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 110.

    2011 - St Paul's, London - legitimate Occupy protesters moved on by the Church of England because it was affecting the tourist pounds to their coffers.

    The CofE is only interested in itself, its income and its assets. Fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Ref Rafael Donnelly's 'moral vacuum', would that be the Catholic church he was referring to.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    George Carey's view on persecution remind me of a teenager's, namely if I do not get my way then I shall shout and stamp my feet and insist that everyone is against me. For him to suggest that christian's are being persecuted in this country when there are lords spiritual in the upper legislative chamber shows that he is no more than playing to an easter gallery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    There is clearly a lot of hatred against Christians according to previous comments. I am a Bible believing Christian and worship my God who so loves that world that He sent His Son to bring salvation and healing to those that are marginalised and rejected by the world. I do not hate non-believers, but more and more I hear derogatory remarks from them towards my beliefs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    When Christianity says its being victimised in the West, it usually means everybody else won't do what they say.

    Exactly how is the C of E being victimised? Because we are going to allow SECULAR marriage. If you don't like gay marriage, don't get married to the same sex- nobody will force you to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Yet more ramblings from a mad man who wore a dress. It really is time to kick the bishops out of the House of Lords. They have a privileged position yet represent only a small fraction of the population. Not even a million people go to a CoE church on a weekly basis.
    Religion, and all other assorted "magic" has had its day. Time to move on folks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    We had a Christian PM, he was responsible for the death of 2,000,000 people. Why didn't Carey said a word then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Carey is closely associated with the United Learning Trust chain of academies: schools which are funded by taxpayers with minimal financial contribution from sponsors, but controled by them. The Church of England also controls thousands of voluntary aided schools in England. The idea that Christians are persecuted is laughable: Carey is cosseted, over-privileged and granted far too much power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    My thoughts too..

    Couldnt help but giggle at your comment. :-)

    When I say cultures I ment religions too most cultures have a faith or a belief, something along those lines.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I'm a Christian. I don't feel marginalised or persecuted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    76. bergy 5 Minutes ago "About time most posters so far went and made friends with some Christians and had a reality check."

    Christian… reality check…

    Are you having a laugh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Ha another opportunity to display ignorance of religion by accusing persons of faith as superstitious people with imaginary friends in the sky. That's Christianity dealt with. Now can we all debunk other religions too. Cameron had better not marginalise Islam as the BBC would be after him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Put all religion of the World into a box crammed with all the World leaders and the People will be free! I know we would need a very huge box but am sure the Banks or those Big Corporations could afford to make one and then the People could push them in as well

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    And scientists see a human being as a walking-meat-laptop machine. With no intrinsic value"

    What total, unmitigated nonsense.

    One third of the House of Lords seats are given over to the Church of England"

    ditto. For your information its 3%, so you were only a factor 10 out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    "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..."

    As soon as I read this bit, I gave up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    It's no good Lord Carey blaming MP's for marginalizing the CofE when his own term did little to recognize modern values and way of life.Other religions have worked hard to diversify and mirror modern society. I have sat through CofE services, its a negative self centered experience that has little to do with modern life, its actively discriminatory views do more to marginalize itself, shocking!

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    60 I would think anyone who taken the trouble to learn what bonds organised religions have put humanity in over the centuries and the wholesale betrayal of their own doctrines, would hesistate before castigating the direction science is taking us

    Those advocating org religions point to the fact that they helped promote science in its early days. Time for us to grow up and put religions aside

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    To be truly religious do you need someone to lead you,isit not your god your praying to a true believer needs no church no archbishop and no governmennt to be a christian im atheist but i would never deny anyone their right to beleive in whatever.
    Do people need a man in fancy gowns leading them?

  • Comment number 92.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Me? I don't really care, but I would like the supermarket and the leisure centre open tomorrow.


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