Lord Williams: Britain a 'post-Christian' country
Former Archbishop of Canterbury enters on-going debate
Britain is a “post-Christian” country – that’s the verdict of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, he said Britain is no longer a “nation of believers” and that further “shrinkage” in the influence of the Church is likely in the years ahead.
His remarks come after David Cameron sparked a national debate over the status of religion in British public life. In the run-up to Easter, the prime minister urged Christians to be “more evangelical” and argued that Britain should be “more confident about our status as a Christian country”.
Lord Williams said that while Britain’s “cultural memory” is “quite strongly Christian”, the country is “post-Christian in the sense that habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted”.
He added: “A Christian nation can sound like a nation of committed believers, and we are not that.”
However, a new ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph shows significant support for Cameron’s view. More than half of those surveyed – 56%– regard Britain as a Christian country. The figure rises to 73% among the over 65s. Just 30% said they thought the country was “non-religious”.
Overall, 52% described themselves as either practising or non-practising Christians. Just 5% said they belonged to another faith group, while some 41% they were not religious.