Study: More than half of UK Christians experience hostility

Posted on: June 13, 2024


A new study carried out by Voice for Justice UK, surveying more than 1,500 Christians, reveals that more than half of respondents experienced hostility and ridicule when sharing their Christian beliefs. These alarming numbers match the observations of OIDAC Europe on growing pressure against Christians. 

The report “The Costs of Keeping the Faith” is the result of qualitative and quantitative research based on questionnaires filled in by 1562 respondents from different Christian denominations and age groups, including multiple choice and open-ended questions.

The research included various aspects of discrimination against Christians. While legal framework concerning freedom of religion was in place, most Christians did not feel free to share their beliefs and were self-censoring. “I have never been disadvantaged but this is because I self-censor at work. I know some of my beliefs are not welcome in my workplace and so while I am working there, I have decided to keep them to myself, otherwise I think I would probably have to resign,” a young woman shared in response to the open-ended survey questions. A housewife also added, “I know of people whose employers have made discussion about faith a sackable offence.”

In fact, only 36% among the younger generation felt free to express their views at work. Furthermore, 56% of respondents experienced hostility and ridicule and 18% had faced discrimination, including at interviews or during potential promotions. 

One man stated, “Any mention of faith in a CV precludes one from an interview. My yearly assessment was lowered because I spoke of Christ.” Two other women added, “I have been ridiculed by colleagues on account of my faith” and “I was bullied at my workplace, made to feel less than, despite being very successful at my job in other settings, until I left.”

The discrimination was not only direct but included indirect forms such as being forced to work on a Sunday. For instance, a retired woman said she had been “turned down for employment because of not wanting to work on Sundays, even though the job was not an essential public service.” Another woman shared that she was even “forced to work Sundays when others in the same position were not.” 

In the health sector, nurses were being suspended for praying with patients despite 40% of patients having asked for it. One respondent shared that he was explicitly “told not to pray for the health of people in my care.” 

In general, at the workplace, conservative social convictions have caused Christians to be discriminated or even lose their jobs, causing further self-censoring, and resulting in a social divide. Besides school and at work, the discrimination continued in all walks of social life. In fact, one interviewee said, “I lost many of my friends after I became a Christian.” Christians did not feel adequately protected. 

Schools were identified as particularly hostile to the Christian faith, even leading parents to encourage their children to keep quiet about their beliefs to avoid bullying and ridicule. A female Christian student said, “Friends think it’s acceptable to make fun of Christianity” while other forms of discrimination are condemned immediately. In fact,  78 per cent of respondents said they believed religious discrimination was not treated as seriously as other forms of discrimination.

Respondents also said the media had a particular role “perpetuating a negative stereotype of Christians” and Christians appeared to be singled out for attack by the media more than any other religious group.

A copy of the report ‘The Costs of Keeping the Faith’ is available at: