Persecution of Christians Overseas

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:42 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton 2:42 pm, 18th July 2019

I do not know whether I should start by declaring an interest in that I am a Christian who has newly found faith, but it is really exciting to see so many Members of all parties in this House wanting to take part in this debate. It is a shame that we are limited to such a short time today, because there are so many MPs who want to get in and make their points.

First, I want to pay tribute to the Foreign Secretary for his work in bringing about this important report. There was that old adage in No. 10 Downing Street that “We don’t do God”, but that was in a previous Administration. Christians in this country have often thought that there was a sniffiness about Christianity. All too often since I have found faith, I have heard the words “Oh, they’re do-gooders”, and a Church of England vicar sent me an email about “Jesus freaks”. We seem to do down Christianity in this country somewhat, and it is important that the Foreign Secretary has put this front and centre of the work of the Foreign Office.

We are a multicultural and multi-faith society, and we should embrace and champion that, but when we see that 80% of all religious persecutions around the world are persecutions of Christians, it is important that we as a nation stand up and say that we will not accept this and are going to come to the aid of those Christians around the world. In the same way that we deplore it and speak out when the Rohingya are persecuted in Myanmar, the Yazidis in Iraq and the Uyghur Muslims in China, so we must, with all our might and all our voice, speak out in defence of Christians around the world.

It touched me recently when, at the church that I attend in Uttoxeter—the Renew Church—we had Open Doors come and present to us one Sunday. The scale at which Christian persecution around the world is taking place is scary, as is the speed at which it is increasing.