...of course it is. But, throwing in a smattering of other religions acts as an appeasement. We saw this in Quebec, Canada, with the "Values Clause" (a Provincial proposal to curtail the "overt" display of religious symbols on a person in the work-place and public institutions).
Christians pressured into silence on faith as governments ignore problem: Former Archbishop of Canterbury ~ Hannah Furness, The Telegraph | December 24, 2013 | Last More from The Telegraph
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/12/24/christians-feel-pressure-to-be-silent-about-their-faith-and-observant-under-pressure-former-archbishop-says/ (<< click HERE for comments)
Christians in Britain feel pressure to be “silent about their faith,” a former Archbishop of Canterbury warns, as he accuses the government of failing to defend the Church.
Lord Carey, who was head of the Anglican Communion until 2002, says he is “worried about the future of faith in the West” and highlights an “increasing timidity” among churchgoers, some of whom fear to admit their faith at work.
In an impassioned defence of Christianity, he warns that the government is “full of denial” about the problems faced by the Christian community and is failing to speak up for those within it who are marginalized across the world.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Lord Carey says David Cameron’s administration is “washing its hands” of persecuted Christians. Its failure to confront the targeting of members of the faith is “strange and inexplicable,” he says.
There has been a series of cases in which Christians in Britain have complained of legal or workplace persecution over issues ranging from abortion and gay marriage to religious jewellery.
Lord Carey’s defence of Christianity follows comments from Prince Charles, who warned last week that the religion was beginning to “disappear” in the face of “organized persecution.” Speaking at a Clarence House reception, the Prince told assembled guests the world was in danger of losing something “irreplaceably precious” with 2,000-year-old communities in the Middle East under threat from Islamist militants.
Lord Carey, who was Archbishop for 11-and-a-half years, welcomes the Prince’s “powerful intervention.”
He says: “This is something that western governments have been strangely and inexplicably reluctant to confront.
“In a recent House of Commons debate on the issue, the government response was full of denial that this problem was uniquely affecting Christian communities. But, then, successive governments have done little to speak up for Christians facing human rights abuses in Africa and the Middle East.
“In fact this government … is doing just as much to wash its hands of persecuted Christian communities as any of its predecessors.”
On the problems faced by Christians in Britain, Lord Carey adds: “Closer to home, I admit I am worried about the future of faith in the West. Many Christians I meet say there is pressure on them to be silent about their faith.
“Though there can be no question of a comparison with the powerlessness and weakness of the Church in the Middle East, there is an increasing timidity on the part of churchgoers in the West — about even admitting that they have faith in the workplace.”
Last year, a report by Civitas, a think tank, claimed that Christians were persecuted “more than any other body of believers” globally, citing a study estimating 200-million, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”
Open Doors, a charity, lists 23 countries where Christians suffer “absolute, extreme or severe” persecution, headed by North Korea, where possession of a Bible is punishable by death, and followed by Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.
Lord Carey calls on politicians to understand that the religion is “despised” in many parts of the world.
In Nigeria, churches are firebombed; in Pakistan, churchgoers are prosecuted under draconian blasphemy laws, while in Egypt they are either marginalized or assaulted
|Lord Carey of Clifton, 2006|
“In Nigeria, churches are firebombed; in Pakistan, churchgoers are prosecuted under draconian blasphemy laws, while in Egypt they are either marginalized or assaulted,” he says.
In a direct message to Christians, he says the name of Jesus can allow churches “in all their weakness” to “become strong once more.” His words follow interventions from politicians and religious leaders alike. In October, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Roman Catholic former Archbishop of Westminster, argued “not enough is done in the West” to speak out about Christians facing violence, saying they were persecuted “to a greater or lesser extent” in 139 countries.
This weekend, Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, told The Sunday Telegraph that public figures should support those who risk their lives to attend churches across the world.
Attacking a “misplaced sense of political correctness” and “embarrassment at ‘doing God,’” Mr. Alexander argued that the Government must do more. Gary Streeter, a Tory MP and chairman of the cross-party group Christians in Parliament, last night welcomed leading figures speaking out about the persecution of Christians. He said the issue was already “moving up the political agenda.”
“I do think our government and future governments should be more robust in requiring the governments of the countries in question, particularly those that we pour international development aid into, to focus on protecting minorities.”
British Christians’ complaints have included the case of Margaret Forrester, a Roman Catholic nurse sacked after raising concerns that distressed pregnant women were not being given a range of options other than abortion. She settled her legal action against the NHS in 2012. In 2011, two Christian B&B owners were ordered to pay a gay couple £3,600 damages for refusing to let them share a bedroom and in January, a Christian airline check-in clerk won the right to wear a cross necklace to work, even as the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a hospital could bar such jewellery on health and safety grounds.
Last night a Foreign Office spokesman said that the Government had made religious freedom a key priority in its human rights brief.
The spokesman said that Baroness Warsi, the first minister for faith, had made the issue a personal priority and that all Foreign Office ministers raised the issues “robustly and frankly at the highest levels in relevant countries.”