Tory MP says don’t be ashamed of your faith

A Conservative MP hopes recent comments by public figures on Christianity will bring an end to the “stigma” around speaking out about the faith.

Edward Leigh, the MP for Gainsborough, highlighted comments by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey and BBC radio presenter Simon Mayo.

Last week Lord Carey said Christians in Britain are too soft and should be more outspoken in defence of their beliefs.

And at the weekend Simon Mayo, speaking to The Daily Telegraph said religion is “increasingly driven to the margin” on the BBC.

Mr Leigh called the comments “an encouraging step forward”.

He said: “Last week we had the Prime Minister encouraging individuals in the public domain to be open about their faith and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey advocating a ‘tougher church’ which should not be afraid to stand up and speak out.

“This week BBC Radio presenter Simon Mayo has spoken out against the Corporation’s marginalising of religion.

“This is an encouraging step forward. Of course one would expect the former Archbishop of Canterbury to speak out for Christianity, but comments by the Prime Minister and a well known radio presenter of a popular show are less expected.

“One hopes that this is a sign of things to come and that the stigma which currently surrounds speaking about religion, especially Christianity, will become a thing of the past.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Lord Carey said: “I think we need a tougher church. We Christians are very often so soft that we allow other people to walk over us and we are not as tough in what we want, in expressing our beliefs, because we do not want to upset other people.

“We have got to be more outspoken.”

Stressing the importance of the issue, the former Archbishop said: “I worry about my grandchildren.

“I want this country to carry on being one that values the Christian heritage, but most of all values the democratic standards and all that this country has fought over.”

On Saturday Mr Mayo, who is known as a Christian, commented in The Daily Telegraph that there is an anti-Christian theme apparent in television comedians.

He said: “They are at the forefront of the new atheism.”

Mr Mayo also said: “I was listening to a BBC news bulletin during Easter 2008 about services to mark ‘the rebirth of Christ'”.

He said that the line was “clearly written by someone who had no contact with or understanding of the concept of resurrection”.

He added: “My brother works for the BBC religious affairs unit and I told him I couldn’t believe it.”

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