Christians have been hounded out of jobs and their values driven underground thanks to heavy-handed courts, a former Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed.
Lord Carey said Christians are being treated like bigots and face the same sort of persecution homosexuals were once subjected to.
He also insisted the human rights campaign had gone too far and was now politically driven.
In a direct submission to the European Court of Human Rights, Lord Carey warned that worshippers were being ‘vilified’ and ‘driven underground’ by the judiciary and state.
His attack comes ahead of a landmark ruling on religious freedom by the Strasbourg court on September 4.
BA check-in clerk Nadia Eweida and nurse Shirley Chaplin claim they were discriminated against when their employers banned them from wearing crosses to work.
The court will also hear the cases of a Christian registrar who refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies and counsellor Gary MacFarlane, sacked for admitting he would feel uncomfortable giving sex therapy to gay couples.
In a submission to the court, seen by the Daily Telegraph, Lord Carey said expressions of traditional Christian values had been ‘banned’ in Britain as the country became gripped by a ‘secular conformity of belief and conduct’.
‘Christians are excluded from many sectors of employment simply because of their beliefs; beliefs which are not contrary to the public good,’ he said.
‘It is now Christians who are persecuted; often sought out and framed by homosexual activists.
‘Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judaeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance.’
British courts had failed to stand up for Christians in ‘case after case’, Lord Carey said.
And if the rules against wearing crosses and expressing beliefs are not overturned, Christians will face a ‘religious bar’ to jobs.
There was also a drive to ‘remove Judaeo-Christian values from the public square’ as courts have ‘consistently applied equality law to discriminate against Christians’.
People of faith were being treated as ‘bigots’, Lord Carey said, adding: ‘In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by State bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong.
‘It affects the moral and ethical compass of the United Kingdom’.
Keith Porteous-Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: ‘The idea that there is any kind of suppression of religion in Britain is ridiculous.
‘Even in the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to religious freedom is not absolute – it is not a licence to trample on the rights of others. That seems to be what Lord Carey wants to do.’
Last week David Cameron called for a Christian ‘fightback’ in Britain. He cited Lord Carey’s warning that Christians were facing ‘gradual marginalisation’ after Bideford Council in Devon was banned by a court from opening its meetings with prayers.
His pledge to protect Christians was immediately undermined by a document prepared by the Home Office which said Christians should keep their faith private from the workplace.
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