13 September 2010
Evangelicals back Pope's bid to protect religious liberty from secular sabotage
Why should non-Catholics care about the Pope's visit to Britain?
Christians of all denominations should wholeheartedly welcome this week's Papal visit if they want to protect their right to freely practise their faith in the wake of growing hostility from a small number of influential people promoting a secular agenda.
That's the view of the Evangelical Alliance, the largest UK organisation that represents around a million evangelical Christians.
Pope Benedict XVI's arrival comes at a time when the Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by the scandal of child abuse stories together with pressures from wider society for the church to alter their view on certain subjects such as the ordination of women, contraception, abortion and homosexuality.
But the Alliance says there are other critical issues at stake, affecting Britain's future as a whole. The Alliance is urging all Christians to unite in their support of the Pope's planned address on religious freedom. The Pontiff is set to deliver a thinly veiled attack to Westminster on Thursday on what has been described as a growing 'secular agenda' - marking the first Papal visit to Britain in 28 years.
"There have been a number of high-profile cases involving gagging orders on Christians sharing their faith at work, praying for people and practising their faith in obedience to biblical teachings in the work place," says Steve Clifford, General Director of the Alliance.
"Religion is not something we do in church on Sunday. It's a living reality that affects every area of our lives. As such, we applaud companies and organisations that sensibly allow Christians to reasonably follow their beliefs without hindrance or hostility."
Mr Clifford's comments come at a time when new findings based on a Religious Trends survey by Christian Research show that church attendance is increasing, pointing to the fact that Britain is not the secular society that some might perceive it to be.
Findings showed that Catholic Church attendance has been steady for five years, Church of England attendance has evened out for almost a decade, and congregations at Baptist churches have grown considerably.
The Evangelical Alliance hopes that the Pontiff's visit will act as a catalyst for society as a whole to protect freedom of all religious beliefs in Britain and other parts of the world.
"While not all Christians share the Pope's or the Catholic Church's stance on certain issues, we should welcome his visit for the sake of fighting for religious liberty," adds Mr Clifford.
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.