Open Doors World Watch List 2015
Christian Persecution

How much UK aid was given to Christian-persecuting countries in 2014?

 

The most authoritative report on the persecution of Christians around the world has now been released for 2015. The widely respected Open Doors World Watch List is the only annual global survey of Christian religious freedom. Since its inception in 1993, it has helpfully ranked the 50 countries most hostile to Christian believers during the previous year.

The systematic persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria may have dominated recent media attention with the rapid rise of Islamic State, but the report reveals that oppression and violence have intensified in many countries. In fact, 2014 saw the greatest number of religious freedom violations against Christians worldwide in recent memory.

According to the full report, which is conservative in its estimates compared to other assessments, “the 4,344 Christians reported to have been killed during the 12-month period is more than double the 2,123 killed in 2013, and more than triple the 1,201 killed the year before that. The majority of the deaths in the most recent period occurred in Nigeria, where 2,484 people were killed, and in Central African Republic, where 1,088 people were killed”. Open Doors state:

Though violence against Christians made headlines throughout 2014, it was largely the same in most countries, with the exception of Iraq, Syria and Nigeria… Instead, pressure on Christians increased mostly in less obvious ways: being shunned by family; losing a job and rejection within the community for faith related reasons. Such “squeeze” tactics are especially hard on former Muslims who have embraced Christianity.

Predictably, the main engine behind this persecution in 40 of the 50 countries on the 2015 Watch List, including 18 of the top 20 countries, was Islamic extremism. “It is fair to say that Islamic extremism has two global centres of gravity. One in the Arab Middle East, but the other is in sub-Saharan Africa, and even Christian majority states are experiencing unprecedented levels of exclusion, discrimination and even violence,” writes Ron Boyd-MacMillan, director of strategic trends and research for Open Doors International, “It’s important to understand this extremism is not only from the violent jihadists like the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, but Islamists who seek to take over cultures by stealth.”

The second most common driver of persecution was “dictatorial paranoia”‘ or “where leaders seek to control religious expression”. In North Korea, which has now held the top spot for 13 years continuously, it is illegal to be a Christian. Those who are discovered to be so are often sent to labour camps or summarily executed.

Interactive map of 2015 World Watch List countries. Bright red equals more severe persecution. Zoom out to see all 50 countries. Click on individual countries for details.

Note: This interactive map does not include the Maldives, ranked No. 11, an archepelago about 400 kilometres southwest of India, in the Indian Ocean

This all makes for miserable reading for anyone who believes in the right to religious freedom. On current trends, 2015 will be even worse.

Sadly, fewer politicians in the UK have publicly acknowledged these realities than they did in 2013. Instead it has been left to Prince Charles, Justin Welby and other religious leaders to do their utmost to keep the plight of Christians in the news. One exception has been Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, who has promised to appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom should Labour win the next General Election. He wrote:

In the face of persecution on this scale, neither ignorance not fear of offence can be an excuse for standing by on the other side in silence. That is why a year ago I warned against a misplaced sense of political correctness that had meant too many British politicians had forsaken speaking out against the evil that is anti-Christian persecution. Political correctness can never be an excuse for ignoring the cry of the suffering.

Lisa Pearce, CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, is stark in her assessment: “I am convinced that what happens in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa in the next three years will define the future of Christianity as we know it. We can’t afford to sleep-walk through these critical days.. The church is experiencing persecution on an unprecedented scale. Time is running out.”

The question is what more could or should be done?

It is vitally important that governments in free societies do what they can to promote freedom of religion for believers of all faiths and none as a fundamental human right as set out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It is also important to understand and recognise that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and that much of this, as the World Watch List has repeatedly highlighted, comes through oppression in the name of Islam. You can’t talk with any authority on the subject of religious freedom without addressing this fact.

Having the UK Government make the right noises is essential for progress, but alongside those words there must be action, and one possibility is the carrot-and-stick leverage that Overseas Aid might give to influence official policy abroad. Over the last three years I have provided the figures on the amount of aid given by the UK Government to the 50 countries on the World Watch List. Below is the list for 2014. The number in brackets is the amount of bilateral aid (rounded to the nearest £m) given directly by the UK through the Department for International Development’s aid programme taken from their 2014 report:

  1. North Korea (0)
  2. Somalia  (107)
  3. Iraq (7)
  4. Syria (139)
  5. Afghanistan (212)
  6. Sudan (69)
  7. Iran (<1)
  8. Pakistan (328)
  9. Eritrea (5)
  10. Nigeria (249)
  11. Maldives (<1)
  12. Saudi Arabia (0)
  13. Libya (15)
  14. Yemen (95)
  15. Uzbekistan (<1)
  16. Vietnam (23)
  17. Central African Republic (2)
  18. Qatar (0)
  19. Kenya (160)
  20. Turkmenistan (<1)
  21. India (268)
  22. Ethiopia (329)
  23. Egypt (21)
  24. Djibouti (<1)
  25. Burma/Myanmar (100)
  26. Palestinian Territories (69)
  27. Brunei (0)
  28. Laos (<1)
  29. China (0)
  30. Jordan (17)
  31. Bhutan (<1)
  32. Comoros (0)
  33. Tanzania (152)
  34. Algeria (3)
  35. Colombia (7)
  36. Tunisia (5)
  37. Malaysia (4)
  38. Mexico (6)
  39. Oman (0)
  40. Mali (1)
  41. Turkey (5)
  42. Kazakhstan (2)
  43. Bangladesh (272)
  44. Sri Lanka (9)
  45. Tajikistan (8)
  46. Azerbaijan (3)
  47. Indonesia (22)
  48. Mauritania (<1)
  49. United Arab Emirates (0)
  50. Kuwait (0)

(Detailed information on the nature of persecution in each country can be found here (1-20) and here (21-50))

The total figure for these countries is £2.722 billion, which equates to 59 per cent of the £4.636 billion given directly to individual countries. This is not an insignificant amount of money by any measure and it is a hard fact of life that funding buys you a place at the negotiating table. There is a limit, though, to how much aid can be used to deal with the complexities of religious belief and attitude, and if there is a lack of political stability in a country it may make very little difference. But in a few places it does provide options. The important thing is for avenues to be explored and for the resources available to be used effectively.

Christians are of no greater importance than others, but nor are they of any less worth. When any group of people suffer for no good reason, pretending it isn’t happening is never the right or acceptable reaction. Ensuring that our politicians do not run away and hide from the issue must surely be one of the key priorities for churches and Christians in the build-up to the General Election. There will be plenty of opportunities through hustings and the like to do just that. One of the more immediate ways is to invite your MP to the parliamentary launch of the 2015 World Watch List in the House of Commons on the 20th January, which is being sponsored by Naomi Long MP.  This event will highlight the dynamics of persecution and is a perfect opportunity to equip MPs with the information they need to engage meaningfully with the issue relating to religious freedom.

Last week’s terrible events in Paris and the subsequent attendance of many world leaders at Sunday’s historic rally shows that we care deeply about the freedom to express our views and beliefs without fearing for our lives. Is it not too much to believe that those beyond our national borders deserve the same right?

  • bluedog

    The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is as good a place as any to stop the rot. Violently and murderously anti-Christian, Mohammed Jinnah’s vanity project has exceeded expectations in all aspects of social misery both within and without its borders. No amount of aid from the West can improve the outlook for Pakistan until the abandonment of Islam. Occasionally one finds that Pakistan has even been expelled from the ever-accommodating Commonwealth, an achievement managed by very few states. After seventy years of independence it is time to cut this dismal state adrift, ban further immigration, and encourage emigration of UK resident Pakistanis and dual-passport-holders.

    • Linus

      Mrs Warsi is probably quite correct. Attending a Christian girls’ school probably will make her daughters better Muslims. It will certainly open their eyes to the awfulness of all things Christian and English, from the dull as ditchwater form of worship, to the food, to the school uniforms, to the buck-toothed and sturdily shod teachers who’ll squint at them through milk bottle bottomed spectacles and breathe dental plaque and that peculiar sour English breath all over them. I particularly remember that during the excruciating year I spent imprisoned in an English boarding school. Breath that says “I’m a vegetarian and 10 litres of yoghurt are currently fermenting in my bloated gut”. Not to mention the exhalations from other parts of the body. And the poor condition of their skin and hair. Ew!!!

      I should think a couple of years in an English school will make Warsi’s daughters the best Muslims in the world. They’ll be clinging on to their burqas for dear life. What better way to hide the damage an English boarding school diet does to the human body than to shroud it in a black tent? I wish more Anglican school teachers would give it a try. And maybe they could soak the garment in an activated charcoal solution before slipping it on. I mean, think of the children!!!

      • magnolia

        So you went to a Christian girls boarding school did you Linus? Took your blanket with you too no doubt?

        Perhaps you could explain your perceived highly positive correlation between extreme short-sightedness and being a female teacher in a Christian girls boarding school in the UK?

