The former archbishop, Lord Carey has written a letter to the current prime minister, David Cameron. This is reported in a news article by Tim Ross under the headline Only half of Britons say UK is a Christian country. The text of the letter itself doesn’t appear to have been published yet.
In the letter to the Prime Minister, Lord Carey said Christians were too often “ridiculed” and dismissed as relics of “a bygone age”.
“Notwithstanding its vast and varied contribution to our society, there appears to be a suspicion about the validity and value of the role that the Christian faith plays in our national life,” he said.
“This has been highlighted by the spate of recent instances in which ordinary Christians who have sought to manifest their Christian faith in the workplace and have allowed their Christian conscience to direct their public service have fallen foul of new employment practices and then discovered that rather than protect them, the law has sided against them.”
Lord Carey suggested that recent legislation was unclear on where the balance of rights fell between different groups. One particularly contentious subject has been the clash of rights between homosexuals and Christians.
“Whatever the explanation, this situation needs urgent review and action from government,” he said.
“It is a remarkable state of affairs that, in such a short space of time and in a country that has been so shaped by, and benefitted so significantly from, a Christian foundation, those who hold traditional Christian viewpoints, in common with millions across the globe and across history, can suddenly find their position labelled discriminatory and prejudiced and then discover that it has effectively become a legal bar to public service.”
Earlier, on a BBC radio news broadcast, the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt also criticised the legal system. Again the Telegraph has the story, see Bishop of Winchester: legal system discriminates against Christians by Rosa Prince.
Bishop Scott-Joynt told the BBC’s World This Weekend: “The problem is that there is a really quite widespread perception among Christians that there is growing up something of an imbalance in the legal position with regard to the freedom of Christians and people of other faiths to pursue the calling of their faith in public life, in public service.
“Probably for the first time in our history there is a widespread lack of religious literacy among those who one way and another hold power and influence, whether it’s Parliament or the media or even, dare I say it, in the judiciary.
”The risk would be that there are increasingly professions where it could be difficult for people who are devoted believers to work in certain of the public services, indeed in Parliament.
“Anybody who is part of the religious community believes that you don’t just hold views, you live them. Manifesting your faith is part of having it and not part of some optional bolt-on.
“Judgement seemed to be following contemporary society, which seems to think that secularist views are statements of the obvious and religious views are notions in the mind. That is the culture in which we are living.
“The judges ought to be religiously literate enough to know that there is an argument behind all this, which can’t simply be settled by the nature of society as it is today.”