Christians in Britain are not persecuted, but they are around the world

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has criticised western Christians who claim they are persecuted in their own country.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has criticised western Christians who claim they are persecuted in their own country.  Williams said:

“When you’ve had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely. Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. ‘For goodness sake, grow up,’ I want to say.”

Last year a poll found that over two-thirds of Christians in the UK felt they were part of a persecuted minority. It must be an odd sort of persecution when the Head of State is the head of a Christian denomination and the British Broadcasting Corporation airs Songs of Praise.

Williams said that real persecution is “systematic brutality and often murderous hostility that means that every morning you wonder if you and your children are going to live through the day.” This is obviously not something that British Christians are experiencing.

The ‘British Christians are persecuted’ narrative is promoted, as you might expect, by newspapers like the Daily Mail. Headlines declare in typically understated fashion, “Cameron Accused of Betraying Christians” and “Minister in legal battle to STOP Christians being able to wear a cross to work.” My personal favourite was this Mail front cover.

The truth is that Christians are being severely and brutally persecuted, but not in the UK. Last year LFF writer Ed Jacobs called on the world to wake up to the persecution of Christians that is going on in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Turkey.

A recent report has estimated that about 100 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide. The study by non-denominational group Open Doors said that the three worst countries for Christians were North Korea, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The recent violence in Egypt has seen churches being burnt and Christians attacked.

Despite claims to the contrary British Christians are not being persecuted. We shouldn’t lose sight of the real persecution that millions of Christians and also members of other religions are actually experiencing worldwide.

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6 Responses to “Christians in Britain are not persecuted, but they are around the world”

  1. labman57

    Christian conservatives continually strive to impose their own religious, dogmatic mores onto the rest of society and then attempt to play the role of the maligned victim when their efforts are rebuffed.

    Sorry folks, you are the persecutors in this conflict, not the persecuted.

  2. Mat Bob Jeffery

    First, off, not all Christians are conservative (even the evangelical ones).

    Second, please don’t confuse the stupid bleatings of comfortable Christians in this country with the very real squalid conditions that many Christians go through elsewhere in the world. Not all Christians live a cushy middle class existance, and do face very real opposition.

  3. Mat Bob Jeffery

    and just one other point, at risk of contradicting myself – there are some Christians in this country who do face prejudice and discrimination. I know people who have been completely disowned by their families because they choose to be Christian. One of them, from an Islamic background has faced death threats.

    Of course, that is not the majority experience of Christians in the UK. But don’t tar everyone with the same brush.

  4. p a t r i c k

    I think Rowan Williams criticisim is spot on and very welcome.

    I am a gay man who grew up in Northern Ireland. Christians of various forms, Presbyterian, Anglican, Catholic and Free Presbyterian used many methods to block progressive legislation and the removal of descrimination in Nothern Ireland. Some Christians, notably the Free Presbyterians, used the media for anti-gay campaigns such as “Save Ulster from Sodomy”. These campaigns had the tacit support of Anglicans, Presbyterians and Catholics who did not wish to vocalise their prejudice so openly, but who wished to practice it by attempting to block anti-descriminatory legislation. This is also true of Christians in England who in the House of Lords along with others would use every opportunity to block anti-descrimination legislation coming to Northern Ireland.

    Mostly I would describe this as discrimination, however there were many examples of persecution in Northern Ireland, often by thugs who had been given the green light by the attitudes of Christians in the media. I was a victim of what could be described as persecution myself, when detained by the so-called forces of law and order and subjected to extreme verbal abuse. However my experience was minor compared with the experiences of others.

    There has never been any acknowledgment or apology for the crimes committed against LGBT people in Northern Ireland by those who either directly supported them or quietly looked the other way and voted against progressive legislation, like for example, the Anglican bishops in the House of Lords.

    During the debate in society and parliament concerning equality of marriage for gay people some Christians started claiming that they are being “persecuted”. Some started claiming that they were an oppressed group like the gay people of the 70s.

    I can’t see any similarity between my experience in Northern Ireland in the 70s and 80s and that of the Christians opposing equality of marriage today.

    I think many of these powerful Christians in the UK have found that they are not simply getting their own way in parliament, and this feeling, probably for the first time in their lives, of not having it all their own way has caused discomfiture for them. I think that mild unpleasantness they might be experiencing is so unusual for them that they feel, like spoilt children, that they are the victims of persecution.

  5. Mat Bob Jeffery

    spot on. Speaking as a Christian myself, I hate it when I hear about the prejudice that the LBGT community experiences from mainstream society, and the church has not been on the right side on this one.

    All the best to you, and if you have a partner, the best to him too! 🙂

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