Christians are being marginalised by a raft of equality and diversity laws which leave them the first to be punished and the last to be protected, a new Christian Institute report says.
The report, published today, follows comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury at the weekend that the Government treats Christians as eccentric oddities.
The report, called “Marginalising Christians”, catalogues numerous cases of Christians being sidelined by public bodies, popular media, employers and barriers to public funding.
It also charts a worrying number of cases where Christians have been violently attacked in ‘faith hate’ assaults.
The publication of the report comes just days after two Christian hoteliers in Liverpool faced a criminal prosecution for criticising Islam during a debate with a Muslim guest.
And tomorrow the Court of Appeal will deliver a ruling on whether Islington Council discriminated against a Christian registrar, Lillian Ladele, who asked for her religious beliefs to be accommodated when it came to same-sex civil partnerships.
Parliament is currently considering an Equality Bill which faith groups fear will further erode their liberty.
The Government is using the Bill to drastically shrink the freedom of churches to insist that their staff’s sexual conduct is in keeping with the Bible.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “Many Christians feel marginalised in modern Britain.
“Whether it’s a Christian nurse being suspended for offering to pray for a patient’s recovery, or whether it’s a Christian couple being prosecuted for a crime because they criticised Islam, believers feel targeted by the ‘equality police’.
“A stream of equality and diversity laws have failed to reasonably accommodate the rights of religious believers. Christians in particular feel like they have been pushed to the back of the queue.
“When it comes to applying equality and diversity laws, Christians seem to be the first to be punished and the last to be protected.”