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December 1st, 2010
05:18 PM ET

Former Church of England head: British Christians 'under attack'

Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey in 2005

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Christianity is under attack in the United Kingdom, and Christians must fight efforts to "air-brush" their religion out of the picture, a former head of the Church of England warned Wednesday.

"In spite of having contributed so much to our civilization and providing its foundation, the Christian faith is in danger of being stealthily and subtly brushed aside," said George Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury.

Carey is fronting a new campaign, "Not Ashamed," by the group Christian Concern. He launched it with appearances at the House of Lords, Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street, the prime minister's office.

Christian Concern encouraged people to wear crosses and "Not Ashamed" buttons Wednesday to promote the campaign.

The group fights what it sees as discrimination against Christians, and has fought several high-profile lawsuits.

It's currently backing a Christian couple who say they were denied permission to be foster parents because their faith wouldn't let them say homosexuality is acceptable.

Carey and Christian Concern are upset about rulings against workers who wore crosses on the job and Christian adoption agencies that wouldn't place children with gay couples.

"Teachers and council employees are suspended for offering to 'say a prayer.' A devoted nurse is banned from wearing a cross, a British Airways worker told to remove hers," Carey said.

"Roman Catholic adoption agencies are closed down under new laws. Christian marriage registrars who cannot, in good conscience, preside over civil partnership ceremonies are summarily dismissed," he added, rattling off recent legal setbacks.

Carey says a combination of "well-meaning political correctness, multiculturalism and overt opposition to Christianity," is promoting "a new climate hostile to our country's tradition and history."

But a leading American humanist sees things differently.

"There should be a level playing field between religion and nonreligion, but that is not an attack on religion," said Roy Speckhardt, the head of the American Humanist Association.

He agreed that Christians should not be ashamed of their faith, but urged all religious people to "think hard" about it.

"Today is a special time in history," he said. "If your faith is Catholic and your clergy has been engaged in illegal activity and the hierarchy has covered it up ... a little bit of shame is beneficial."

And the shame shouldn't be limited to Catholics or Christians, he argued.

"There are Muslims out there who are progressives and positive-minded folks, but there are those who engaged in violence and see it as an excuse for violence," he said.

"Those of us who are cognizant of the positive and negative in our faith need to think hard about that," he said.

Some American Christians may be so turned off by what they see as church emphasis on "sex and family issues" that they deny being Christians at all, one religion expert said.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of Americans who say they have no religion - "nones," in the jargon of religion scholars.

They "do not want to be seen as affiliating with religion because, to them, religion means the religious right and thus a brand of politics they do not agree with," said David Campbell.

"So, yes, I think it is fair to say that they are ashamed of being identified as having a religion, specifically Christianity," he said.

He is the co-author, with Robert Putnam, of a huge new study of religion in America, "American Grace."

He doesn't think the phenomenon is repeating itself in England, though, since the country has no political religious right to speak of.

England is legally a Christian country, with the monarch as head of the Church of England. According to 2001 census figures, about 72 percent of British people consider themselves Christian.

But actual church attendance is low. The Church of England estimates that about 1.7 million people go to church in an average month, out of about 26 million Anglicans in the country.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales puts weekly church attendance at about a million, out of roughly 5 million Catholics.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Jesus Christ in the Traditions of Islam
    http://www.light-of-life.com/eng/sources/

    December 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!
      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      December 3, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  2. rev richard

    No religion has the right to claim exemption from reasoned scrutiny. Naturalism is no less a valid perspective on a universe view than the supernatural theories. Intellectually unsusbstantiated belief is an aberant form of unbelief.

    December 2, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  3. prophet

    WARNING stay away from christian science

    December 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  4. prophet

    The Anglican church has allowed gays to be so called clergy, this is the most obvious thing that proves that the Anglican church has no concept of what its doing to The Name of Our God.

    December 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  5. prophet

    In the first place Mr Greene was and is not a head of any religion, not even the anglicans.

    The Head is Our Saviour Yeshua of Natzeret. christians are indeed on the decline because their belief system has been misled by the so called christian religions.

    Yeshua Our Saviour is Jewish and He is what people know as christ as some know Him as jesus, but this is a deception and because the Truth has been distorted in such a way it cannot maintain itself as it is not as It Really Is.

