YWAM England
Freedom of Religion

Government immigration clampdown targets Christian organisations

 

If you ask any Church of England vicar what the least favourite aspect of their job is, there’s a good chance that it won’t be dealing with random people turning up at their door asking for money, or being seen to be on-call for members of their church and parish 24/7. It won’t even be the annual game of paying the diocesan quota. Instead, it will be completing their tax return. Being a CofE vicar means that you are self-employed under employment law, but employed under tax rules. Your house is owned by someone else and is often just as much your workplace as your home. With fees to collect for weddings and funerals alongside travel and various other costs, if you’re not recording everything as you go along, it can get horribly complicated at the end of the year when it’s time to fill in the form.

The thing is that working for God doesn’t fit into neat little boxes like most other jobs, and when it comes to dealing with the Inland Revenue and other government departments it’s not always easy to get them to understand just how you work and what you’re trying to achieve.

Right now, Youth With A Mission (YWAM) is having a rather big and immediate issue along these lines with the UK Visas & Immigration office (UKVI).

Since 1960, YWAM’s stated purpose is ‘To know God and to make Him known’. They do this through sending out missionaries to countries around the world. Some will focus on evangelism and others on working to help meet the practical and physical needs of the global community through its many relief and development initiatives. CBBC currently has an uplifting episode of My Life on iPlayer featuring Iona, who lives with her family on one of YWAM’s Mercy Ships which acts as a floating hospital travelling around Africa.

YWAM has over 18,000 full-time volunteers in more than 180 countries. Here in the UK it has around 700 people in its workforce, with over half of that number on a sponsored visa. And this is where the problem lies.

In September, following procedures introduced by the UK Government to reduce immigration numbers, YWAM England and Wales were inspected by the UK Visas & Immigration office to review their status as a visa sponsor. The inspection concluded they were compliant in five of the seven areas audited, and found some clerical issues in the remaining two.

Consequently the UKVI office warned that YWAM faced the possibility of being downgraded, with their licence revoked entirely.

Despite being told there would be a decision within four weeks, it was only on the 23rd of December that YWAM was notified that their licence had been suspended for 20 working days. They now have until 20th January to make a response to what have largely turned out to be fresh issues not raised in the initial inspection. If unsuccessful, the UKVI will indeed revoke their licence. If this course of action proceeds, over 350 self-funded YWAM volunteers and their families will have 60 days to leave the UK, which will inevitably cause large parts of the organisation to shut down.

YWAM are not some clueless bunch of amateurs. According to Mark Vening, a missionary at YWAM’s Wrexham office, they have operated for 44 years “hand in glove” with the UK Government. Six years ago, YWAM and other Christian groups worked with government on a special provision which allowed religious nonprofits to issue two-year visas, rather than the standard one-year nonprofit visa. “It was a complete surprise to us because we have always followed the advice given to us by the UKVI. We are hopeful we can convince them to reinstate our licence,” he said.

Immigration is a thorny and complex issue that, as we all know, is dominating the headlines. It is important that those who abuse the system are caught and dealt with accordingly, but this is not abuse. Worryingly, it would appear that in the Government’s desire to drive down immigration, Christian organisations are proving to be a soft target. In 2014, the UKVI revoked the licences of Wycliffe Bible Translators and Nations Trust, which trains Christian missionary candidates. These are organisations that are transparent and willing to comply with the law but have faced draconian punishments because their activities don’t fit precise and set definitions.

Whether there is any deliberate intention or not, the effect of the UKVI’s actions is to significantly hinder the missionary work of these Christian organisations. Levels of tolerance towards those who promote their own faith and evangelise may be ever diminishing in our society, but to be expected to share your beliefs is a key component of the missionary faiths. When this is suppressed, religious freedom is diminshed.

Andrew Atkinson, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Wrexham, has voiced his support for YWAM, writing:

I welcome the Government shining a light in every corner on this subject and holding all kinds of businesses and organisations to account in a way that hasn’t happened before which led to abuse of the system, in this case however I fear we may go too far. The YWAM missionaries provide an invaluable service to Wrexham. Before they arrive they face rigorous checks, they must be able to pay their own way, they are not here to claim benefits and they work; for free. They volunteer as Street Pastors, they staff food banks, they work with youth groups and the elderly. They are the Big Society in action. They are one of the very good sides of immigration and I would urge you all to help them.

If our immigration system sees no value in those who choose to come to our country entirely at their own expense, with a great deal to offer for the benefit of others, then it is a broken system. If it is unable to differentiate between religious motivations that aim to cause tension and harm and those that look to give and bless, penalising them equally, then it is all the more disastrous.

YWAM have asked their supporters to raise the situation with their MPs. It is not too late, but time is rapidly running out.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Maybe, if the UK were to leave the EU, and take back control of our own im/migration, any government wouldn’t have to stoop to such low (anti-Christian) behaviour in order to try to meet otherwise unattainable targets.

    • sarky

      Its not anti christian. The law doesnt differentiate.

      • Athanasius

        You’re going to have to get past the idea that the state can be used to batter the thing you don’t like. When that happens, there are consequences and they’ll fall on your head as well as ours.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Indeed he is. And yes, using a sledgehammer of a law to undermine Christian law-abiding organisations is anti-Christian, especially when there is no such attempt to do the same with regard to non-Christian organisations.

