Britain should teach all newly-arrived migrants that the UK is a Christian country in their citizenship tests, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
George Carey said that religious literacy was being downgraded and called on political leaders to learn about the country’s Christian heritage in order to help migrants fully integrate in British society.
Writing in the Mail of Sunday, Lord Carey referred to Dame Louise Casey’s recent report into segregation in Britain.
“Quite rightly, she pointed out that the public authorities have been ignoring harmful social practices in some of our Muslim communities, such as the exclusion of women, domestic violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation,” he said.
However, he added there was a “worrying side” to the review, where Dame Louise “equated conservative religious views with intolerance, even extremism.”
“By condemning all those with conservative religious views – and not just an Islamist minority – she is imposing a new form of intolerance,” he wrote.
Britain’s Christian traditions were being forgotten, he said, and replaced with a “watery liberalism” that has “no guiding principle beyond a wish not to cause offence.”
“The glue which tied us together used to be the institutions of our civil society, including the Church of England, and its hospitable establishment which allowed all voices of minorities a place at the table.
“Contrastingly, in countries which insist on secularism, it is often impossible for religious believers to get a hearing. We are succumbing to a creeping culture of religious illiteracy.”
Lord Carey called for the teaching of religious education in schools to be improved, and said newly arrived migrants need to learn about Christianity.
“I believe we should include Christianity in citizenship tests for all those who want to come to this country. There are many questions asked of migrants about the Royal Family and Parliament, but little about the Church of England or Britain’s Christian history.”
In November, Lord Carey’s successor Justin Welby accused the British government of treating practicing Christians as “extremists”, accusing officials of having “no grip on what it is to be religious at all”.
He said they “can’t see really the difference between an extremist Muslim group like the Muslim Brotherhood and a sort of conservative evangelical group in a Church of England church.”