Saturday, December 2, 2017

Post 58--Islamophobia and Christophobia

Islamophobia and Christophobia or "Christianophobia." I prefer the former simply because it is easier to write or pronounce. However, "Christophobia" and "Christianophobia" are, strictly speaking, not the same.  The one means "fear of Christ;" the other, "fear of Christianity" or "fear of Christians." That's all strictly speaking. I prefer and use "Christophobia" except when quoting.

They seem to be opposites, but that's not always the case.  There are adherents of other religions, including secularism, who either practice both of these phobias or eschew both even when they disagree with both Christianity and Islam. And then there are Christians who reject Islamophobia and Muslims who reject Christophobia. It's a mixed up world we live in.

There is this British organization called "BarnabasAid" that supports and helps defend Christians who are being persecuted, whether that persecution is by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or Secularists. Though British in origin and location of its international headquarters, it has branches in a number of other countries. If you've been reading this occasional blog, you may remember that I have referred to them before. Their website is < >.  They publish daily prayers for the persecuted church as well as a monthly that provides the background to many of the prayers.

It must be admitted that "Barnabas," as I will call them here, writes more about persecution perpetrated by Muslims than by anyone else. As a result, one might expect them to practice Islamophobia, but that is not the case.  At the end of this November they posted an article under the title "We need to tackle BOTH Muslimophobia AND Christianophobia." The article deals with the British situation. Please read and ponder:


Today the media is awash with stories about the extremist organisation Britain First, whose videos were retweeted by President Trump. Barnabas Aid wishes to put on record that we totally reject the ideology of this organisation and explain why it is so wrong.

Although the organisation “claims” to stand up for Britain’s Christian heritage, it is racist – having split off from the BNP not because it rejected the BNP’s racism, but because of corruption within the BNP. Any form of racism is completely contrary to the Bible. Britain First also engages in “street patrols” to try to enforce its ideology, a tactic similar to that used by some Islamists. Far from standing up for Britain’s heritage as it claims, in fact Britain First significantly undermines it.

Then the article goes on to quote one Elizabeth Ellis:

The UK was the first country in the world to begin to establish human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. There are seven important aspects of freedom of religion that have developed in the UK over the last five centuries:
Year achieved
to read the Bible in public
to interpret the Bible without government interference
of worship
to choose or change your faith or belief
to preach and try to convince others of the truth of your beliefs
to build churches, synagogues, mosques etc.
from being required to affirm a particular worldview or set of beliefs in order to hold a public sector job or stand for election
various “Test Acts” requiring this were abolished between 1719 and 1888
This heritage of freedom of religion spread out from Britain to countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and many others around the world. It is one of the most important parts of Britain’s heritage. However, Britain First have policies which significantly undermine this heritage of freedom. For example, they state that they wish to:
  • “Disbar followers of the Islamic ideology from holding public office” i.e. introduce a new “Test Act” (issue 7 in our list above).
  • “Introduce a comprehensive ban on the religion of ‘Islam’ within the United Kingdom. This ban will include the prohibition of…religious publications (such as the Quran, Hadiths), the operation of mosques, madrasas and ‘cultural centres’ and the public preaching and / or teaching of Islamic scriptures and doctrines” (issues 3,4,5,6 above).
  • “Anyone found to be promoting the ideology of Islam will be subject to deportation or imprisonment” (issue 5 above).

However, we also need to say that it is NOT just Britain First who are undermining the UK’s heritage of freedom of religion. There is increasing Christianophobia in the UK, coming from a variety of sources.  In the last few years we have seen a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer claim in court that, in the context of modern Britain, quoting from the King James Bible in public must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter; we have seen attempts to enforce government registration and Ofsted inspection of Sunday schools; and in the last general election we saw several major media outlets, including the BBC, Buzz Feed, The Daily Mirror, The Independent and The Spectator, either asking Christian candidates overtly theological questions or claiming that, because they held Biblical Christian beliefs such as believing in miracles or Christian marriage, they were “unfit” to hold public office. We need to tackle BOTH Muslimophobia AND Christianophobia.

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