CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 11 November 2017

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Dangerous liaisons

WASHINGTON (SE): Advocates for persecuted Christians and minorities in the Middle East received unexpected tidings straight from the mouth of the vice president of the United States of America (US), Mike Pence, on October 25.
 
Pence informed a Christian solidarity group that from now on all US aid going to the Middle East would be channelled through non-government agencies for the support of persecuted Christians.
 
He explained that the funnelling streams would include Churches and religious organisations working directly with persecuted Christian communities victimised because of their religion by the Islamic State and other terror groups.
 
“Christians in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly,” Pence stated.
 
“We will no longer rely on the United Nations (UN) alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups,” Pence continued.
 
“The US will work hand in hand with faith-based groups and private organisations to help those who are persecuted for their faith. This is the moment, now is the time, and America will support these people in their hour of need,” the vice president proclaimed.
 
While these are grand sounding words that could well prompt a cheer from funding starved Churches, the bottom line of the sudden bonanza appears to be prompted more by a pig-headed snub of the UN rather than an expression of concern for persecuted Christians.
 
The UN, which bears the brunt of the work in supporting displaced peoples, is being cut out of the equation in line with the animosity that the president of the US, Donald Trump, has been throwing at the worldwide body for some time.
 
A sudden flood of funding could well present a danger to Churches and other Christian-based organisations, as while they may cheer their good luck, they could also be cheering other’s misfortune. Something to be avoided at all costs.
 
Pence spent much of his speech denigrating the work being done by the UN and for a Christian body to align itself with a programme so heavily laden with the politics of disruption could indeed be a dangerous liaison.

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