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Christian Persecution Review

Geoff Daplyn sent me this email about the report on Christian persecution chaired by the Bishop of Truro.

Some will remember that the UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP set up a review of Christian persecution with the Bishop of Truro as chair. Release International was one of the NGOs involved in submitting evidence.

The interim report was released on Saturday May 4th, in the middle of a UK bank holiday, so had virtually no media take-up whatsoever. The following is an extract from the overview with many examples of what Christians face around the world……and not just Christians!

Despite the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is foundational to the UN Charter which is binding on member states, and that ‘the denial of religious liberty is almost everywhere viewed as morally and legally invalid’, in today’s world religious freedom is far from being an existential reality.

Research consistently indicates that Christians are “the most widely targeted religious community.” The evidence suggests that acts of violence and other intimidation against Christians are becoming more widespread, revealing an increase in the severity of anti-Christian persecution. In parts of the Middle East and Africa, the “vast scale” of the violence and its perpetrators’ declared intent to eradicate the Christian community has led to several Parliamentary declarations in recent years that the faith group has suffered genocides according to the definition adopted by the UN.

Against this backdrop, academics, journalists and religious leaders (both Christian and non-Christian) have stated that, as Cambridge University Press puts it, the global persecution of Christians is “an urgent human rights issue that remains under reported”. An op-ed piece in the Washington Post stated: “Persecution of Christians continues… but it rarely gets much attention in the Western media. Even many churchmen in the West turn a blind eye.” Journalist John L Allen wrote in The Spectator: “[The] global war on Christians remains the greatest story never told of the early 21st century.” While government leaders, such as UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have publicly acknowledged the scale of persecution, concerns have centred on whether their public pronouncements and policies have given insufficient weight to the topic. Baroness Warsi told BBC Radio 4 that politicians should set “legal parameters as to what will and will not be tolerated. There is much more we can do.” Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said western governments have been “strangely and inexplicably reluctant to confront” persecution of Christians in the Middle East. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “not convinced” that Britain’s response to Christian persecution was adequate.

3 thoughts on “Christian Persecution Review

  1. In my opinion, which is probably a little simplistic (I am no expert), the main problem with the west ‘calling out’ Christian persecution is that Christians here and elsewhere particularly countries like the USA are viewed as standing with and being supported by the powerful conservative elite. Therefore they are so far from being persecuted in fact at times we/they are perceived to be persecuting or at least discriminating against other religious groups/refugees/women etc. Because of this the persecuted church is largely ignored by the more liberal press by association, because Christians are not seen as the underdogs when in fact in other parts of the world they are being wiped out or cast out in huge numbers. There is so much hostility and perhaps a sense of betrayal from the left of centre towards Christians that they do not as a rule speak out on behalf of Christian suffering (except perhaps Amnesty International who are pretty good at being fair in that respect) and I did see one very well written article in the Guardian. Evangelical Christianity has lost it’s social justice voice at the moment which is very sad. Also a further example deriving from a different source of neglect are the Palestinian Christians who have no voice as the USA pursues an aggressively pro-Israeli approach. So there is another reason and they just become ‘collateral damage’ in an eschatological based crusade.

  2. Hi Joanna, there is much truth in what you have said. I would love the UK to be pushing for religious freedom per se in countries, especially since many of the culprits are part of the Commonwealth.

    1. Thank you Geoff. Yes I agree would be great if we did do more to protect religious freedom.

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