Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Top Bradford clergyman supports "Not Ashamed" campaign
Lord Carey
Lord Carey believes Christianity is being "airbrushed" from the UK

A leading clergyman in Bradford says he broadly supports a campaign which claims Christianity is "under attack".

The "Not Ashamed" campaign, led by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, claims Christianity is being "airbrushed" out of national life.

David Lee, Archdeacon of Bradford, said he thought Christians should be able to talk freely about their faith.

He said: "We want a more adult society where we can share our faith, without pressing anything on anyone else."

Lord Carey will launch "Not Ashamed Day" outside the House of Lords.

The day, organised by Christian Concern, is the start of a campaign to urge Christians to "wear their faith with pride".

Campaigners say a mounting number of cases of workers being disciplined over their beliefs show Christianity is losing its role in British society.

Serious point

Archdeacon of Bradford David Lee told BBC Radio Leeds he thought the former Archbishop of Canterbury's campaign made a serious point.

He said: "What worries me is when people do not feel that they can say what is true for them and they can't say to somebody else, 'Would you consider..?'

"Christians say Jesus has made a difference in their lives and they would like to be able to talk about it.

"I think that's what we should do. What I do not think is a good idea is to say we cannot do this."

Lord Carey is to launch a leaflet warning that Britain's Christian culture is "under attack".

In the leaflet, Lord Carey says: "In spite of having contributed so much to our civilisation and providing its foundation, the Christian faith is in danger of being stealthily and subtly brushed aside."

My friends - Muslims, Hindus and Jews - says to me that it is great to have faith and to celebrate it.
David Lee, Archdeacon of Bradford

Lord Carey cites cards bearing "season's greetings" messages, school nativity plays being "watered down" and local councils switching on "winter lights" in place of Christmas decorations.

Bradford Archdeacon David Lee said the former Archbishop was right to say some people were forgetting what he saw as Britain's Christian roots.

Celebrate faith

He said: "For some, they do not notice it. And there are one or two who want to make a point and say, 'We do not want anything religious in the public sphere'.

"But my friends - Muslims, Hindus and Jews - says to me that it is great to have faith and to celebrate it."

The Archdeacon said he believed that Bradford was actually a good example of how faith - of whatever sort - was still at the centre of many people's lives despite the perceived secularisation of society.

He said: "In Bradford we have celebrated Diwali, then Eid, then Christmas.

"If you drive through Bradford now, you will see the lights actually name them. We do not have some daft idea like 'Winterval' which nobody wants apart from a few secularists.

"When I have debated with them, I find they are really keen to get anything religious out of the way."

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, told BBC Radio Leeds that he believed any drift away from the church was "a demographic move".

He said: "People are moving away from it, there's no doubt about it.

"You can see that from the vast fall in church attendance over the last 20-30 years. Hardly anybody goes to church these days.

"That seems to suggest they are moving away from religion of their own volition and that's not something I can affect or, in fact, that the churches can affect."

"They're not interested in religion so why should they be made to feel guilty about that?"


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific