Sunday, August 03, 2014

Bishops demand Government offer asylum to Iraqi Christians

From Canon Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad: "We have just had terrible news that Baghdad International Airport has been shut down because of security risks. Without it we cannot go North to do the relief work or even leave the country. Please pray that we can get out."

As the Islamic State continues its programme of bloody executions and forced conversion, Canon White bears witness to the suffering: "You know I love to show photos but the photo I was sent today was the most awful I have ever seen. A family of 8 all shot through the face laying in a pool of blood with their Bible open on the couch. They would not convert it cost them there life. I thought of asking if anybody wanted to see the picture but it is just too awful to show to anybody. This is Iraq today. The only hope and consolation is that all these dear people are now all with Yeshua in Glory."

ISIS/Islamic State have released a 'promotional video' which is too, too awful to post here.

"We would be failing to fulfil our obligations were we not to offer sanctuary," says the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev'd David Walker. "Having intervened so recently and extensively in Iraq, we have, even more than other countries, a moral duty in the UK."

And so we have. But the emphasis given to his reasoning is awry. "Given the vast amounts of money that we spent on the war in Iraq", he explains, "the tiny cost of bringing some people fleeing for their lives to this country and allowing them to settle – and who, in due course, would be an asset to our society – would seem to be minuscule."

It's a shame that the Bishop's sense of "moral duty" appears to be based on superficial financial comparatives. But this is a report by The Observer, one of the Bishops' favoured media for communicating homilies of gravity. And perhaps, given the scale of the trauma being inflicted upon Iraq's Christians, it seems churlish to quibble with the inference that the reason HM Government has not hitherto offered asylum is due to "Tory cuts".

The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev'd Dr John Inge, makes an appeal to our Christian values: "I would be very disturbed if the government refused to do anything," he says. "The situation in Iraq is absolutely horrendous. It would sit very ill at ease with our values if nothing were to be offered. I am disappointed nothing has transpired so far."

As are very many of us. The burden has fallen largely on the Kurds, with a recent generous offer of asylum from France. But the rest of the EU is mute. And HM Government is more concerned with immigration curbs than acting justly and compassionately toward persecuted Christians in foreign lands.   

The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Rev'd Nick Baines, articulates our moral duty incisively: "We have a tradition of offering sanctuary to people who are oppressed, and it's part of the Christian heritage of this country and the law we have established that puts an obligation on us. We also have an obligation to at least raise with the government the possibility that we should be offering sanctuary to Christians in Iraq who have been effectively expelled under the threat of death. The government cannot remain silent and you cannot just issue words – you've got to put something behind that. If we can't offer sanctuary to these people, then who will? Not doing so would be tantamount to the betrayal of our moral and historical obligations."

It seems bizarre that David Cameron refuses to grant immediate asylum to Iraqi Christians fleeing the religious cleansing in Mosul. He waxes eloquently about his Christian faith and his faith in the Church of England, and on this matter his faith and his church ought to be gnawing at his conscience. The Bishop of Leeds is absolutely right: the Government "cannot remain silent and you cannot just issue words".

Wars and fighting are a product of the cravings that are at war within individuals (Js 4:1-3). We cannot stop them, and they will not cease until the Prince of Peace returns and the government rests upon His shoulder. In the meantime, it is incumbent upon Christians to accept suffering rather than inflict it. If that means we have to sell our swords to buy cloaks, or give away one of our coats to those who have none, then that is what we are commanded to do. It is our mission.

There is no point preaching the word or hearing it if we are not prepared to offer goodwill or share hospitality with widows and orphans. We were warned by Christ to prepare for a time of rejection and persecution. And he told us to pack our swords with our belongings, which is a vivid symbol that we can expect to encounter opposition. That time has now come for the Christians of Iraq and throughout vast swathes of the Arab and Muslim world.

As Bishop Nick says, we have a moral obligation to act. The offer of asylum is part of our Christian heritage which is the fons et origo of our law. These three bishops bear prophetic witness against the persecution and murder of our brothers and sisters in Iraq. They are challenging the Government with the authority that belongs to God, and by doing so they highlight the sharp boundary between the church and the world; between the community of Christ and the cult of secular politics. The liberal society is premised on freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of worship. These are our values. It is immoral that we are not prepared to help those with whom we share so much.


Blogger Dreadnaught said...

And what have we in place to stop their persecutors from coming here too?

3 August 2014 at 10:13  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Dreadnaught—Their persecutors are already here. Out of the frying pan…

3 August 2014 at 10:29  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 10:13

Excellent question!

What about no discrimination on grounds of religion?

I can see two sets of priorities in conflict with one another.

3 August 2014 at 10:34  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Johnny R @ 10:29

At least their persecutors aren't actually running the show.

At least, not officially.

Not yet.

3 August 2014 at 10:37  
Blogger Nick said...


I don't think it would be difficult to distinguish between the Christians and the Muslims (who are not seeking asylum). Just get them to say the Lord's prayer. Can't imagine any muslim doing that.

As to the main point, I agree we should give asylum to Iraqi Christians. It will be to this country's eternal shame if we sit back and let them be slughtered while not even trying to help them.

Opn Doors has a special appeal for Iraqi Christians. I keep saying it, but I urge anyone who cares to give and KEEP GIVING.

3 August 2014 at 10:45  
Blogger Nick said...

As to the photo Andrew White spoke of, I wonder if shock tactics might work, on some people at least. Perhaps Government Ministers should each be sent a copy?

3 August 2014 at 10:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...


Oh, I agree it would be easy to distinguish between the two. That's my point: PC says we shouldn't.

I was just thinking about the intellectual tangles PC gets itself into. eg

1. To let in Christians and not let in Muslims is to privilege one religion over another.

2. That Christians are being persecuted is an impossibility. Muslims are victims: and victims don't persecute.

When PC is in danger of an encounter with reality, PC escapes by burying its head in the sand.

3 August 2014 at 10:55  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

I fully agree. But how are we going to persuade a multicultural establishment to open the door preferentially to Christians? Wouldn't that entail allowing equal opportunity for rabid jihadists from war zones such as Gaza to settle as well?

Someone has got to have the courage to say that we don't want any more Muslims. They cause nothing but trouble and we are going to discriminate against them and they can whinge all they want.

But that someone isn't going to be Cameron, it would be too much of a U-turn after all his exhortation for the Brits to become more like Muslims.

3 August 2014 at 11:12  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Jolly Rottenbugger :-)

Quite right - its like opening the doors to European Jews in WW2, but just to be fair, making the same offer to any Nazis fleeing from the Russians.

Our Country is a Joke!

3 August 2014 at 11:32  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm fine with it in principle, afterall we have obligations towards refugees anyway, but where are we going to put them? We don't even have anything like enough houses for our own population. Surely somewhere like Canada would be better where there's more space. Or somewhere warm if they'll end up living in tents for years.

3 August 2014 at 11:35  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Dreadnaught @ 10:13 has identified the problem exactly.

In its current form, our culture has no answer to his question.

3 August 2014 at 11:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "In its current form, our culture has no answer to his question."

The UK's does after a fashion. If any of our citizens travel to Syria or similar places to fight then they risk prison on return.

3 August 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

You can't do that - it would be discriminatory and offend some Muslims.....

3 August 2014 at 11:45  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

What we could do is clear Lebanon of all Muslims and move all the Christians there - give them their own country, army and support just like Israel.

3 August 2014 at 11:48  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 11:45

That's a good point.

But if we have an obligation towards refugees, then why only Christians? What about a couple of million Palestinians?

After all, Britain helped to create the problem by issuing the Balfour Declaration while simultaneously making promises to the Arabs if they helped us against the Turks.

An even bigger cock up than our involvement in Iraq.

And if we have a responsibility because of Iraq...

3 August 2014 at 11:55  
Blogger Nick said...

Danj0 2014 11:35

I don't think anyone is suggesting we take all of them. France has already offered asylum, and with a bit of effort I bet other countries would help too. There are around 200 to 400 thousand Christians in Iraq, depending on what source you read. Spread around seveeral countries that's not a lot per nation. We seem to find room for all kinds of undesirables coming here, so all we need to do is turn them away to allow some genuine asylum seekers in.

3 August 2014 at 12:01  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

According to the Bishop of Stepney, the East End ‘has much to teach the rest of the country about how to live with’ religious diversity. Where better, then, to house the Iraqi Christians than in the East End, Britain’s official diversity-and-tolerance trailblazer? Ignore the Cassandras and Gilligans who suggest all is not sweetness and light down the Mile End Road.

3 August 2014 at 12:17  
Blogger The Explorer said...

We have obligations towards refugees, but only because we have chosen as a culture to do so.

One can see the element of choice if one considers the Palestinians in regard to the various Arab states.

Jordan excepted (and with restrictions) they don't take them in: even though they speak the same language.

3 August 2014 at 12:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "What about a couple of million Palestinians?"

I have nothing against Palestinians, per se, though they may be Muslims of sorts. However, I don't think we can take a couple of million.

3 August 2014 at 12:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nick: "I don't think anyone is suggesting we take all of them. France has already offered asylum, and with a bit of effort I bet other countries would help too. There are around 200 to 400 thousand Christians in Iraq, depending on what source you read."

Oh I agree. We already spread the logistics burden of refugees around many countries. As we should.

3 August 2014 at 12:24  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 12;22

How many Palestinians COULD we take, and by what criteria?

Your point about the logistics burden being spread around many countries is another good one.

That's what puzzling about the Arab countries. On a quota system, they could probably accommodate (or have accommodated in the past) all the Palestinians. Why don't they?

The Turks used to use the Bashi Bazouks: unskilled troops (with armed Turks behind them to prevent them from fleeing) who by their sheer numbers would wear down the enemy. Then the Turks would send in the Janissaries.

I wonder if the Palestinians are being used for exactly the same purpose: to wear down Israel before the professionals take over the assault?

3 August 2014 at 12:40  
Blogger Nick said...


The DT has done what it always does when comments start getting to the uncomfortable truth - it shuts the discussion down. Like the Police, they prefer to compromise truth and justice to avoid accusations of "racism".

You can still approve comments. The one with the most likes says "Enoch was right"

Yes, he was (knowingly or unknowingly) being prophetic. The situation is deteriorating rapidly, and I guess that the backlash on the streets is only just around the corner.

3 August 2014 at 12:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "How many Palestinians COULD we take, and by what criteria?"

Isn't the article about Iraq? Why are we suddenly talking about Palestinians now?

3 August 2014 at 12:51  
Blogger The Explorer said...

DanJ0 @ 12:51

Three reasons:

1. Because of Dreadnaught's initial question. The basis for taking in people from one religion and not another. (We were involved in Palestine, just as we were involved in Iraq.)

2. Your point about our duty to refugees. Why the West feels that obligation in a way that the Arab countries appear not to.

3. With Gaza so much in the news, an anticipation, I suppose, of an obvious objection. If we're taking in Iraqi refugees, why not Palestinians?

3 August 2014 at 13:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Harry: "What we could do is clear Lebanon of all Muslims and move all the Christians there - give them their own country, army and support just like Israel."

Lebanon took something 850K Syrians in as refugees earlier on in the year. I dunno if they're still there, Syria seems to have fallen off the news agenda. We'd probably be better paying Lebanon to take Christian Iraqis in for us.

3 August 2014 at 13:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "2. Your point about our duty to refugees. Why the West feels that obligation in a way that the Arab countries appear not to."

I believe Jordan took in half a million Syrian refugees.

3 August 2014 at 13:13  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Actually, it's more if I'm interpreting this correctly:

3 August 2014 at 13:16  
Blogger The Explorer said...


My issue is specific to the Palestinians: who have been around for a long time.

But, yes, another good point. Except for the Palestinians, it would dispose of my second argument.

3 August 2014 at 13:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Explorer: "1. Because of Dreadnaught's initial question. The basis for taking in people from one religion and not another. (We were involved in Palestine, just as we were involved in Iraq.)"

We take people as refugees from around the world, including Iran and Syria. I don't think selection by religion has anything to do with it. This issue here is that clearly there is ethnic cleansing of Iraqi Christians in Iraq and they need protection in a region which itself is in a crisis and dangerous to those Christians for being Christian.

3 August 2014 at 13:30  
Blogger The Explorer said...

There you are, Dreadnaught, your question has been answered.

3 August 2014 at 13:46  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

The good bishops are dreaming. No current Western gov will move a finger to help or even advocate specifically for Christians. The secularized public is indifferent, the mainstream Churches are fretting over Gaza and a score of picayune "social justice" issues, and the hostile media will deep-six any talk of special consideration for Christians while "excluding" Muslim refugees as "racist" with a few brief editorials. The Church went full-steam with its acceptance of nearly all secular values, fads and fashions and this is one of the deadly consequences of that choice.

3 August 2014 at 13:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This isn't just about Iraq and Gaza. Neither is it about Christian or Muslim. The world is full of bad things happening to victimized people. You don't have the capability to fix every humanitarian crisis by receiving the affected population. This suggestion sets a precedent that has no real bound.

Second, you can't just move 400,000 people. There is a huge logistics train involved. There is no land bridge. You would need boats. And supplies. And security. And infrastructure at both ends. It would most likely require a re-introduction of military forces into Iraq. And how would you identify the affected population?

You can't just say "Let's take in the refugees." Unless you go get them, they aren't coming in any significant numbers.

And, for the record, it is ridiculous to compare what's going on in Gaza to what is going on in Iraq.


3 August 2014 at 13:51  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

But the logistics are not an issue at this time, Carl; the inability of Christians to identify in a meaningful way with their coreligionists, regardless of their denominations and ethnicity and dare to insist on special obligations to and consideration for them as Israel does for all Jews wherever they are, is what is at the heart of this.

3 August 2014 at 14:01  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


What co-religionists in Europe?

What does this actually highlight? An unwillingness to protect them in place. It is far easier to help them stay than to try to get them to out. This has nothing to do with religion or suffering. It has to do with guilt over leaving.


3 August 2014 at 14:10  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

PS, if we must talk practicalities, declaring an automatic refugee status and special considerations for any Christian from the region would be significant step. Christians are making it to safe zones, such as Kirkuk, and at least a few airlifts would make the point. This isn't about logistics; it's about having the balls to declare a special, exclusive affinity and to weather the predictable intetnational and domestic outrage.

3 August 2014 at 14:19  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


So it's not actually about helping them. It's about making a point. In other words, it's about us.


3 August 2014 at 14:22  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

That's a different issue. The bishops are mewling politely about saving Christians with papacifist and what they think will pass as PC arguments, without having the gumption to ask their base to take sides. Yes, it's about taking sides to the benefit if your coreligionists, to the exclusion of all others. If the leadership and its congregations don't have the stomach for that fight, all else is a waste of time.

3 August 2014 at 14:25  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 13:51

Of course it's ridiculous to compare the situation in Gaza with the situation in Iraq.

That doesn't mean the comparison won't be made.

I remember back in the old days someone pontificating about South Africa who thought Mandela was a Zulu and Cape Coloureds were 'blacks'.

Since when did fact get in the way of an opinion?

3 August 2014 at 14:30  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


You want me to say "Look, Muslims are being butchered in Iraq. How tragic." Then you want me to say "Look, Christians are being butchered in Iraq. We must do something!" The former is no different than the latter. Why does the latter cry out for action? You are colliding with an internationalized form of the parable of the Good Samaritan. You want me to decide moral obligations based upon affinity. "Who is my neighbor? The one who is like me." But that isn't the right answer.


3 August 2014 at 14:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 14:25.

Absolutely spot on.

Taking sides for the benefit of your co-religionists. Yes.

That would work for a Christian country helping victimised fellow Christians.

But for a multi-faith multicultural country? We'd have to take in Shia and Sunni as well: each victimised by the other.

To declare just for Christians would be an impossibility: it would require a statement about the nature of the country.

3 August 2014 at 14:45  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Things to do. Off blog until some time tonight.

3 August 2014 at 14:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

A fair point. Perhaps mistakenly, I proceed from the assumption that there is (or should be) a special affinity and presumption of obligations among Christians as there is among Jews. Did not account for substantial differences in theology and inter-dominational fragmentation, indifference or even hostility.

3 August 2014 at 14:49  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Of course. That's why I think that the situation is perhaps hopeless. At the same time, the early Zionists went against the majority of the Jewish religious leadership which was hostile to the idea of a Jewish state, against Jewish secularists who objected to the particularism of a Jewish national revival and the Christian majorities which had determined that Jewry is a walking corpse abandoned by God. The point I'm perhaps trying to make is that at least someone should stand up and try because you never know.

3 August 2014 at 14:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Did not account for substantial differences in theology and inter-dominational fragmentation, indifference or even hostility.

I didn't deserve that from you.

A Christian is not a Jew. We do not see the world in the same way. It would make me a hypocrite to demand action to rescue only persecuted Christians.


3 August 2014 at 14:57  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...


There you are, Dreadnaught, your question has been answered.

Don't know what tree you think you're barking at but let me tell you right now you're just pissing on my leg - this OP is nothing to to with Gazans. I suggest you go back re-read the OP and my previous comments.

