Fraser Nelson

The threat to Christianity

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Is secularism now a greater threat to Christianity than Islam? This is the title of our next Spectator debate, to be held at 29 June, and it grows more topical by the week. In tomorrow's Mail on Sunday, we learn that a Christian electrician could be sacked after displaying a crucifix in his white van. His name is Colin Atkinson, and he works for Wakefield and District Housing Association who ordered him to remove the cross because it may offend non-Christians.

They picked the wrong guy. Mr Atkinson is a former soldier and thinks this is a battle worth fighting for. He tells the newspaper, “The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical. I am determined to stand up for my rights.” There's plenty talk about the impact that radical Islam has on our society, but who are the people banning the cross here? The same people, one suspects, who deem that Christmas should be described as "winterval".  One of the figures in Niall Ferguson's docmentary that jumped out at me is that Britain is (in his words) "already one of the most godless societies in the world, with 56 per cent never attending church at all, the second highest rate in Western Europe." Practising Christians are well in the minority and, increasingly, being advised not to show their faith. Or, in the words of the Housing Association, "display personal representations".

I imagine CoffeeHousers have strong views on this. If you're in London on 29 June, come join us as we hold the debate (book online here). Douglas Murray is speaking against the motion; Damian Thompson is speaking for it. And we'll have some more names soon.