    The so called christians will find this out soon as The Truth is reasserting Itself in those who are Genuine and this is becoming obvious the world over.

    i feel sorry for the christians a they have been misled, not entirely, but in a manner that leaves them unknowingly incomplete and soon they will have to recognise and accept The Jewishness of Our Saviour so as to be Completely aware of their Salvation

    December 2, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  6. Frogist

    I am seriously proud of England. Good for you for not letting christianity oppress gays in the public sphere. Let's face it, much of christianity has made gays feel ashamed for so long, maybe it's time Christians should feel a little shame back for what they have done. Stay strong, England. Cuz really, you don't want to turn into us, do you? I didn't think so.

    December 2, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  7. JohnQuest

    I wonder if the believers in Roman and Greek Gods felt the same way as their deities were similarly killed off.

    December 2, 2010 at 8:56 am |
  8. Muneef

    Does the following link make of the Christians and Jews conspiring Killers to peace and humanity ?

    http://www.voltairenet.org/spip.php?page=liste-article&id_article=167553&id_mot=&lang=en&date=&date_debut=&date_fin=&var_mode=recalcul

    December 2, 2010 at 4:41 am |
    • Muneef

      Dirty politics knows no God no morals....

      December 2, 2010 at 5:09 am |
    • Reality

      More poetry for the global Muslim:

      O Islam, Islam, violent Islam,
      Moha, illiterate and hallucinating,

      O Islam, Islam, violent Islam,
      Moha greed and lustful, womanizing,
      Was he too,

      O Islam, O Islam, violent Islam,
      Moha, warmongering and hateful,
      Was he too,

      O Islam, O Islam, violent Islam,
      Sunnis of hate, Shiites of late,
      Even Pretty Wingie Thingies cannot
      Save us from O Islam's hate.

      Save us from these Islamic FEMs,
      Flaws, Errors, Muck and Stench,
      As they ooze from the rocks of earth,
      Like worms of death and wrench.

      Born, Bred, and Brainwashed too,
      Whatever, whatever to do?
      Truth, Truth, History and Truth,
      Let it Ring True, Freedom, Freedom
      Freedom at Last and much left to do!!!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  9. Amalia Sheran Sharm

    Christianity is a mental illness. These people shouldn't be ashamed, but they should be treated.

    December 2, 2010 at 2:35 am |
  10. David

    Welcome to the NWO. Dare to express your religion, you'll hear from big brother. Oh, unless you're of some non-Christian faith. Then you're considered a quaint liberal cause to protect and promote to demonstrate acceptance and tolerance.

    December 2, 2010 at 1:47 am |
  11. LiberateUs

    I'm Catholic, and proud. Now,Gute Nacht!

    December 1, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  12. Muneef

    What a fine poem that you made it goes very well specially that part about Reality...
    But about the Christians converting into Islam as frogs in rainy season, I do not agree that those would do like this because of being empty headed but rather think it is because they found in the Qur'an as Islam what has attracted their hearts and minds of being the truth....

    December 1, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
    • Reality

      O Islam, Islam, violent Islam,
      Moha, illiterate and hallucinating,

      O Islam, Islam, violent Islam,
      Moha greed and lustful, womanizing,
      Was he too,

      O Islam, O Islam, violent Islam,
      Moha, warmongering and hateful,
      Was he too,

      O Islam, O Islam, violent Islam,
      Sunnis of hate, Shiites of late,
      Even Pretty Wingie Thingies cannot
      Save us from O Islam's hate.

      Save us from these Islamic FEMs,
      Flaws, Errors, Muck and Stench,
      As they ooze from the rocks of earth,
      Like worms of death and wrench.

      Born, Bred, and Brainwashed too,
      Whatever, whatever to do?
      Truth, Truth, History and Truth,
      Let it Ring True, Freedom, Freedom
      Freedom at Last and much left to do!!!

      December 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  13. Kai

    @Biraq Hussen Obama- I don't know if you're a troll, or if you really are just that stupid.

    December 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  14. wrigh395

    Perhaps instead of praising the Christian faith for what it has done to help contribute to western society (by the way, there are many aspects of Christianity that are not "western" in the conventional sense), maybe Mr. Carey should praise Christianity for it being true.

    In the end, that's one of the most important characteristics of Christianity. All the rest are simply additional factors.

    December 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  15. sjenner

    The bigger problem is that Christianity is simply not speaking to people any more. The core message of Christ has become lost behind a lot of nonsense, both from the theological left and right. The core doctrines are fine. The core ritual is fine. The problem is the dogmatic applications of various schemes. Christianity needs to think about what's relevant and leave the rest open for people to live their lives, without being phased out of what's "Christian" based on ever finer parsing of various issues. But of course, it must remain Christian and doctrinally orthodox, and not get lost in the various hybridizations that have become popular in various circles.

