Spotters Guide2
Christian Persecution

Targeted Aid for Oppressed Christians

There’s a neat new book out co-authored by Brian Binley MP, Dr Lee Rotherham and Lord Tebbit entitled A Spotter’s Guide to Sound Government Policies – “a platform for the next Government” to “put the (Conservative) party back on track”. It includes this important policy proposal for targeted aid for oppressed and persecuted Christians (with a gracious nod to His Grace):

Charity is a central part of the Muslim faith. Zakat, or alms giving, is one of the five pillars of faith. However, opinion is divided on its beneficiaries and priority (if not exclusivity, depending on the interpretation) is given to Muslims and their sympathisers. This explains why many Islamic charities give predominantly to Muslim countries. It’s also a marked difference with Christians that works to the latter’s credit. The Good Samaritan did not differentiate.

Christians today in many countries are being targeted and persecuted. Though it may be predominantly the reader’s likely co-religionaries, it is not just Christians who are subject to persecution, but members of other faiths and indeed non-believers too who also need help. More support should be given from the UK’s International Aid budget, including where it is needed providing funds for basic security provision. In certain cases, DfID aid might make more play of co-opting key religious leaders locally to act as intermediaries. If they can assist in planning and directing aid, some credit may be attributed to them that merits reciprocation and encourages wider reconciliation.

What is remarkable though is how dependent the provision of aid currently is on individual ministers. Civil servants are peculiarly nervous about supplying support to such victims. That is wrong: aid should go just as readily to oppressed Christians as to other minorities that are currently being helped by the FCO and DfID, such as in support of gay rights. Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights covers religious persecution too.

Of course there needs to be sensible management in this to ensure that no sense of a privileged religious minority closely associated with outsiders might develop. But with an aid budget of £10.6bn there’s room for subtle strategic support here.

Further reading: Christianophobia, Rupert Shortt, Civitas, 2012; and the ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ blog coverage of Canon Andrew White’s astonishing work in Iraq

There is much more that could be said on this, but in the FCO and DfID, brevity is often the soul of policy-making, and the Binley/Rotherham/Tebbit approach has much to commend it.

  • len

    Aid should be given to help Christians escape from their persecutors who are murdering raping and persecuting them without pity.Of course these are’ the bad Muslims’ who are not members of’ the religion of peace’ known to our government.

    IF the Conservatives want to get’ back on track ‘they need to repair the Judeo /Christians foundation of this once great country which DC and his team seem intent on destroying….

  • Christian aid should be given to all in need without a triage to establish what their faith might be.

  • The Inspector General

    The Inspector looked into British overseas aid some years
    ago. A very opaque area, and deliberately kept that way by the ministry
    concerned. Can’t blame them, as one suspects the ‘final’ amount of any aid given
    of an instance that actually reaches the desperate in some of these basket case
    countries can be as little as zero. This is often confirmed by the equipment of
    the countries armed forces used to keep their peasantry in order, all NATO
    standard, and why not they’ll say. Of course, they will have stuffed their back
    pockets with our money first off. Hence, some of their official residences can
    be among the most extravagant in the world, and the construction costs at the
    time would have measured as a percentage of the hapless country’s GDP.

    Anyway, one gave up in the end, life being too short to invest the time, coupled with a foreboding of disgusted outrage on discovering the failings of what should be a civilised county’s finest gesture, the assistance of the lesser peoples of the world. It doesn’t take much to set the Inspector off, I can tell you.

    There, that’s it really….

  • Martin

    Of course the problem if you give only to Christians is, who is to say who is a Christian.

    Sadly our aid budget seems more focussed on on gaining benefit for the UK than in helping.

    • The Inspector General

      Thankfully, it is not left to the likes of you to say who is a Christian…

      • CliveM

        Agreed. Why would you even ask the question?

        • Martin

          Clive

          Would you not want your minister to be a Christian, or, come to that, your spouse?

          • CliveM

            We are mot talking Spouse.

          • Martin

            Why not?

          • CliveM

            Because we are talking about aid and how it should be targeted.

          • Martin

            Not entirely, IG produced a sub thread.

      • Martin

        IG (grateful for the shortening)

        However the Bible makes it clear that it is our responsibility to discern who is a Christian.

        • The Inspector General

          Christ knows his own. One has great faith in Christ.

    • carl jacobs

      Martin

      Private donors parse down to that level. Gov’ts will simply look for some credible association with a traditional Christian church. That’s all you can reasonably expect them to do, and quite frankly that’s all you should want them to do. Gov’ts shouldn’t be in the business of making doctrinal distinctions. Especially in terms of aid.

      carl

  • CliveM

    It is easy to criticise how aid is given by this country. To much seems to be wasted, or goes to the wrong country. It also seems to end up lining the pockets of too many of the worlds unsavories. But I am proud that this country does give in a generous fashion, I may want us to show more riqour in how it is given, but I don’t want us to give less. Yes give it to Christians in need and persecuted and also to those who aren’t Christian who also need it. Let’s do what is right.

    Oh and the Inspector is right, their needs to be greater openness and accountability from the Govt on just how it is spent.

  • Malcolm Smith

    Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights does indeed cover religious persecution. What it doesn’t cover is gay “rights”. So if we are going to prioritise, it is obvious where to start.

  • len

    ‘A spotters guide to sound government policies.’…a work of fiction perhaps?