Christians in Britain should not accept intolerance directed against their faith even if it only appears to be mild, a national newspaper commentator has warned.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph Cristina Odone also urged the Prime Minister to “stand up for Christians” both at home and abroad.
While acknowledging that the difficulties experienced by believers in the UK pale in comparison to the persecutions endured in some countries she insists that Christians shouldn’t “accept intolerance at home simply because it carries less risk than abroad”.
“When their institutions are forced to adopt secular standards in everything from rules of employment to selection of intake, the community should speak up for a fair society in which secularist values do not automatically trump Christian values.”
The commentator also drew attention to recent comments made by the Bishop of Winchester and Lord Woolf, ex-Lord Chief Justice, who have both expressed concern over the treatment of Christian beliefs in court.
She warned against attempts to undermine the nation’s Christian heritage saying: “Common sense dictates that in a nation where the great majority, in poll after poll, still describe themselves as Christian, displays of Christian culture in public spaces should be welcome.”
“Similarly, it is common sense to respect Christian values, even when these clash with the prevailing liberal consensus. Whether they be about the sanctity of marriage or of life, these values prod us to review our me-centred culture, with its excesses and demands for instant gratification.
“Common sense has long been the British way. Britons don’t approve of rabid fundamentalism – whether its flames are fanned by an imam or a Guardianista.”
Cristina Odone also called for David Cameron to scrap the Human Rights Act warning that it had reduced the ability of Christians to function as believers.
Last month Britain’s former top judge cautioned that the legal system may have gone “too far” in restricting the right of Christians to live out their faith.
Lord Woolf’s comments came after the Bishop of Winchester warned that the demise of “religious literacy” had created an imbalance in the way Christians are treated by the courts.
Speaking on the BBC’s World This Weekend programme Lord Woolf acknowledged that the Bishop of Winchester’s concerns had “a grounding in the facts”.
He added: “We may have gone too far. If the law has gone too far in one direction, then the experience of the law is that it tends to move back.
“The law must be above any sectional interest even if it is an interest of a faith but at the same time it must be aware of the proper concerns of that faith.
“The law should be developed in ways that, wherever practicable, it allows that faith to be preserved and protected.”