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 50.

    DC's actions speak louder than his words as can be seen in his current stance on Christian morality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    29. levap
    How much longer will it take that it was people who created god,
    I like that! I am afraid I am going to have to steal that from you :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    This is a bit rich coming from a religous organisation that has persecuted, tortured, burnt at the stake and generally slaughtered anyone who didn`t worship their God in the way they dictated. They still persecute people today whom they believe to be rejected by their God. They haven`t changed since the middle ages

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Nice to see the that the Church's priority this Easter isn't the poor, the infirm or the sick. Nope it's Gay Marriage. They are almost as out of touch with reality as the right of the tory party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Religions have marginalised themselves through their indoctrination, sham marriages to assist immigrants, abuse of people and not just children.

    And finally, for the C of E, allowing protesters to occupy the area around one of our most hallowed cathedrals, St Pauls. For me that was the final straw.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    I'm a Christian, and Lord Carey's statements make me feel marginalised far more often than do David Cameron's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    "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.."

    The man's clearly deluded... or a comdedian

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Back in your chess box Carey. Whilst we live in the only country in the world who allows bishops to sit in parliament your argument just doesn't stack up. Check mate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Wow, the church is like a little kid, you cater to it's needs for 100s of years and when you finally try to take control and act in other people's intereasts it screams abuse and claims we don't love them any more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Interesting Comments. We're at comment number 20 as I write, only one supports Carey and that was voted down to Lowest Rated. Are you getting the message Ld Carey - if you feel marginalised it is because you and your fairy tales ARE marginal to most people nowadays! Cameron - the message for you - although you seem too dim to understand it - is to disestablish the church, as soon as.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    So society as a whole agrees that Gay Marriage is morally fair.

    But actually Gay Marriage is a conspiracy by secularists to attack an institution that is the "glue of society".

    I think that the attitude of the church is the reason for it becoming "marginalised". It cannot monopolise morality any more, especially when it's morals try and marginalise and persecute others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    I think he'll find it's society marginalising the Christian organisations that continue to preach intolerance and exclusion. He's pictured here with a "Coalition for Marriage" sign in the background, for instance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Faith should not be used as an instrument of the state; and the state should not make any additional accomodations or protections beyond those for the secular.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    This battle is for sure becoming interesting! We will wait and see how the 'Formerly great Western culture,' with Christianity as its very foundation, fare without Christianity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    perĀ·seĀ·cutes. 1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation

    I may have missed something, but the only examples of Christian 'persecution' I've seen is where a small handful of Christians have been stopped from persecuting other groups.

    Think the ex-arch bishop needs a dictionary and try to see if from the other side for a change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    As a gay person in a committed relationship for 37 years I could tell this rich retiree about persecution and most of it comes from Christianity directed and Gayn & esbian people. There are about 1 million a week going to church in a country of over 60 million. This will be over soon and it is there own doing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    David Cameron makes everyone feel marginalised, its a curious knack he has, the paranoia that tends to accompany a sense of marginalisation makes every group think its just them. Virtually everyone in Britain is wandering about saying we are being marginalised by David Cameron & his government

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    The Christian religion in this country has the same fate as every other religion - unless they can provide positive proof that their deity actually exists they are living a lie - they might as well be worshipping the flying spaghetti monster. More and more people are having access to the truth - and organised religion (at least in western countries) is slowly dying a death.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Never forget, Cameron is a politician. He will say whatever he thinks will garner most public approval (ie votes), regardless of his personal opinions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Unless you happen to be filthy rich and catflap everyone is a persecuted minority thanks to Dave and his 'cryptonazis'. Join the club.


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