A group of public figures said PM David Cameron risked causing “alienation” in society by describing Britain as a “Christian country”.
The prime minister found himself under fire as the number of people prepared to describe themselves as Christian is falling according to data in the census.
Figures for 2011 census show the percentage slipped by 13 to just 59 – when it was 72 a decade earlier.
Britain is a land of many faiths and none – and, according to the House of Commons Library, non-believers are growing by 750,000 a year and will overtake Christians by 2030.
Christina Brill (66) moved to Spalding from South Africa 14 years ago and says: “I hope he (David Cameron) is right. I am a Christian. My faith means everything. I trust in God. He guards me.”
Agnostic Jean Rush, a journalist from Spalding, said: “I think this country is a Christian country. The Queen is head of the Church of England and she’s head of the country. People a few years ago would be ashamed to say they hadn’t got a religion. I am agnostic anyway but I still put C of E.”
Student and Christian Marija Liuzinait (17) moved from Lithuania to Spalding.
She believes David Cameron is right “because the majority of people I know are Christians”.
Sarah Rudd, from Spalding, said: “Personally I don’t believe in anything in particular in that respect. I am not fond of David Cameron anyway. I think he’s got much more important issues he could be dealing with other than that.”
Daniel Burton (28), from Pinchbeck, believes the PM is wrong to describe Britain as a Christian country “because everyone has got their own free right” to follow their own faith.
He said: “I have been baptised but I never go to church. I wouldn’t class myself as a Christian. I don’t believe in it, I don’t really believe in anything.”
Kat Wakefield (20), of Moulton, is on the PM’s side. She said: “There are different faiths here but, culturally, we are Christians. We celebrate Christmas and Easter, which are Christian religions .”
“I was brought up as a Christian – my mum is a Christian – but I just don’t actually believe in it. I feel like there’s something connecting us all together spiritually but I am not entirely sure if it’s God.”