Despite our secularist enemies, we are on the brink of a Christian Spring
Christians are in good hands
Archbishop Carey has grown in stature since he retired from Canterbury in 2002. When he speaks about the persecution of Christians abroad, he does so with passion and authority. When he warns not to dilute Britain’s precious Judaeo-Christian legacy, he is compelling.
But his latest pronouncement is wrong. George Carey claims thatChristianity is one generation away from extinction. This is not so. I can see why he despairs for us Christians: plenty of things have been going wrong. First and foremost, our enemies are organised as never before. Secularists have made a concerted effort to erase Christianity from public life here and across the West. They have silenced prayers before meetings, the ringing of church bells, and even the girl scouts who once pledged to serve God.
But that was only the beginning. As I have written in my ebook, No God Zone, the secularists have successfully enshrined their bias against religion in laws across Europe. The Observatory on Intolerance against Christians in Europe has reported that EU member states have enacted41 laws that discriminate against Christians. The effect of such legislation is huge: some professions, such as doctors, therapists and even pharmacists, are now closed to Christians, who would otherwise have to go against their conscience on issues such as abortion, euthanasia or the morning after pill.
Secularists, as I have written before, seem to want only one thing: for Christians to be driven back into the catacombs. Prayers, and services, will soon have to be practiced away from prejudiced eyes, in the privacy of a home or a private chapel.
George Carey, then, has a point. The forces of atheism are ranged against us and, as he points out, too many Christian clergy cannot stand up to the challenge. They are too ready to dilute their ethos – look atwhat has been happening with faith schools, both Anglican and Catholic.
But before we give up on the faith of our forefathers, let’s consider three new factors. Pope Francis, Justin Welby and the backlash effect. The extraordinary impact of Francis has been felt not only among his immediate audience – Italians, who are now retuning to Mass – but, incredibly, among the intelligentsia that is traditionally so sceptical of Christian values. Jonathan Freedland, who is neither a Christian nor a conservative, went so far as to predict that in college dorms around the globe, students will replace their posters of Che Guevara with ones of Francis. Justin Welby’s impact has been more subtle, but he too has shown Christianity in a new light: inclusive, compassionate, and above all truthful. No wasting time and effort on false gods like money, celebrity, status.
Both men have struck a chord. Christians – and many non-Christians – have grown weary of the relentless pursuit of shallow goals. We have grown weary of being mocked for holding dear our heritage and its immortal values: charity, honesty, humility, and love. “Backlash” sounds too violent for a Christian response, but that is what I believe is taking root. I see it in the effort to block porn on the internet, the generous reaction to the Philippines’ disaster, the distaste for bloated bankers and for OTT, twerking celebrities.
It may be overly optimistic to read a lot into these developments, but I truly think these are the first shoots of a Christian Spring.