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Have Britain's Christians Lost Their Courage?

Naomi Thatcher | Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer | Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Have Britain's Christians Lost Their Courage?

Nurse suspended for offering to pray for patient. Air stewardess told not to wear cross to work. Foster mother struck off for letting Muslim girl convert to Christianity.
This may look like laughable list of political correctness gone a step too far, quick to spot any form of religious expression that “could” offend. But in fact these are very real headlines that have filled the pages of British newspapers this year.
If you happened to have browsed any of the UK’s national newspaper in the last few months you’d be for forgiven for thinking that Christianity is facing something of a crisis as it is backed out of British society.
But are these just scare-mongering stories or are Christians in the UK really up against growing calls to keep quiet?

Slammed as outdated, offensive and irrelevant to the country today, Christianity is beginning to look like it is losing its place as the faith the nation was based on with the Church of England offering their gloomy predictions for the state of the nation.

In June, a Church of England bishop hit the headlines when he claimed, “Christian Britain is dead” and warned that the Church of England could become extinct in the next thirty years.

The Rt Rev Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle, said unless some of his colleagues get hold of the situation the Church will die out and the impact will be felt as soon as the next generation.

And it seems many Christians would agree. Paul Eddy, a lay member of the Church of England Synod said he is concerned that Christians are facing their own kind of persecution in the UK.
"What we are witnessing on a monthly, if not weekly basis here in the UK is a strategic, highly-politicised marginalisation of Christianity in the public arena. We have examples of Christian students, magistrates, foster parents, registrars and nurses falling foul ofsuch marginalisation."
But according to one Reverend, it’s not just political correctness that is the culprit. Could it be that Christians are afraid of the dreaded “c” word–conversion? 

In February the Rev Nezlin Sterling, general secretary of the New Testament Assembly, made a passionate plea to the Church and Christians to wake up and stop “walking on eggshells."

Many would hate to be lumped in the club of religious nut and would shirk at the idea that they forced people into faith. The current climate has ensured that Christians aren’t quite certain what they can and can’t say and have become apologetic for their belief.
Sterling said that Christianity is in decline in England because politically correct churches are more interested in accommodating everybody else’s views:
“We cannot allow ourselves to be marginalised. This process of marginalisation of Christianity seems to be moving at a rapid rate in our country.
"I am of the belief that we in the church are so anxious to be politically correct that we on occasions forget to reflect on whether our actions are Christ-correct.”

Murmurs of discrimination of Christian communities grew louder earlier this year when more than 100,000 Britons downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) offers people the chance to rid themselves of any ties to the church that were given to them before they were able to make a decision themselves.

Christians around the country have begun to feel the heavy hand of atheist campaigns, political correctness and a Church that needs to step up to the challenge. But there are groups out there that see hope yet. It was these reports of discrimination and overwhelming support for de-baptisms that encouraged Premier Christian Radio to give Christians a voice.

Premier called thousands of Christians to declare their faith by joining the “I Am a Christian" campaign. Up and down the country people were encouraged to sign an online declaration of faith.

If the UK is ever to see God move across the nation it needs campaigns like these to get behind the Christian community.

It’s not a time for Britain to tiptoe around the subject of faith or accept the climate of fear but to stand up and say that Jesus is Lord.

Naomi Thatcher is a freelance journalist from London and a committed Christian.