          • SeekTruthFromFacts

            Many, many secular schools have their licences withdrawn for failing to keep their paperwork in order. And do you remember Baroness Scotland, who was fined £5,000 because she employed a cleaner without the right paperwork?

            Other people do face similar problems.

          • sarky

            Wheres your proof?

        • sarky

          Sorry but I don’t understand? Are you trying to say that the state is battering christianity? If you are then I suggest that as christians in the uk you have a pretty easy ride.

    • Albert

      I can’t see any UK government soon being less anti-Christian than the EU.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I’m not sure how often one needs to repeat the words of Mr Farage – he fully supports the need to stand by the Judeo-Christian principles on which our laws and country were built, and has publicly said so. Vote for UKIP, which is how you’ll get that government, and you will find that you have a government that is not anti-Christian.

        • SeekTruthFromFacts

          UKIP policy is to have absolute quotas for immigration, isn’t it? So YWAM would still be affected, but by a different route.

        • Albert

          Except that it doesn’t follow that if I vote UKIP I get a UKIP government.

          • Dominic Stockford

            If people are tired of the same old, same old, then they must vote differently. And that only leaves UKIP – the Greens are so socialist that they make Labour look positively right-wing. If you (plural) want your life nationalised vote for them, if you want your life back vote UKIP.

            In my constituency Cable repeats the same lie every election. namely, “Only the LibDems can defeat the Conservatives in Twickenham”. The Cons do it back. But it is a lie, for if people vote for someone other than those two then someone else MUST win. You (plural) get what we vote for, if we don’t vote for it we’ll get something else.

          • Albert

            Nothing I have said disagrees with you, except that it is false to assume that if I vote UKIP we will get UKIP (though I’m sure you didn’t mean that in the strict sense). My original comment simply said: I can’t see any UK government soon being less anti-Christian than the EU. As far as I can see your comments rather support that.

  • William Lewis

    Much as Christian based schools are being downgraded on the basis that they do not meet vague, new, ill thought out, measures supposedly designed to combat the Islamification of our schools, so we see here the collateral damage of trying to tackle the effects of the uncontrolled immigration, that is a requisite of our EU membership, without actually dealing with the cause at all.

    Liberal secularism cannot deal with these issues because it does not differentiate between religions or cultures.

  • Anton

    When rating organisations that bring non-UK citizens here, does the government (as I’d hope) take into account what fraction of entrants abscond? I’d expect YWAM to fare well by those stats, but I’d like to know.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Yes it does. Universities and other educational institutions can face sanctions, including a ban on recruiting overseas students, if it turns out that a significant number of those students had little intention of studying and merely wanted to be allowed to come into this country.

      • Anton

        Thank you Roy. Anybody know YWAM’s stats?

    • sarky

      Thats irrelevant. Non uk citizens have to meet the terms of their visa, thats all.

  • magnolia

    .I think sometimes it is not the policy of the big institution that is at fault, but an individual, who, for whatever reason, is inimical to the Church, who manages to so interpret the policy, with rigidity or twisting, so that the church and its organisations are threatened, robbed or deskilled.

    I have seen this before. I feel sure that this shining of the light will help, plus prayer!

  • sarky

    I’m sorry but rules are rules and if organization’s are not complying they should be dealt with whoever they are. Would we be having the same conversation of the local mosque was caught out bringing in immans?

    • The Explorer

      It’s a bit like the comments on the previous thread: Christ is mocked in Britain, but Mohammed isn’t. Either mock both, or neither. Would the local mosque BE caught out, or quietly ignored? If the mosques are now being vetted, that’s terrific news. (I know one mosque was closed down in Madrid, and another in Germany, because they were talent scouting for ISIS.)

      • sarky

        None of this is an anti christian conspiracy. You cant bang on about a clampdown on immigration then start bleeting when the clampdown affects something you think it shouldn’t. If the system is fair it should affect everyone equally, even if you dont like the result.

        • Anton

          Sarky, I agree that rules are rules and I don’t believe that Christian organisations should be exceptions just because they are Christian. However, the law is hardly ever black and white in practice – listen to any court case – and interpretation is often necessary. Moreover there is such a thing as selective enforcement of the law. (When did you hear of a Muslim street preacher being arrested for homophobic speech?) The claim is that Christian organisations are being discriminated against in these ways. Personally I would like to know whether the government takes into account what fraction of YWAM entrants abscond compared to other importers.

        • Pubcrawler

          So it should. But, as reported here, there does seem, prima facie, to be an element of arbitrariness in the follow-up to the inspection.

        • The Explorer

          You’re attacking what I didn’t say. I asked if mosques ARE being vetted. If Christ is to be mocked in Britain, then why not Mohammed? Is the system fair, and is it affecting Muslims along with everybody else?

          • sarky

            Yes.

          • Albert

            Interesting. I did a bit of research yesterday into Charlie Hebdo, and found the following from 2012:

            “We have the impression that it’s officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far-right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists,” Charlie Hebdoeditor Stephane Charbonnier, who drew the front-page cartoon, said.

        • Shadrach Fire

          It seems that the discrepancies in record keeping are very minor and that the organisations were more than willing to rectify the situation. They should have been given more time and not been penalized in such a way.

    • Athanasius

      I’m sorry, but if you believe that rules always applied with impartiality by dispassionate officials with no ideological axe to grind, then may recommend you read “Slavery by Another Name” by Douglas A Blackmon?

