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on 21 April 2012
Enjoyed reading this book. A timely review of the current situation which could get worse if Christians do not begin more and more to stand up and be counted. Thoroughly recommend it.
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on 9 October 2015
The Archbishop makes his point.
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on 29 February 2012
"We don't do God" - the phrase made popular by Alister Campbell. I am a fan of Lord Carey and as such, when I heard that he had written this book I immediately sought it out to see what he had to say - I can't say I was disappointed.

A summary of the book is as follows, in order of chapter:

1) A summary of the issue at hand - why Lord Carey decided to write this book. Essentially it was the naive judgment handed down by Lord Justice Laws, in the case of Gary McFarlane.
2) What has Christianity done for us - a reminder that it helped to abolish slavery, made contributions to the labour party (via Christian Socialism), the bible & the common book of prayer helped shape the English language, the educational system, the health service and the 1990 Jubilee debt relief program.
3) Attitudes are changing too fast - true tolerance allows differing opinions. Tolerance should accept other opinions even if they don't agree or like them. If you're sure you're right then you should be patient with others and refrain from legislating the hell out of every issue.
4) The two weapons against modern religion: secularism & multiculturalism - we possess a Christian culture, legal and social system. However, it is clear that few understand the nature of these things anymore. This allows authors, like Dawkins, to construct strawmen religious systems, which they can easily destroy. If we better understood our own beliefs and culture then we'd have been better prepared to respond. So given the residual left over, the question is, what do we do with what's left? It is argued that multiculturalism is used as a tool to make society relative. Rather than unite society, it divides it because it doesn't take anyone seriously - apart from the atheist secularist who is deemed the default position.
5) People who identify themselves as Christian are excluded from society. Such people are excluded from all walks of public life; from politicians downwards. There are no exceptions for point of conscience. How can this be good for a democratic society? Given that Christians give the largest contribution to society and charities, how can this exclusion be a encouraged?
6) Examples of recent case laws are given. These show that society is confused about expressions of faith. The current feeling is that religion should only come out on Sundays, behind closed doors. However, you can't leave your skin colour at the door, and neither can you leave your religion - both are part of who you are. Furthermore, in many cases it is the employer who changes the rules with regards to things the employee has done for decades. A heavy handed approach is then adopted to force them to change their traditions as if the customs (e.g. wearing a cross) have somehow become bad overnight. This cannot be good for any of us, especially in terms of individual freedom of expression, and social tradition/continuity.
7) Excluding people and charities from the table. This can't be a good thing for society to close religious charities given the volume of their contribution. Christians are not after special privileges, as the common rhetoric claims, but instead are after a level playing field with others. However, despite all this, Christians should also acknowledge that this marginalization is far from the persecution experienced by Christians in some other parts of the world. Let's therefore dispense with the rhetoric and keep the argument on equality rather than privilege.
8) The haphazard reform of our constitution is not benefiting anyone. The common rhetoric is that we have Bishops in the House of Lords, and this is a privilege they don't deserve. However, the PM used to have a say in who gets appointed - hence their appointment had a democratic edge (how many knew this?). However, haphazard reforms have led to successive governments becoming growingly uneasy with the nations past. The new slogan, adopted by Labour, is that we'll simply re-invent ourselves (far easier than actually understanding ourselves it would appear). However, all this is happening in an awful, un-thoughtful way, which is leading to the misbalancing of constitutional rights/duties. This constant rhetoric is also causing the public to lose respect for its traditions and institutions, which ultimately leads to uncertainty and social disharmony. Instead we should be proud of things like the role that the CofE has had to play in public life; and how it has given us a grass root to cling onto, a feeling of comfort and of being at home.
9) So what now? People are no longer comfortable with being classed as religious. Instead they are at ease with `spirituality'. However, this has lead to the decline of community. It is argued that religion will ultimately be replaced by rationality, but the growing decline in educational levels etc. show that this argument is a red herring. How then can the Church re-engage with culture? We are called back to servanthood/discipleship - to re-engage with the community and be rational about out beliefs. Christians should accept the challenge as a new call to `take up our cross' in a post secular age. Christians should not seek to withdraw from society but instead attempt to re-engage with it. Religion cannot be relegated to a hobby, but instead must become an expression of faith. The heart of Christianity is not worship, but rather 'mission'. Christians need to re-see the good in the world and engage with society, via: health, education, special schools, charities, theology etc. We are reminded that our acts must be an expression of community and a willingness to help establish the kingdom of God.

