Christians in Britain are being forced to hide their beliefs and exclude themselves from public life because of efforts by "an aggressive form of securlarism" to "push faith out of the public sphere," the former attorney general has said.
Dominic Grieve, who lost his post in the July reshuffle, said the "sanitisation" would "lead to people of faith excluding themselves from the public space and being excluded".
Mr Grieve, who is a practising Anglican, said Christianity could be a “powerful force for good” but said that Christians should not be “intimidated” or “excluded”.
“I worry that there are attempts to push faith out of the public space. Clearly it happens at a level of local power," he told The Daily Telegraph.
“You can watch institutions or organisations do it or watch it happen at a local government level. In my view it’s very undesirable."
He decried the fact that some public sector workers have been disciplined or sacked for displaying signs of their faith at work.
When Mr Grieve was attorney general, the coalition government legislated to protect councils that conducted an act of Christian worship at their meetings - after a legal challenge to the practice.
Religion appears to be in decline among UK politicians. Two of three major party leaders - Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband - are atheists.
David Cameron has previously said his own faith is "like Magic FM in the Chilterns... it comes and goes".
Though Tony Blair is himself very religious, his spin doctor Alistair Campbell once famously said his administration didn't "do God".
The Travelodge hotel chain has just ended the age-old hotel practice of placing a bible in each room, saying it does not reflect "multi-cultural" Britain.
CHRISTIANITY IN BRITAIN
Mr Grieve said it was "more important than ever" for politicians to express their faith, in light of "appalling" scenes in Iraq where Islamic State (IS) fanatics were using religion to justify their actions.
He added: “I think politicians should express their faith. I have never adhered to the Blair view that we don’t do God, indeed I’m not sure that Blair does.
"I think that people with faith have an entitlement to explain where that places them in approaching problems.
“I think that those of us who are politicians and Christians should be in the business of doing it."
He continued: “It doesn’t mean that we have the monopoly of wisdom, but I do think Christianity has played an enormous role in shaping this country.
“It’s a very powerful force in this country but I think it’s underrated, and partly because in the past it has failed to express itself as clearly as it might."
“Recognising people’s right to manifest their faith and express it is very important.”Suggest a correction