      • sarky

        I am one of those dispassionate officials and believe me the only way we can act is impartially.

        • Royinsouthwest

          That is simply not true unless you think that “only obeying orders” is the same as “acting impartially.” Read about the Fijian soldier who the pen pushers in the Home Office wanted to deport on a technicality.

          Afghan veteran faces deportation
          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10450287/Afghan-veteran-faces-deportation.html

          A Fijian soldier who twice fought for Britain in Afghanistan faces deportation after missing paperwork deadline – he says, because the Army did not pass the correct files on to him.

          When he went to see Home Office officials to get the situation resolved he was arrested and taken to an immigration centre where he was held for 4 weeks. He was due to be deported but fortunately at the last moment someone using their common sense stepped in and resolved the problem.

          That soldier had served this country for 9 years and done two tours of duty in Afghanistan. If he had been someone who hated this country and had never done anything for our perverse Home Office officials have been so quick to try and deport him?

          • sarky

            So what your saying is that this person should have been treated in a more favourable way. How is that impartial?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Of course he should have been treated in a more favourable way! He had placed his life on the line in the service of this country. Furthermore the problem with his immigration status was not his fault. If you read the article you would have learnt that it was caused by the army’s slowness in giving him the necessary paper work.

            Your question epitomises the very worst aspects of pen-pushing in the civil service. If the immigration officials spent their time rounding up the people who deliberately enter this country illegally and deporting criminals then they would not have the time to try and deport people who have risked their lives in the service of this country.

          • sarky

            They would love to. Unfortunately the EU has comprehensively tied their hands behind their back. That along with the con/lib job cuts.

        • Nick

          Hi sarky, call it being nosy, but what kind of official are you exactly? I need to know because I have a duty as a journalist to listen to Christians and also watch the watchers.

          • sarky

            Yeah you are nosy 🙂

          • Nick

            Hmmm. But as an undisclosed type of official would you describe your contributions here as extra-curricula activity? It would be ethical to disclose btw.

          • sarky

            I can categorically state that I am in no way here in any form of professional capacity.
            my contributions are purely personal.
            Crikey you christians are paranoid.

          • Nick

            When you have a worldview in which demons masquerade as angels it does promote a level of distrust in certain agendas.

          • sarky

            Ahh bless, you calling me an angel?

          • Nick

            I see the good in you but that’s because I’m a friendly guy.

    • Gogogarden

      Sarky, shall I deal dispassionately and rigidly with your erring on rules of grammar? Rules are rules, you know.

      • Pubcrawler

        Yes, I did smile wryly at that unfortunate solecism.

      • sarky

        Really?

        • Royinsouthwest

          organization’s

          • sarky

            Sorry, predictive text!!!!

  • Albert

    When I pass through airport security etc. I typically get stopped. I’m white, I’m middle-class, I am (ahem) not as young as I used to be. I don’t expect I fall into any kind of template of a terrorist. I sometimes wonder if I get stopped so that the people who do these checks are able to show they aren’t racist. Perhaps that’s what’s happening with this missionary group.

    • Anton

      Is it that cross you’re wearing?

      • DanJ0

        It’s probably the metal cilice lighting up the scanner.

  • Guest

    Thanks Ukip Mail and Express. Your poison puts the
    government under pressure to reduce immigration, Government pledges to reduce
    immigration by a third. Bureaucrats are under pressure to meet targets, and
    petty bureaucrats can always find excuses in complex regulations, especially
    groups that don’t fit neatly into usual immigration categories.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/january/350-ywam-missionaries-fear-forced-exit-from-united-kingdom.html.

    • The Explorer

      If it’s poisonous to reduce immigration, are you arguing for increased immigration?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Britain’s immigration policy be based mainly on the interests of the British population, with due allowance for made for genuine refugees who have not travelled through lots of other safe countries in order to get here.

  • Linus

    Great news! Fewer vicious foreign homophobes will now attend religious propaganda classes in the UK and then go home bearing the stamp of Imperial approval on their foreheads that gives them the resources and gravitas they need to convert others to their wicked creed.

    Well done UK government! It’s about time you realized that training up your former subjects in the ways of hatred, oppression and exclusion does nothing but tarnish your image abroad.

    If you want grist for your propaganda mill, why can’t you find it at home? Or maybe indigenous proselytizers are better at convincing their own people. I suppose that must be it: send a fat white vicar to Africa and I expect the converts don’t come flocking in. But one of their own trained in English methods of brainwashing with a prestigious ex-colonial power backing him does the trick quite nicely.

    Ah well, it was a crafty solution while it lasted. But how are you going to “win souls for the Lord” now?

    • The Explorer

      I’m not sure your second paragraph accurately re[resents the priorities of the UK government. I thought Call me Dave wanted to export SSM to the former colonies, and to make foreign aid conditional on the implementation by its recipients of suitable anti-homophobic policies.

      • Linus

        You’re right, I should have made it clear that it’s no longer the British government that exports hatred, oppression and exclusion. It does however permit the Church, which is arguably an arm of the state, so to do. All those Anglican missionaries out there indoctrinating the poor and gullible into hating gays because “the Bible says it’s a sin” are, in a very real way, working on behalf of the British government. Perhaps someone should point that out to David Cameron. If it hastens the disestablishment of the Church, so much the better.

