James Chapman – Daily Mail March 30, 2013
In an article for the Daily Mail, Lord Carey squarely accuses ministers of ‘aiding and abetting’ discrimination against Christians.
He says he believes there is an ‘aggressive secularist and relativist approach’ behind the Government plans to legalise gay marriage and says the Prime Minister has ‘done more than any other recent political leader’ to ‘feed’ Christian anxieties.
As a dramatic new poll released on the eve of Easter Sunday revealed that more than two-thirds of Christians feel they are now part of a ‘persecuted minority’, Lord Carey insists the Government must do more to demonstrate its commitment to pledges to stand up for faith.
The survey suggests churchgoers increasingly feel religious freedoms are under assault from aggressive secularism.
Critics say court rulings against Christians who want to wear crosses at work, and legal action preventing prayers before council meetings, have helped make people feel marginalised.
In the article, Lord Carey expresses particular alarm about apparent Government support for a campaign by Labour MP Chris Bryant to turn the 700-year-old Parliamentary chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there.
But he also turns his fire on the Prime Minister, saying: ‘It was a bit rich to hear that the Prime Minister has told religious leaders that they should “stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation” when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.
‘At his pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders, he said that he supported Christians’ right to practise their faith. Yet many Christians doubt his sincerity.’
The ComRes poll suggests there is continuing resentment over the Government’s decision to legalise same-sex unions, even though there is special protection for the Church of England in the law.
More than half (58 per cent) of Christians who backed the Conservatives in 2010 suggested they will ‘definitely not’ vote for the party in 2015.
The ComRes poll of 535 regular churchgoers, commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), reveals that more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’.
The march of secularism means that if trends continue, Britain will no longer be a Christian country by 2030 when the number of non-believers will have overtaken the number of Christians.
In the past six years the number of Muslims has surged by 37 per cent to 2.6million, Hindus by 43 per cent and Buddhists by a massive 74 per cent.
Numbers who choose to call themselves Christians fell by more than 4million in a decade after 2001, the 2011 census showed. Fewer than six out of ten – 59.3 per cent – described themselves as Christian.
A decade ago nearly three quarters, 72 per cent, did so. Some 33.2million people said they were Christian in 2011.
Downing Street strongly rejected Lord Carey’s attack. A spokesman said: ‘This government strongly backs faith and Christianity in particular, including backing the rights of people wanting to wear crosses at work and hold prayers at council meetings. Christianity plays a vital part in the Big Society.’