LONDON – Nearly two thirds of the Church of England's governing body believes Christians face discrimination at work, according to a survey by The Telegraph.
Of the 80 out of 484 Synod members surveyed, 63 percent said they felt Christians were being discriminated in the workplace, while 59 percent said they believed freedom of belief had declined in the last ten years.
The survey comes on the heels of several media reports in recent weeks about Christians who have faced disciplinary action due to their religious beliefs.
Nurse Caroline Petrie was suspended from work and later reinstated after she offered to pray for a patient. Jennie Cain, a school receptionist is facing disciplinary action after she sent an email to members of her church requesting prayer when her five-year-old daughter was told off by a teacher for talking about Jesus with her classmate.
At last week's Synod – the Church of England's national assembly – church leaders reaffirmed their commitment to proclaiming the Gospel in a debate on the uniqueness of Christ in multi-faith Britain. The debate was on a motion put forward by lay member Paul Eddy, which stressed salvation in Christ alone.
He said, "What we are witnessing on a monthly, if not weekly basis here in the UK is a strategic, highly-politicized marginalization of Christianity in the public arena."
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali said Christians should take back their "place in the public square," while Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York also called on believers to "wake up" and defend the faith.
Andrew Dow, a vicar in Cheltenham, said during the assembly that the Church needed to recover its confidence in Jesus as the only savior and lose its fear of "the 'C' word" - conversion.
"We need to recover our nerve. We need to refute the lie that to be evangelistic is to be a religious bigot or fundamentalist fanatic."
Representing the black-majority churches, New Testament Assembly minister the Rev. Nezlin Sterling said the church was being marginalized at a "rapid rate" in multi-faith Britain. She told church leaders that in stark contrast, black and minority ethnic churches were flourishing because they had extensive evangelistic programs.
"Why should we as Christians have to walk on egg shells to preserve community cohesion [and] accommodate everyone else, when the world around us is becoming more aggressive to Christianity and the mere mention of the word Jesus Christ is an offense to so many with whom we are seeking a working relationship?"
Also during the assembly last week, the Church of England's leaders held a debate in which it said the Government should do more to protect the place of Christianity in society.
Joanna Monckton, a lay member of the Lichfield Diocese, said, "Increasing levels of political correctness which has seen Christians become the most discriminated against people in society. We should not be marginalized for fear of offending those of other faiths."