        • dannybhoy

          Sit down
          Have a cup of that awful French tea,
          and a choc au pain or two,
          and as Kate Winslet might say.
          “Gather Linus, Gather!”

          • Danny, please do not encourage Linus’ effeminate traits as Happy Jack is endeavouring to help him overcome these.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s being effeminate?!
            No wonder my wife looks at me funny sometimes….. 😉

    • magnolia

      I can see why you would find Jesus advising people to “love their enemies” and “do good to those who despitefully use you” highly offensive as it doesn’t fit with your modus vivendi at all.

      At the very least stop and think what you are doing to your blood pressure and general health by the level of ranting involved! Do you check for inconsistency before you start? Might I ask how your last paragraph of vilification eludes the tag of “hatred” which you in your second paragraph dislike so much?

      Who is exactly beating you to death? What church or Christian has ever threatened or enacted violence towards you? Let us be accurate and if anyone has broken the law report them. Otherwise be less melodramatic.

      • Linus

        Tell it to my friends who were beaten and hospitalized by a band of Manif Pour Tous Catholic thugs on New Years Eve because they were walking down the street holding hands.

        I wonder if you’d call the facial injuries and scarring they’ll bear for the rest of their days “melodramatic”.

        You probably would. Knowing the average Christian refusal to acknowledge facts and events that don’t fit in with their world view, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear my friends’ injuries dismissed as “melodramatic” or “exaggerated” or even “fabricated”.

        Religion is a plague. We live with its consequences every day, whether it be vicious Catholics determined to play God and punish evil gays, or vicious Muslims killing journalists and police officers and then holding members of the public hostage.

        Churches, mosques and synagogues should bear public health warnings: “La religion porte gravement atteinte à la santé mentale.” All the proof we need of that is taking place here in Paris at this very moment.

        • magnolia

          People are beaten up for being gay. Yes. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. People are also beaten up, in greater numbers, actually, for being female (and being vile to women is actually far more socially acceptable than being vile to gay people), for being successful, for having the wrong face, for not wanting sexual attention,(gay or straight), for being black, white, brown or yellow, for being any religion or none. They are beaten up by people of all shapes, sorts and descriptions.

          Except they are not beaten up by those who passionately disagree with violence of any sort, or by moderate gentle people, as most Christians are.

          A friend of mine was recently beaten up, a man who interposed when a skinhead was roughing up a woman. Should I rant about skinheads although one almost killed my friend? No, because it would be disproportionate, and potentially rabble rouse against innocent people.

          • Linus

            The Church encourages violence against gay people by continuing to tell the world that we’re evil and twisted just for being who we are. It then holds its hands up and cries “not our fault” when the thugs it preaches to decide to play God and punish us.

            Not the Church’s fault? TOTALLY its fault. If it didn’t perpetuate lies and judgments about gay people, the thugs would have no reason to target us.

            Homophobia was patented by the Church and continues to be proclaimed by the Church. If you are a member of a Christian Church then YOU are directly responsible for what happens to us. No amount of hand wringing and saying “gays are sick and evil but please don’t beat them, they can’t help it…” can let you off the hook.

          • Anton

            Which lies Linus; and aren’t you yourself prejudging by calling them lies?

          • The Explorer

            Are you seriously maintaining that thugs pay any attention to what the Church says? Any influences they have are far more likely to be Darwinian.

          • magnolia

            I still don’t actually see what is so special about rejecting women. Maybe it is because I am one! Misogyny seems pretty rife amongst the gay community from my observations. Maybe you speak out against it? I don’t know. Let’s hope so.

            Actually the church’s task is to pass on the teaching, and understanding of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s prime focus is not homosexuality, which is just one amongst many many things. We believe in love for all people. Amongst that is an awareness that dissing the natural order or the opposite sex is not sufficiently loving, nor is a use and dispose attitude to other human beings right, as it fails to treat them seriously.

            Anyone who distorts this message of love to want to torture other human beings is off track therefore. I don’t think I have ever used any of the sentences you use, and as I espouse complete non-violence, other than smacking kids who would otherwise charge out in the traffic and get run over, or such things, I cannot see how you wish to blame me.

            Do you espouse complete non-violence? When people do it makes debating a whole load easier, and life a lot friendlier! Your attitudes feel a bit harsh and violent as if you do not socialise with enough women but just in all male society. Mixed society really is the most balanced and civilised I think.

          • The Explorer

            Magnolia, did you contribute to the old blog with a different name? I hope so, because I felt the absence here of her informed and thoughtful comments.

          • Athanasius

            No such thing as homophobia. It’s a made-up word. Stop being such a big girl’s blouse.

          • Inspector General

            “… the thugs would have no reason to target us….”
            Some of the most vicious individuals who want to really cause you harm are or were out and out atheists. You see, what you fellows do has the same effect on some of us as being to be told to hold dogshit dear.

          • Little Black Censored

            People like Linus going on and on about their obsessions is the main reason why reading comments becomes too tedious to bother with. This is as far as I have got. Goodbye.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t go, little whatever. Think of Linus as part of the rich tapestry of life. The faecal area…

          • Linus, the correct terminology is that you suffer from an intrinsic moral disorder. You’re sexually attracted to people of your same sex. No one hates you. You can’t help this disorder but, with effort, you can master it. No good being angry with God and the world. With assistance, you should be able to address this deep-seated hostility you have. Plus, it is possible to help you control this inclination.

