by Peter Mullen
Even the drowsiest people recuperating from Christmas and New Year revels must have been jolted into wakefulness by the loud crash. Have you heard it yet? It’s the sound of the penny dropping – at last. I’m talking about the persecution of Christians throughout the world. Even Labour shadow ministers have mentioned it. Prince Charles – would be “defender of faiths” – has written about it. Most surprising of all – and welcome – the BBC has joined in, albeit very belatedly. Over Christmas there was an excellent and shocking report by File On Four which for once told a straight tale about the murderous persecution of Christians in half a dozen African states, from Somalia to Sudan, from Mali to Nigeria and from Libya to Egypt where Copts are in danger of being wiped out.
Moreover, the BBC report did not mince words when it came to placing the blame squarely where it belongs. Naturally, they used the word “Islamist” for the perpetrators which made me wonder whether the word “Islamist” is ever admitted to have some connection with “Islamic.” Of course it does. The atrocities taking place are religious persecution. This is a rare phenomenon for usually where there is sectarian strife – as there was in Bosnia in the 1990s and in Northern Ireland for forty years and continuing – the religious element masks the true causes of grievance which tend to be about land, resources and political freedom. But in much of Africa, in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, Christians are being slaughtered and dispossessed, their homes and churches burnt to the ground, merely because they are Christians.
It is a relief finally to see that the political correctness which has for so long obsessed the western media and caused them to play down the persecution of Christians has abated somewhat, allowing a clear picture of the horrors taking place to emerge at last. For so long we have disgracefully ignored the persecution of Christians for fear of offending Muslims. It calls to mind the old Fawlty Towers sketch and the injunction, “Don’t mention the war!” Not before time, Christian leaders have spoken about these persecutions. It would be good to think that the Archbishops and Bishops have at last adjourned their useless everlasting talking shop with “moderate Muslims” and given up their absurd insistence that terrorism and slaughter have nothing to do with Islam but are only the wicked deeds of a small number of “extremists.”
In his book Without Roots, the philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate says:
“Christianity is so consubstantial with the West that any surrender on its part would have devastating consequences.”
And he proceeds to ask the crucial question:
“Will the Church, the clergy and the faithful be able to and want to be purified of the relativism that has almost erased their identity and weakened their message and witness?”
Many times in the past – thank God – Christians rose up to defend the faith against its enemies: At Tours, Charles Martel saved northern Europe from Muslim conquest and Don John of Austria and the papal states triumphed at Lepanto. Three hundred years ago Muslim armies were at the gates of Vienna where they were resisted and finally turned back by Christian forces. We must pray and so nerve ourselves that such courage will not be found wanting in us to repel the threats we are facing today. But there is another feature, insidious and most worrying. This is best illustrated by citing historical precedent. When the barbarians were bent on sacking Rome, the emperor called into his private chambers his philosopher Sidonius and told him: “I know what I will do, Sidonius. I will close and fasten the gates of the City.” To which Sidonius replied, “Too late, Sir. There are too many of these enemies inside the gates already.” We must draw the moral from that precedent and not lapse back into our suicidal political correctness.
There is a terrible sense in which this persecution of Christians is beside the point. We can resist any number of external enemies, but once we lose our confidence in our own civilisation and way of life, then nothing on earth can save us from destruction. Former Archbishop Carey and Bishop Michael Nazir Ali have spoken fearlessly about this greater danger. But these courageous men are scorned by our liberal prelates, the Synod’s progressive bureaucrats and the cultured despisers of our religion. No one puts this more starkly than Pastor Wale Babatunde in his new book Great Men and Women who made Great Britain Great. He speaks prophetically about our national apostasy and the secular terrorism which seeks to obliterate Christian culture from our national life. This, he says, has been largely achieved by a ten points strategy:
1: Remove God and prayer from state education
2: Reduce parental authority over their children
3: Destroy the Judeo-Christian family structure
4: Make sex free and abortion universally available
5: Make divorce easy
6: Make homosexuality an alternative lifestyle
7: Use the mass media to enforce this new secular mindset
8: Create an interfaith movement
9: Debase art
10: Get governments to make all these laws and the churches to endorse the changes.
This was largely the agenda of the Frankfurt School of Marxist intellectuals who sought to “…undermine national institutions from within and so extinguish the spirit of Christianity in western man.”
Job done, I would say – and shamefully largely owing to the weakness and cowardice of the “liberal” hierarchy which rules throughout the church. But we have stoned all the prophets. We shall pay no more heed to Pastor Babatunde than that we paid to T.S. Eliot back in 1934 when he wrote in Choruses from the Rock:
“Men have left God not for other gods, they say, but for no god; and this has never happened before. The church disowned, the tower overthrown, the bells upturned, what have we to do but stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards in an age which advances progressively backwards?”
Babatunde’s book is published by RoperPenberthy. Read him!