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Britons Urged To Keep Christ In Christmas Amid “Rising Christianophobia”

ICC Note

“It’s time to stop being daft about Christmas. It’s fine to celebrate and it’s fine for Christ to be star of the show,”

Wednesday, 12 December 2007 Britain (BosNewsLife) — Officials and religious leaders are urging Britons not to take Christ out of Christmas despite concerns about “rising Christianophobia” in the United Kingdom , BosNewsLife learned Wednesday, December 12.

In statements, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims joined Britain ‘s equality watchdog in urging Britons to enjoy Christmas without worrying about offending non-Christians.

“It’s time to stop being daft about Christmas. It’s fine to celebrate and it’s fine for Christ to be star of the show,” said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in published remarks.

Suicide bombings by British Islamists in July 2005 which killed 52 people in London have prompted much soul-searching about religion and integration in Britain , a debate that has been echoed across Europe .

Christian Christmas

However, “Let’s stop being silly about a Christian Christmas,” Phillips said, referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain .

The call came after the Evangelical Alliance UK (EAUK), representing over one million evangelical Christians, said it backed a political debate about “rising Christianophobia” in the country.

Conservative Parliamentarian Mark Pritchard said in remarks published by EAUK that “rising Christianophobia” is evident in the reluctance of officials, the media and even Royal Mail to mark Christian festivals and traditions.

While the reason given for “marginalizing Christianity is often to avoid offending people of other faiths,” this is a “bogus cover” for the secularist and politically correct agenda, he was quoted as saying.

Country “Poorer”

In a statement obtained by BosNewsLife, Parliamentarian Alistair Burt, an EAUK council member, said “the Church can survive Christianophobia but that the nation would be much poorer if Britain ’s faith heritage is marginalized.”

However surveys published Wednesday, December 12, show that most Britons not little about their Christian heritage. The public theology think thank Theos found that only 12 percent of adults in Britain have detailed knowledge of the Christmas story.

While 48 percent of those polled were able to identify John the Baptist as Jesus’ cousin, only 22 percent knew that Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s massacre of the innocents. About 73 percent of 1,000 adults asked were reportedly familiar enough with the “classic elements” of the Christmas story such as the appearance of an angel to Mary or the birth of Jesus was born in Bethlehem .

The EAUK’s Burt said it was crucial to improve Christian knowledge as the correlation between happiness and religious faith is very strong. “The church does not need contemporary Britain , but does contemporary Britain need the church? You bet it does,” he added. EAUK Public Policy Director R David Muir said his organization and its members would therefore continue to fight for “Freedom of speech, respect, justice and compassion…” (With BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos and reporting from the United Kingdom ).