            Then there’s image, Linus, image. Something you invest far too much in. You affect an effeminate manner – melodrama, hypersensitivity, ‘feelings’ and a certain obsessiveness over clothing. No doubt there’s demonstrative hand movements, a lot of neck rolling, a kind of a twist in your walk too. Speech, dress and body movements are all giveaways, Linus. The graceful, precisely dressed man whose words are spoken with a slightly different emphasis and tone all conveying the effete man. The more you play the part the more you lose your maleness.

            It will of have all started in your childhood (for reasons we’ve covered before) and you just grew into the role.

          • Linus

            Oh the fantasies and alternate realities of religious fanatics! They never cease to amuse.

            Only … we have proof here in Paris of where it can all lead. Multiple deaths and injuries, all for the sake of an imaginary god and imaginary offences committed against him.

            You keep on dreaming about how your god will punish me for failing to obey you, “Happy” Jack. Just keep away from Kalashnikovs, won’t you? When the religiously deranged get hold of fire power, it never works out well for people like me.

          • Inspector General

            Linus, up till now you’ve posted some very readable stuff. Why are you now curled up in a ball in a corner of the room, weeping…

          • dannybhoy

            I nearly got beat up for trying to defend a lady from her man who was being a bit rough with her. She turned on me!

          • Athanasius

            That’s why coppers hate “domestics”.

          • dannybhoy

            Ha Ha!
            I was brought up in a household where visits from the boys in blue to “domestics” were quite common..

        • dannybhoy

          Linus.
          I would defend to the last croissant your right to come on here and attack “les imbeciles”, but please try to keep things in proportion. Christians are not going to attack you or your friends. Most faiths are not aggressive towards gays. You are not living in France to escape Anglican persecution, or gangs of Quakers.
          You’re really a nice bloke with a lot of anger, prone to hysterical outbursts and generalisations, and we’re all quite fond of you….. 🙂

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Humph! I’m not…he was very rude to me.

          • dannybhoy

            The offer of one of your buns instead of his croissants had no effect I take it?
            I don’t know how* he was able to resist the offer, sweet lady..

            * Well, yes I do actually, but my gentlemanly instincts forbid me from disclosure…. 🙂

          • Inspector General

            You need to realise that the most vociferous homosexuals on liners are invariable angry unhappy atheist asocials. Welcome to the sad world Linus inhabits…

        • Inspector General

          Nay! HIV is a plague. Natural selection at work. Been tested lately….

    • dannybhoy

      Well, glad to see you’re alright Linus.

    • Obsessed with image again, Linus, Jack notes. It’s all about appearance and branded clothing in your world. Of course, its really self-hate projected outwards.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan,
    It’s all about targets. Government organisations are expected to report on their activities and at present, are probably expected to show greater diligence. The Visa operators are being penalized in order to show greater diligence on the government agencies part, nothing to do with the efforts or failures of the organisations.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Despite what Sarky has said below it would not surprise me in the least if this clampdown was deliberate. In the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal involving some Moslem schools certain Ofsted inspectors could not wait to use the excuse of tackling extremism to cause problems for Christian schools, despite the fact that the ethos of those schools was far more in line with that of our parents and grandparents – the people who fought against Hitler – than that of the anti-British PC educational establishment.

    Fortunately Ofsted was forced to back down (or at least make a tactical retreat). However no Ofsted official seems to have faced disciplinary action for using “extremism” as an excuse for promoting his/her own political agenda.

    I suspect that there are people in the Visa & Immigration Office who regard this as a “heaven sent” opportunity to demonstrate that they are not islamophobic.

  • dannybhoy

    I was with YWAM for six years. One of the best experiences of my Christian life, and I am still in touch with old friends from that era.

    YWAM has bases all across the Western world and has/is doing some wonderful Christian work. I would be very surprised if this issue isn’t cleared up quite soon.

  • SeekTruthFromFacts

    I have a huge amount of sympathy for YWAM. The visa regulations are complex and it isn’t easy for any voluntary organization to comply with them, never mind one that staffs itself with people from many cultures as a matter of principle. I hope and pray that their licence is renewed quickly and smoothly.

    However, the article has not provided *any* evidence to justify the headline. Bureaucratic difficulties fall into the same category as toothache and train delays – the routine messiness of living in a sinful world. They are not persecution unless the state is deliberately marginalizing Christians as Christians. The policies of the Coalition Government are generally opposed to people from different countries coming to the UK to co-operate together, and I suspect that YWAM is in trouble because it falls into that category.

    The old principle of ‘assume cock-up not conspiracy’ probably applies here too. If you read the reports of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration ( http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/ ) you will discover that most parts of the immigration system are in a state of perpetual chaos. I have no inside knowledge, but perhaps the relevant civil servants just didn’t have the time and energy to properly understand YWAM’s track record. In a post-Christian society, it’s unlikely that the officials would have prior personal experience of mission organizations to guide their expectations.

    • Shadrach Fire

      It’s only secularists that claim we are in a post-christian society. We should not fall into the trap of repeating these things to bolster their argument.

      • DanJ0

        I think almost everyone knows we’re in a post-Christian society.

