Africa Christianity Ethics Politics Sex and sexuality

Letter to Cameron, Sturgeon, Miliband and Obama – Where is your Envoy for Christians?

Dear David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon, Ed Miliband and Barack Obama,

I am writing to you as leaders of the Western world, with a simple request. When are you going to appoint your first Christian rights envoy? I’m sure you must be aware of some of what is going on. The beheading of 21 Christians in Libya last week is just the latest gruesome video killing. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more going on that is unseen. The Centre for the study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians per year are killed simply for being Christian. 100,000!

Christians face official discrimination in 139 countries – that is over 75 per cent. In India Christians have been regularly murdered by extremist Hindu militias, in China the Communist Party has stepped up a programme of destroying churches and has banned Christians from being in government; in Iraq the number of Christians has been cut from 500,000 to less than 100,000; in Syria many Christians have been forced to flee their homes; in Nigeria the killing of Christians has become so routine that our it hardly registers on our media, unless there is some particularly gruesome aspect to it. And there is much, much more.

So I have a simple question. Why have you done nothing for the most persecuted people in the world? And it seems to me you propose to do nothing. And yet you have a responsibility. After all you decided to bomb Libya to get rid of Gaffadi, thus leaving a power vacuum that has resulted in the extremist Jihadists who beheaded the Egyptian Copts. You encouraged the Arab Spring in the naïve hope that the people of the Middle East would enter into a Western style liberal democracy if only they got rid of their dictators. And it is British and US government policy that is at least partially responsible for the decimation of the ancient Christian community in Iraq.

But it is not just the responsibility our governments have because of its policy. There is also something called basic humanitarianism. Why have you not offered to actually do anything? You shrug your shoulders and say ‘what could we do’? And yet I sense a little inconsistency here.

You have recently promised to lend your full support to the idea that Britain would make LGBT rights a central plank of British and American foreign policy. My understanding is that you are not only going to make this a central in international diplomacy, but you also want to link this to aid and to appoint a kind of ambassador for this purpose. First Minister, you have said that you want to appoint an LGBTI envoy (although I wonder why you left the Q and the A out, as these are apparently the latest necessary letters that need to be added to show how tolerant one is). President Obama you have said the same thing. Mr Miliband, not to be outdone, you have just appointed Lord Cashman as your LGBTI envoy for the Labour Party.

I have no doubt that you are sincere in your desire to advocate and fight for the rights of the 1 per cent of the population that are LGBTIQ – and please don’t misunderstand me. I too have written against the homophobia of Putin and the cruelty of the proposed Uganda ‘gay’ bill. I am not arguing that you should not seek to deal with these things. But there is also part of me that thinks that that is easy for you. It plays well at home, it gets you accolades in Pink News, nice editorials in the Guardian and New York Times, lets you congratulate yourself on how humanitarian and moral you are, and most of all, it costs you virtually nothing. It’s cheap populism. But for the third of the world’s population who are Christian you seem to have little time or money. You don’t want an envoy for them because that would be ‘discriminatory’. Sure, you think it is terrible what is happening and you will ‘like all right thinking people’ deplore what is going on. But will you actually do anything?

You could put pressure on ‘friendly’ nations who continue to discriminate against Christians, in the same way that you propose to put pressure on those who discriminate against homosexuals. Like Malaysia where for a Malay to become a Christian is a crime punishable by the State, or Saudi Arabia where to even have a Bible is punishable by flogging, or Pakistan where the way to get rid of a neighbour you don’t like is just to accuse them of blasphemy. You could refuse aid to countries where such discrimination is enshrined in law. And please, instead of just sending planes to drop bombs on people, who then get mad at the ‘Crusader’ planes and take it out on the poor Christian minorities on the ground, you could actually agree to take many more than the 50 Syrian refugees that Britain so far has accepted.

Prime Minister Cameron you claim that this is a Christian country – you do realise that turn the other cheek is an instruction for individual Christians, and not a manifesto for foreign policy? Mr Milliband, thanks for speaking out on this subject, can you now tell us what actions your government would take if elected? First Minister Sturgeon – can you indicate that you will set up a Scottish government envoy to argue against religious discrimination (of all sorts) and to ensure that the Scottish government will have nothing to do with those who persecute people because of their faith? President Obama, will you use the considerable power of the US to seek human rights for Christians (and other religious minorities as well)? Perhaps if you put as much energy into defending persecuted Christians, as your Secretary of State and wannabe successor does into promoting abortion throughout the world, it might make a difference?

My fear is not just that you are engaging in populist tokenism, but that you really are prepared to engage in this new Western Liberal Imperialism, where your default unthinking position is that it is self-evident that your values are the real absolute values of all civilised, right thinking people. It’s not just that you think democracy is good, or that corporate capitalism is the only economic system that can work, (you may be right but we are allowed to question?), but that you also believe that your liberal ethics are the absolutes that the entire world MUST follow. This results in you playing the dangerous game of moral equivalence based only on your own absolutist ethics. You equate those who behead people of a different faith with those who believe that homosexual marriage is wrong. And it is so hypocritical. You are prepared to sell bombs to those who kill/imprison people who become Christians, and yet deny bread to those who think that marriage should be between a man and a woman or question whether abortion really is good for the baby and mother’s health!

Meanwhile we do what we can for our persecuted brothers and sisters throughout the world. We pray. We send what aid we can. We would love to offer hospitality (if you would let our stupid immigration laws take account of what they are facing). And we long for the day when some sane Western politician somewhere will have the guts and gumption to stand up and say: “No, enough. We are not prepared to ditch the foundation and basis of our Western civilisation. And we are not prepared to fund, support and encourage those who kill in the name of their religion.”