3 August 2014 at 15:03  
Blogger Chiff said...

We're all wrong. Apparently. The Indie has this about the previous ABC:

"Islam is rejuvenating “British values”, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has claimed while lambasting sections of the press for presenting Muslims as “un-British”."

What exactly does political Islam have to do with British values?

3 August 2014 at 15:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I did not direct this at you, Carl, but at Christianity in general. Neither is it a condemnation; just a which you appear to reinforce....that there are substantial theological differences between Christianity and Judaism. This is why I conceded...genuinely, not rhetorically....that I am probably wrong due to my own misunderstandings.

3 August 2014 at 15:13  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

This has nothing to do with religion or suffering. It has to do with guilt over leaving.

The UK is still has a constitution rooted in Christianity. The Monarch is still the Head of the Church of England - even an atheist let alone a curious sort of Christian, can't deny that fact.

Its over for Christians in Iraq. Iraq is over in Iraq. It has everything to do with religion and everything to do with a legacy of responsibility for this Country.

3 August 2014 at 15:17  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

It's all very well offering asylum in Britain to some of the Iraqi Christians, but, as others have said it wont necessarily be that safe for them here either. Then there are the practical problems of language, work, housing where will they live? We are unable to cope as it it without another wave of refugees.

What they really want is to preserve their culture that belongs in the region. They have been asking for many years now to be able to live in a safe haven of The Ninevah Plains. Some talks have taken place, but what needs to happen right now is the evacuation of all the Iraqi Christians under UN protection to the Plains and to create a Province.
David Cameron, the Yanks, the Iraqi government and the Church could effect this through the UN if they so chose.

3 August 2014 at 15:18  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


As to the main point, I agree we should give asylum to Iraqi Christians.

Once they arrive in France they'll be able to move to the UK if they want to, won't they?
Under EU rules? Surprisingly enough, François Hollande seems to have done something right for once.

3 August 2014 at 15:25  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

DanJo, Dreadnaught and Avi between them making an awful lot of sense. Bravo.

I will try to find the time to write to my MP to say that as we blxd up Iraq thisnis partly our fault andcwe should accept at least around 10,000 displaced Iraqi Christians.

A conrition of British citizenship should be some schools and othe public speaking work to educate our young people about the blessings of Islam.

Yes I know we've no room (still a ukipper) but we've no roomnfor the 250,000 net immigration per annum that's already happening. So stop that.

3 August 2014 at 15:31  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Avi Barzel

Christians are making it to safe zones, such as Kirkuk, and at least a few airlifts would make the point. This isn't about logistics; it's about having the balls to declare a special, exclusive affinity and to weather the predictable intetnational and domestic outrage.

Exactly right. That's it in a nutshell.

3 August 2014 at 15:33  
Blogger Philip said...

Even a tough immigration policy could allow Iraqi Christians in, as 1) they would surely relatively easily adapt to our culture (compared to many others our ruling elite have been all too keen to let in in the past?); and 2) being forced from their homes under the threat of death and their communities being systematically eliminated, are two clearly sufficient reasons to offer them the safety of asylum. But would the Government and the metropolitan lib-left ruling establishment would want more Christians who'd likely have traditionalist values?

Yes it would be the right moral thing to do to welcome Christians from the M East who are, to quote Bishop Nick Baines, “being expelled under the threat of death.”. On the other hand, hasn’t Mr Cameron said he’d welcome homosexuals from nations where homosexual practices are illegal? I wonder which group would Mr Cameron rather welcome here?

Two further points:

1) "The liberal society is premised on freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of worship. These are our values." But these are not the values of Mr Cameron and our ruling elite. At least as far as Christians are concerned, as shown by the B&Bs, Cakegate, evangelists arrested, and one can add the "equality" laws and “diversity” when these seem particularly targeted against Christians, show Mr Cameron and the rest of the lib-left ruling elite do not support these freedoms - certainly when they would apply to Christians.

2) I note "freedom of worship". That is not the same as freedom of religion. The former can be just freedom to worship in church buildings and behind private doors. The latter involves the freedom for Christians to live by their faith in every aspect of their lives, including in the "public square", and even when it clashes with current PC ideology.

Obviously these problems are miniscule compared to what Christians in Iraq are suffering, who should of course be given asylum and welcomed here.

3 August 2014 at 15:52  
Blogger Philip said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 August 2014 at 15:52  
Blogger seanrobsville said...

@ Uncle Brian
"Once they arrive in France they'll be able to move to the UK if they want to, won't they?
Under EU rules?"

And when the Front National get elected, so will every jihadist when he begins to feel uncomfortable about remaining in France.

3 August 2014 at 15:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Missed this one, Carl (14:22). Yes, it's about making a point and about the plural, regarding Christians. Even a symbolic gesture, if that's all that circumstances allow for, would be a huge historical and theological step. And it is about helping them, even if it's a small number. As things are, no one is helping the Christians, least of all the West-funded UN because the perception is that Christians nations don't care and wouldn't dare to.

3 August 2014 at 16:03  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Must say one likes Harry’s idea of moving them to the Lebanon and making that country a protectorate of the West. Carl, can we have the use of some of your aircraft carriers ?

3 August 2014 at 16:10  
Blogger Nick said...


Yes it's true he ssid that and that is one of the many reasons he thankfully resigned. Now he is stuck in his intellectual ivory tower with similar left wing liberal intellectuals. Hopefully he will be ignored from now on.

3 August 2014 at 16:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector, at least for the spectacle of seeing the USS Carl Vinson trying to steam up the Euphrates....

But seriously, Lebanon is a whole project on its own, a country bristling with entrenched jihadis armed to the teeth with advanced weapons thanks to tbe dominance of Muslims in its army and to the consciencious work of UNIFIL which promised to disarm Hizbollah . Marie's suggestion of a Nineveh Plains Christian province, perhaps within an independent Kurdistan would do a lot more to break the back of Islamism. Let a truncated, Iran-friendly and hopeless Iraq fend for itself.

3 August 2014 at 17:20  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

That's right Philip, take in a few to assuage the guilt, then forget about them eh! but what about the preservation of their culture in Iraq? There's nothing like a threat and war to speed things along.

The Nineveh Project Explained.

3 August 2014 at 17:56  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Avi,

As I'm a bit of a geek I've got 'the world guide to Aircraft Carriers and Battleships' (2 books, but let us not quibble) in my book list. So from what I can understand a single Nimitz class Carrier battle group has more aircraft than the whole Arab states put together.

The problem is that there is no political will for the current lame duck POTUS or the US or the West to involve themselves in another 'humanitarian' war like Bosnia or Kosovo or Libya. There simply isn't the will. Indeed this just reinforces why Israel has to exist and frankly I'm worried about her dependence on the US (but that's a different story).

As for logistics, I believe Israel in 1950-1952, who was practically a 'third world country' at the time & who did not have the military power that the Americans have in 2014, managed to airlift 130,000 Iraqi Jews to Israel in Operation Ezra and Nehemiah...

3 August 2014 at 17:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Hannah,

Not only is the latest Arab Brotherhood lover and monumental incompetent useless, but all previous attempts to assist the Muslim entities you mentioned were totally misguided and wastef. The mistaken premise was that everyone is like us, wants the same things and longs for Democracy. Meanwhile, the only viable Muslim group approximating such criteria has been and still is the Kurdish nation, mostly the Iraqi and Turkish bits thereof. Suppressing or eliminating 15,000 lunatic ISIS mujahedin is a doable project and telling the current Iraqi "government" to shut up or no dinner while propping up an independent Kurdish state is very doable and will yield good short and long term results. Israel has been quietly cooperating with the Kurds and Natanyahu has already signalled his gov's readiness to recognize an independent Kurdistan.

3 August 2014 at 18:14  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Nick (12:51)—A backlash being unpredictable in form and severity, I’ve been hoping for years that the BNP’s plan of assisted repatriation would gain ground. As the BNP is currently going backwards, however, my hopes now look even more hopeless. I expect we’ll pull through somehow but I hate having to rely on a backlash.

3 August 2014 at 18:37  
Blogger Len said...

The situation for Iraq's Christians is worse now than under Saddam Hussein that alone is a moral reason for America and the UK to act to rescue Christians who are being systematically butchered by ISIS.
The West cannot withdraw from the conflict raging in the middle east because it appears to be a situation which it cannot win but perhaps the West needs to approach the situation in a different manner? The West needs to be shown strong in supporting Israel and the victims of barbaric Islamic terrorist groups.

3 August 2014 at 19:17  
Blogger IanCad said...

No need for me to post after that Len.

We'll take up Original Sin another time.

3 August 2014 at 19:26  
Blogger Father David said...

I seem to recall that we didn't allow the last Tzar of Russia and his family into this country, all good Russian Orthodox Christians, and look what happened to those poor souls!

3 August 2014 at 19:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Re: Operation Ezra and Nehemiah

It kind of helps when:

1. You can accomplish the task over a more than a year.

2. The country from which the evacuees are departing agrees to cooperate.

3. You can fly chartered aircraft into working airports and simply load the planes.

4. The evacuees represent a distinct group that wants to leave while the broad mass of the remaining population wants to stay.


3 August 2014 at 19:56  
Blogger B flat said...

The Lebanon has long-standing problems of its own between religious groups, which have caused civil unrest and wars since the 1970's. Who are we, and what right do we have, to suggest resettlement of suffering or displaced people there? Is such resettlement not a major cause of the tensions in the Holy Land?
I thought educated readers here would have a maturer respect for the integrity and sovereignty of foreign nations than the last two US Presidents or Tony Blair and David Cameron have shown.

But the shameful silence of our own Government (and of the media) regarding the treatment of Christians in the Middle East needs to be exposed by public outcry.
Can Your Grace find the most effective organiser of a public petition? I am certain many if not most of your communicants would not only sign, but spread the word among their friends, acquiantances, parishioners, so that the number of people protesting may become too large to ignore, even by Mr Cameron.

3 August 2014 at 19:56  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Do none of you remember the disgraceful end of the Vietnam War? (No, I am not talking about President Carter pardoning all those gutless chicks**t draft dodgers.) Do you not remember the panicked crowds begging to be airlifted anywhere before the Communists arrived? Do you remember desperate women throwing their children over fence lines in hope the someone would put them on a plane? And the Americans on the scene were reduced to triaging what few they could take, knowing what would happen to those who would be left behind. That's the reality lurking behind this idea.

So what you want to do is create some kind of relief mission and tell a bunch of desperate people that you are only taking Christians. There are a lot of people looking to get out. "Sorry, only Christians. No, we have no room for you. I am afraid you'll have to stay. ... Well, perhaps some of the surrounding countries will help you. They are Muslim, aren't they?"

Think about what you are proposing.


3 August 2014 at 20:09  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

B Flat, Lebanon doesn't just have "long standing problems between religious groups"; it's an ugly mess which saw Muslims defeat and take-over a competent Christian-run country and turn it into another dysfunctional terrorist Islamic shit-hole. With Hezbollah in the South and entrenched in the government it's laughable to talk about a "mature respect" for nonexistent "integrity" and "sovereignity." The only reason I differ with the Inspector and side with the Nineveh-in-Kurdistan option is that it's far more doable and strategically more valuable at this time. Um, you're not fretting over Iraq's imaginary integrity, I hope?That one's already lost to ISIS and Iran, so might as well save worthwhile allies.

3 August 2014 at 20:13  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Carl,

All of the problems you have listed could be dealt with if there were the political will to do so; if it were 500,000 US citizens in Costa Rica facing a similar fate, you can bet the farm that the the US would be united to move heaven and hell to protect fellow Americans . As there is no political will and no desire to take on 500,000 refugees in the west, of a Christianity the west do not understand, these guys will be left to their fate.

3 August 2014 at 20:17  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Why would you have such a situation in Kirkuk or other Kurdish territories? And ISIS is not the Vietcong.

3 August 2014 at 20:17  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Avi,

I'd be happy with a Kurdistan. For a start that'd piss of the atrocious and vile leader of Turkey. So yes viv le Kurdistan!

3 August 2014 at 20:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


"You are colliding with an internationalized form of the parable of the Good Samaritan. You want me to decide moral obligations based upon affinity. "Who is my neighbor? The one who is like me." But that isn't the right answer."

Corrupted English aside and all logistical and political considerations, Jack fully concurs with this statement.

3 August 2014 at 20:29  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Happy Jack,

"Then the Emperor has already won". As obi Wan Kanobi once said...

3 August 2014 at 20:34  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


"All of the problems you have listed could be dealt with if there were the political will to do so; if it were 500,000 US citizens in Costa Rica .... "

A government has a direct responsibility to protect its citizens - that's what States are for. Christianity is a faith, not a nationality.

3 August 2014 at 20:34  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Happy Jack (& Carl Jacobs too),

I guess I am with Avi on this one. I don't get why you can sit back leave Christians to possible death or persecution. Jews have big differences and opinions, but I believe that if there were 500,000 Jews in Iraq about to be killed ,then ALL Jews would be behind Israel in rescuing them. So when I read about Christians being 'brothers sisters in Christ' it is presumably shallow and not meant at all?? OK, I guess none of this is my beef. I just don't get why you can let this go by, as Christians.

3 August 2014 at 20:41  
Blogger Roy said...

The idea that it would be discriminatory to admit Christian refugees is ridiculous. When Uganda Asians were being persecuted by Idi Amin we did not say it would be unfair to admit them rather than refugees from Vietnam, say.

We have allowed homosexuals to stay here to escape persecution in their own countries. Nobody has suggested that we should not do that unless we also admit all heterosexuals who might face persecution, such as a substantial proportion of the female population of the Middle East.

In any case, over the years we have admitted plenty of Muslim refugees - in case anyone has not noticed. I know some Baha'is who were admitted to Britain because they faced persecution from Moslems in their own countries.

Therefore there is no excuse for not admitting Christian refugees.

3 August 2014 at 20:43  
Blogger Roy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 August 2014 at 20:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


"Then the Emperor has already won". As obi Wan Kanobi once said...2

But he didn't, did he?

Obi-Wan also said: " ... you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

The Christian message is affinity with all who suffer, regardless of race or creed.

3 August 2014 at 20:43  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

And for the record, Jack believes we should offer asylum to refugees from war torn areas who face death and persecution.

3 August 2014 at 20:45  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


If there were 500,000 US citizens threatened in Costa Rica, the US military would be deployed to protect them - because that is what it is for. The US gov't has a responsibility to protect its citizens. These people in Iraq are not US citizens. They have no formal claim on the US gov't.

What you are attempting to do is create a moral obligation on the basis of group affinity. You want me to justify rescuing certain people from death because they share certain characteristic with me. Well ... why not just white people then? How is that different? I can't justify that kind of partiality. The circumstance requires impartiality. Because that is true, you are creating an impossibly broad moral obligation that cannot possibly be fulfilled. Unless that is you choose to intervene and install the rule of law. That's how you would show impartiality. Is that where people want to go? No, it isn't.

This stuff happens all over the world. Why did we suddenly notice this case? Because we feel responsible. Not enough to do what would be necessary. We wanted out. Enough to salve the conscience. Because that's the real problem.


3 August 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Happy Jack

"The Christian message is affinity with all who suffer, regardless of race or creed."

So the Iraqi Christians HAVE to suffer for you to have "affinity" with them? Sorry, as I said above, as much as I've tried over the years, I just don't "get it", as it were.

3 August 2014 at 20:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Why would I evacuate people from Kurdistan if they are protected from ISIS in Kurdistan?

If they aren't protected, then the Kurdish Muslims are also at risk. Why would I not evacuate them as well?


3 August 2014 at 20:56  
Blogger Len said...

What is becoming glaringly apparent is one of the main (if not the main) problem facing humanity is the advance of radical Islam.A milestone in the attack by Islam on the West must be the the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the twin Towers the London bus bombings and all the other outrages to numerous to mention.
The West then decided to try and stop the terrorists at source.This has clearly failed.Attempts at democracy in the Arab World have failed.
Any destabilization in the Arab world results in radical Islam taking control.
It seems that only the God of the Bible can restrain radical Islam...
Have we learned that lesson yet?..

3 August 2014 at 20:59  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Carl,

I take the point you are making and I don't want to argue with you (or Happy Jack for that matter). As I have just written above, I just cannot understand, in so much as both you and Happy Jack are very sincere and observant Christians, so why not the agitation to act on behalf of your brother and sister Christians?. I can sort of understand, but not fully. Perhaps the middle east Christians need to have a state for Christians. Perhaps that might help.

3 August 2014 at 21:02  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Its not about admitting persecuted Christians. It's about going to another country and choosing to save only Christians from among the persecuted hordes. Why only them?

The right answer is not: "Because we have a Christian heritage."


3 August 2014 at 21:06  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Jack at 20.43

In as far as 'the Christian message' can be summed up in a shortish phrase it is 'repent and believe the yourselves from this wicked generation...judgment is coming and only Jesus csn save you' (mash up of the 2 great Gospel presentations by Peter in Jerusalem Acts 2 and Paul in Athens in Acts 17.

