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Britain should withhold aid to countries that persecute Christians, a senior Conservative has said.
Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary, said that it was “unacceptable” for taxpayers’ money to go to regimes that do not “represent our values” and refused to tolerate other religions.
“A lot of people find it increasingly unacceptable as we look round the world and we see persecution of Christians, for example, or persecution of other religious minorities. They say, ‘Why should our money be given to regimes and governments who are extremely intolerant when it comes to other people’s religions?’”
The Times reported that he singled out Pakistan and Somalia as countries that fell short of British “ethical values”.
A number of MPs have spoken out for Christians in the Middle East after Prince Charles last month warned of a “crisis” of organised persecution in the region.
The Prince of Wales said at a reception for Middle Eastern Christian leaders at Clarence House that “Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants.”
Days later the shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, in an article in the Sunday Telegraph, accused British politicians of having “forsaken” the cause of Christians in the Middle East.
He praised the Conservative Minister for Faith and Communities, Baroness Warsi, and the DUP MP Jim Shannon, for speaking out in Parliament and elsewhere for the rights of Christian minorities.
by Liz Dodd for The Tablet
Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali warned that Britain risks becoming actively ‘anti-Christian’ at a book launch in London last night, 7 October.
Bishop Nazir-Ali made the comments during a speech at the launch of Wilberforce Publications, a new Christian publishing house seeking to equip Christians to “face the challenges of the secular world”.
Drawing on his own experience of persecution, both personally and as President of OXTRAD, Bishop Nazir-Ali said that persecution “always begins with marginalization and discrimination in the workplace and in public life”. He added that Britain is in danger of becoming not just “unchristian” but “anti-Christian” unless the growing marginalisation of Christian faith in Britain is addressed.
The launch event marked the release of two books: Christians in the Firing Line, written by Dr Richard Scott and Belief and the Nation, written by John Scriven.
Dr Scott was disciplined by the General Medical Council for talking to a patient about his faith. His motivation for writing the book was to make known the challenges he and other Christians have faced in the workplace for manifesting their faith.
In his book he examines thirteen cases of Christians who have been “warned, blacklisted, suspended or dismissed for refusing to compromise their biblical principles”.
In the foreword to Christians in the Firing Line, Bishop Nazir-Ali states:
“We are made immediately aware of the price to be paid and the cost involved whether it is loss of employment, the threat of being struck off the registers of professional bodies or just unpopularity in the community or the media.
“… In my experience, the exclusion from employment or participation in public life, which the people in these cases have tasted, as well as discrimination because of belief, which they have also experienced, is often the beginning of persecution.”
In Belief and the Nation, lawyer John Scriven applies Christian thought to some of the most pressing contemporary issues. He outlines a Christian perspective in areas as diverse as globalisation, debt, family and freedom of expression.
In her foreword to the book, Christian Legal Centre CEO Andrea Minichiello Williams writes:
“In recent decades, we have seen significant social and economic breakdown, although the full effects of past policies may not yet be apparent. Confidence in moral knowledge has fragmented and there is a crisis of authority in politics and in our institutions.
“… Despite the challenges of public policy in a complex world, a Christian vision can transform people, communities and the nation.”
A street preacher has been arrested in Wimbledon, London, for saying homosexuality is a sin.
Tony Miano, a former senior police officer from America, was taken away on Monday 1 July and locked in a cell, spending 7 hours in custody.
He was later released without charge, and has since said that “thought police” are now operating in Britain.
He said he was amazed that it was now possible “in the country that produced the Magna Carta” for people to be arrested for what they say.
Mr Miano had been preaching about “sexual immorality” from the Bible passage found in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.
A member of the public called the police to the scene, claiming to have heard a “homophobic”.
“The language I used was not homophobic, as I was not promoting fear or hatred of homosexuals.
“I began my message by assuring the people that mine was not a message of hate but of love.
“I was simply explaining a passage in the Bible which speaks of sexual immorality and that people should abstain from it (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12).
“I did not speak solely about homosexuality as a form of sexual immorality but also about any kind of sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman, as well as lustful thoughts.
“All of these are considered mainstream Christian positions and have been taught and believed by Christians for thousands of years.
“It was very distressing to be arrested and interrogated for openly expressing my deeply held Christian beliefs.”
While in custody, police quizzed Mr Miano in the presence of a solicitor provided by the Christian Legal Centre.
Mr Miano said: “As the questioning started it became apparent that the interrogation was about more than the incident that took place in the street but what I believed and how I think.
“I was being interrogated about my thoughts… that is the basic definition of thought police.
“It surprised me that here in the country that produced the Magna Carta that an otherwise law abiding person could lose his freedom because one person was offended by the content of my speech.”
At the end of the police interview, Mr Miano was asked whether he stood by his actions, and whether he would do it again.
He answered yes to both questions, and the police told his solicitor that his answer left them with no alternative but to seek a prosecution.
However, about an hour later, he was told he would be released without charge. He was let go at midnight.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, says Mr Miano’s arrest is warning of what may lay ahead if the Government passes its same sex marriage Bill.
She said: “If we continue on the current trajectory, Tony’s arrest will simply be the first of many.”
“It’s clear that there is already a clampdown on freedom of speech where people publicly express mainstream Christian views on sexual ethics.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called to Wimbledon Hill Road, SW19, at approximately 16.40 on Monday, July 1, following reports of a man speaking through a public address system who was alleged to have made homophobic comments.
“Officers attended and arrested the man, aged 49, on suspicion of offences under the Public Order Act.
“He was taken to a south-west London police station and spoken to by officers before being released with no further action later the same day.”