        I sense your disgust at the female body. Not very gentlemanly is it??

        Savez-vous comment etre un gentilhomme?

        • The Explorer

          Do you think we might surmise, from the description, that Linus’ experiences must have been a long time ago?

          • He’s in his 60’s – as a minimum.

          • Linus

            My age is my own concern, however I’m not afraid to reveal it. I am 50 years old.

            Perhaps the difference in educational experiences between myself and the typical 50 year old follower of this blog has more to do with milieu than age…

          • avi barzel

            ….not to mention a dollop of puffery. Nevertheless, one must admit your literary skills and wit are astounding when something motivates you to apply yourself, Monsieur. Alas, I fear you have overstepped certain boundaries and wrongly assume that the calm signifies passivity among English gentlemen here, whereas it means they are distracted by quietly arguing over who will do the drawing and who the quartering , and who will roast your excised liver, and who will stuff it down your screaming gullet. I’d head for the hills with a book on bushcraft and edible weeds and hide out for a while.

          • Linus

            I’m perfectly aware of the sado-masochistic energies that fuel Christianity, and English Christianity in particular. I spent a year at an English boarding school, remember? There’s no perversion I haven’t seen committed in the name of your god by boys lifted straight out of the pages of a William Golding novel, aided and abetted by beaks only a degree removed from savagery themselves.

            But here’s the thing: having survived that experience, I realize that Christian fervor is directly proportionate to age. The toothless old codgers on this site may talk about being warriors for Christ, but any real ability to inflict pain in the name of their god abandoned them decades ago. All they can do now is talk. And type. And gnaw on their grievances against a society that has left them and their beliefs in the mud.

            Here they gather to utter their prophecies of doom. A convention of geriatric Cassandras who know they only have a short time left, so they’d better vomit up every last drop of bile and hatred while they can.

            I know enough about England to realize that any sojourn in that country requires sturdy footwear, a nose peg and an ability to pick one’s way between the shifting puddles of vomit and urine that decorate your city centre pavements. So I’m not in the least surprised that I need to show the same caution on an English website…

          • Anton

            Better than the amount of dogshit on French pavements!

          • Linus

            Dogs can’t help fouling the pavements. Human beings can.

            Of course the amount of alcohol consumed by the average English weekend reveler would probably kill a dog. It would probably kill an elephant. And what goes in, has to come out. But does it have to come out in public?

            My last night out in England was a few years ago in Berkhamsted. It’s a charming little town with a pretty high street and a well-to-do population. I was staying in an old coaching inn overlooking the high street. Four poster bed, linenfold panelling, old beams and a lovely fire prospering on a (possibly reproduction) Tudor hearth. It was everybody’s idea of picture postcard perfect Merry Olde England. And then the pubs closed…

            I had a bird’s eye view of the whole sorry spectacle. The problem wasn’t the men. They were clearly drunk and falling about all over the place, but the extent of their anti-social behavior was to pee in shop doorways and throw up in rubbish bins. No, the real entertainment was provided by the women.

            Tottering along half naked (in January) on towering heels they couldn’t possibly hope to stay upright on for very long even had they been completely sober, it was like watching a band of drunken prostitutes try to stilt-walk along the high street. They fell and they cursed and cackled and cried and shouted like beings possessed. Then they vomited. And vomited. All over themselves, their friends, in the gutter, on the pavement, in shop doorways. And once they’d vomited, they started to squat…

            This is the point at which I drew the curtains and went to bed. The noise continued for a good 2 or 3 hours into the dead of the night before most of the crowd dispersed and the ambulances arrived to remove those who had inadvertently remained behind. It was something I had never seen before, so I was profoundly shocked by the … and there really is no other word to describe it … the bestiality of it all. Grown men and women completely out of control on alcohol. It’s something you would never see in France, at least not from the French. Foreign tourists quite often drink themselves silly and have to be scraped off the pavement and transported to hospital by disgusted ambulance workers. But the spectacle of mass drunkenness on such a scale is a thing unknown here. And long may it stay that way.

            So if a little dog mess bothers you when you come to Paris, think yourself lucky. You can’t catch HIV or hepatitis from dog mess. But tripping over on one of your notoriously uneven English pavements and landing in a pool of vomit could well put your life at risk.

          • Just to cheer Linus up a little, France is the country in Europe with the greatest increase in Christianity, especially of the evangelical kind.

            http://www.biblesociety.org.au/news/secular-french-going-evangelical

            I can give some personal witness to this. My village in Devon is ‘twinned’ with what is basically a suburb of Caen. 10 or so years ago I had a look to see if the was a Protestant church in the suburb. There wasn’t; in fact there was only one in the whole of Caen. Last year, I had another look and there were 13 in Caen and one in that suburb. That may explain why Charlie Hebdo (and Linus) has been getting so shrill and scatological about Christianity. It’s tough being on the losing side.
            It does seem that the average Frenchman is getting weary of the hopelessness and weariness of secularism; of trying to defend a language no one else wants to speak, and pretending, against overwhelming evidence, that they have the best food and wine in the world.

          • Linus

            13 churchiscules, one for each African ethnic group living in the Caen area, do not a Christian revival make.

            By all means be triumphant when your immigrant churches start to attract significant numbers of native born French.

            There is no sign of this happening just yet.

          • Oh dear; in denial as well.
            You are indeed a typical Frenchman.

          • Oh dear! In denial as well. You are indeed a typical Frenchman.
            There are certainly ethnic churches in France (eg. Haitian, Vietnamese), and the good news is that many Moslems in France are turning to Christ, though understandably they tend to keep rather quiet about it. But whether you like it or not, there are also increasing numbers of white French people who are tiring of the meaninglessness and irrelevance of secularism and are turning to Christ.
            The numbers are indeed small at the present time, but they are growing very rapidly and there’s nothing you or Charlie Hebdo can do about it.

          • Linus

            No denial from me. I see some of those people on the train I take from Paris to my country place at the weekend. It goes through Versailles, the capital of French Catholicism. Christians abound in Versailles and they have big families, although as often as not, their children end up abandoning the faith.

            You can recognize the Christians when the board the train at Versailles Chantiers station. Dull looking people with dead eyes. They have Manif pour tous stamped on their foreheads. Metaphorically at least.

            I’m not worried about a wave of Christianity sweeping over the land from a starting point in Versailles though. Everyone feels the same way about “les Versaillais”. Derision mixed with pity. It’s not a good look and certainly not one that’s going to take France by storm.

          • I expect they think the same about you, Linus, except that they feel pity and not derision.
            Still, at least you now admit what you were denying in your previous post.

          • Well, I expect they feel the same about you, Linus.
            Though if they are Christians, it will be pity and concern, not derision.
            However, we are progressing. At least you are accepting in your last post what you were rejecting in your previous one. In any disorder, the first step is the most important on the road to recovery.

          • magnolia

            1940s?

        • Linus

          No, I didn’t go to a Christian girls boarding school. I went to an Anglican boys boarding school for one long and tortured year. And no, I didn’t take a blanket. But I did take a warm eiderdown couette.

          My sisters suffered the same fate, which is how I know that all English bluestockings resemble a negative image of Black Beauty and wear inch thick horn rimmed spectacles as a matter of course. Some of them also apparently crop their hair quite short and wear dangly licorice allsort earrings, which must come in quite handy whenever they’re peckish and there’s no vendor of bacon rolls in the immediate vicinity.

          And no, I’m not disgusted by the female body. I’m not attracted by it either, but there’s a big difference between indifference and disgust. It can be quite amusing when blown out of all proportion, as it so often is in England. Muffin tops spilling over straining leggings. Or back fat constricted by a too-tight bra strap and looking like a spare set of breasts worn as a rucksack. These can be quite amusing, especially when the woman sporting them is staggering along a British high street drunk out of her mind and looking for a place to squat. I mean, if you don’t laugh at them, what do you do? Cry?

          In any case, there’s nothing wrong with a normal female body. It is what it is and although I don’t find it attractive, to say that a lack of attraction necessarily translates to disgust is quite wrong. I’m not attracted to lamp posts or pillar boxes either, but I don’t turn pale at the sight of them and run in fear. Women have come on to me before and I’ve never once pushed them out of the way or vomited on them. I have firmly but gently told them that I’m just not made that way, which usually does the trick. Unless of course they’re English and so totally off their heads on booze and/or drugs that they literally have forgotten the meaning of the word “no”.

          In fact, the only time I really have been revolted by a woman’s body was when a big fat drunken Geordie lass lifted her top to reveal not only a set of breasts that resembled two five day old Camemberts on a hot August day, but also a collection of tattoos and piercings that would have put David Beckham to shame. It wasn’t the sight of exposed female flesh that made me recoil. It was the thought of accidentally brushing up against one of those piercings and what might be oozing out of them. I would have reacted to a man with that level of “body art” in just the same way. The hepatitis carrier look just isn’t a sexy one, no matter what your gender…

          • magnolia

            Maybe your sisters were homesick and caricatured…. It is always easy to find extremes and speak as if that were the norm.