    December 1, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Isn’t that the problem? No one wants to listen to the Truth but to change it up to fit their way of thinking or life style.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  16. Erik

    There are many "Christian" churches that are giving other Christians a bad rep. There are many many messed up Christians along with all other faiths. Sin has caused all of this. Don't judge all Christians based on what one group or many messed up groups do. Same goes for any other faith, just because there are a muslims that jihad doens't mean all muslims are evil violent people.

    December 1, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  17. HotAirAce

    And it looks like pope-a-dope has taken some market share away from the anglicans – see http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Calgary+Anglican+parish+accepts+Pope+offer+join+Rome/3908419/story.html.

    December 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  18. doctore0

    Correction: Christianity is dying in the UK, as it is all over Europe.
    Next up to go away is Islam..

    Praise humanity

    December 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      actually next up would be atheism, the offspring of christianity. Once christianity dies, so will its offspring that feeds off it!

      December 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • JesusisLord

      Next stop: The Anti-Christ – who will revive the Roman Empire,and proclaim himself as God. You see...we all know He exists...and yearn to return to Him like a child looking for it's father. The only way to the Father, is through the Son.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:58 am |
  19. B(iraq) Hussein Osama

    Not to mention Islam. With all those Muslims there, converting christians to Islam like frogs in the rainy season. The Church is indeed under fire in England.

    December 1, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims to include those in England is quite easy!!!

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      December 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      Walk these five steps, and become an atheist like Hitler or a christian like Bush-Blair or an idiot like Reality. Thanks, but no thanks.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Reality

      More reality for all the Muslims out there:

      Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • JesusisLord

      Nobody that leaves Christ ever knew Him. But one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:56 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Big Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now even Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology grad school class notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      The single Step continued:

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      December 2, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  20. Bob

    He is correct, the Christian faith has much to be proud of in england.

    For example:
    – executing people for daring to translate the bible to english.
    – Making the chief executor of the above a saint.
    – Allowing the nobles to keep the peasants down.
    – torturing suspected witches.
    – Discrimination of gays.
    – Discrimination of interracial marriage.
    – Lack of free speech.
    – Taking alms and not giving them to the poor (Church has a lot money). Ie, charity scamming.
    – Promoting and protecting pe-do-phil-es.

    Among many more. What a colourful and rich heritage that should be respected and celebrated.

    December 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • ScottK

      I think those things are what he is talking about when he says "Today is a special time in history," he said. "If your faith is Catholic and your clergy has been engaged in illegal activity and the hierarchy has covered it up ... a little bit of shame is beneficial."

      Ah yes, a little bit of shame. Maybe thats what we should have tried with Hitler or Pol Pot, just shame them into obedience.

      December 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      Hitler was not practicing Catholicism during his regime, sir. Sure the Vatican was involve in WWII, but only due to the fact that they were forced to recognize the Nazi party as a legitimate gov't, and falsifying baptismal records to save jews from extermination.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • David

      And of course, at the same time we could talk about all the good Christianity has done as well. In fact, using your logic I could go back in history to when atheists virtually did not exist, and then take any charitable, good acts performed by Christians and Christian organizations and show how they were doing good and atheists weren't. But of course, this misses the point, as you did. Good and bad has occurred throughout history for all kinds of reasons. If it wasn't religion, it was culture, race, class, economics, scientific misunderstandings (re witches, etc). Get it? If you want to pick on Christianity (and you do), that's your naive bias I guess.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:59 am |
    • JesusisLord

      His Kingdom is not of this world. We live on a vastly different plane than you. He's preparing us for the next life, in this one, that's why we seem so different. Jesus really did rise from the dead....we're partakers of the Resurrection.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:54 am |
    • Dazzler

      Bob I think you're referring to catholicism.

      besides, i think you're rather bigoted and arrogant, to say the least.

      We as christians have much to be proud of.
      Skeptics have nothing to be proud of as they've been trying to prove the Bible wrong for the last 2000 years and still haven't succeded.

      December 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • Bob

      @Dazzler Either you're a troll or profoundly ignorant of world events and the current state of Science.

      You know what disproves the bible? Sedimentary layers. Done and done.

      December 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • geraldh

      Bob,

      Clearly you either don't understand. Sedimentary layers do nothing to show that the Bible is incorrect. The Bible is not a science book, though it is not contrary to good science and good theology is not contrary to good science. Bad science and Bad theology don't stand very well at all. Evolution for example has many holes, ie. evolution between species which is neccesary for the whole "it happened by accident so there is no god" to hold together has no basis in fact dispels common conceptions atheists have of the theory. All that is left is in species evolution which has no drawbacks for Christianity at all.

      December 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.