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Christmas is about Christ, says Communities Secretary

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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has urged council chiefs to celebrate Christmas in the traditional way and said that we should not obscure the fact that it is a festival to mark the birth of Christ.

Mr Pickles, who took office on 12 May 2010, said terms such as “Winterval” should not be used as a tag for this festive season and that councils should take pride in Britain’s Christian heritage by celebrating the nativity and its surrounding traditions. He signalled an end to the practice of councils denigrating Christmas, often under the guise of ‘equality’.

“We should actively celebrate the Christian basis of Christmas, and not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christianity and the importance of the birth of Christ,” he said.

“The war on Christmas is over, and likes of Winterval, Winter Lights and Luminous deserve to be in the dustbin of history.”

Mr Pickles said that despite the current economic difficulties, it was not in councils’ interests to “play Scrooge” by cutting down on the Christmas festivities.

"Shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carol services and nativity scenes, and councils should not hesitate in supporting them,” he added.

Mr Pickles also wrote on the ConservativeHome website:

“That’s why few things exasperate me more than when I read of councils letting Christmas be hijacked and renaming it “Winterval” or “Luminous”.  It’s part of an aggressive school of secularism that has marginalised faith groups in this country.”

“Last year, the Archbishop of York warned of intolerance towards Christians in the public sector and that “equality” excluded anyone, black or white, with a Christian belief in God.  PC police have even tried to ban prayers before council meetings and rebrand Christmas for fear of upsetting other religions.  It was an insult to our faith groups and an insult to the country, suggesting we’d all prefer bland conformity to rich diversity,” he added.

In March 2010, Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said Christians were being “bullied” out of public life in Britain while British politicians fail to stand up for their beliefs. Speaking in the House of Lords he accused British politicians of trying to bully Christianity out of public life in the name of political correctness. He said there was a campaign by atheists to ban faith schools despite their pupils gaining excellent results.

In December last year, the Rt Rev Alistair Magowan, Bishop of Ludlow, also said that a growing secular lobby wants to “do away with the manger” and celebrate Christmas without its religious meaning. He said that the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ does not fit with the “sentimentalised and often stereotyped” images now used to mark the festive season.


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