          • The Explorer

            I thought Linus’ quarrel was with God. Now I think it’s primarily with the English. Let’s tell him God is an Englishman (or woman): then he can deal with the two pet hates in one go.

          • avi barzel

            Pffft…bwahahahaha!

          • Linus

            I agree. God as described in the Bible must be an Englishman. Sexually repressed and passive/aggressive with a tendency to lash out in unrestrained violence during his frequent temper tantrums. Contemptuous of everyone except himself and utterly convinced of his own divinity. The only thing he lacks is a looking glass, which is probably a good thing, because if he ever did catch sight of himself as others see him, the ensuing meltdown would be catastrophic.

            Good thing this miserable deity only exists in the pages of a book. If there is something out there that could be called “God”, it can’t be anything like the small tribal idol invented by the Jews, then annexed by the English, and currently peddled on sites such as this one as a cross between Margaret Thatcher, Anne Widdecombe and Gandalf the Grey.

            Such a god could only flourish in England. And only in an England that’s fast disappearing into the dusty tomb of history. It still hangs on in pockets of the shires, but give it a few years and the last of the Happy Jacks and other assorted Colonel Blimps will go the way of the dinosaurs. And their odd, small, angry ego-projection of a god will go with them.

            Meanwhile the real power behind the universe, if there is one and we’re not all here by random chance, remains utterly inscrutable.

          • The Explorer

            That’s it, Linus: purge all that resentment. Other readers, do you think we should start charging him for therapy?

          • Linus

            Armchair psychiatry seems to be the favourite pastime of many contributors here. You’ll have to make a real effort to surpass the hilarious attempts of Happy Jack to impersonate Sigmund Freud, but I’m quite happy for you to try. Laughter can be quite a tonic and nobody can make you laugh like the English.

          • The Explorer

            Keep going, Linus. Get rid of all the bile. Then you’ll feel much better.

          • William Lewis

            “Meanwhile the real power behind the universe, if there is one and we’re not all here by random chance, remains utterly inscrutable.”

            He clearly remains inscrutable to you. On that I think we can all agree.

          • The Explorer

            I think we should have Linus as the mascot for this blog. One grows fond of the creature, and some of the sounds it makes are almost human.

          • Linus

            A fine example of English Christianity and neighbourly love.

            When your opponent disagrees with you, reducing him to subhuman status is the best way of dealing with him, isn’t it? The Nazis certainly found this to be the case in Germany in the 1930s.

            Thinking of following in their footsteps, are you? Who will you be voting for in the next elections?

          • The Explorer

            Oh come on, Linus. What happened to that mordant sense of humour exercised t the expensed of the English?

          • The Explorer

            Oh come now, Linus. What happened to that mordant sense of humour exercised at the expense of the English?

      • William Lewis

        You’ve used “buck-toothed” before Linus. Attention, peur que vous deveniez répétitif. I liked “milk bottle bottomed spectacles” though.

        • The Explorer

          Which he has also used before, I seem to remember.

          • William Lewis

            Let’s hope he’s not suffering from early onset dementia.

          • The Explorer

            I suspect not. We had a vigorous exchange of views on the previous thread, and he’s still pretty alert.

          • William Lewis

            Perhaps a fondness for certain motifs then. One suspects there must be a theme running through but can’t quite put one’s finger on it.

          • Linus

            All this attention when you’re supposed to be ignoring me!

            You just can’t help yourselves, can you?

          • William Lewis

            I am happy to engage with anyone on this blog but must confess to being intrigued as to the source of your constant venom. I have a couple of theories. However, the point was made as to whether it is worth engaging with someone who rarely argues but continues to assert ex odio.

          • Linus

            More amateur psychiatric analysis from another armchair Christian “expert”, eh? For a group of people who so firmly believe they possess all the talents, it’s strange how Christians seem to be utterly incapable of influencing society. All you can do is huddle together in little online groups like this one, berating the infidel and praying to your imaginary god to smite us and show us who the boss is.

            This is what religion has become. How many soaring cathedrals will you be building, I wonder? The bunker mentality of modern Christianity is its greatest defeat.

          • The Explorer

            “Praying to your imaginary god to smite us.”
            How do you know what we’re praying? More amateur psychiatric analysis from another armchair non-Christian “expert”, eh?

          • Linus

            Psychiatric analysis? No. Deduction by common sense. The two are quite different. One is based on spurious theories about how the inner workings of the human mind can all be traced back to imaginary childhood traumas. The other is based on observation and logical extrapolation. Christians say repent or burn, ergo they want to punish me for my disbelief. If I don’t conform, I will burn. They actively desire my torture as a means of comforting them in their choices. That’s real Christianity at work. Horrible, isn’t it?

          • William Lewis

            Linus

            Your characterisation of Christians is not one that I recognise, or have experienced at all. Be careful not to confuse the religion with the kingdom of God. The two don’t always overlap and the former is prone to empire building and “slip-ups” from time to time. The latter, on the other hand, is growing. Certainly in my neck of the woods my church has been growing organically and steadily for several years and I understand the same can be said globally, though less so in western Europe. As to “praying for smiting” and “berating the infidel”, these are so wide of the mark it’s hard to know what to say.

        • avi barzel

          Merely a literary device of no factual validity; eye glass lens materials and design have improved over the last two decades. What we do know is that French ladies prefer to wade through life in a diffused blur, rather than to suffer the indignity to their vanity by donning specs. It is a well-known fact that over twenty thousand of them die annually by wandering onto traffic to be savagely speared by phallic baguettes bicycled about by those ubiquitous drunk mustachioed Frenchmen in black berets and blue striped sailor shirts.

          • William Lewis

            It’s a pain-ful way to go, Avi.

      • Phil R

        My daughters are stunning and much of this can be attributed to the healthy food and exercise at boarding school.

        Also you will not find many buck teeth in boarding schools. If parents can afford the fees they can afford private orthodontics also

        like many here have stated. I doubt if you have really ever been to a boarding school

        • Linus

          So parents pay for orthodontic treatment for their children’s teachers in the UK now, do they? That’s an advance on the past. Do they all club together and share the cost, or does each family sponsor a specific tooth?

          And worry ye not, I’m sure your daughters are regular stunners with picture perfect dentition. Whatever that means to the English.

          I’m reminded of a joke my father was fond of telling, while of course taking considerable pains to point out that my mother was the exception that proved the rule.

          While preparing for a trip to London in the early 1950s, my grandfather asked him whether he knew what the English called a beautiful woman.

          – Une rose anglaise, my father replied.

          – Ah non, pas du tout! said my grandfather.

          – C’est vrai ? Ben … une vraie “corker” alors, said Papa.

          – Bien sûr que non, mon garçon ! my grandfather replied. Mais c’est très simple. Une belle femme en Angleterre, c’est une touriste !

          • William Lewis

            Comme un libérateur en France?

          • dannybhoy

            ‘Corker’s pretty bien.
            Top tip of the day Linus, stay away from Paris..

          • Phil R

            Linus

            I agree.

            A far higher proportion of British children need access to good quality orthodontic treatment.

      • “I particularly remember that during the excruciating year I spent imprisoned in an English boarding school.”
        Hmmm ….

        • avi barzel

          Hmm, indeed. What did you naughty rascals do to Linus? The poor fellow seems rather exercised by it. Or bitter that the ordeal lasted only a year.

          • Indeed. And, we now learn, an enforced separation from his sister. An English mother, a French father; Jack surmises a Catholic background. Boarding school and the accompanying separation anxiety.

            Whilst the mystery deepens, more light is shed on Linus’ disenchantment and anger.

          • avi barzel

            You seem to be in your element, Jack. A mystery, the game’s afoot and all that.

            Will poor Linus suffer under the gleaming psychoanalytic scalpel of Jack the Dissector for his offenses against the dignity of English womanhood? Some of us who married British lasses secretly hope for a dull, rusty scalpel edge and a shortage of ether. Stay tuned, boys and girls.

          • Linus

            Yes, Jack is in his element. Weaving his own private fantasy around him to the point where he can’t tell where make-believe leaves off and reality begins. I’m told its a common psychiatric disorder amongst religious obsessives, however I can’t comment on that because of course, I’m no psychiatrist.

            If I were a mental health professional or had any kind of training in the field, the most basic professional code of conduct would forbid me from analyzing a patient in public. But professional codes of conduct don’t apply to armchair specialists like Jack. In their own minds, they and God are one and the same, so they act by divine right and can say and do no wrong. Ordinary rules of mortal conduct and human decency don’t apply to them. Oh no, theirs is a high and lonely destiny…

            *Double flip eye roll*

          • Linus presents no real mystery, Avi.

            He displays textbook defence mechanisms. His aversion to fat women is a clue to the root of his identity issues and very obvious phobias and fears. So too his disclosures about his early childhood experiences.