    • dannybhoy

      I think you’ll find that in general bureaucracies are not only bossy and officious, they also tend to be extremely cowardly.
      Thus they will only pick on the law abiding who may have un-intentionally broken or neglected a point of compliance, and make a real example of them:
      whilst giving a respectful tug of the forelock to those who intentionally break the rules and dare you to question them.
      ‘Twas always thus…..

  • grutchyngfysch

    The irony of this situation, is that for a long time it has been standard practice in many missionary and evangelistic training organisations to have a “return home” clause for volunteers – since the aim of many is explicitly to supply areas of the world that would otherwise be lacking in theological and practical training for pastors and church workers. I can think of several off the top of my head that require volunteers from overseas to covenant that they will return to their country of origin in order to serve there. Precisely the sort of policy that our government has been asked to adopt for some time.

  • Inspector General

    Far too much abuse of the system has been going on. Black fellow comes to the UK, then overstays his visa. Often has a child with a woman, is caught and deported. The child gets to remain here but the father is sent back. Rather tragic, but there you go. WE let that happen. You have to have immigration rules, because people are slippery customers. One black tried to pass himself off as a homosexual to avoid being sent back to Jamaica, having fathered a child with a woman.

    Bottom line is, if you are unlucky not to have been born in the UK, then make the most of the country you are in. Don’t expect our sympathy, we have none for you. Why should we? We don’t want you here, you can’t come here, you’re no bloody use to us, and there is a strong possibility you’ll break the law in other ways too, so keep away.

    It’s taken the existence of UKIP to achieve this long overdue crackdown, so be damn thankful for it. As for Christians being picked on resultantly, think you’ll find that in the state’s eyes, the individuals religion is of no concern…

    • Athanasius

      You’re getting a bit lazy, Inspector. The best provocateurs are the ones who strive to make it look like they believe what they say.

      • Dominic Stockford

        They have changed the law – the eu have decreed that if someone says they are homosexual it will have to be accepted without challenge. Open door to any hopeful migrant with half a brain!

    • Andrew Wyatt

      What has people being black got anything to do with it? There are plenty of black British citizens and plenty of white immigrants. Also this article isn’t trying to argue that there shouldn’t be a crackdown on abusers of the immigration system. It’s saying that the crackdown should be done in an intelligent way so that those immigrants who are benefiting the UK society (such as those who work for YWAM as the quote from the Tory MP shows) don’t get lumped into the same category as the abusers.

      • carl jacobs

        Andrew Wyatt

        Yes, that’s just the Inspector. You get used to his racial inanities after awhile. He’s like the Uncle you tolerate at dinner parties because he is family. Embarrassing but essential.

        Whatever you do, don’t ask him about how Africa was ruined because all the white people evolved and moved away.

        • Inspector General

          Little point in debating anything with a man who believes God waved his wand and there was the garden of Eden…

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            Your up-vote of the Inspector’s mockery of my most cherished beliefs has grievously offended my tender feelings. I demand recompense in the form of US $250,000.

            Send your deposit within five days to:

            Gemeinschaft Bank
            Zurich, Switzerland.
            Acct Number 000-7-17-12-0-14-26

          • The question is whether it offended God, not you.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack

            But my perceived offense is the standard used to determine whether God has been offended or not.

            You are accruing interest on the debt.

          • No, Carl. The only standard to judge these matters by is the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

            There is a legitimate discussion to be had concerning Genesis and whether it should be understood in literal or literalist terms. In its wisdom, the Church permits rejection of literalist interpretations that God created man, woman and the universe as set out in scripture. In other words, Genesis is not a scientific or historical account of our origins and early history.

            Besides, according to recent ‘insights’ Jack has gained on his travels, many ‘scholars’ inform us the myth of Adam and Eve was derived from a number of other creation myths circulating at the time and these were recrafted to impose patriarchal power structures to justify male dominance and oppression on women via a male priesthood . Furthermore, it is claimed it was written centuries after Moses and was composed by different authors.

            Ridiculous? Blasphemous? Should the Church act against such ‘scholars;? Not necessarily so. Their ‘theories’ may or may not be accurate. No matter. The human story and mechanics of its composition doesn’t discount the reality that scripture is inspired by God and is, therefore, inerrant. It speaks through many different literary forms. The Truth it conveys is that God created man and woman, gave each a unique soul, gave man different gifts and responsibilities to woman, and, at some point, our common ancestors succumbed to the guile of the enemy and rebelled. It is also clear that He intended a patriarchal society, as confirmed by Jesus and as properly understood and represented by Saint Paul.

            So, no, you have no case. The Church does not recognise your claims as legitimate and considers you application no more than vexatious litigation. There is no appeal and the matter is now closed.

          • carl jacobs

            Why must they always do things the hard way?

          • Who are “they”? And what is the “hard way”?

          • carl jacobs

            Sigh.

            Wile E. Coyote: Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Wile E. Coyote, genius. I am not selling anything nor am I working my way through college.

            Bugs Bunny: I…

            Wile E. Coyote: So let’s get down to cases: you are a rabbit, and I am going to eat you for supper.

            [warningly]

            Wile E. Coyote: Now, don’t try to get away! I am more muscular, more cunning, faster, and larger than you are, and I am a genius. Why you could hardly pass the entrance examinations to kindergarten.

