Christians are 'fearful to mention their faith in public'

Christians have become fearful of speaking about their religion in public, an MP has claimed.

MP Fiona Bruce gave her comments during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, and highlighted a report from think tank ResPublica that warned religious freedoms in the UK are being eroded.

In the report published last week, they said teachers, magistrates and other professionals have been disciplined and even sacked for living according to their beliefs.

The Conservative MP, who is a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee, warned Christians have become "fearful" of mentioning their religion in public in case of a potential backlash.

She told the House of Commons: "Comments this week by the Equalities Commissioner, not to be worried about talking about Christmas at work were important because many Christians are now worried - even fearful - about mentioning their faith in public."

The Congleton MP asked the Prime Minister to join her in "welcoming the recent Lawyers' Christian Fellowship publication Speak Up, which confirms in our country today, the legal right of freedom of religion and freedom of speech to speak about ones faith responsibly, respectfully and without fear are as strong today as ever?"

Theresa May, who is the daughter of a vicar, said the matter was an "important issue, which matters to both her and me".

She said Christians must be able to speak freely about their religion without fear.

She told the MPs: "I think the phrase that was used by the Christian fellowship was 'the jealously guarded principle' of that ability to speak freely. I'm happy to welcome the publication of this report and its findings.

"Of course we're now in to the season of advent and we have a very strong tradition in this country of religious tolerance and freedom of speech.

"Our Christian heritage is something we can all be proud of.

"I'm sure we would all want to ensure that people at work do feel able to speak about their faith, and also feel able to speak quite freely about Christmas."

The question and subsequent answer raised a mixed response on social media.