But we should have some Christian exiles from Mosul since we felched their country and let ISIS in. And we should also block all further Muslim immigration to UK on the grounds of self preservation and common sense.

The Christian message and 'common sense' are not the same thing, although IMO if you lose the one, the other tends to follow.

Let the exiled Christians of Mosul come here and let them tell their story in public spaces. The government money currently going to fund Stonewall and Islamic activism could cover some of the cost.

3 August 2014 at 21:08  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ carl jacobs (14:40)—But that isn’t the right answer

In the utopias dreamt of by idealists, both religious and non-religious, ‘Who is my neighbour? The one who is like me’ is not the right answer. But in the real world inhabited by flawed human beings it is indisputably the right answer. White flight and the spread of black and Muslim ghettos attest it is the right answer, as does the immense survey conducted by Robert Putnam:

    In the most diverse communities, neighbours trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.
    In more diverse communities, there were neither great bonds formed across group lines nor heightened ethnic tensions, but a general civic malaise. And in perhaps the most surprising result of all, levels of trust were not only lower between groups in more diverse settings, but even among members of the same group.

3 August 2014 at 21:10  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Ironically enough, it is because I am a Christian that I am making this argument. My instincts, my gut, my feelings - they all agree with you. But I can't get around the responsibility this concept would impose on those who would implement it. You would be requiring them to metaphorically shut the door of the plane in the face of a desperate woman and say to her "You go die - you and your children - because you are not Christian."

So one will say to me "So you will let them all die instead of saving a few?" Well, if that is the concern then send men with guns and authorize them to kill the murderers and install law. "Well, no one wants to do that."

In a very real sense, this is a guilty reaction to the departure from Iraq.


3 August 2014 at 21:18  
Blogger Roy said...

I am glad some of the people commenting here have spoken up for the Kurds. It is a tragedy that they were not given a state of their own after World War I, and although the problems of the Palestinians over the past couple of generations have also been tragic it is strange how the Palestinians always get many times the media coverage of the Kurds.

The Kurds are mainly Moslems but if all Moslems were like them the Middle East would be a much better place. I'm glad that relations between Israel and the Kurds seem OK. Perhaps the Palestinians could learn some lessons from the Kurds. If they did the chances of reconciliation between Israelis and Arabs would be much improved.

Some of the comments have suggested making Lebanon a protectorate. The idea is appealing. Unfortunately it would only work if the West intervened with overwhelming force to drive out Hezbollah. That would require a huge, long term commitment and after what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan no Western politicians would have the appetite for it.

The only leader who might give the idea more than a moment's thought is not a Western one. Putin would probably recognise the attractions of the idea, but he would probably be realistic enough to think that intervention in Lebanon would be far too costly.

3 August 2014 at 21:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Rambling Steve

Happy Jack was referencing Our Lord's answer to the question: "Who is my neighbour?"

Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment in the Law and responded:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”"

Happy Jack was referencing Our Lord's answer to the follow-up question: "Who is my neighbour?"

3 August 2014 at 21:38  
Blogger The Explorer said...


All the countries of the Middle East make my head swim, and there are so many sub groups that I always lose track of who's what.

If Muslims were simply killing Christians it would be more straightforward.

But because Sunni and Shia are killing each other, and (am I right?) both groups are killing Kurds who, although Muslim, are a different ethnicity then Christians are not the only potential refugees.

That, I think, (and they can correct me if I'm wrong) is what Carl and Happy Jack are getting at. The Christian commandment is to love your neighbour, not just other Christians.

So if you can't take everybody in need, is it better to take nobody?

It's a bit like the aid problem: give food, or build up skills to create dams, increase crop supply and generate self-sufficiency?

So take refugees, or work towards an independent Kurdistan with a Christian province within it? (Not that that helps whoever loses out in the Sunni/Shia struggle for supremacy.)

3 August 2014 at 21:39  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


"So if you can't take everybody in need, is it better to take nobody?"

You summed up Jack's view about a Christian's responsibility to meeting need regardless of some presupposed affinity or affinity based on a shared faith.

That said, Jack does not know what the best humanitarian route to assist this particular persecuted group of Christians is - or those Muslims being slaughtered.

It's not a question of "taking nobody"; more a question of what can realistically be done for the best? And, frankly, Jack just doesn't know.

3 August 2014 at 21:57  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Jack just doesn't know.

Neither does The Explorer.

3 August 2014 at 22:00  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Re 20:56

Because, Carl, They would still live as minorities among Muslims in an unstable part of the world. Again, this presupposes a practical and real commitment to mutual assistance among Christians and a natural and justifiable preference for each other. As I said before, I'm ready to be corrected on this assumption, but so far no other Christians have stepped forward to claim that preference for their own is irrelevant or wrong.

3 August 2014 at 22:18  
Blogger David Hussell said...

I am coming late to this discussion, and do not pretend to know the answers.

But firstly, it strikes me forcefully that the political establishment's culpability and guilt over the mistaken invasion of Iraq, on a false pretext, WMD, which led by winding roads to this mess, makes it very attractive to them to look the other way.

Secondly although it is undeniable that this violence is in Iraq, only one way, all the liberal assumptions about faith equalities etc, renders that same establishment impotent in the face of these outrages. So the paradigm set by the political establishment from the UN and the EU downwards, simply does not work in these circumstances. In plain English this should not happen, so it isn't happening, so let's say nothing.

Thirdly, as Carl Jacobs said first, the logistics of moving, around half a million people are horrendous, and in practical terms impossible, without a comprehensive co-ordinated inter-national effort impossible in the timeframe.

Assistance to help the Kurds cope in the short term, followed by further help for the refugees to travel onto to a range of friendly recipient countries may be best ? But of course that entails the dispersal, and effectively the ending or diminishment, of their traditions and culture. The only options are either bad or even worse ones.

3 August 2014 at 22:19  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Explorer,

Yeah I get what you & others are saying very well. You've clarified a few things for me here. I'll take time off this blog for a bit....

3 August 2014 at 22:33  
Blogger Preacher said...

As I understand it, the so called Christian Western nations are now actively turning their backs on their Christian brethren who are prepared to be martyred for their faith, while we sing choruses & dance in our Churches on Sundays.
We pray for God to send revival to our nations but ignore the one who said "What you do to one of the least of these, you do unto me".

We can pontificate & politicise as much as we like, but this an issue that concerns every one of us who claim to be Christians.
We must take in some of these people as France & Kurdistan are doing, What about the U.S? have you brothers no room? what does it say on the statue of Liberty about the poor & the persecuted? & the rest of the Christian nations, is there still no room at the inn?.
Lot gave protection to men who he feared would be persecuted & abused. He "Entertained Angels unaware".
Perhaps the Lord is testing the Church to see our reaction to those who can't help themselves.
Would we stand back & watch our own family slaughtered in front of us? or perhaps the right response is to 'wash our hands of innocent blood' as another PC person did, demonstrating his weakness to stand for innocence & truth in the face of oppression.
Maybe the time of testing has come & we must decide & show where we stand. Will God bless those who ignore the plight of His & our people?. will we stand in the dock or stand in the gap? our own integrity, love & care are on trial. Don't let us fail now.

3 August 2014 at 22:39  
Blogger Shadrach said...

Your Grace,
It has been said before, Cameron's Christianity, is very questionable. Why has he not offered sanctuary? Because he does not want to offend the UK Muslims in a run up to the election.

What I saw on the video was horrendous. It could be said to be the result of the war by Bush and Blair so we have an inherited responsibility. They all voted for it, not just Labour.

Come next May we will see what this country thinks of Cameron and his superficiality.

3 August 2014 at 22:47  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl (21:18), you are throwing a false dilemma at Miss Hannah's feet. The scenario is not as melodramatic and hyperbolic as you present it. Certainly efforts must be made to take victims of all backgrounds to safety, but she and I assumed that Christians would prefer to bring other Christians into their "homes". That an infusion of hundreds of thousands of fellow Christians would be a welcome fortification to a struggling Christianity in the West. If you see no difference between bringing in masses of Christians and masses of Muslims, please specify whether you want me to bring flowers or a donation to Christianity's funeral.

3 August 2014 at 22:47  
Blogger Shmu'el said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 August 2014 at 22:56  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Hannah (20:41)—I just don’t get why you can let this go by, as Christians

You don’t get it because you’re of a different culture, one where Jew is a race as well as a religion, where Jews have a very strong group identity and where the number of Jews is small so any potential loss is felt more keenly. Deep concern for your fellow Jew is your default setting; other races and religions have different default settings.

3 August 2014 at 22:56  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

This is the first good thing I've heard from a Bishop in a very long time. If it is possible to find these poor people decent support and shelter in Kurdistan, that might be preferable, but if it's not then certainly we should be prepared to share the burden with France, Canada, USA and/or anyone else prepared to do something.

