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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

‘Christianophobia’ Debate Is Paranoid And A Waste Of Parliamentary Time

The parliamentary debate called for on Wednesday 5 December by Mark Pritchard MP on ‘Christianophobia’ has been condemned by the National Secular Society as a bizarre display of religious paranoia and a waste of precious parliamentary time.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the NSS, said: “Christians have absolutely nothing to complain about in this country. The UK is the only Western democracy to give (Christian) Bishops the right to sit in our legislature as of right (26 of them), which they on occasion use to further their own advantage, such as seeking exemption from the Human Rights Act.

“We have a Christian church established by law, which gives it substantial privileges that are denied to others. It runs a third of our education system at taxpayers’ expense, it receives hundreds of millions of pounds in subsidy from the state and lottery every year and it has enormous tax advantages. Large mandatory amounts of time are allocated to it by our national broadcaster, it has publicly-funded representatives in every prison and most hospitals, and in all branches of the military. The head of state is a Christian, the Prime Minister is a Christian and almost all the cabinet are self-identified Christians. How on earth can anyone imagine that Christians are disadvantaged or pushed to the margins?

“Christian influence is increasing in Europe with Catholic and Russian Orthodox leaders addressing Parliamentarians in the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. Both are seeking to enforce their values on the majority of the population who are not religious or not practising any religion.”

Mr Porteous Wood said that “the claims of ‘Christianophobia’ were an echo of the Muslim cry of ‘Islamophobia’ which has proved such an effective tool for Islamic clerics. Christians are now crying ‘Christianophobia’ seeking to be portrayed in the role of victim in order to secure even more power.”

Mr Porteous Wood added that “the influence of religion is increasing all the time despite religious adherence in this country falling at an increasing rate for the past sixty years. Now only 7 per cent of the population are in church on any normal Sunday and that is projected by Christian Research to drop to 2 per cent by 2040.”

“Christians are not being pushed out of public life,” Mr Porteous Wood said, “if anything they are over-represented. What is happening is that more and more people – including Christians - are walking away from organised religion, appalled by its increasing bigotry and the narrow-mindedness of organised churches.”

December 4 2007


Published Tue, 04 Dec 2007