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 310.

    #296 the times823

    What the Donald?

  • Comment number 309.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    270 Edwin Starr
    "this poisonous sect",what ever it's faults and "irrelevance",helps millions of people Worldwide on a daily bases,especially during this bleak economic period and beyond as local/national Govs cut back further,and is still chosen by many of no or little faith for their children's schooling!

    I realise of course,judging by the ratings,my comment will soon be - 40 at least!

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.

    I didn't 'vote' for Lord Carey to speak for me or for all Christians. He doesn't speak for me! Why is it that apparently All Christians are against same-sex marriage? I for one am all for same-sex marriage - not for myself but for anyone who wants to marry the same sex be they Christian, Muslim, atheist, Jewish or anything else. It's not for him to tell me what to think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    A man points to a sphere hanging down from the ceiling. One Sie is blue and one side is red. He asks a friend 'what colour is that sphere?' ' Blue!' Says his friend. He asks his other friend on the other side of the room the same question 'Red!' Is the confident reply. The two begin to argue with each other as to who is right. They are invited to change positions and see a different point of view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    I'm a Christian, but I don't think I'm a moron and at least I don't make wide (and ill mannered generalisations). I wear a cross at work, though usually it was under clothing. Personally I don't think the word marriage is appropriate for same sex couples, but if they can find a legitimate member of the clergy to marry them ... good luck to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.

    This is arrant nonsense. Christians are being neither marginalised nor persecuted. Bishops sit with full rights in the House of Lords, unelected and unaccountable. The BBC still includes on the radio and TV time for religious broadcasts. The government sanctions the setting up of discriminatory so-called faith schools. What Carey and others of his sect fear is loss of hegemony over the State.

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    Excellent, that's the best thing Cameron has done. All traces of religion should be removed for British law, no places in the House of Lords, so "sancity of the confessional", no sanctury, no noise pollution on Sunday morning, nothing. Not Just CofE but all of them. And it should be illegal to say "its Gods will" or "god be willing". I find it all offensive and a form of civil bullying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    It's amazing how many people mistake loss of privilege for persecution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    "Many Christians doubted the sincerity of Mr Cameron's support of Christians' right to practise their faith, he said."
    Utter nonsense.I don't like Cameron but in no way is he stopping religious people practicing their fath.

    "Lord carey wrote in the Daily Mail..."
    About the only place where anyone would take any notice of this rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    The bible is not the word of god, at best it is the interpretation of the word of god by humans.

    But no divine hand wrote a single line of the bible, not even biblical scholars argue otherwise.

    So the anti-gay thing is not gods word, but the bigotry of men that died 3,000 years ago and yet we continue to peddle this discrimination.

    And you wonder why we have issues with religion?

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    Christians today are so insecure in their faith they have to keep reminding people they are Christians every five minutes. If they were truely comfortable in their faith they wouldn't have to shout at all. They'd be the first in the queue barging Satan out of the way to get Jesus to perform miracles to make sure all the heathens knew he was the son of God and they're in this gang and your not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    We all like to belong, be it to a youth club, football team, dance club, or religious group. Religion should be treated as such and have no real say in politics, otherwise rational thinking can be distorted and dragged in various directions by any particular religious agenda. With greater understanding of how the world actually did form it's now time for all to appreciate reality and move on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    The right to wear a cross? I think it is petty to ban wearing a cross in public, but I would not encourage anyone displaying an image of horriffic torture and execution. Its a bit like wearing a picture of William Wallace being disembowelled! Religion is largely mind control through fear. Some religious people do good charitable work though, an example for secularists, like myself, to follow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.


    The end ambition of our world leaders is to unite ALL the world religions under them & their enlightened SECULAR NWO World Government.. The endtime Antichrist world system described in the Bible. They'll will pit whatever groups against one another- east vs. west,christian vs. muslim,christians vs. homosexuals etc. to achieve their nefarious aim.

    "Come out of her my people"

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    I get sick of listening to all the one sided arguments that right is on the side of same sex movement, I am v happy for everyone to live happily ever after, but on the understanding of the full implications of what is going on. The taxation system, most religions, & law must all change to accommodate what is the right solution. That should have a bias toward couples (any combo) with children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    It's a bit rich for Carey to complain about persecution when he's been so vocal in opposing equal marriage rights for gay people.
    But then as has been said many times before, when the churches complain about persecution, what they're really complaining about is that (in their eyes) the wrong people are being persecuted and that they're not the ones being allowed to do the persecuting.

  • Comment number 293.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.


    Adam & Eve are historical fact. Jesus confirmed that truth.

    It's the evolution theory and monkey-men that are myth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    245. Actually many Nazis were 'christain' and believed they were doing Gods work through their policies of extermination in the East. That is why God gave us Jesus, so we could do Gods work and be saved. House the homeless, feed the hungry, heal the sick and show compassion and mercy to our fellow man. If you don't show mercy then how can it be given to you? Politicians be warned.


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