BTW, hasn't it gone awfully quiet about Syria and Iraq on the news? You would think that nothing is going on there. Also I wrote both to the Foreign Secretary and to my M.P. about the situation for Iraqi Christians, and I haven't had a reply from either of them.

3 August 2014 at 23:06  
Blogger Shmu'el said...

Avi Barzel,

" please specify whether you want me to bring flowers or a donation to Christianity's funeral"

I think it will be flowers. Who are you going to be making the donation to anyway?

3 August 2014 at 23:10  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Avi @ 22:47

Carl has indeed made the point that everyone is a Christian's neighbour and not just another Christian.

That would be an issue if Christians were making the political decisions, but - by and large - they are not.

By and large, the decisions are made by the politically correct (one of the reasons that Christianity is struggling).

Three obvious issues flow from this.

1. Since all religions are equal, one lot of refugees cannot be privileged over another lot.

2. Since (as David Hussell pointed out) it should not be happening, it isn't happening. (Even if it is.)

3. Who wants an infusion of Christians when Christianity is the religion PC disapproves of above all others? (Even though all religions are equal.)

3 August 2014 at 23:14  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You don't get it either, JR. We are not a race, religiously we are fragmented as much as anyone else, we form very different cultures and subcultures with diverse outlooks, customs and languages and there is no "default setting" for in-group identity or concern. The only "default condition" is that when push comes to shove, most of us or at least some of us fear God and we cleave to his commandment. Those who don't, you don't know about because they signed themselves out of our history.

3 August 2014 at 23:19  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Johnny,

For once, from the arguments presented to me here, I can only conclude that you are correct, unless anyone can argue otherwise. Poor Christianity. I can help Avi with the flower arrangements...

3 August 2014 at 23:21  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hi Johnny,

Oh, alas for you Avi just did argue otherwise!! (:

3 August 2014 at 23:23  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Pardon my naïvity...or monumental stupidity...but are you and Carl pulling our leg?

3 August 2014 at 23:25  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Shmuel,

To a charity of their choice, of course. Whales, seals and panda bears appear to be very important.

3 August 2014 at 23:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Jewish Cyber Tzahal

Correct Happy Jack if he is wrong, he often is, but isn't Jesus' summary of the Law and Prophets consistent with how Judaism is presented?

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and greatest commandment.

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”"

Or does Leviticus 19:18 have a more restrictive meaning?

"You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people; you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord."

So - just who do you see as your neighbour and how will you love your neighbour as yourself?

3 August 2014 at 23:41  
Blogger Shmu'el said...


"To a charity of their choice, of course. Whales, seals and panda bears appear to be very important."

LOL!You've left out the lovable Penguins, 'cause the ice sheet is melting!

Don't worry, I'm sure that we can get you appointed as Chief sustainability & alternative fuel Consultant at the newly created Department of Climate Change & Palestinian rights , working directly to one of my all-time-heroes soon to be Prime Minister Ed Miliband, with a juicy, taxpayer-funded salary, a ring-fenced pension and a bio-fuel-powered Rolls Royce... bet ya love that??

3 August 2014 at 23:46  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


No I am not pulling your leg.

Look at it this way. Assume South Africa goes the way of bloodshed and tribal/racial war. Who is going to stand and say "Let's get the white people out. They are European like us. We can identify with them." That is an exact analogy to this argument. Is that right? JR would sure as hell say so. Should I?

In a case like this, I do not have a greater obligation to people who are "like me." Could the US take in some refugees to make a point? Sure, but it would be tokenism and the point we would be making would be made to ourselves.

If you want something done, then advocate for something that is effective. Yell for someone to send in an army and kill the bad guys. But don't tell me you are going to send in an army to separate people into the fortunate Christian and the unfortunate non-Christian so that you can take the fortunate Christian to safety. Because that is what I hear people advocating. And whether they want to believe it or not, that is what it would take.

Don't tell me such an act is moral. Don't tell me such an act is righteous. Don't tell me to prefer men of my own faith because I should consider their lives more important.


3 August 2014 at 23:55  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Happy Jack,

The neighbour is the fellow Jew, the next in line is the peaceful non-Jewish stranger who is to be afforded protection and justice, to be followed by proper conduct towards all nations who live in peace with Israel and observe the Noahide laws. I would imagine the Gospels would have spent a paragraph or two in explanations if the intent was to depart from the traditional understanding.

3 August 2014 at 23:56  
Blogger Shmu'el said...

Happy Jack,

Hannah and Avi have been arguing for protection of Christians. I simply tried to explain to Hannah her "confusion". None of the Jewish commentators have argued against helping Iraqi Christians. Christians have been arguing against helping Iraqi Christians for various reasons. As you can read from the above thread.

3 August 2014 at 23:56  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

I'm not telling you anything, Carl, but I'm not buying the notion that your position is morally superior either. The South Africa race-based analogy is a straw man. A better analogy would be family membership or citizenship. I'm sure there are kids needier than yours who deserve your love and resources more than yours, and when Americans line up to be airlifted home in times of trouble you need to remind them to wait patiently in line before all the others who happened to be around and got into the queue. This may not be of relevance to you, but as a Calvinist you are religiously a descendant of the Puritans who gathered among their their own kind for assistance and protection to the exclusion of others. Perhaps this troubles you as well?

4 August 2014 at 00:06  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Christians have been arguing against helping Iraqi Christians for various reasons

I wrote off your earlier comment as the product of distemper. But you can at least accurately represent me. I am arguing against the idea of exclusively helping Christians. There as lots more people in Iraq who need protection from ISIS than just Christians.


4 August 2014 at 00:14  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thanks, Shmuel, I'll take the Rolls and pour cooking oil into it if need be, but I'll pass on the rest of the stuff...sounds like work.

4 August 2014 at 00:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, no one argued for exclusive help to Christians while leaving others to rot. Speaking for myself, I argued for Christians giving preferential treatment to Christians through immigration to Christian countries. If that is unacceptable to you, go about as you were. Enough people are pissed off at Jews as is and getting skewered for suggesting that Christians should make an extra effort to help Christians is as comically absurd as anything Orwell came up with.

4 August 2014 at 00:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


What? You mean race is less of an obvious tie than religion? To whom am I closer related by blood - the Boers or the Iraqis? If you want to assert an analogy of 'family' then I have as good a case for rescuing white South Africans. No, it's not a strawnan. It's directly on point.

There is no analogy of 'citizenship.' The Iraqis are not US citizens in any way. There is no common obligation based upon shared existence in a nation. The US isn't responsible for people outside its borders.

That leaves the obligation toward a brother in Christ. But you would place me in the lifeboat sifting through the survivors inquiring "Christian?" before pulling them into the boat. That is not a proper exercise of that obligation.


4 August 2014 at 00:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


no one argued for exclusive help to Christians while leaving others to rot

No, but that is the practical impact of the policy.


4 August 2014 at 00:32  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


"The neighbour is the fellow Jew, the next in line is the peaceful non-Jewish stranger who is to be afforded protection and justice, to be followed by proper conduct towards all nations who live in peace with Israel and observe the Noahide laws."

Well, that rather differs from your response to JR:

That's where Christians and Jews differ, then. So, on that basis, when will Israel open its borders to the Iraqi Christians?

And does it not contradict your earlier answer to JR?

"We are not a race, religiously we are fragmented as much as anyone else, we form very different cultures and subcultures with diverse outlooks, customs and languages and there is no "default setting" for in-group identity or concern."

Now as for this:

"I would imagine the Gospels would have spent a paragraph or two in explanations if the intent was to depart from the traditional understanding."

The Christian Gospels do indeed depart from this narrow understanding of love of neighbour. Christ redefined it into positive and universal responsibilities. That's why He told the Parable of the Good Samaritan - to shock and provoke. His message is we should be moved with compassion, show mercy towards others and assist them - regardless of race, creed or what we think of them.

Maybe it will lead to "Christianity's funeral". Who knows?

4 August 2014 at 00:42  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

No. Jack, it doesn't differ from what I told RJ. He spoke of a presumed clannishness, a "natural" atavistic affinity which the majority of Jews today simply don't have, whereas I spike of direct and at times intuitively and rationally difficult to understand directions from God.

Whether Christianity sees the issue as "narrow" and imagines it has an improved interpretation is none of my business and has no bearing on my interpretations. I obviously don't think so, otherwise I would be a Christian.

