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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 20:37 GMT
UK 'not a multi-faith society'
Christmas shoppers
People of different faiths do not oppose Christmas. says the bishop.
A bishop has used his Christmas message to insist Britain is still a Christian country and not a multi-faith society.

The Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill said the UK census has established 72% of Britain's population was Christian.

Other religions made up just 5%, Bishop Gledhill said.

He said that if local councils or shopping centres had problems with the word Christmas, it was wrong to blame people of other faiths.

Bishop Gledhill said some reports of shops banning Father Christmas, or of councils rebranding the festival as Winter fest, had proved to be false or misleading.

But he said: "When decisions like this are reported we are told it is to protect people of other faiths."

"This is strange, because you rarely hear people of other faiths complaining about Christmas."


He added: "And the other reason is that Britain is no longer a Christian country. I just don't buy that."

The bishop said he was committed to a multi-cultural Britain and working with leaders of other faiths.

"He said: "I'm not saying it is okay to ignore their feelings, their aspirations and needs. I am saying that Britain is clearly not a multi-faith country, but a Christian one."

"If your local authority or shopping centre is having trouble with the word 'Christmas', don't blame Muslims, Jews, Hindus or Sikhs."

The Diocese of Lichfield covers much of Shropshire, Staffordshire and parts of the West Midlands.

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