And we pray for you as God’s servants, as it says in 1 Timothy 2: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – or kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

This article first appeared on Christian Today – where you can get the various links below….

The Press picked up on this – a couple of reports are here –


  1. This is an interesting point. As religion is a “protected characteristic” just as sexual orientation is according to the “British values” in accordance with the 2010 Equality Act then why not have a Christian envoy. For that matter, why not a Muslim envoy, a Jewish envoy, a Buddhist envoy etc.

    Ahhhhh but then it’s not a vote winner is it?

    Perhaps part of the issue is the reality that persecution of Christians is inevitable – the blood of the martyrs being the seed of the church and all. It’s not right, it’s not OK but the consolation every Christian has is that if they are hated for their identity with Christ, they will also share in his glory. That is a message of hope. Some reports from the middle east tell in a culture of “honour killings” how Christians who have been raped, killed and their churches burned are not retaliating. Doesn’t the world need a little more hope and the kind of approach these people are taking?

    Perhaps if the west would take a look at what it is doing with the bombing of the middel east, that might also help the plight of Christians on the ground. All that bombing and military involvement hasn’t helped so far has it?

  2. David

    God is your envoy. He permits the appalling suffering of these Christians because he either values the free will choices of their persecutors more highly, or he has a greater plan for them that we cannot know.

  3. David
    If you will then, he simply has a greater plan that we cannot know, but if God is content to let them suffer, why aren’t you?

    1. Again Jon, somewhat strange. I realise you are trying to be funny but its not really working. Strangely I don’t find people’s suffering a laughing matter. And neither does God. Who says God is ‘content’ to let people suffer? Your ‘logic’ falls apart in so many ways – not least because I am not God and therefore cannot know the consequences of each and every action.

  4. David

    No, I am not intending to be funny, in fact I find theodicies some of the least humorous and most deleterious endeavours in the history of human intellect.

    You claim that mankind’s fall is the cause of suffering in the world. Yet despite the utter incoherence of your rationalising biblical creation with naturalistic evolution, it is your omnipotent God’s decision to allow suffering.

    Irrespective of the free will choices of the ISIS butchers, God could intervene to save Christians being murdered but he chooses not to. In your view, he clearly has sufficient reason to do so, even though you don’t know what it is.

    1. Jon, So you were just trying to be clever. Sorry but you failed. If you are going to argue against a position and not just mock what does not suit you, then you need to understand what is being said. You may not like the Christian understanding of suffering and evil, but at least it is coherent, offers help and works….on the other hand the atheist view of ‘suck it up and see’ is useless!

  5. David

    So as a “coherent” deductive argument:

    1. An omnipotent God could prevent the murder of these Christians.

    2. For reasons we cannot know, he chooses not to.

    3. God’s omniscient actions are always correct and we should not act contrary to them.


    4. Although we cannot know why, we should not act in any way to prevent the death of these Christians.

    1. Sorry Jon….that is not a coherent deductive argument….4 does not follow from 3. We do not know what God knows and are not in the position to judge. We do know what he wants us to do (because he has told us) – protect the weak etc. As the Bible says, the secret things belong to the Lord our God, the revealed things belong to us….your trouble is that you think you are equal with God, have the ability to judge him and can act independently of him. Thats not logic…

  6. David

    No, you are quite wrong. We do not need to know what God knows, only that by virtue of his omniscience and omni-benevolence, his actions will always be correct.

    As a Christian, you are obligated to follow God’s actions and the argument is still valid.

    That God commands one thing, then does another is the failing of scripture, but in no way undermines the argument. It simply makes theism even more incoherent.

    1. Jon, As a Christian I am not obligated to follow Gods actions – mainly because I could not (ie. create the universe)….I am however obligated to follow his commands. Christianity is coherent – it is atheism that degenerates into an emotive incoherent faith based entirely upon human supremacy!

  7. David

    When you’re in a hole, stop digging! Why on earth would you not want to follow any of God’s actions that you could do, surely they couldn’t be wrong?

    That’s not trying to put you equal with him; it’s following his Holy example.

    Is there something about his “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude that you don’t like?

    His dubious ethics perhaps? Makes a bit of a mockery of him being the source of objective morality.

    1. Jon – its a rather strange hole – and I ain’t digging. Most of God’s actions we can’t do because we are not God….furthermore we don not have his knowledge. We are to act according to his law written in our hearts and the revelation of his will that he has given to us in his word. God does nothing unjust or wrong – I find it beyond arrogance that you think you can sit in judgement upon HIm..

  8. “Put to death men and women, children and infants”. Sounds pretty much like ISIS to me.
    Please tell me why this is not unjust or wrong – to order the murder of children for the sins of their forefathers.
    Would Jesus have said the same to Saul; yes or no?

    1. Jon – where do you get the idea of just and unjust from? Surely if human beings are just products of a materialistic environment then there is, as Dawkins says, ultimately no justice,good or evil in the universe….its just the rearranging of chemicals? It does depend what you mean by justice…

  9. David
    You said “God does nothing unjust”, so please tell me by your definition, why the murder of the Amalekite children was “just”.

    Again, would Jesus have called it “just”?

    1. Jon,

      I can’t answer your question until you tell me what justice is and answer my earlier question…feel free to do so. You are after all using the term justice as though it has some absolute meaning. Can you tell us what that meaning is and where it comes from?

  10. David

    My view of justice, morality or epistemology in general might be completely incoherent nonsense, but that is irrelevant; you are the person defending an affirmative position.

    If you make statements about God’s nature, I can rightly expect you to define what “just” means in the context of Christian theology. How does it permit the death of the Amalekite children? How were their actions unjust given your definition?

    Would Jesus have been able to ask Saul to act in the same “just” manner?

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