The former Bishop for Birmingham has criticised the city's Winterval for sparking the "systematic erosion" of Christianity in public life.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, now one of the most senior figures in the Church of England, said there had been many instances since Birmingham's decision eight years ago to rebrand Christmas which were part of a subtle and "drip drip" erosion of Christian heritage.
He spoke out about the official government Christmas cards which merely wish "Season’s Greetings", Santa on stamps instead of Christ, and what he called "Wintervalitis", where local authorities shy away from celebrating Christmas in case it offended people of other faiths.
He also criticised the decision by Plymouth Council to end free parking on Sundays in case it offended people who worship on other days, and complained about the advent of "first name" rather than "Christian name" on official documents.
He blamed "illiberal atheists" who aim to avoid causing offence, by removing faith from public life, but "end up offending everyone".
The Archbishop cited the decision eight years ago by Birmingham City Council to rename Christmas "Winterval" which was made to avoid offending others.
He said the then Bishop of Birmingham Mark Santer led a campaign, backed by other faiths, to make the council switch back.
The Archbishop added: "But in the eight years since Winterval there have been many other instances and decisions where Christianity is being systematically eroded from public view – more often than not in the fear of offending those who would not be offended in the least or because of the mistaken belief that Christianity has no role to play in the public arena."
Birmingham City Council's Winterval decision in 1998 led to more than 3,000 Christians signing a petition, claiming it was 'political correctness gone mad'.
The then Labour-controlled council argued Winterval was "an overall branding, bringing together many of the events over the winter period".
Dr Sentamu, speaking to church lay readers at a dinner on Saturday night in Newcastle, added: "This systematic erosion is subtle, with minor changes which drip by drip erode centuries of Christian heritage and identity.
"Examples can be seen all over officialdom: the change in official Government cards from "Happy Christmas" to "Season’s Greetings", the change to the asking for a "first name" instead of a "Christian name", the slow chipping away at the foundational heritage that gave birth to those values we all share."
He also mentioned Torbay Council’s removal of a cross from its crematorium and Plymouth’s Sunday parking charges.
Birmingham's Len Gregory, deputy leader of the controlling Conservative group, said: "I couldn't comment on the actions of the previous administration but we are completely behind Christmas and all the other religious festivals."