      • dannybhoy

        Linus,
        “t will certainly open their eyes to the awfulness of all things
        Christian and English, from the dull as ditchwater form of worship, to
        the food, to the school uniforms, to the buck-toothed and sturdily shod
        teachers who’ll squint at them through milk bottle bottomed spectacles
        and breathe dental plaque and that peculiar sour English breath all over
        them.”
        Are you by any chance related to a French branch of the Dickens family??

        • Linus

          These were my teachers, not my family.

          They may have been related to Dickens, for all I know. Or to any or all of the real people who inspired his characters. But none of them were related to me.

          • Linus

            Actually they were my sisters’ teachers, but mine were pretty much the same in male form.

          • dannybhoy

            When you’re not being unpleasant you have quite a good writing style is all.

      • bluedog

        Given the extent of French emigration to the UK, your anti-British opinions do not seem widely shared by your compatriots.

        • The Explorer

          Don’t remind him about his expat compatriots. He might join them.

          • Linus

            Unlikely. England is not really my cup of tea. Or cup of full fat Bovril with a greasy chip floating in it…

          • The Explorer

            French fries? But that’s the spirit, Linus. If ever you feel tempted, just think Bovril.

          • Linus

            I will. Thinking of Bovril makes the bile rise every time. Together with Lucozade, Ribena, Marmite, those disgusting chemical gravy granules (the name of which eludes me for the moment), and the bright yellow wallpaper paste you call “custard”, there are so many reasons to stay away from England that I’m almost tempted to take a trip to Calais and distribute some flyers amongst the hordes of sans-papiers who want so much to go there.

            “Stop!” the flyers would say. “Ye know not what ye do! The road to hell leads directly into the belly of a north-bound Trans-Manche ferry! Repent and turn aside from your path of doom!!!”

            Only then they’d all stay in France and we have enough of a problem with poorly integrated foreign minorities as it is. No, on reflection, I think I’ll stay at home and let them find out how awful it is for themselves.

          • The Explorer

            France has more space. Get busy with those flyers.
            PS: How do you feel about the French penchant for “le crumble”?

          • Linus

            French crumble doesn’t have a lot to do with the solid, stolid English original. More fruit, less flour and sugar, a lot less butter and the whole thing is lighter and more digestible than any crumble you would find in England.

            We do that with recipes. We adapt them to our taste by making them tastier, lighter and more delicate than the original ethnic dish. A French crumble is worthy of a fine Sèvres dinner service. An English crumble you might as well serve straight out of its tupperware container.

          • The Explorer

            We’re in agreement on something, Linus! French crumble is delicious. Better than any I’ve tasted in the UK.

          • Linus

            A minor miracle, I agree. Yet not one that persuades me of any divine intervention.

            I suppose you could say that God was so outraged at the sin being visited upon good honest fruit by the English, he gave the recipe for crumble to the French so we could redeem it for his greater glory.

            Personally I think it’s more likely to have been during one of our periodic fits of Entente Cordiale that the idea for the dessert crossed La Manche.

            I imagine one of our presidents had asked his chef pâtissier at the Elysée to serve an English dessert for a banquet held in honor of one of your kings.

            The poor man must have been completely flummoxed. But after consulting our national cuisine bible “Je sais cuisiner” by Ginette Mathiot, he may have stumbled upon a two page entry in the back pages that few bother to read.

            Entitled “Les 5 Plats Anglais Propres à la Consommation Humaine”, it gives a rudimentary description of what appears to be a crumble, although from the quantities of flour, butter and sugar prescribed, and the almost complete absence of any fresh fruit, one might also conclude that it’s a recipe for dry shortbread with an apple garnish. Still, freely adapting Mme Mathiot’s cursory instructions, an inventive man could have come up with a recipe for a crumble suitable for the French palate. I’m sure this is what must have happened.

            I imagine that whoever the king was (Edward VII, perhaps? None of the Windsors seem to be able to distinguish a vacherin from a vol-au-vent…), he must have taken one bite and pronounced the dessert “ab-so-loot-mon mug-knee-feek!” and thus a new classic was born.

            Perhaps not exactly how events transpired, but it makes for a picturesque story. And I can’t think of any other reason why we’d adopt an English recipe…

        • Linus

          Most of the French who move to the UK just want to take advantage of the more liberal fiscal arrangements. No wealth tax, lower property taxes, lower income taxes, an easier climate to run a business. That’s what the English have always been good at. Trade. And before you start to preen and think yourselves better than anyone else, look up the term in a couple of Jane Austen novels. It isn’t necessarily a compliment.

          The French who move to the UK are almost all involved in some way or another in trade. As such they’re part of section of society that isn’t greatly appreciated here. They’re probably better off in the UK, where they can grub for money to their hearts’ content.

  • Royinsouthwest

    One problem with the table is that it does not distinguish between countries where the government supports persecution of Christians, either openly like Saudi Arabia or tacitly like Pakistan with its blasphemy law, and those where the persecution is by terrorist organisations that want to overthrow the government, such as Nigeria.

    • That is a worthwhile distinction, to which the Deputy Editor will doubtless apply himself in future lists. One difficulty, however, is in distinguishing those countries which proactively persecute Christians as a matter of public policy from those which do so by inaction or inertia. A state which is not doing enough (by what measure?) to protect its Christian citizens from acts of terrorism may be seen to be complicit in their persecution.

      • dannybhoy

        But what we do know is that in Islamic countries neither Jews nor Christians nor (I think) other religious minorities are allowed full citizenship, and are first in the line for a good kicking when things go wrong or as sources of cheap labour (Pakistan). The humiliation of Christians and Jews in Islamic States is historical and well documented.

      • avi barzel

        Indeed, Your Grace, a worthwhile distinction, and one fraught with difficulties as well, what with uncertain data sets, a plethora of politically biased classification schemes and fuzzy criteria no two poli-sci academics can agree on. When countries claim rights of sovereignty over a territory, they are yoked with the responsibilities of sovereignity as well.

    • Thank you Roy. This is a very helpful suggestion and I’ll bear it in mind for next year. In the meantime. All of this information is available (plus a good deal more) from Open Doors here (Ranks 1-20) https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/research/WWL15Summtop20.pdf and here (21-50) https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/research/WWL15Summtop20.pdf

  • Anton

    Our government should not be sending aid to ANY country, let alone those who persecute Christians. It is, morally, deeply wrong for a government to take the money of its citizens involuntarily (ie, tax) and then give it away. The essence of charity is that it is voluntary. The more money that it taken in this way, the less our citizens have in order to be generous with.

    • William Lewis

      Other than for disaster relief, I tend to agree. I would also modify your last sentence slightly to:

      The more money that is taken in this way, the less our grandchildren have in order to be generous with.

      • dannybhoy

        I would modify your last sentence to say that there is now no reason why the government of the day of a liberal democracy should not have a website where the electorate can express their opinion on all essential national policies such as law and order, sentencing, immigration, defence, education, taxation..
        That’s the problem!
        Governments have no money of their own. They use their position of leadership to levy taxes and then try to con the Electorate into going along with what they think is best for the country.
        The problem is that GOVERNMENT now equals POWER:
        not RESPONSIBILITY.
        Modern politicians are pale imitations of the men (and latterly, one woman) who saw their position as doing the very best they could for their country.
        Now they abuse the position for party political gain, rather than national integrity, justice and compassion.

        • Dreadnaught

          The problem is that GOVERNMENT now equals POWER: not RESPONSIBILITY.

          Come off it: it’s nothing new or ‘now’ as the demise of Charles 1st and the English Civil War attest.
          Aid or Free money, is too easy unless tied to accountability – and governments at either end of the deal are guilty.

          • dannybhoy

            Okay, I’ll go along with that.
            One of my heroes, Oliver Cromwell (and friends), recognised that monarchs citing that “The Divine Right of Kings” justified their actions, were horribly and totally wrong.

            Therefore, after trying to enlighten the monarch according to the New Testamente, they had no alternative other than to ask him to stand down, or suffer the fate of all traitors.

            Today there is especially now no excuse (other than party political self interest), to exclude the people from formulating policies which protect and defend the continuance of justice and fairness and opportunity in our nation.

          • Albert

            Sorry, are you saying that Charles I was justifiably executed simply for not agreeing with Oliver Cromwell’s interpretation of the NT? For the record, I think Oliver Cromwell was one of the worst people ever produced by this country.

          • dannybhoy

            Albert, the King believed in the Divine Right of Kings. He considered his authority to be above that of parliament, and reneged on agreements then imposed taxes etc.