            [Bugs yawns]

            Wile E. Coyote: So I’ll give you the customary two minutes to say your prayers.

            Bugs Bunny: I’m sorry, Mac, the lady of the house ain’t home. And besides, we mailed you people a check last week.

            [shuts the door then descends into his home as Wile E. folds up the door and leaves]

            Wile E. Coyote: Why do they always want to do it the hard way?

          • Hmmm …. well, the answer rather depends on whether God willed or permitted the Fall, doesn’t it? Did Eve have free will and therefore capacity to resist the assault on her mind; could Adam have refused to join her? Do we after Fall?

          • dannybhoy

            “There is a legitimate discussion to be had concerning Genesis and
            whether it should be understood in literal or literalist terms. In its
            wisdom, the Church permits rejection of literalist interpretations that
            God created man, woman and the universe as set out in scripture.”

            Isn’t that the church hedging its bets Jack?
            The problem with “Church approved alternative theology” is that our Lord (who respectfully, would have been there at the time), obviously believed it…

          • But what did He believe, Danny? The literalist or literal truth?

          • dannybhoy

            “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:> (ESVUK)

          • It could be referencing teleology at play in creation. God transcends time.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, I’m sure the church would know! 😉
            Seriously, there is only so far a Christian or Jew can go in rationalising away the difficult/supernatural parts of our faith.

          • Happy Jack doesn’t disagree ….

      • Inspector General

        A crackdown there is, and about bloody time too. One does not care who they are or what the colour of their skin is. Just get rid of them…

  • sarky

    Sorry Gillan, but the title of this piece is just scaremongering. There is no targeting of christian organisations. The tightening of the rules has caused some collateral damage but is not an attack. It is this kind of paranoia that deflects from the real debate that needs to be had on immigration.

  • David

    My impression is that the last paragraph is correct in that the immigration system is broken. So a loyal serving soldier from say Fiji or Nepal, is denied a British passport after completing his dangerous service, whilst a criminal from say the EU or the third world is allowed to stay on the grounds of that slippery, blind to justice beast, the Equality laws. It is throughly morally bust !

  • Dominic Stockford

    The words of Jesus, they will oppose you because of your faith. So, Gillan is right. It is amazing how often we forget this truth.

    • sarky

      Except that this has nothing to do with faith. Stop being paranoid!

      • Dominic Stockford

        You’re opposing me because of my faith.

        • The Explorer

          This has nothing to do with faith unless you’re a Muslim; in which case, authority may well turn a blind eye because it’s afraid of you (or of the violent among your co-religionists). sarky assured me on one of the myriad sub-threads below that this was not the case. That may be true of him, but as far as authority in general goes, I remain unconvinced.

        • sarky

          No im not!

  • Guest

    Three Calvary Chapels have just had their sponsor licenses withdrawn after receiving notice and suspension from UKVI. 19 of their missionaries and families now have 60 days, well 57, to find another sponsor or leave the UK. This includes pastors 3+ years into thriving church plants and my family as well. Sad.

  • Guest

    Three Calvary Chapels have just had their sponsor licenses withdrawn after receiving notice and suspension from UKVI. 19 of their missionaries and families now have 60 days, well 57, to find another sponsor or leave the UK. This includes pastors 3+ years into thriving church plants and my family as well. Sad.

    • Dominic Stockford

      And they, contrary to the implications of others on this site, have done nothing wrong, and have not misused the license in any way. This is, therefore, attacking a soft target in the knowledge that it is a soft target. Another name for that is persecution, and as they are, it is persecution of Christians.

      • sarky

        Of course it is!! It obviously has nothing to do with the fact that they havnt met the terms of their licence under the new rules.
        Just heard christians will have to wear yellow cosses on their clothes so that they are easily idenified.
        Get a grip!!! You obviously have no idea what real persecution is.

        • Linus

          To a Christian, any form of disagreement with their religious delusion is persecution. How dare we not believe in their imaginary god? We’re persecuting them by our unbelief.

          I wonder if the rise in Christian persecution hysteria in the UK has anything to do with increasing numbers of fundamentalist preachers taking advantage of lax immigration policies. That’s certainly how so many Muslims have been radicalized here in France. And letting benighted imams from medieval tribal societies loose among the ghettos of Seine-saint-Denis has not just had a devastating effect on a generation of disaffected youth from immigrant backgrounds. It’s dragged Islam as a whole in France distinctly to the right. The same effect is clear to see in Christianity. The more fundamentalist pastors you let in, the further Christianity lurches to the right.

          So well done UK Department of Immigration! The fewer religious fanatics there are with the ability to sponsor the visa applications of other religious fanatics, the fewer problems you’ll have with religious extremism. Of course you’ll still have to cope with the nut jobs who are already there. But cutting off their supply of agitators and rabble rousers is the first step towards neutralizing the harm they can do.

          • Dominic Stockford

            You want to silence anyone you think is ‘extreme’, and you want the government to help you do it. Interesting, illiberal, clearly anti-Christian (among other things). If that isn’t persecution I don’t know what is.

          • Anton

            “To a Christian, any form of disagreement with their religious delusion is persecution.”

            Drivel Linus; you make that assertion, you prove it or withdraw it.

        • Dominic Stockford

          You have a very odd idea of persecution. It does not have to take the form of physical attack – that is merely one heading. Christians in this country are losing their jobs, their livelihoods, and even their freedom, because of their Christian faith, and seeking to live by that faith.

