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.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.