Lord Carey attacks PM over Christian 'support'

Lord Carey Lord Carey says many Christians doubt the sincerity of David Cameron's comments over their rights

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The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has accused David Cameron of making Christians feel marginalised.

He said it was a "bit rich" for the prime minister to tell religious leaders to oppose secularisation.

This follows comments made by the PM at a pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders.

A Downing Street spokesman rejected the criticism, saying Mr Cameron valued "the profound contribution" Christianity had made to UK life.

But Lord Carey wrote in the Daily Mail that the government seemed to be "aiding and abetting" aggressive secularisation.

He also said Mr Cameron had done more than any other recent political leader to increase Christian anxieties.

Many Christians doubted the sincerity of Mr Cameron's support of Christians' right to practise their faith, he said.

Start Quote

The danger I believe that the government is courting with its approach both to marriage and religious freedom is the alienation of a large minority of people who, only a few years ago, would have been considered pillars of society”

End Quote Lord Carey

Lord Carey said: "I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.

"But 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."

Lord Carey also that said a recent ComRes poll suggested "more than two-thirds of Christians feel that they are part of a 'persecuted minority'".

"Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the prime minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties."

He said that Mr Cameron "seems to have forgotten in spite of his oft-repeated support for the right of Christians to wear the cross, that lawyers acting for the coalition argued only months ago in the Strasbourg court that those sacked for wearing a cross against their employer's wishes should simply get another job".

'Profound contribution'

And Lord Carey spoke of being "very suspicious" that behind plans for gay marriage "there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society".

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Lord Carey has no right to insist that his discriminatory and intolerant views should prevail over those of the public and Parliament”

End Quote Keith Porteous Wood, National Secular Society

"The danger I believe that the government is courting with its approach both to marriage and religious freedom is the alienation of a large minority of people who, only a few years ago, would have been considered pillars of society."

However, a Downing Street spokesman rejected the criticism, saying: "Christianity plays a vital part in the Big Society, from the many brilliant church schools to the huge number of charitable causes based in churches across the country.

"The prime minister values the profound contribution that Christianity has made and continues to make to the country, which is why he strongly backs it."

Desmond Swayne, a former Parliamentary aide to David Cameron, told BBC News that he was shocked to read Lord Carey's remarks.

"I was almost gobsmacked because I regard myself as a bible-believing Christian and my view is that the government couldn't have been more forthright in defending the interests and practices of Christians."

On the issue of gay marriage, Desmond Swayne said the government has done all it could "to take account of the objections of the Church of England and other churches which are against this development."

He added: "We've produced a package which maximises the freedom available to the churches - those that don't want to touch it, won't have to."

'Intolerant views'

The National Secular Society, meanwhile, urged the prime minister to "ignore Lord Carey's theocratic and anti-democratic blustering".

"Nothing in the proposed same-sex marriage laws require Christians to conduct or partake in same-sex marriage, and Lord Carey has no right to insist that his discriminatory and intolerant views should prevail over those of the public and Parliament," executive director Keith Porteous Wood said.

Christians were "far from being marginalised in this country", he added.

He said the UK was "the only country in the world to give bishops the right to sit in its Parliament" despite "precipitously declining support, as shown by the congregations declining and ageing for many decades".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Just more of the DM's usual "Christians under attack" rhetoric... nothing to see here.

    Many people call themselves Christian in the UK but nearly all of them ticked that box last census because they were christened or went to a CofE school. This is just pandering to a small crowd of fundamentalists and a handful of bigots who needed a reason to jump on the gay marriage issue

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    How much longer will it take that it was people who created god, and not the other way around. When it comes to paganism we generally recognize people creating and serving to their gods.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The road towards a balanced world is to slowly but surely remove religion. Christianity is one of the most liberal faiths already, so it makes sense for it to be the first one to go. The rest will follow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    The crises that affect the major religions are very public and the public react to those crises by looking to other belief and behaviour systems. The Church has had its own way since Odo came over with William I - time for a change to a wholly secular society in which one's own beliefs can sit.
    And while we're at it, no more state funded religious schools and the associated travel subsidies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    What nonsense from a sect which marginalises all women and gay men, and which has seats as of right in our legislature.
    It's time the CoE decided to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to cease meddling in the rules about secular marriage.
    Another argument for disestablishment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    aggressive secularisation?

    Are secularists the people who bomb buildings, hate homosexuals, treat women as second class, hate their neighbours because they believe in a different version of the same fairy story, and war with other people over who's invisible friend is the biggest?

    When it comes to 'aggressive', secularists have a lot more to learn from religion than the other way around.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    If your being marginalised by DC then its no different to what has happened to the unemployed, immigrants, people in council houses etc etc this is how the tory party work its called divide and rule. The last thing they would want is a united country because it would be united in opposition to their rubbish ineffective policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    It really is simple, religion is just losing the argument, it is failing to persuade people anymore and without the stranglehold they have had in the past, they can no longer kill those who don't agree with them. We are seeing the beginning of the end of religion, and sooner or later Yahweh will reside in the infinite grave we call mythology and I for one couldn't be happier about that

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    This is more to do with The Church desperately trying to hang to its special position of power and influence than any attack on Christians. Again the issue of "gay marriage" is brought up. Marriage was never the exclusive right of the church and in the UK it is state sanctioned under license. Time to stop your special pleading Lord Carey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    What he fails to understand is that society can think for itself and is no longer easily led by these careerists. Does he have a book about to come out?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Persecution? Well they invented it with their book of fairy tales so at least he knows what he's talking about! :-)
    Perhaps he's more worried about the churches loss of power base than issues that don't actually affect a persons ability to practice religion. What they do in their own homes doesn't affect me....

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I think that George Carey’s definition of ‘aggressive secularisation’ would differ from mine. I would like to see to a country where everybody is free to practise their own faith unless this impinges on the freedom of others to practise theirs - or not to have any faith at all. If there is a just God, surely he/she will welcome all those who have ‘loved their neighbour as themselves’.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    The UK is a tolerant, secular nation. Religious groups are free to express their views, but does not have the right to impose them on the rest of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Lord Carey, you can't blame the government for the growth of rationality. What you seem to mean by being "persecuted and alienated" is that you are less free to impose and discriminate than you used to be. Your idea of being persecuted is not being able to persecute others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Christians have been marginalising themselves by the way they run their religion. People are no longer taken in by the ridiculous theatre and high faluting attitude of the church which has lost it's spirit and resorted to the showmanship of the circus. What many of us believe is that it is the way we behave and the treat others which counts. Any God can see the good in us without us genuflecting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Anyone who chooses to pontificate about society from the gutterball that is the 'Daily Mail' has lost any argument in the first instance. I see none of his professed Christian life values in that rag. I long for the day his cult disappears with all the others, and we can get on with life before death.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    The only thing worse than a non existent God is organised Religion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Surely if he were a real spiritual man of God he should be talking about helping the poor and the needy rather than spouting hate against people.
    No wonder people are deserting the church in droves.


  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Christians feel persecuted? Is this because of the whole gay marriage thing? Maybe if they want to be treated with respect and given rights then they should do unto others and extend equal rights to everybody. The whole not allowed to wear a cross thing is silly though but I bet if I wanted to wear satanic symbols they wouldn't respect my right to do that either.


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