The majority of leaders in the Church of England immediately distanced themselves from Lord George Carey’s comments that Prime Minister David Cameron’s government was marginalizing Christians. Referring to the government as “aggressively secular,” Carey attacked Cameron’s support for marriage equality last week.
The Church distinguished Carey’s comments as “mostly personal” and not an accurate representation of the church’s views.
”I think it’s a very peculiar Easter message,” said St. Paul’s Cathedral former Canon Chancellor Giles Fraser. “I think Lord Carey is obsessed by gay sex and really ought to get over it. I also think that saying that Christians in Britain are persecuted is an insult to those Christians around the world who really are.”
British Humanist Association’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson added his opinion on Carey’s remarks.
“Lord Carey’s hyperbolic interventions on this issue are becoming as ludicrous as they are predictable,” said Copson. “His increasingly desperate attempt to work up a victim narrative where Christians are marginalized and persecuted has no basis in reality.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stated during a Premier Christian Radio interview on Easter Sunday that the Church of England needs to be “graceful” in the marriage equality argument amongst religious leaders.
“It doesn’t mean we all agree, it is that we find ways of disagreeing, perhaps very passionately but loving each other deeply at the same time, gracefully and deeply committed to each other,” said Welby.
“That is the challenge for the Church and that is the challenge if the Church is actually going to speak to our society which is increasingly divided in many different ways, here and overseas, over huge issues.”
In his original response, Carey wrote that many Christians felt persecuted over the issue as they are left with anxieties as the Prime Minister pushed for marriage equality. He also added that the Prime Minister came off as insincere when pledging support amongst leaders of the Church.
“It was a bit rich to hear that the Prime Minister has told religious leaders that they should ‘stand up and oppose aggressive secularization’ when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way,” Carey wrote in an article published by the Daily Mail.
A few members of the Church expressed their opinion on social media.
“The only way government has ‘discriminated’ against Christ is by targeting the poor and vulnerable that Jesus calls us to protect,” Evangelical Minister Steve Chalke tweeted, as he supports marriage equality.
A few leaders seem to support Carey’s views, but not in his presentation.
“I think what he actually said has been exaggerated, but at the core of the piece was a serious point,” Bishop of Willesden Pete Broadbent said. “There is a crisis for us in terms of the way politicians and government undermine what we’re about as a church.”
According to the YouGov Easter Sunday poll, 69 percent of English citizens believe that the Church is obsolete with society while half disagree with their stance on marriage equality.
“I do actually think Lord Carey has a persecution complex,” said National Secular Society’s Spokesperson Keith Porteous. “The idea is ridiculous when David Cameron is attacking secularists for trying to stop prayers before council meetings. The non-religious appears to be the only members of the country that it’s seen to be reasonable to discriminate against.”
In the same Easter Sunday poll, 54 percent believe the Church perform insufficiently in providing moral leadership while 78 percent believe the Church should include membership to female bishops.
Regardless, Cameron commended the “incredible role” of the Christian churches in Britain as well as internationally.
“As long as I am prime minister, they will have the support of this government,” said Cameron in his original statement.