            The king appoints
            William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop’s love of
            ceremony and adornment runs counter to the beliefs of many Puritans. • 1634 Laud authorises visits to every diocese throughout the kingdom to
            enforce conformity and to correct ‘irregularities’ in the conduct of
            services. These are regarded as dangerously close to Roman Catholicism.
            The visits continue until 1637.
            King Charles issues a writ to collect ‘ship-money’ tax, under the
            pretext of piracy and unrest in Europe. He has made a secret treaty with
            Philip IV of Spain to help against the Dutch, a policy he knows will be
            detested by the country and, because of this, needs money. • 1635 Ship-money is enforced inland as well as in maritime counties/towns and
            is obtained by assessment of personal as well as real property (e.g.
            land/houses) and payment is to be enforced by distress (taking goods if
            people have no money). This provokes increasing resistance.

          • Shadrach Fire

            In principle anyone can get it wrong but look at King Saul. Appointed by god but left His ways. Was he still King and anointed by God? Yes. David had the man killed who killed King Saul. Touch not the Lords anointed. David also got it wrong but God said that David was a man after his own heart.
            However, Peter said “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons”.

            Who did most against the Gospel? Cromwell the war monger er or Cromwell the Chancellor of King Henry?

          • dannybhoy

            1 Samuel 16:> (CJB)
            “Adonai
            said to Sh’mu’el, “How much longer are you going to go on grieving for
            Sha’ul, now that I have rejected him as king over Isra’el? Fill your
            horn with oil, and set out; I will send you to Yishai the Beit-Lachmi,
            because I have chosen myself a king from among his sons.” 2 Sh’mu’el said, “How can I go? If Sha’ul hears of it, he will have me killed.” Adonai said, “Take a female cow with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to Adonai.’ 3 Summon Yishai to the sacrifice. I will tell you what to do, and you are to anoint for me the person I point out to you.”

          • Albert

            Thank you for the clarification – for a minute there, I thought you’d posted one of the most extremist posts I’d ever seen! I’m still not quite sure how the traitor bit fits in, but not to worry!

          • dannybhoy

            Albert,
            it’s my fault, I was rushing.
            The treason bit was because the King (whose wife was Catholic and doing what she could to promote Catholic interests), was plotting secretly with King Philip of Spain against Holland and was raising English tax money for his own purposes, lying to and manipulating the parliament.
            It was a critical time in our history, no doubt about it, but out of it came the beginnings of the modern democratic Britain .

          • Albert

            Mmmm…difficult to see all that as treason, and especially not as treason by the King. I’m also struggling to find a source for everything here.

          • CliveM

            Of course the irony is that Oliver Cromwell clearly believed in the devine right of the Cromwells. The Lord Protector (something quite chilly about that title) became more Dictotorial then Charles and certainly managed to wipe out larger numbers of his opponents. Which might not have mattered, except such a large number of them were neither male or adult.

          • bluedog

            Cromwell was also in it for the money, his annual salary as Lord Protector was £100,000, almost a King’s ransom. To put that in perspective, Charles I was at one point held by the Scots and it cost £400,000 to get him back. A practice run for the Barnett Formula?

          • CliveM

            He also did very well financially from his devastation of Ireland! I think his personal investment was £5k, he made many times that in return.

          • bluedog

            No surprise. There was always a certain creepy hypocrisy about Puritanism.

          • CliveM

            What would be the purpose of that money though? Not able to have a decent piss up or get your nearest and dearest something expensive for Christmas!! So much money, so little fun!

          • bluedog

            Good point. As Lord Protector he could always acquire more manors, for his children for example, by having the owners arrested for treason and attainted, as one did.

          • dannybhoy

            This is quite interesting..
            http://www.historytoday.com/david-smith/oliver-cromwell-and-parliaments
            At the end of the day though, like most history we don’t really know why he did certain things and whether he himself felt he had failed.

          • bluedog

            Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So it was with Cromwell. Complicit in the defeat of the King and his death, Cromwell was prepared to accept the role of Lord Protector. Unlike the position of the monarch which was defined by many statutes and conventions, the office of LP was completely unconstrained by the Parliament and it suited Cromwell to keep it that way. On his death, Cromwell appointed his son as successor, proving that he was no servant of the people or their Parliament, but out to secure his family as hereditary dictators of England. No wonder the people cheered the Restoration.

          • dannybhoy

            “Unlike the position of the monarch which was defined by many statutes
            and conventions, the office of LP was completely unconstrained by the
            Parliament and it suited Cromwell to keep it that way.”

            Nonsense! A/the king did what he liked, as was his divine right. That was the problem! If you look at it as a the process of a people under a king to a people in a democracy, this would have happened at some point anyway. Education and a growing ability to read and therefore question, meant that the established order was coming under increasing critical scrutiny.

            “On his death, Cromwell appointed his son as successor, proving that he
            was no servant of the people or their Parliament, but out to secure his
            family as hereditary dictators of England.”
            Or maybe he recognised that so many, even in parliament -which he suspended at times, (but for different reasons to the king), were corrupt and self seeking, he thought his son would work towards the same vision he had? (however unattainable.)
            I think (for what it’s worth!) that Cromwell wanted to establish a nation based on the principles of the New Testament. Why he thought he could enforce that, I don’t know. (Perhaps he shared that vision with the Roman Church?)

          • bluedog

            Don’t agree at all. Cromwell started off as protégé of two peers, Lord Wharton and Lord Saye and Sele, both experienced Parliamentarians. By the time Cromwell had appointed himself Lord Protector, both had disowned him. Under Cromwell the parliament atrophied. He abolished the House of Lords and the Commons shrunk because there was no point in attending. It is completely wrong to suggest that there were no statutes or conventions controlling the monarchy. Charles made the mistake of ignoring them but they were there. The Lord Protector was not the monarch and the monarchical restraints did not apply to him. He was a dictator and the NT probably never crossed C’s mind except to salve his conscience.

          • dannybhoy

            “Charles made the mistake of ignoring them but they were there.”
            Yes and monarchs have always been prepared to ignore them when it suited their purposes!
            That’s the whole history of “the Divine Right of Kings” system.
            Kings didn’t have more than anyone else, but they became powerful by being more ruthless, more greedy and more cunning than anyone else.
            They maintained their throne by collecting toadies, buying influential people, manipulating people, threatening people, having perceived enemies bumped off, and commanding loyalty and respect from the people….

            Can’t find anything on your reference to “Lord Wharton and Lord Saye and Sele…”

          • dannybhoy

            Not so!
            It’s just that they had a very sober and “suffering in this life” kind of attitude, so that they applied themselves to hard work and thrift and became very wealthy.
            Maybe their kids started drifting away (understandably) from this solemn and severe lifestyle, and that’s where the hypocrisy started coming in?

          • dannybhoy

            There’s this Albert,

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/civil_war_revolution/cromwell_01.shtml
            and I should imagine Encyclopaedia Britannica has something. Years back I read some very good books on the English Civil War, but you know as you get older your memory starts playing up..
            Diane Purkiss and The English Civil War was pretty good,
            John Adamson I think wrote another..

          • Dreadnaught

            My understanding is that when the Kings army sustained its final defeat the Parliamentarians negotiated with Charles to agree to certain conditions for future governance. During this time the king procrastinated in signing the agreement during which time he set about building an army of invasion based in Ireland with the help of Irish and Spanish catholic sponsors.
            This was interpreted a treason for which he was put on ‘trial’ then executed.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes I read that somewhere too.

          • Albert

            It’s the idea of the King plotting treacherously with Spain against Holland for his own purposes, lying to and manipulating the parliament that I’m interested in a source for.

          • dannybhoy

            Try googling it as a sentence..

  • thebandthatneedsnointroduction

    Another item you might like to consider is UK military trade with these countries, as well as overseas aid. In Egypt, where I am based, as well as the Gulf countries, the UK maintains profitable defence contracts with regimes who persecute Christians, sometimes with the very weapons provided by the UK. They have suspended some defence trade with Egypt since the 2011 revolution, but in the wider region it continues unrestricted.

    • dannybhoy

      Excellent.
      We need more people like yourself commenting here.
      In fact what you’re saying reminds me very much of the original “RoboCop” film.
      Either we maintain a belief in the value of people even if and when they do stoopid things; and we seek to share the Gospel with all its grace and power with them. Or we see people as things to be manipulated, of no worth except as “consumers”.
      The fact is that modern politicians (aided and abetted by the CofE) are bereft of any Christian integrity. They use symbols to sucker religious innocents into supporting them, and State benefits to corrrupt those who live for the moment.

  • Albert

    In North Korea, which has now held the top spot for 13 years continuously, it is illegal to be a Christian.

    Interesting to reflect that in a world in which there are so many Muslim countries and so much anti-Christian violence is perpetrated by Muslims, that the top slot is continuously taken by state atheism. This is incredible considering how few state atheist countries there are (two or three, I guess), that their big hitters (e.g. Stalinist USSR) have collapsed under the weight of their own stupidity and the competition from Muslims is so high.

    Tragic those these figures are, they are probably minute when compared with similar figures from only a few decades ago before the rise of such militant Islam and when state atheism would have ruled about a third of the population of the world.

