By Lord Carey
Lord Bates's criticism on this site of my recent article in the Daily Mail is well worth addressing because we both value frank exchanges of views – perhaps one of the greatest benefits of living in a democracy.
Let me begin by looking at the word ‘persecution’ which is a loaded one I prefer not to use about the plight of Christians in the UK. In my many travels to countries such as Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan I have interceded on behalf of Christians who have faced punishment and death for one crime only – that of being a follower of Jesus Christ. That is persecution.
The type of experience increasingly facing Christians in the UK involves much less dramatic encounters with the authorities but in some cases the discrimination or marginalization experienced is both heartfelt and unjust. In only a few years we have moved into a situation where Roman Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close down, where public servants have been disciplined for expressing Christian beliefs, or been sacked for wearing the cross.
Very few people in public life have bothered to stand up for these people. Is it any wonder then that according to the recent ComRes poll an increasing number of Christians believe they are experiencing something akin to ‘persecution’?