Sunday, 25 October 2009

Battle to save Christmas

A SENIOR Midland church leader today laid down the gauntlet to the politically correct brigade – by calling on all Christians to wear crosses in the run-up to Christmas.

The Anglican Bishop of Lichfield told followers to flaunt their faith by wearing crosses and fish badges, and not to be intimidated by complaining PC campaigners.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill said Christians should wear the symbols of their faith with pride, and not fall victim to killjoy discrimination.

“Christians should not be intimidated into putting away their neck crosses or lapel badges,” he said.

“The Christian roots to our governance should not be nibbled away without discussion.

“We’re just getting to the season when the papers like to report on local councils who, out of concern for ethnic minorities, have banned Christmas in favour of Winterval, or another silly name.

“This year that kind of story is likely to be more than matched by stories of big firms sacking those people who want to wear a cross, a fish lapel badge or some other sign of the Christian faith.

“It is sheer ignorance of course.

“Ethnic minorities are far more anxious about the rampant secularism and commercialism that erodes all Christian standards than they are about their host country properly celebrating its Christian foundations.

“No-one goes to a Muslim country and expects local councils to silence the mosques out of sensitivity to Christians.

“It wouldn’t be a bad thing if in December we all wore a fish badge or cross necklaces and sent out a loud message that Christians aren’t going to disappear quietly from the marketplace or put away our crib figures in a hurry.”

The bishop’s comments come as a report reveals three out of four employers will not be putting up Christmas decorations in the workplace this year for fear of offending staff.

And a survey shows that just one in 10 Christmas cards sold in Britain contains religious messages or imagery.

The Rt Revd Gledhill’s Winterval remark is a side swipe at Birmingham City Council who, in 1998, announced the Christmas holiday should be renamed Winterval to be ‘more inclusive’.

Such was the level of controversy generated by the barmy decision that red-faced council chiefs dropped the tag a year later.

A number of Christians have recently been ordered to stop wearing crosses for politically correct, or health and safety, reasons.

Nurse Shirley Chaplain says she was told to stop wearing a cross around her neck because it could be dangerous. The 54 year-old is facing the sack at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where she has worked for 31 years.

The Sunday Mercury

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