Instead “intolerant” liberalism has swept through the UK leaving some churchgoers feeling victimised and afraid to publicly celebrate Christmas as a religious festival.
The Right Reverend Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, said some secularists “have a problem” with Christianity and warned that Britain has now become a nation where people believe you are only acceptable if you accept liberalism.
He said: “Liberalism can become very intolerant of anything that doesn”t fit its own parameters.”
He spoke out after Prime Minster Theresa May said Christians must have the right to discuss their beliefs and celebrate Christmas without fear.
Mrs May, a vicar”s daughter and regular worshipper, told fellow MPs Britain should be proud of its Christian heritage after the equalities watchdog said too many politically correct employers were victimising Christian staff.
Bishop Baines said: “Clearly there are some Christians who are concerned about whether they are free to talk about their faith in a respectful and appropriate way in the workplace.
“Equally, there are plenty of people who are not Christians who think that Christians shouldn”t, or think there is an issue around it. I call it religious illiteracy.
“There are people who have been disciplined or threatened with discipline for talking about their faith even though they have been asked about it.
“Someone makes a complaint and says they have been inappropriate. This is absurd.”
He added: “There is, amongst some Christians – this isn”t universal – a sense of being a little picked on or beleaguered.
“I think if you claim to be open-minded and liberal, why are you so frightened of religious expression?”
The bishop insisted relations between different religious communities remain UK, but said it was secularists who were growing increasingly intolerant and wanted to strip religion out of Christmas.
He said: “The joke with all of this is that most people of other faiths have absolutely no problem with anyone talking about their faith. It”s the secularists that have a problem.
“It is a Christian festival. Are they going to tell Muslims they have got to strip Islam out of Eid? It”s just ludicrous.”
The bishop”s concerns are exacerbated by a number of recent cases where Christians have been disciplined or sacked at work for expressing their faith.
Shirley Chaplin, a nurse, was switched to a desk job after she refused to take off a crucifix necklace, while registrar Lillian Ladele was disciplined by Islington council for refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.