  • IanCad

    Thanks so much for this Gillan.
    To concentrate only on the first recipient – Somalia – It appears to be the beneficiary of 107 millions of pounds wrung from the poor taxpayer.
    I would like to know how much of that sum actually goes to the needy in that benighted outpost. More importantly, how much of such largesse is spent in this country to fatten the bellies of those in the Department for Overseas Development.
    Then of course, the NGO’s both here and abroad.
    I smell corruption, or at the least, parasitism.

  • Phil R

    As Christians I don’t think we can decide who our neighbour is. We also cannot decide purely on the basis of self interest.

    Remember, there was nothing in it personally for the Samaritan, or indeed for his country.

    Whether we can afford to give aid when we borrow to do so is a different matter.

    Technically we don’t have any coins to give to the innkeeper unless we stop spending them elsewhere.

    But that is the heart of the matter surely. We love cuts that do not affect us personally and why should we have less (we tell ourselves) so those that hate us can have more.

    • Albert

      Aren’t there four issues:

      1. Are we funding the persecution of Christians?
      2. Given that some countries misuse their resources on things like persecution, are there needier countries?
      3. There was a policy announced some years ago about cutting aid to countries that persecute homosexuals. Why is the suffering of Christians less important? Are Christians less equal in the eyes of the Government?
      4. Might withdrawing funding actually help to change the policy of persecution?

      • Phil R

        Albert

        “Are Christians less equal in the eyes of the Government?”

        Absolutely, for the moment anyway.

        I was just concerned for the motivation behind the desire to cut aid.

        Did Jesus feed the all 5000 including those that were there to spy on him and wished him harm?

        • Albert

          You’re right to be concerned about the motivation, but surely it is wrong to support (indirectly or not) the persecution of Christians (or anyone)? The purpose of giving aid is to reduce suffering. So if by giving aid, we support persecution instead of missing an opportunity to put pressure on a government to stop persecution, we are surely caught on a contradiction.

          • Phil R

            What will work best then Albert?

            Loving the neighbour or leaaving him in his suffering?

            Otherwise we are saying that Jesus told us to be only a neighbour to those we like.

            Or love us back.

            Reply

          • Dominic Stockford

            It was the Good Samaritan who was the neighbour, not the injured man…

          • Phil R

            Note the Priest and the Levite did the sensible thing. The injured man was alive, the robbers were most likely still around. The sensible thing in the context we are discussing is of course, to only love those who love us and not fund those who want to hurt us.

            Jesus chose a Samaritan because they were hated. The teacher of the law could not even bring himself to say the name Samaritan he said the one who had mercy. Jesus could not have chosen any less popular or unlikely hero for his parable.

            The Samaritan’s love might be repaid by the man killing him next week next year etc when he recovers. So logic states that the Samaritan was wasting his money or at least being irresponsible.

            However the point was that the Samaritan’s love was unconditional.

            As ours must be.

            Because Jesus show us there is no such thing as conditional love.

      • Uncle Brian

        If your No. 4 has been found to work in practice, then in the specific case of Pakistan — the second largest beneficiary of British aid on Gillan’s list, just £1m behind Ethiopia — then a good start would be to give them an ultimatum: For every Christian persecuted under the savage “blasphemy” law, a proportional withholding of the current year’s budgeted aid. A formula could be worked out: for any death sentence, say £100m to be withheld, and in the case of prison sentences, say £100,000 per prisoner per day in jail. Does that sound reasonable to you, Albert?

        • Albert

          Excellent idea. Do you work for the Foreign Office?

          • Uncle Brian

            Not yet, Albert. In a little while, maybe, who knows! Provided you manage to pull the right strings on my behalf …

  • Graham Wood

    Many of the countries listed are predominately Moslem, including Pakistan and Yemen in particular, which means that is some measure British taxpayers are indirectly subsidising militant Islamic activities, in many cases against Christians as well as fellow Moslems.
    For those concerned as to the implications of such a policy please read the following information on this link. It is about the most comprehensive and informative coverage of how Islam operates and maintains its momentum that I have read, and I think deserves the widest circulation. Very chilling.
    http://islamsfatalflaw.blogspot.gr/

    • bluedog

      Thank you for the link, Mr Graham Wood. Most useful.

  • Dreadnaught

    Parliament is discussing this issue raised by Sarah Teather live on TV now.

  • sarky

    Bit disapointed in some of the comments. No matter how hard we think we have it, we are infinately better off than some of the people this aid is going to. Should we stop helping people because we are ideologically opposed to them? I don’t think so. There seems to be a paranoia sneaking into this countries phsyche, in that we think anyone not like us is out to get us. Surely you as christians must take ‘the good samaritan’ as a template for how we as a country should help others. Yes there are countries were christians are persecuted (and atheists) but there are also alot of people within these countries who need and rely on our help.
    The minute we start looking inwards and stop helping others out of fear, is the minute terrorists and persecutors win.

    • Albert

      The minute we start looking inwards and stop helping others out of fear, is the minute terrorists and persecutors win.

      I don’t want my money being forcibly taken from me, and used to support the persecution of my brother and sister Christians in a foreign country. That’s not about some kind of psychological issue of fear. It is about me being able to tell the difference between right and wrong.

      • Phil R

        Sarky is right Albert

        His is the Christian response not yours.

        • sarky

          Its the humane response. We must not get intothe game of judging people based on their governments, or are we to be judged on the actions of ours? ?

          • Linus

            And yet … the government of Uganda has broad popular support for its “Kill the Gays (or at least lock up and throw away the key)” bill.

            The People can sometimes be just as culpable as their leadership.

          • Phil R

            So we are back to only love the neighbour we like.

          • Linus

            I’m not a Christian. I’m not obliged to love anyone, let alone the neighbour who’s planning to kill or imprison me.

          • Phil R

            We are.

            That was my point

          • Linus

            Your point is taken, although it’s beyond me to understand why some Christians want to cut off all aid to these neighbours they claim to love so much.

            Isn’t this all the proof anyone needs that what Christians call “love” doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a genuine sentiment of affection? Isn’t it just a façade you erect in response to a specific commandment? I sense no love in many of the comments on this thread. Quite the reverse.

          • sarky

            Makes me laugh when the atheists are more christ like than the christians.

          • Phil R

            Jesus might just agree with you on this one.

          • Phil R

            To be fair “love your neighbour as yourself” is a very big ask.

            In my view love to be real love has to be unconditional.

            Otherwise love becomes a contract and is not love at all.

          • sarky

            Totally understand. However,I believe alot of that has something to do with a little thing called christianity.

          • dannybhoy

            “We must not get intothe game of judging people based on their governments…”
            That’s very noble, very humane Sarky, but it doesn’t work that way.
            Christians are not humanists. We think carefully about where we give our money because we want it to to get where it’s needed. There are many many instances of government representatives abusing their authority and stealing money to build lavish houses or whatever.

          • Phil R

            ” We think carefully about where we give our money because we want it to
            to get where it’s needed. There are many many instances of government
            representatives abusing their authority and stealing money to build
            lavish houses or whatever.”

            On that basis we can be secure in not giving to anybody.

          • dannybhoy

            No, we just gotta be wise, and get our government to reconsider what it’s doing with taxpayers’ money. Right now it’s a disgrace.

          • Phil R

            You know….

            It will always be a disgrace in some form or other.

            When you find the perfect country with the perfect government.

            Let me know and I will move there.

            And make it a lot less perfect.

          • dannybhoy

            You know….
            It still doesn’t negate the need to be wise when you’re giving money.

          • sarky

            Surely it is the intention with which the money was given that is important. Unfortunately it is very difficult to legislate for how that gift is ultimately used. However, this doesn’t mean we should stop giving.
            Much of the donations to large charities are spent on administration, again does that mean we should stop giving.

          • dannybhoy

            I’m not going around this particular mulberry bush again, but as regards the big institutions I think they’re being turned into ngo’s, extensions of the welfare state.
            I believe charity begins at home.
            Charity starts with friends, people you know who are in trouble, people who can’t repay, and not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing.
            When people will pledge to Band Aid but ignore the old and cold or let people be alone at Christmas time for example, something is wrong.

          • Phil R

            Correct.

            Otherwise we say e.g. that all Zimbabweans are evil (and so are not worthy of our help) because they have an evil bastard in charge.

        • Albert

          You seem very sure that you know what the Christian response is here. Are you the Pope?

          I think you are confusing two quite different things:

          1. Is it right to give to people even though their governments persecute their people?
          2. Is it right to give to a government which uses its resources to persecute their people?

          I think 1 is right, but 2 is the example we are discussing. There is nothing at all Christian or humane about that. But if you think there is, say why.

          • Phil R

            I say why because things are not black and white.

            I lived in an African countries that from my perspective did a lot of bad things but also I must admit did some at least good things.

            You are not trusting God Albert. You are trying to be him with your money.

          • Albert

            Things are not black and white – in which case, there is room for disagreement, in which case, your pontificating is inconsistent with your own position.