Why ask me whether Israel would offer refuge to Christian refugees? The situation hasn't presented itself and I'm not privy to Knesset and Cabinet deliberations, nor am I an Israeli citizen. Israel has medical teams in Jordan and the Kurdish province risking their lives and exoending resources, assisting Moslems and Christians...which is more than most Christian and Moslem nations are doing. If you are asking me as a Canadian, I have already told my MP, a minister with a portfolio and an acquaintance, that I think Canada should offer blanket refugee status to Iraqi Christians.

4 August 2014 at 01:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


Here's one of the paragraphs you asked for:

"You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy.

But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:

That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.

For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this?

And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this?

Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect."

4 August 2014 at 01:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


Jack was explaining Christian approaches in the face of your criticisms and those of others.

4 August 2014 at 01:44  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 August 2014 at 01:48  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Carl, I penned a response to your latest missive and it got lost in cyberspace. And my phone is acting out...time for a reload and updates I suppose. The gist of it was that we are getting nowhere with stretched analogies and skewed hypotheticals on an issue I'm not qualified to advise on. This is an in-house issue for Christians, clearly and understandably a personal and emotional one, and my input seems to make people angry. Miss Hannah's decision to blow out of this saloon before the bottles begin flying was a wise one and I'll do the same. Apologies if I trespassed, no hard feelings, until next time...

4 August 2014 at 01:57  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


The only subject that could risk hard feelings with me is the Vietnam War. That subject is far too personal, far to visceral. I should never argue about it, but I can't really help myself.

To some extent I think we have been arguing different scenarios anyways. You didn't trespass. If people didn't shoot at me, how could I learn?


4 August 2014 at 02:49  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Well, we're probably on the same page about Vietnam, judging by comments of yours I remember. Anyhow, I might decline further comment on this topic, but will definitely take a peek in the morning to see how our currently sleeping Limey friends over the Big Pond take to the mess we left them with.

4 August 2014 at 02:59  
Blogger Shmu'el said...


Hah! I was being somewhat sarcastic. Ed Miliband is the last politician I'd trust to run a welk stall, let alone team GB.

4 August 2014 at 07:37  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

When Britain received the Huguenot refugees in the 17th Century, I don't think anyone was worried about whether the whole of the French population would be coming over with them. Likewise, when we accepted the Ugandan Asians in the 1970s, we didn't feel obliged to take every Ugandan who didn't get on well with Idi Amin.

This is where the rubber hits the road. Is our Christian profession any more than skin deep? If we say it is, we'd better start living out the royal law.

May I suggest a study of James 2:15-16?

4 August 2014 at 07:44  
Blogger Shmu'el said...


I used the wrong choice of words, so I apologise if they personally pissed you off. You have great insults and comeback.

Onto the discussion, I think you argued that :

1. There isn't the practical capability of rescuing Iraqi Christians (response is it could be done if there was a political will to do so).

2. The Christian ethic that says it would not be moral to simply help Christians alone and as it is more than Christians suffering in Iraq we would have to help them as well and therefore we cannot because that would mean either direct occupation of Iraq or moving an entire population of people from an entire country
( have I got that point wrong?)

3. There is no moral obligation by a Christian to help another Christian because of group affinity (I think this is what you are saying, is it or isn't it? How does this relate to Christian 'brotherly love'?)

I guess the Bishops should be the ones to log on here and justify their opinion on saving Iraqi Christians, rather than me, but that is how I see your argument.

Am I in favour of some form of help for Iraq's Christians? The answer is yes. Why Iraq and not Syria, Sudan or Nigeria? Good question. To me in part because the UK invaded Iraq in 2003 and started the dominos which has led to the fragmentation and destabilization of Iraq : let us just hope ISIS don't get their hands on WMD's. It feels like a responsibility. Perhaps it isn't, but that is how it feels. So much allied blood was spilled in Iraq and so too Iraqis.

Secondly, Iraq is in danger of becoming an Iranian puppet state. That is the realist/conservative reason for intervention in Iraq.

If I am wrong about what I think your views are or my argument, correct me and I'll listen.

4 August 2014 at 07:56  
Blogger IanCad said...

Avi, @ 23:19 wrote:

"----some of us fear God and we cleave to his commandment. Those who don't, you don't know about because they signed themselves out of our history."

And there we have it. The answer to the mystery of the survival of a Jewish nation and its peoples.

4 August 2014 at 08:40  
Blogger Albert said...

Meanwhile, over in Pakistan, two Pakistani Christians remain behind bars on blasphemy charges:

Isn't Pakistan a country we pay aid to? So we're subsidising this - and all under a Conservative PM.

4 August 2014 at 08:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Albert @ 08:41

£450 million or so a year, I believe: we give more to Pakistan than to any other country.

I seem to remember some controversy in 2013 about a proposed £150 million or so increase. Don't know whether it happened or not.

4 August 2014 at 09:13  
Blogger Albert said...

So Explorer, we pay £450 M to a nuclear power which puts Christians in prison and on death row, on grounds of blasphemy (which we know well enough by now means nothing more than that a group of Muslims ganged up on them).

Has our Conservative-led Government got no morality?

4 August 2014 at 09:17  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS Carl, aren't you a Calvinist? What about 'as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, ESPECIALLY (my caps) those of the household of faith. Or no you think that as the Mosul Christians are of various ancient pre-Reformation sects they don't count as the Elect.

Really sorry about Sunnis and Shias killing the s**t out of each other, but (a) its what they do and they could stop it if they didn't enjoy it so much, and (b) Sunnis and Shias have places in the ME they can go to. Thanks to the ISIS monster we helped create, the Mosul Christians don't. We owe them.

4 August 2014 at 09:23  
Blogger The Explorer said...


I'm assuming your question was rhetorical?

Myself, I take it to be a modern version of paying the danegeld. Protection money.

He who pays the danegeld never gets rid of the Dane. Not sure if they know that bit.

4 August 2014 at 09:23  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Rambling Steve @ 09:23

Excellent point: the Muslims have other places they can go; the Christians haven't.

Obliquely relevant to the theme of this thread (where refugees go) what's your take on why the Palestinians have never been assimilated into the various ME states on a quota basis?

4 August 2014 at 09:30  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Morality, Albert? What's that to our rulers?

There is however s large Pakistani diaspora in UK and thry vote. Often postally. Their community leaders are so keen on democracy they make sure they all register and sre kind enough to helpthem fill them in and collect the ballot papers for them.

It works well in Bradford and Tower Hamlets. So of course we must go on giving aid to Pakistan. Only one of the 4 main political parties will go into the 2015 general election on a platform or severely reducing such aid.

4 August 2014 at 09:43  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Explorer at 9.30

The poor Palestinians are pawns in the long term Arab/Muslim game to eliminate Israel.

Simple as that.

4 August 2014 at 09:46  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Having had more time to think on this one, and having considered the strange non-reaction from our politicos and media lot, I'll go into a more practical mode. I would repeat, that this is so difficult a task, over confidence is misplaced.

Doing nothing to assist the beleaguered, mainly Christians, casualties of a regime change we caused is deeply morally reprehensible. Let's be pleased that for once, C of E Bishops are following the Bible.

The logistics and scale of the tragedy is huge. The US and the EU, led by us, and the other wealthy nations should offer large scale assistance to Kurdistan to care for all who reach the protection of its borders. The assistance must be swift, practical and generous. That would hold the situation as we approach the cold winters of those elevated regions.
Next discussions must be arranged involving the US, EU and Commonwealth countries, Canada and OZ really, as to how we divide up the destinations of those who wish to emigrate. I imagine that most of those who have fled are Christians and perhaps with some other religious minorities ? If there are a few Muslims mixed in they should be included as well. The basic lack of statistics hampers decision making so an urgent task is to get the facts asap. It may be quicker and cheaper to arrange for the Kurds to do this.
I suspect that as with the Asian refugees from Idi Amin's Uganda, these refugees will be so grateful they will become very useful, productive members of whatever countries they eventually join.
If those nations that destabilised Iraq do nothing useful, then they are morally beyond the pale. God sees everything and forgets nothing. Let us pray for Cameron to speak usefully for once.

4 August 2014 at 09:54  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Martin Marprelate at 7.44

The Huguenots: blooming good point. Our gain, France's loss and generally thexright thing yo hsve done.

4 August 2014 at 10:00  
Blogger Albert said...

Explorer and Rambling Steve,

The idea appears to be that if we pay money to these regimes, slowly they will become more democratic. I'm sensing you don't think that will work!

Whatever, what I don't get is why our Government doesn't use the fact that we are paying this money as leverage to these regimes to encourage them to have a few basic human rights.

4 August 2014 at 10:23  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Perhaps that is their strategy Albert. Or maybe not. Who knows?

