drop their religious ethos as a result of equality regulations.
The former Archbishop warned that the attempt to ‘air-brush’ the Christian faith is “especially obvious as Christmas approaches”.
“The cards that used to carry Christmas wishes now bear ‘Season’s greetings’. The local school nativity play is watered down or disappears altogether.
“The local council switches on ‘Winter lights’ in place of Christmas decorations. Even Christmas has become something of which some are ashamed.”
He said: “So, it appears that flowing from a combination of well-meaning political correctness, multiculturalism and overt opposition to Christianity, a new climate, hostile to our country’s tradition and history, is developing.”
However he remarked on figures from the last census that showed almost 72 per cent of the population chose to identify themselves as Christians.
And he said:”Parents flock to church schools, knowing that their children are likely to get the best education in an environment with a caring, Christian ethos.
“Churches and Christian charities continue to provide desperately needed services in every community in the country”, he added.
In the leaflet Lord Carey also questioned whether society was happy to turn away from what Jesus can provide – “a solid foundation for a society characterised by care and compassion, justice and morality, hospitality and kindness, genuine respect and appropriate toleration, peace and prosperity, co-operation and public service”.
In 2009 The Christian Institute produced a report on instances of Christians being sidelined in modern Britain.
It said a “growing sense of intolerance felt by Christians is made all the worse when they face hostility in the name of ‘equality and diversity’. Christians wonder why they are not being treated equally and why diversity does not include them”.
“They feel that a hierarchy of rights has sprung up which leaves them bottom of the pile.
“This has led to a growing feeling that ‘equality and diversity’ is code for marginalising Christian beliefs”, it continued.
The report, entitled Marginalising Christians, also said: “In many instances equality and diversity laws are actually being used as a sword to attack Christians rather than a shield to protect them.”