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 90.

    George Carey - Marginalisation is ban on gay marriage by his Church despite many of its clergy being gay and ban on women bishops.
    Marginalisation is taxpayer funded Anglican primary school discriminating against non-anglican kids.
    Carey's life membership of our parliament is opposite of christian marginalisation but discriminatory christian privilege.
    Carey wants the right to marginalise others

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Perhaps the people who would like to force us to live by their religion would like to take a look at the least secular nations on Earth... I doubt they'd like to live in any of them because they're all tyrannical hellholes.

    While we're at it, your 'faith' must be pretty weak if you need your teachings enshrined by law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    As a population we've been a secular country for many decades now. Religion is a minority in this country and those who say they believe normally do just out of tradition and never go to church. It's been domesticated into something that we can happily cope with. The thing that needs opposing is the scary lurch towards the more extreme versions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    One thing I never get... Why doesn't he pray about it? Surely his god would answer prayers and magically change the society for him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Everyone is being marginalised, why should Christians be any different?

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    26 unelected Bishops in the House of Lords, tax exemptions, faith schools. Most groups would be delighted to be so persecuted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Its not Cameron who has marginalised Christians in this country. It is the church itself who has done that to itself. I was raised a Christian but how can I go to church knowing that the church does not like my lifestyle as it calls it a sin. No the church needs to come out of the Dark Ages. And out of the House of Lordsas well

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Cameron doesn't marginalise Christians. They have been marginalising themselves for decades. Cameron and co only marginalise the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    "Aggressive secularisation" ?? Personally I would like to see a bit more. Let's start by getting these bishops out of the House of Lords. Also if these religious groups insist on brainwashing schoolchildren, then let them pay for their own schools.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Religion is swiftly loosing its footing as a control mechanism. Now were just going to be controlled by interest as opposed to guilt...

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    He's right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    Why is opposition to gay "marriage" always brought up in the term of religion? This is one area where science and religion agree, admittedly for different reasons.

    In terms of human anthropology, marriage recognises, formalises and celebrates the life-long commitment (pair-bond, if you will) necessary to produce and rear offspring. In this context same-sex marriage is a complete nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Carey is very right-wing & reactionary. But then all organised religion is. Plague on all their houses. Despite them getting far more publicity & media attention than they even REMOTELY deserve (most churches & places of worship are empty most of the time - only their luncheon clubs and pensioners clubs are frequently full) fewer people in the world say they are believers than any time in history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    A number of you (Chris, Levap, etc) need to take a good hard look at yourselves. You come across as intolerant and dare I say it uneducated in the manner you express your opinions. Have a think how they mght hurt others who, as is their human right, simply think differently to you. Enjoy your 'Easter' eggs

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    About time most posters so far went and made friends with some Christians and had a reality check. Ridiculous comments to be honest - most of us have gay friends, empower women, don't abuse kids but nurture them and I fed people at my foodbank who are poor yesterday on Good Friday - spread the love guys and stop giving yourselves an auto licence to sread bigotry about folks you don't mix with

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    By definition Christians ARE marginal. Christianity is a minority religion and as such IS marginal.

    Get over it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Lord Carey's comments are well overdue. It is true to say that Christians do feel marginalised over gay marrriage proposals, though I have to say not just Christians but also a very large number of the silent majority opposed to gay marriage. There are not enough people in high office who are willing to voice their true thoughts on this issue for fear of rebuke and abuse by a vociferous minority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    It's All Pants - Everyone has a right to believe in whatever they choose,but if you come to a country respect that culture not to bring yours along
    We're not talking about culture, we're talking about religion - they are not the same thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Seems like fair comment to me and I bet there are more Christians in the country that people who voted for this coalition Government.

    The government and dare I say the Beeb are often quite anti-Christian, in a way that they wouldn't dare be with other faiths.

    The attempt to steal marriage from ordinary people is Orwellian. No problem with Gay - but it's not marriage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    All Churchmen need to go away and push their collective heads somewhere. look at the state of the Catholic s, protestants, bible punchers in the US of A, and the Moslems (fighting each other !)

    The safest bet is non belief and atheism, no one tells me how to think, I am my own man. Religion is all about power and always was - designed by men without women in mind by control freaks - please go.


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