IT'S CHRISTMAS time and the shops are almost entirely free of Christian imagery in these politically correct times but I do detect a quiet recovery of Christian self-confidence.
Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, launched the 'Not Ashamed' campaign to encourage Christians to stand up for their faith and show that they are no longer prepared to tolerate government-funded suppression of the visible signs of their religion.
Christmas is the right time to take a stand because over recent years we have seen some of the worst excesses of multicultural intolerance in as much as Christmas cards have been stripped of their Christian content, Christmas decorations banned and nativity plays stripped of their Biblical content, supposedly to appease minority groups.
As the past tells us, appeasement never works.
Why are Christians now showing more self-confidence? I believe that the visit of Pope Benedict XVI this year is what gave all Christians greater self-confidence.
That four-day visit was memorable for Protestants and Roman Catholics because the Pope strongly proclaimed Christian values from the heart of the British establishment and thus made us realise that symbols of Christian faith are vital for the spiritual lives of all Christian believers.
The words of the Pope are also appreciated by those Britons who are not religious but who live their lives according to the principles of charity and tolerance that are synonymous with Christianity. Perhaps I should state that, though I am a practising Christian, I am not a Roman Catholic and I am hopeful that the Papal visit will initiate a Christian revival which would benefit all of us.
GORDON REES, West Park, Leeds
Cuts set to bite
IN reply to A Shipman's letter (YEP, December 15) you're right, I'm not a senior citizen, but pensioners are not the only group in society.
Your winter fuel payment, free off-peak bus travel and free prescriptions and eye tests were brought in by the last Labour government.
As this present government presides over 7 billion worth of cuts to the welfare state over the next five years, I suggest you enjoy these facilities, as they cannot be guaranteed in the future.
The cuts we are experiencing now are unprecedented; as the VAT rise to 20 per cent in the New Year, the cuts to the public sector, the frozen pay, benefits and pensions all start to bite as inflation rises and our standard of living falls we will soon see we have nothing to thank this Coalition government for.
Life is going to get a whole lot harder for all sections of the populace apart from the rich and the bankers, as our northern towns are hit by ever increasing cuts to their budgets whilst towns in the Tory-controlled south have theirs increased.
Where is the fairness in that?
As most people prepare for a miserable and uncertain New Year, their plans for an education and a prosperous life for their families in tatters, let's show we are "all in this together" and unite against the cuts.
Carol Judson, Beeston
Save Ark Royal
SOME time ago, I made a donation to the Flying Scotsman appeal by the National Railway Museum.
Would it not be a good idea to start a "Friends of Ark Royal" appeal?
Should such an appeal be started, I would be more than happy to donate 250.
So come, people of Leeds, Ark Royal is your city's ship. Let's all pull together and save it.
At the same time let's save at lease one Harrier to be kept on the flight deck.
The Ministry of Defence should be made aware that the taxpayer owns Ark Royal, not the MoD.
My wife and I have been on board the Belfast. It is a fantastic ship and well worth a visit.
So let's save Ark Royal for the future. Could it not be a target for 2011?
S Gilks, MBE, Wakefield