The former Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Christians to “speak up for their faith”, following a consultation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Lord Carey said the survey, which found evidence of widespread discrimination against Christians, proves that society is “increasingly illiterate about religious faith”.
He criticised the fact that Christians in Britain “feel forced to hide their beliefs” in a “country whose history, landscape, literature and laws is so immersed in the Christian faith”.
Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Carey said, “expressions of religious opinion or practice are often misunderstood or provoke discomfort, anxiety and even hostility, rather than toleration”.
The former Archbishop said, “the main hostility towards religious believers comes from a very small minority of bigoted atheists who seek to banish all religious belief from public life completely”.
Acknowledging that Christians can feel under pressure to hide their faith he argued that “now, more than ever, we need Christian people to speak up for their faith, to articulate their beliefs in sensible and courteous ways”.
He said: “Our society needs a reminder of our foundational beliefs in honesty, faithfulness, right and wrong.”
Lord Carey added that, “there should be no apology by Christian people when they speak out about their beliefs”.
The consultation, carried out over a period of several months, is the largest ever conducted by the EHRC.
Of the nearly 2,500 responses, Christians comprised by far the highest number (1,030), followed by atheists at just 188.
Christians of varying denominations responded, and reported being mocked for their beliefs at work, being passed over for promotion and feeling under pressure to keep their faith quiet at work.
The Christian Institute said the EHRC must now take note of the problems highlighted in the survey, and warned about their negative track record concerning Christians.
Spokesman Simon Calvert said: “Clearly many Christians up and down the country are being marginalised in the workplace because of their faith. Equality legislation is often part of the problem rather than the solution.
“The EHRC should not fall into the trap of seeing secularism as neutral, and using equality law to enforce it.”