Marginalized Christians?

The All Party Parliamentary Group ‘Christians in Parliament’, chaired by Conservative MP Gary Streeter, is currently conducting the ‘Clearing the Ground’ inquiry, which seeks to establish whether changes to the law and recent court decisions have adversely affected Christian freedoms in the UK.

Premier Christian Media Trust (PCMT) is one of the bodies which have been giving evidence to the inquiry. In this connection, PCMT has prepared a report on the ‘Marginalisation of Christianity in British Public Life, 2007-2011’, which draws extensively upon PCMT and other polling evidence. The document does not yet appear to be available on the internet, but its contents are outlined in an article in Christian Today, which is at:

The latest in this series of PCMT polls was commissioned from ComRes and carried out on the online Cpanel on 25-31 October 2011. Questions were put to 544 practising UK Christians aged 18 and over. The detailed results can be found at: 

According to this survey, a majority of churchgoing Christians felt that the marginalization of Christianity in British public life is increasing. 71% claimed that it was in the media, 68% in public, 66% in the Government, and 61% in the workplace. The remainder was fairly evenly divided between those who considered that marginalization is staying the same or is decreasing.

The figure for the Government was 7% up on a similar Cpanel poll in November-December 2010, but the other three spheres recorded a lower proportion of perceived increase than a year ago, not ‘more or less the same’ as stated in a PCMT press release on 14 November 2011. These comparative 2010 data are at:

Female Christians were more likely than men to believe that marginalization of Christianity is increasing. The greatest concern by age tended to be among churchgoers from 35 to 64 years, with the very youngest and the very oldest Christians recording somewhat lower figures.

Denominationally, except for the workplace, Roman Catholics seemed most preoccupied about marginalization, perhaps influenced by Benedict XVI’s observations on the matter during the course of his 2010 papal visit. However, the difference between them and other Christians was still relatively slight, especially when the smallness of the sub-samples is taken into account.

Three-quarters (74%) of respondents contended that there is greater discrimination against Christians in the UK than against people of other faiths, up from 66% in the October-November 2009 Cpanel. This view was particularly held by the over-65s (83%), Independents (85%), and Pentecostals (90%).

16% of practising Christians thought that all faiths endure discrimination equally, 7% that other religions suffer more than Christianity, and 2% that there is little or no discrimination against people of faith in the UK.

Other findings from this latest Cpanel survey, relating to attitudes to the legalization of gay marriage, have already been covered by BRIN at: 

There are numerous sources of public opinion about religious discrimination in general and discrimination against Christians in particular. These can best be traced through keyword searching the BRIN sources and news databases.

Overall, the public seems to show less anxiety about discrimination than the churchgoing Christians in Cpanel, but some polls, especially those sponsored by Christian lobbying groups, have apparently uncovered some concern about Christianophobic behaviour.

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