            I lived in an African countries that from my perspective did a lot of bad things but also I must admit did some at least good things.

            All countries will do some bad things. Persecution of Christians however, is in a very severe league. Moreover, I note that you are ignoring the second point I made: we can still give money to the needy, we just give it to countries where it gets through to the needy, rather than the persecutors. If we do that, we achieve three good things: 1. we support the needy, 2. in those countries that persecute our brothers and sisters we don’t support that persecution, 3. we provide reason for countries that do persecute to cease. None of these three things is properly achieved on your model. Choosing my model then, is not a lack of trust in God, it is about being able to act prudently and morally. There is no law against that, on the contrary, to choose the higher of two goods is surely what it means to love God with all your mind.

            Are there any circumstances in which you would not provide aid money to the government, on account of the fact that the government misuses its resources? Do you believe in sending aid to the North Korean government, for example?

          • Phil R

            ” Do you believe in sending aid to the North Korean government, for example”

            the mainly Christian South did just that on more than one occasion.

            Don’t forget the Samaritans were also considered Evil

          • Albert

            You didn’t answer the question about North Korea.

            I’m not suggesting the people are evil, so your comparison with the Samaritans fails.

            “we can still give money to the needy, we just give it to countries where it gets through to the needy, rather than the persecutors. ” That is a completely immoral position Albert.

            I can only assume you misread my comment. I said we should give to the needy not those who persecute others. You don’t seriously think that’s immoral do you?

            You are being God again

            I just wonder, with irony, if your position is sufficiently exalted for you to be able to make that sort of judgement.

          • Phil R

            You edited your own response

            This is what you actually said

            “we can still give money to the needy, we just give it to countries
            where it gets through to the needy, rather than the persecutors.”

            The Samaritan parable was unthinkable. They lived in a two tone world where Samaritans were always bad and they were content in their prejudice. They liked prejudice it made them believe they were superior. Jesus time and time again challenged this assumption.

            Back to the point and your question on N Korea type of Govts. Take another scenario. One day you hear about a girl who is 10 years old and is held as a sex slave. Lets assume that the police will do nothing. you are told you can buy the girl’s freedom for £1. You pray about it and feel compelled to act. But the official in charge of her passport wants £10000 to release it so she can escape to freedom. You have the spare money. What do you do?

            I know your answer. You will leave the girl in her misery and give the £10000 to some other organisation in another country that does not have to bribe officials to give girls like this their freedom.

          • Albert

            I didn’t edit my response, I simply expressed the point differently. I stand by the original point. Your point about the girl’s freedom fails. It’s not just that the official takes bribes, it’s that (to complete the comparison) he uses the bribe to enslave more girls. So yes, I don’t hand over the money, and give it to a country where I can hand over £10 000 and release 10 000 girls. Your position on the other hand seems to be that you would hand over the money to the corrupt official, release the girl, enslave a further 10 000 more while not releasing 9 999 girls in another country. In your mind, that makes you godly and me a man without faith. Except, I wonder if you still think that.

            So perhaps, you could give an answer to the question about North Korea, not a story which may or may not fit the picture.

          • Phil R

            “you could give an answer to the question about North Korea,”

            My reply was the majority Christian South Korea has on many occasions given food aid to the North. They have most to lose if it is turned into tanks and guns and used against them.

            But they still gave.

          • Albert

            Phil,

            It seems to me you think we are talking about whether one gives to those in need. That is not the conversation at all. We are talking about how one decides to give to those in need, given that one cannot give to everyone all that one might like. Does one give where it can do the most good? or does one give where it does little or no good, but actually does harm?

            There is nothing unChristian about doing the former, neither have you offered any argument to say that it is unChristian. Personally, I never give to causes where I know the money with will be misused. For example, I will never support children’s charities which provide abortions. That does not mean I am opposed to supporting children or children’s charities. It means I want my money to do good not evil (Amos 5.14).

          • CliveM

            Phil R

            To be honest I am in broad agreement with your general position. Aid should go to those who need it, irrespective of the type of Govt in power. My one quibble is you need also to have a reasonable certainty that it will get to those who need it and not corrupt officials.

            However I don’t think it necessary to denigrate someone else’s position simply because it is different from yours.

          • Phil R

            One night in Africa mile from anywhere, my son was dying. He needed medicine and there was none. We prayed and like a miracle some was found and he lived. At that point I would have happy have bribed a million officials for that medicine.

            I didn’t care.

            Why does Linus and Sarky get it and all the rest are silent?

            I think I don’t want to know the answer.

          • CliveM

            Well as I say, I agree with your general argument. In a similar situation I would do the same. As I think would all parents.

    • The Explorer

      phsyche about says it. Mixed up.

      • sarky

        Spell check and lack of proof reading. Sorry!

        • The Explorer

          No need to apologise. Marvellous word! WIsh I’d come up with it myself.

    • bluedog

      Sarky, some of the beneficiaries of British largesse have been endowed for almost seventy years. After how many years do we stop? One hundred? Two hundred? It seems pointless to continue making grants to India, where they say they don’t want them. But still we shovel out borrowed money. Sensible?

      • dannybhoy

        I think a lot of it is a sense of guilt. a kind of appeasement, a misplaced, ill thought out, humanistic programme of aid with no accountability, no clear goals.
        When one sees for example, people peeing or whatever into the water. Washing clothes, washing themselves or bits of machinery in a source of running water it makes you weep.
        Why aren’t these folk taught the basics of hygiene, and if they are but it doesn’t register, why keep on pouring in resources?

        • Phil R

          These people have different lives.

          Watch the film Blood Diamonds.

          It is how I remember some parts of Africa.

          Then think again

          • bluedog

            Great movie. Up there with Zulu.
            Sure they have different lives but isn’t that becoming their choice? At what point do they take responsibility, having demanded and been given independence? Say what you will about colonialism, but it was a comprehensive transfer of intellectual property at every level from the first world to the third world. As dannybhoy says, we still act out of guilt, a second rate emotion. Many, not all, third worlders still act as though they can ignore the IP transfer and continue to blame us for their problems. There comes a time when the problem is them, not us, and that’s my point about Pakistan, the most expensive legacy burden and the worst offender in terms of human rights. As Pakistan has a deep strategic alliance with China, directed at India, we really are wasting our time and should focus on India.

          • dannybhoy

            I was so impressed by the dignified way the Japanese rallied round after the tsunami of 2011.
            http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1761942/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-of-2011
            The conduct of the nations of our world reflect the beliefs that shaped them.
            (Some countries of course have moved away from those beliefs, like Europe and the US for example…. 🙂 )

          • dannybhoy

            I saw the film some years back. Sorry I’m being slow. Think again in what sense Phil?

          • Phil R

            Think of the world through their eyes.

            You may not see tomorrow. You do not plan for the future, you live today. Now. This moment.

            In a way it really is a fantastic feeling. You really live each day, each hour of your life.

            The Churches were full and I prayed at every opportunity.

            Do not judge them for their lives that they have little control over.

      • sarky

        We stop when the poor no longer need our help. With regards to india, the caste system ensures that there are people who still desperately require help.

        • bluedog

          Got it. Bring ’em all here, there’s plenty of room and administering the aid programme will be that much easier. Oh wait…

          • sarky

            Think you will find most don’t want to come here. They just want the opportunity to flourish in their own countries.

          • bluedog

            Well, in the case of India, they have made their feelings about British aid absolutely, categorically and explicitly, clear – they don’t want it. But still the white sahibs throw rupees into the tin as they walk past the beggars, so to speak. Why do we do it?

            You say, ‘They just want the opportunity to flourish in their own countries.’ So why don’t they (flourish)?

          • sarky

            Lets be clear, the Indian government has made their feelings clear. How about asking the people the money helps? People don’t flourish because of lack of opportunity, aid is put towards education programmes that open up those opportunities.
            you remind me of scrooge when asked for money, “are there not workhouses? ”

          • bluedog

            India achieved independence in 1947. It is not within the power of the British government to go over the heads of the democratically elected Indian government and deal directly with the Indian people. So when you say, ‘How about asking the people the money helps?’ you are suggesting a course of action that would probably result in the expulsion of the British High Commissioner. Surprised you can’t see that.

            Again, unless welcome, who are we to run the education programmes of other nations.

          • sarky

            We are not running them, we are resourcing them. Big difference.

          • sarky

            One further point, it is not within the power of the bible society, to go over the heads of the chinese government and hand out bibles to the Chinese people.

          • That’s all you know.

          • dannybhoy

            And personally I’m all for that.
            Respect other nations, trade with other nations, help in times of disaster.
            Don’t try imposing your values on them.
            Don’t try to make out that we’re all the same, thAT our religions are all the same and that any one country can allow a mixture of all of these things without problem..

    • Fair enough. UKIP policy is not to stop all aid, but to concentrate on water engineering, vaccinations etc.