Overall, a highly engaging book to read. What made it more interesting was the government's and BBC's recent confessions, published 26-28 February 2012. Given that Lord Carey wrote his book many months before, his book made some rather prophetic statements. The government's recent report does indeed state that Christianity has been marginalized and has not been given a level playing field with others. The BBC has likewise admitted that they do target Christians, because they have the broadest shoulders out of everyone. Apparently a polite letter of complaint from a Christian is better than a letter of complaint and a threat of violence from other groups. That may be the case, but both are still contributing to making a silent majority feel at unease with itself and thus must be held accountable for this.

The crux of the book is thus: Christians are marginalized in the UK, but they are not persecuted. Furthermore, by being silent and inactive with our beliefs we have indirectly contributed to this occurrence. I actually couldn't agree with this more. If Christians are unhappy with the way things are then they should be more vocal about their complaints. We are after all, also citizens of the state and not doormats. The call to re-engage with society is a likewise highly valuable calling.

In terms of the writing style, I found it fluid and easy enough to get on with. The book is written at a popular, rather than academic level. The overall size of the book is billed at 190 + pages in paperback (unknown re kindle), but in any case I read the entire book in less than 4 hours. Still, the book reads like a cold shower to the Christian conscience.

I thoroughly recommend it as a read.
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VINE VOICEon 29 February 2012
Christianity is not persecuted in this country but is being slowly squeezed out of official life. Prohibitions on praying for others while on duty, wearing crosses and so on: these are events that have stimulated the former Archbishop to write.

Lord Carey's readable account of recent rulings which have sought to marginalise Christianity makes a disturbing view of how much of modern day Britain views the role of Christianity. Essentially he is reacting to the populist view that Christianity is for individuals on their own or together but not to be broadcast to others.

I read it in three sittings so is not academic although he is looking at material published by Dawkins and others as well as Law Lords rulings.

The important point he makes is, we can not go back to the days when Christianity was unquestioned, but those who think Christianity is important for the 21st century have to tread a different path to that previously.

The world has changed but there is still a lot of life in Christianity if its adherents wake up and reclaim some of their public expression.

Read it and be challenged if you feel the Christian faith is being marginalised.
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on 31 May 2012
This book, written by a former Archbishop of Canterbury and his son (a journalist), is an excellent analysis of the increasing aggressive secularization of this country. The authors examine a number of high profile cases in which individuals have been subject to prejudicial actions as a result of declaring their adherence to Christianity. The book is well written with a flowing style and should make all of us stop to consider where this attitude is likely to take us as a nation.
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on 17 April 2012
This book makes some interesting points and subjects for discussion. You realise how attitudes towards Christianity have been affected by a general ignorance of the basic tenets of Christianity itself. An intersting book, but not always well written. It may encourage Christians to be more outspoken about their faith.
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on 12 April 2012
A very interesting book which is very readable and says so much about the marginalisation of public faith in this day and age.
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on 27 November 2013
I haven't finish this book as yet, but so far I have found it a very interesting read. a book every Christian should read. it touches on people being sacked for wearing a cross at work. and celebration lights not Christmas lights. so far very good read.
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on 20 March 2013
Gives an excellent review of the sad state of spirituality in 21st Century Britain, and of the intolerence culture growing in the public sector
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on 21 November 2012
As always, quick and efficient service, thanks. George Carey and his son give a very clear explanation of how the Christian faith is being marginalised.
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