4 August 2014 at 10:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Rambling Steve,

Hopefully. The trouble is, if you just pay the money anyway, then you lose all leverage! It's a bit like social conversatives who vote Conservative in this country. If the Conservative Party realises they keep the social conservative vote, regardless of their anti-family policies, then the social conservatives lose all leverage and become invisible.

4 August 2014 at 11:26  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Avi Barzel (23:19)—In the absence of a strong sense of identity, it would have been impossible for the Jews to maintain their racial purity and remain separate from the peoples among whom, in the absence of a homeland, they were obliged to live.

4 August 2014 at 11:42  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Albert at 11.26

Couldn't agree more. Re your 2nd point and NOT wanting to divert the thread, clearly Cameron calculsted that he could introduce an extreme liberal left policy like SSM and retain the social conservative vote.

And he wanted us to give air support to the Syrian rebels too.

There is something profoundly wrong with a system that delivers people like him into 10 Downing street. And we we have borrowed our grandchildren into penury, spilled an ocean of blood and made enemies world wide in order to impose this 'democracy' on Arabs!!!

4 August 2014 at 12:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Yes, Rambling Steve, it's quite a day to reflect on the moral travesty that is this Conservative led Government. That's why, if the sacrifices of our forebears mean anything, social conservatives should not vote Conservative under Cameron.

4 August 2014 at 12:15  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Albert @ 12.15

Quite !

That's precisely why I migrated to Ukip. We keep growing. The Conservatives keep shrinking.

4 August 2014 at 14:22  
Blogger Unknown said...

Anglican Bishops assisting in the displacement and transfer of indigenous Christians when so many Patriarchs, Bishops and Clergy in the region are demanding that they be helped remain on their land, in their land! How can these British clergy get it so wrong unless they are just acting as a proxy for destructive UK Foreign Policy.

4 August 2014 at 14:26  
Blogger Albert said...


I think the Anglican Bishops are sufficiently realistic to know that no one is going to lift a finger to help Christians stay in their lands. That being the case, the question arises as to whether Mr Cameron has it in him to at least help to make possible the escape of those who want to leave.

Sadly, I expect we all know the answer to that one.

4 August 2014 at 14:57  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...


Normally in these situations you would get as a minimum a spokesman issuing a routine condemnation and some platitude about working with our Allies to try and find a solution. But on this issue nothing has been said. Plenty of platitudes over Gaza (of course, lots of media interest you see), but nothing on the much worse situation in Iraq.

As the break-down of any sort of central control in Iraq is at least partly our fault, the government appear to be treating this as the UK’s dirty little secret. If nothing is said maybe no one will notice.

You do wonder if some in Government see the Israeli invasion of Gaza as convenient timing, as it distracts from its complete moral failure on this issue.

The Bishops need to keep pressing this issue and ensure the Government can’t keep looking the other way.

4 August 2014 at 16:20  
Blogger Len said...

Seems to me that the Body of Christ is suffering terribly worldwide and one part cannot be injured without hurting the whole.
So what is the responsibility of Christians who exactly is my neighbour?.
Suppose I had room in my house to give asylum to one person and two people turned up at my door a believer and an unbeliever.Who do I choose?.
If I was to be completely impartial (as Carl seems to suggest?) I would have to reject both people and give neither asylum.
I wonder how God would view this?
This seems somewhat of a Pharisaical dilemma.

4 August 2014 at 16:43  
Blogger Albert said...


As usual, I agree!

4 August 2014 at 17:01  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...

I do also wonder why all Bishops, not just Anglican don't issue a joint statement? A co-ordinated call for action would surely be more affective.

4 August 2014 at 17:21  
Blogger Albert said...


That's a useful point. It makes me wonder what the Vatican is doing. It is hard to believe they aren't doing everything they can, but the Vatican usually learns what will make matters worse from the men on the ground.

4 August 2014 at 20:28  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...


I hope that this is also true for the UK Gov, but I suspect not.

4 August 2014 at 21:28  
Blogger Albert said...


I doubt that the UK Government has the indigenous contacts on the ground that the Catholic Church has, but I expect the UK Government doesn't care that much.

4 August 2014 at 21:49  
Blogger Clive Mitchell said...


I have hoped that the silence was about discreet diplomacy. Like you say however, unlikely!!

4 August 2014 at 22:23  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


Who is a "believer" and who is an "unbeliever"?

If both are in need of assistance, you give both what you have that will help them most - even if it means suffering yourself.

4 August 2014 at 23:19  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Strange comments being made about who is my neighbour and if we help one we must help all (especially from RC's and CALVINISTS)???

We are all members of humanity but it would be a strange member of the body of Christ that lumps our 'brothers and sisters' in Christ as just another member of the human race.

The body of Christ was not comprised of unbelievers last time Ernst looked!!

We have a special affinity with other believers, no less than our own flesh and blood but who ignores the needs of his own to offer that which is needed and must be given, is then given instead to someone who does not have our special relationship with the Lord?

1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Does charity begin with our own (home) first or as our last few government have shown - Foreign Angels, Home Devils, the true nature of our secular two faced cowardice.


It seems the dreggs of the earth can claim asylum here but let the seekers be those with an spiritual affinity with our christian heritage and our politicians turn blind,deaf and dumb.

Our continually politicians show, without the need for further expenses scandals or cash for representation scams, what a bunch of immoral, hypocritical, foreign a**e kissing chancers they truly are.

5 August 2014 at 03:36  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Albert said...


That's a useful point. It makes me wonder what the Vatican is doing. It is hard to believe they aren't doing everything they can, but the Vatican usually learns what will make matters worse from the men on the ground."


Ernst does enjoy watching the Roman Catholic High Frequency Keyphrase Bingo, as played by the apologetics among the Vatican faithful. *Giggles*

5 August 2014 at 03:56  
Blogger Martin Marprelate said...

Galatians 6:10, NIV. 'Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.'

We should do what we can to help all folk in distress, but our priority should be to help fellow Christians.

5 August 2014 at 08:45  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Just sent the following to my MP and 2 MEPs via 'they work for you'

Dear .........

I am deeply concerned about the plight of Christians who have been expelled from Mosul in Iraq by the violent extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS). These harmless non belligerent people have been robbed of their homes, goods, money, even rings, necklaces and the children's pocket money and set on the road with barely the clothes on their backs. Some have been killed. The Iraqi government army whom the USA and ourselves trained and equipped at vast expense who were supposed to protect these people ran away and left them to to the 'mercy' of a gang of literal cut throats. Images on the web show the homes of Mosul Christians marked out just like Jewish homes in Nazi Germany.

We have an obligation to help these people.

This would not have happened had the western powers not toppled the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and then disastrously mismanaged the post-war government. What is more, the US/UK /French intervention in Libya where we used air power on one side in a civil war, quite apart for the terrible effects on Libya, encouraged Syrian rebels to take arms against their government, hoping the west would intervene to help them too. I did not read that in the Daily Mail, I heard it on BBC world service from a Syrian rebel spokesman. It is out of this chaos that ISIS has emerged.

We are not responsible for the malignant nature of revolutionary Islam, although we should have understood it better before intervening in Iraq and Libya, but clearly our government's actions have to a significant extent enabled if not encouraged the present murderous chaos. The Sunni and Shia Muslims who are so enthusiastically killing one another in Iraq and elsewhere have safe havens in the Middle East to flee to, the Christians of Mosul do not. We therefore ought to do something to help them. Given that net migration to the UK continues at very high levels of the order of 200,000 per annum, we ought to be able to find space to take at least say 5,000 of the victimised Christians of Iraq who would be living peacefully if we had left their country alone. We ought also to help the Kurds who are offering them safe haven.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Stephen F Hayes

5 August 2014 at 10:43  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ernst see that Warsi has shown her true colours.

Why do the BBC continually call soldiers of Hamas 'militants', whereas they are the fighting arm of the governing body of Hamas and hence the people of Gaza. They are currently waxing lyrically regarding Warsi and 'other disagreeing tories' to foreign policy over Gaza in their reporting

They want to call it a war against Israel yet when it turns sour they are suddenly not war combatants but a people held in a prison camp by another (If it's secure prison camp, where oh where and how are they getting rockets in)..

Using the same BBC terminology, Are our soldiers that fought in Afghanistan, Iraq etc, Militants and not soldiers for our government and people??

Where was Warsi's outrage at the muslims acting DISPROPORTIONATELY against the christians of Iraq and killing/slaughtering them??

Good Riddance Warsi, you 'religion of peace' chancer.


5 August 2014 at 10:46  
Blogger Len said...

Warsi was the' acceptable face' of Islam who told us that terrorists were not real Muslims.
We are finding out different much to the cost of those being slaughtered in Islamic dominated countries.

5 August 2014 at 11:29  

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