Carey launches campaign for ‘persecuted’ Christians

01 December 2010

by Ed Beavan

CHRISTIANITY in the UK “is in danger of being stealthily and subtly brushed aside”, the former Arch­bishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Lord Carey, said during the launch of Not Ashamed, a campaign that seeks to speak up for Christian values in public life.

The campaign was launched outside the House of Lords on Wednesday, and includes a leaflet by Lord Carey, in which he writes that the Christian faith underpins the values of Britain, but that this “rich legacy is under attack”.

He continues: “The evidence has been mounting in recent years. Teachers and council employees are suspended for offering to ‘say a prayer’.” He attributes the trend to a combination of well-meaning poli­tical correctness, multicultural­ism, and overt opposition to Christi­anity.

But the campaign has been criticised by some Christian and secular groups as “misleading” and “exaggerated”. Simon Barrow, the co-director of the Christian think tank Ekklesia, said that, although Chris­tians in the UK did not “rule others in the way they once did”, this “did not amount to ‘persecu­tion’”.

“While some noisy lobby groups and former church leaders are will­ing to accommodate to exaggerated or false claims about the status of Christians in Britain, many others — the majority in fact — are not.”

The Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, also countered the campaign’s arguments, speaking on Channel 4’s He said that Christians who could not carry out a particular job if it was in conflict with their faith had a choice whether to do it, but this did not amount to persecution.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said that the campaign was in­dicative of “in­creasingly desperate attempts to work up a victim narrative of ‘Christianophobia’”, which has “no basis in reality”.

But Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of Christian Concern, said that she daily encountered Chris­tians “who find themselves in trouble in the workplace as a result of living out their Christian faith”.

She said: “We want to champion our Christian heritage and stand up for our freedom, not just for the sake of Christians but for everyone in society.”  

Christianity most persecuted world religion. A report by the Roman Catholic agency Aid to the Church in Need suggests that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, as at least 200 million people are facing discrimination.

Question of the week: Do you think it is accurate to describe Christians in Britain as persecuted?

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