Monday, 16 April 2012

Amid claims of Christian persecution, the assault on British secularism continues

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Lord Carey
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, was in the headlines again this weekend after the Telegraph published details of his submission to the European Court of Human Rights, ahead of a case brought by Nadia Eweida, the British Airways worker who was suspended for refusing to remove a cross in 2006, Shirley Chaplin, the Exeter nurse who ultimately quit nursing as a result of her dispute with Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust over her cross, and Gary McFarlane the relationship counsellor who refused to work with same-sex couples.

In his submission, Carey argues that equality law is being used in Britain "to remove Judaeo-Christian values from the public square", leading to a situation where "Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by State bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong". The former Archbishop goes on to argue that Christians have become the victims of persecution in modern Britain:
“It is now Christians who are persecuted; often sought out and framed by homosexual activists. Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance.”
Carey's remarks are the latest to emerge from a conservative Christian lobby that has become increasingly vocal in its attacks on secularism and its claims of persecution. Indeed, it's an issue I look at in the latest edition of New Humanist, in which I argue that, contrary to claims that faith is under fire, it is in fact secularism that is under attack, both from religious activists and members of the government, who are increasingly promoting the idea that Britain, contrary to most statistical evidence, remains a "Christian country".

I've put the piece online this afternoon - take a look and see what you think.
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