      Me personally, I like to know where my aid money is going. As it happens some goes by standing order to Open Doors where I know it will help persecuted Christians. Some more goes to good secular charities like Medecins Sans Frontieres and Tree Aid, and the Bible Society and Tearfund get a look in. No doubt the money is not spent 100% perfectly and all of the people helped are sinners like me.

      But what are we doing giving money to corrupt governments? Many Brits deeply resent being forced to cough up with no choice over where it goes. A lot of our ‘aid’ is military-look at the situation (I love the Belfast way of pronouncing that –‘shityashun’) in Iraq where US trained troops cast away their weapons and now ISIS has them!!!!!!!!!

      It is right (assuming one believes in metaphysical concepts like absolute right and wrong) to aid the deserving poor, probably the undeserving poor too, but I don’t consent to aid corrupt, tribalist, nepotistic,, kleptocratic governments.

      • Phil R

        Quite right.

        Serves them right for living under corrupt, tribalist, nepotistic,, kleptocratic governments.

        Leave them in the road then?

  • Inspector General

    Well done Royinsouthwest, one’s sentiment entirely. To make it easier for Gillan, one suggests just two additional columns to his list. To wit, “State Policy of Persecution?” to which underneath may be added “Yes” or “No”. And “Significant muslim population?”, the field similarly occupied. That would give us the clear story.

    Now, this quite simple improvement seems innocuous enough but we know that it isn’t. It would be extraordinary that it had not occurred to Open Doors World Watch to furnish us with the information to be begin with. Of course, it would have occurred to them, but they decided against it. Presumably, they don’t want to get into the blame business directly. But then, if you know that Christians are being hounded by muslim neighbours, or terrorist groups or by secular governments, you must by all that is right stand up and say so. Be in the blame business, there’s no other way to avoid the criticism the Inspector is coming out with.

    But they haven’t and they are seemingly not. Perhaps it’s because we have an elephant in the room situation. Or perhaps it’s because we have in its UK CEO a compliant woman who will not rock the boat, and is content to fly around squawking “We’re doomed, doomed I tells ye” before disappearing into the undergrowth, all feathers intact.

    If you want a job done properly, get a man in. This applies to Prime Minister, Bishop or CEO, as well as at ground level, tradesmen. A real man that would be, not an academically clever mouse, effeminate type or homosexual.

    • bluedog

      ‘Perhaps it’s because we have an elephant in the room situation.’ And if not that it’s a slippery slope or a thin end of the wedge.

      • Inspector General

        Good man, Bluedog. Christian lives are being lost, but those who can help stop it will always have the time worn clichés to hand to suggest they can’t…

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan,
    Am I right to recall that there was a move to ban Aid to countries that were Homophobic? The number of individuals affected by such persecution must be infinitesimal in comparison to those Christians persecuted. Although the noise about it was great. I would certainly campaign for no Aid to countries that do not allow religious freedom.
    But than as His Grace says, is it the State or is it the people?
    As has been said time and time again on this Blog in the last few days, violence is the Islamic way of maintaining control, keeping it’s people and expansion of territory.

    • Inspector General

      For the countries concerned, it’s more of a “We’ll decide who to pamper here, not you”

    • carl jacobs

      Decisions like this …

      there was a move to ban Aid to countries that were Homophobic

      … are made on the basis of local politics. The issue is not the relative threat to homosexuals as opposed Christians in some country. The issue is that the protected group serves as a proxy to demonstrate the relative importance of that same group locally. Homosexuals are important. Christians are unimportant. The law will reflect that parsing.

    • Yes your recollection is right. see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15511081

  • Anton

    Tax-based overseas aid – taking money from the poor in a rich country and giving it to the rich in poor countries.

    • Phil R

      Tell me Anton

      Is it really your money?

      And

      What is your real motivation for saying that?

      love or greed?

      • Anton

        Phil, I pay taxes so some of it is my money (not that I made any such claim).

        It is a woeful measure of how statist most people’s thinking has become that the government has nationalised charity and the act is welcomed. The essence of charity is that it is voluntary, is it not? The legitimate job of the British government is to govern Britain, not give away British taxpayers’ money which has been taken involuntarily – and leaves us all less to be generous with. The only good reason for the government to have an overseas aid budget is as a slush fund for covert bribery in furtherance of British trade interests.

        • Phil R

          I think Jesus was asked the same question about paying taxes to a Government whose actions the Jews disapproved of.

          Hence the famous Python line “what have the Romans ever done for us”

          • Anton

            I pay it because it is levied on me and I am meant to be law-abiding, but i don’t have to like it and I am free to explain why it should not be levied. The only legitimate job of the British government is to govern Britain, not give away British taxpayers’ money – especially when it can’t balance its own books.

          • Phil R

            You do something that you presumably consider morally wrong because the Govt tells you to.

            So why are you law abiding Anton?

          • Anton

            Romans 13 is why.

          • Phil R

            OK then

            Go and shoot your neighbour and his family when you are told to do so,

          • Anton

            According to Luke 10, you might be my neighbour. But don’t worry, I’ll start pondering scenarios like that only as and when such a law goes through. Romans 13 must of course be taken with Acts 5:29.

          • Phil R

            ” I’ll start pondering scenarios like that only as and when such a law goes through”

            Good for you. Dodge the difficult issues till then…!

          • Anton

            You change the subject from whether the legitimate job of the British government is to govern Britain, not give away British taxpayers’ money which has been taken involuntarily; and then accuse me of dodging the difficult issues? Luke 6:42.

          • Phil R

            As I said. don’t pay taxes then if you believe it is immoral to give away a tiny percentage to help the poor of the world.

          • Anton

            I believe it is immoral for the government to give away taxpayers’ money for that purpose. If a taxpayer or a set of taxpayers *choose* to give away money to support the poor of the world, that is a deeply moral action, and one to be supported – by (among other things) reducing taxation, at least by this component of taxes.

            If people withheld tax from the government on a proportional basis after calculating which policies they approved of and disapproved of, even the smaller State which I prefer would be unable to function. That is why I pay my taxes for things I consider immoral – as you too have presumably done in the past.

          • Phil R

            OK so lets now stop worrying about the 1% and worry about instead what the Gov spends the 99% on

          • Anton

            Agreed, although it is the 1% to which the article that started this thread is devoted.

          • sarky

            Sod it, let them eat cake then

          • Anton

            Sarky, you suppose that if government aid is stopped then charity wouldn’t help. The usual mistake of the Left, that has nationalised even charity today.

          • sarky

            Charity would help. But the donations would be spread more thinly. But that’s ok because you could use your tax cut from ending foreign aid to donate more.

  • avi barzel

    Of possible interest: Canada will be accepting 10,000 Syrian refugee over the next 3 years, predominantly Christians and Yazidis. I expect a certain amount of indignant howling about favouritism and islamophobia from the usual quarters and suspects.

  • grutchyngfysch

    Aid is, of course, soft power – so I’m not surprised it has been ringfenced by the same government that has decimated the armed forces (but has shown no restraint in wanting to use them): they have to retain something for their foreign policy objectives. In that sense, it will never realistically be approached as a reward system for countries that “like us” but rather for leverage in getting those countries to hold positions supportive of our own in particular instances. I almost expect aid to be used more in countries that are liable to go bats*** insane if left untended – even if doing so perpetuates the problems in the long-term. I have wondered if even the much-talked about “aid against homophobia” policy wasn’t a tactical ploy directed towards Moscow.

    That doesn’t intrinsically undermine the point being made here – leverage produced by aid can still be measured against the kinds of objectives it is used for, of which preventing anti-Christian persecution is probably quite low down. To be fair, preventing anti-atheist persecution, or even preventing persecution of people who campaign for free speech doesn’t appear to be very high either. In fact it’s difficult to work out what sorts of moral imperatives underpin our foreign policy at all at times.

    The critical thing for us to note – which Jews have been learning for a lot longer – is don’t look to the West to save you when your enemies come for you.

    • dannybhoy

      I think a lot of our policies reflect our own confusion over who ‘we’ are, and what ‘we’ stand for. It’s a moral incoherence in which we support all kinds of human expressions of freedom of behaviour, pay lip service to duty, honour and integrity and attack belief systems such as Christianity for being judgemental and out of touch with the modern world.
      On the other hand we pay respect to more hardline faiths such as Islam because Islam bites back. So we deliberately don’t question what they believe, we don’t subject it to the same forensic criticism we do Christianity, and we ignore their attitudes to homosexuals for example> Yet we ourselves assert our human rights and personal freedoms by promoting that lifestyle and educate ever younger children to believe that all forms of sexual behaviour are to be celebrated..
      We are really confused!

  • Anton

    Civil servants just blew a billion pounds of our money in order to be sure of reaching Cameron’s target of sending 0.7% of tax revenue raised to govern Britain (ie, by the British government) somewhere else…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11349411/Civil-Servants-spent-extra-1billion-in-eight-weeks-to-hit-aid-target.html