MP brings 'Christianophobia' debate

MP warns extremists could 'hijack' Christianity
MP warns extremists could 'hijack' Christianity

MPs will today debate claims a "politically correct brigade" has pushed Christianity to the margins of society.

Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, Shropshire, has brought a Westminster Hall debate on "Christianophobia".

Mr Pritchard argues that an increasing marginalisation of Christianity in the UK is creating the risk it will be hijacked as an issue for extremist parties.

The BNP, who interpreted Mr Pritchard's statement as a message it stands to gain from Christianophobia, predicted other MPs would not be responsive to the debate.

On its website, the far-right party accused mainstream politicians of "falling over themselves to appeal to the Muslim vote and to pass legislation which is contrary to centuries of Christian tradition."

Mr Pritchard is expected to tell MPs public organisations overestimate the sensitivities of people from different religions and sideline Christianity's influence on British culture.

He told the BBC: "The debate is not about doing God or theocracy. It's about ensuring that the Christian tradition of our nation is recognised.

"If mainstream political parties do not recognise and protect the Christian tradition of this nation then other more extremist parties will.

"If that happens, we are in danger of Christianity being hijacked by these ambitions."

The British Humanist Association (BHA) challenged Mr Pritchard's assertion Christianity is being marginalised, arguing it still holds an "unequally privileged and powerful position" in British society.

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the BHA, said it was "simply wrong" to suggest Christianity does not still hold a very privileged position, pointing to state funding for faith schools and the 26 Church of England bishops in the House of Lords.

Ms Stinson said: "This privilege for religion - and Christianity in particular - which the majority of the population do not support, is what is unacceptable in our community today.

"We should be looking to promote equality and not to regain undue status and privileges for any one religion or belief."

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said the debate was "a waste of precious parliamentary time".


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