          You would rather that our voice is silenced in the public sphere. The attacks on politicians when they stand up and say that they have Christian faith, let alone state that it will affect the way the act, is persecution. By comparison atheists are allowed to impose/place their belief on the work they do without opposition – if an MP says they are one, and it affects the way they act, no-one bats an eyelid.

          As for them being wrong in what they have done – I am part of a group that has gone through this process, which is wearisome in the extreme, especially when it is frequently for people who are, for instance, US citizens. We got it all right. However, I fully expect that, even though we have not used it more than the once, correctly, we will find we are no longer allowed to use it. What is more, we bend over backwards to seek to ensure that the way we fill in forms etcetera is right – endless phone calls with the Home Office experts, long discussions, and the like. Don’t just say ‘they got it wrong’.

          • sarky

            And why are christians losing their jobs and livelihoods? Because they are going against their employment contracts and the law. These things apply exactly the same to me as an atheist. If you are told not to wear jewellery and you continue to do this and lose your job, that’s not persecution, that’s stupidity. If your job brings you conflict with your belief, get a more accomodating job.
            You are a minority. Although you have every right to have your views heard, you have absolutely no right to impose them.

          • Dominic Stockford

            There is no point seeking to debate with someone who repeatedly and knowingly misrepresents facts. That being the case I shall cease now and not do so on any further occasion

          • sarky

            Something I said?

          • Linus

            D.S. can’t think of an adequate reply so he stamps his feet and flounces off in a huff. He won’t be talking to YOU any more, you sarky unbeliever you! No, he’ll just stare daggers at you and pray for his imaginary god to take revenge on you for your heinous crime of exposing his utter inability to prove that he (i.e. the god) exists.

            It’s a story that’s repeated day in, day out, up and down your narrow isle, across the water and throughout the vast open spaces of Europe. Believers stutter and splutter and take offence and withdraw into outraged silence when their inadequate arguments fall to convince. And then one of them snaps, takes up a gun and wreaks his revenge…

            We’re now faced with jihad in France because of our refusal to let one sort of believer dictate to us. I hope you don’t have to face a Crusade over there for the same reason.

            Nous sommes tous Charlie. Sauf les croyants. Eux ils sont plutôt Charia. Ou chiants …

          • Anton

            Not so! If the law tells me (a Christian) to sacrifice to pagan idols then I shall refuse and take whatever penalty is prescribed. I suspect that there are certain laws you too would break as a matter of conscience. I do not agree with your statement that “If a law affects you negatively, then it is unjust”. If, unhappily, I lose my rag and murder someone then I would plead guilty and regard it as just that I serve the prescribed penalty.

          • sarky

            Cant see any law getting us to sacrifice to pagan dolls happening soon!! I was only talking about real laws!!
            With regards to your murder comment, good for you. However, there are plenty of people in that position who feel hard done by.

          • Anton

            Apologies Dominic, that was intended as a reply to Sarky not to you.

          • Dominic Stockford

            As was mine intended to be!

          • Anton

            Sarky, do you consider that there is any such thing as unjust law or unjust and selective application of the law?

          • sarky

            Unjust is a matter of perspective. If a law affects you negatively, then it is unjust. However, it may not bother someone else.
            At the end of the day, the law is the law and wemust abide by it, whatever our beliefs.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            And the Nuremburg Race Laws..?

          • Jonathan James

            You can’t tell the difference between a religionist wearing a piece of jewellery and a religionist killing people with an AK47? Really? Why are others wasting their valuable time debating with you?

    • dannybhoy

      That’s very sad. Perhaps they should contact YWAM and work together to get support from churches in the UK -even the ArchBishop of Canterbury and David Cameron?

  • len

    ‘Government immigration clampdown hits Christian organisations.’

    Well you could hardly expect them to clampdown on Islamic Organisations could you?.

  • carl jacobs

    Looking in from the outside, it seems to me that what sarky says makes. We shouldn’t attribute to malice when can more logically be attributed to ignorance – or in this case bureaucracy. Easy targets make themselves easy targets by cooperating. Then the ruthless logic of bureaucracy takes over.

    You shouldn’t blame people for acting on the laws they have been given. They have a responsibility to fulfill. The laws in question aren’t immoral laws even if they cause localized harm and inconvenience.

    • Besides, do we know what specific oversights or practices has actually caused these problems and issues?

      • carl jacobs

        Jack

        That occurred to me as well. The lack of specificity about the violations does not allow for good judgment. “Clerical errors” does not tell you much.

  • Intonsus

    Perhaps the fact that there are two errors of law in the first paragraph might highlight the problem?
    Cof E Vicars are not ‘self-employed’ under employment law; they are ‘office-holders’ (like judges, MPs, et al). Equally they are not employees under tax law; they are taxed under Schedule E, case 2 as ‘office holders’: this is, I accept, substanbtially the same as Schedule E case 1 covering ’employees’, but the differences are there.

    • Thank you for the clarification. I did check this information with a clergy friend in advance and perhaps the confusion lies in the definitions they gave me. I’m not sure how many clergy would be able to explain it in as much detail as you have though, which perhaps proves my point to a certain extent.

      • Intonsus

        Indeed. Most clergy are ignorant on these things, which I found very annoying as a trained accountant and clergyman!