‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Civilisation sleeps while a Christian Holocaust takes shape

The horrors of the Holocaust haunt us 70 years after Auschwitz. The smell of incinerated Jewish flesh remains a stench in our nostrils. The Nazis had dehumanised, brutalised and cremated six million Jews. No one knew the full horrors of the gas chambers until Allied forces went in to liberate the camps and the first shocking pictures flashed across the world. The Nazis had blinded humanity to the finality of the Final Solution.

The Nazis weren’t uncivilised savages. Germany was the epitome of high culture. The Nazis promoted the works of Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner and Wagner while silencing the music of Mendelssohn and Mahler. The National Socialists weren’t illiterate aborigines. Germany was the embodiment of higher education. Of the 16 signatories to the Final Solution at the Wannsee Conference, eight had PhDs.

But the world slept like Rip Van Winkle, blinkered by the disbelief that the most cultured and educated elite could stoop to the most barbaric behaviour known to mankind. You could count the Davids who dared to challenge the Goliath of the Third Reich on the fingers of one hand. It was slingshots against Panzers and the Luftwaffe. It was Lutheran pastors Niemöller and Bonhöeffer against Hitler and Göring. The established church of Deutschland clicked its heels in a smart Sieg Heil and sang Das Horst-Wessel-Lied in a loyal fortissimo.

Seventy years later the “civilised” world is snoozing, boozing, clubbing, tweeting, and signalling its virtue by clicking “Like” on Facebook, while jihadists are perpetrating genocide against Christians. This time, we cannot say that we do not know the reality of the Jihadi Final Solution. When jihadis behead Christians, they upload the gory scenes on YouTube. When Boko Haram captures Nigerian Christian girls and sells them in slavery, a spokesman trumpets it to the media by releasing a video.

In Nazi Germany, Martin Niemöller’s manifesto was crying out for attention: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. St Theresa May-Or-May-Not of Downing Street, vicar’s daughter, Conservative Party leader, churchgoing Anglican, and former Home Secretary, ramps up the rhetoric but remains inert.

Now she must translate words into action. Today Barnabas Fund releases its pre-election manifesto and is rousing political Rip Van Winkles from their slumber of political appeasement. The message of the manifesto thunders across political parties: The next UK government should recognise that without specific urgent action now there is a very real danger that Christian communities will have ceased to exist in large parts of the Middle East by the time of the next general election in 2022. 

The seven-point policy document, A Manifesto for Persecuted Christians, is commended by former shadow Solicitor General Lord Anderson of Swansea, Baroness Cox, Lord Curry of Kirkharle, Lord Mackay of Clashfern and the Marquess of Reading, joined by public theologians like Drs Graham Nicholls, Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden.

Barnabas Fund is warning the West of the ‘very real threat that entire Christian communities, which have existed in large areas of the Middle East since the first century of Christianity, will quite literally have been eliminated by the time of the next UK general election in 2022.’ In Iraq alone, the number of deaths could possibly be in the tens of thousands. ‘There is no question that these deaths constitute evidence of destruction for purposes of the Genocide Convention,’ a research paper in the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious international law journals, emphatically states. The truth  that no one wants to know is that the persecution facing Christians is the largest 'human rights' violation issue in today’s world.

But it is not only Christians in the Middle East who are at risk. Here, in England where the Church of England is still the religion ‘established by law,’ a new test of ideological orthodoxy is being rammed down the throats of conscientious objectors. What an irony! Once upon a time the UK led the world in abolishing the various “Test Acts” that required anyone holding public office to assent to a particular set of beliefs. The manifesto cites the following examples:

  • 1719 Repeal of the Schism Act—teachers were no longer required to assent to a specific set of beliefs.
  • 1791 Catholic Relief Act—allowed Catholics to become lawyers.
  • 1828 Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts—allowed those holding non-Anglican beliefs to become mayors and councillors.
  • 1829 Catholic Emancipation Acts—Catholics allowed to become MPs.
  • 1871 Repeal of the University Tests Act—abolished the requirement for professors at Oxford and Cambridge to hold specific beliefs.
  • 1888 Oaths Act—allowed atheists to become MPs.

Today, however, politicians like Tim Farron and Conservative MP Andrew Turner, who was forced to resign last week by his party, are required to pass the “test” of the prevailing orthodoxy of identity, gender and sexuality politics—even at the risk of compromising their deeply held Christian beliefs.

The twin tyrannies of Jihadism and leftism are mounting a war on Christians—in the Islamic world and in the UK. In the light of the liberating trajectories of the above acts, the Barnabas Fund manifesto calls upon the next UK government to ‘pass a law stating that no one holding or standing for public office should be required to hold particular beliefs.’ So far, freedom of religion was understood as freedom to practise a religion, worship, build places of worship, choose or change a belief system, and persuade or evangelise others.

As Christians holding public office are humiliated in Stalinist show trials and burnt at the media stake for holding traditional views on sex and marriage, the Barnabas Fund manifesto is insisting that freedom of religion should include ‘the absence of any requirement for people to assent to a particular worldview or set of beliefs to hold public office.’

The situation in the Middle East is dire. The next UK government should recognise that as well as Islamic State other jihadi groups are targeting Christians and other minorities. Citing the 2013 attack on the Christian town of Maaloula in Syria, the manifesto alerts the government to terrorist groups like Ahrar al Sham who carried out the attack and who have not been placed on the Home Office list of banned terrorist organisations.

While leaders of seven Anglican mission societies recently signed a statement opposing Trump’s recent executive orders giving priority to Christians fleeing persecution, the Barnabas Fund manifesto does precisely the opposite. It calls for the next UK government to act decisively and address the disproportionate under-representation of Syrian Christians among refugees referred for resettlement in the UK by the UNHCR. Last year, of 4,175 Syrian refugees resettled in the UK, only 64 were Christians and 18 Yazidis, even though Syrian Christians are singled out for persecution by IS and other jihadi groups.

Most worrying for the civilised world is the threat to free speech. While Tim Farron will lose votes and Andrew Turner lost his seat, Pakistani Christians accused of blasphemy are losing their lives. The Pakistan government wants to introduce a ‘global Islamic blasphemy law’ that prohibits any criticism of Islam on social media. Facebook has agreed to co-operate with this draconian law. It is wooing 27 Muslim majority countries to get international agreement to prosecute anyone who posts online any material deemed to be blasphemous.

The manifesto urges the next UK government to take active steps to combat the global spread of Islamic blasphemy laws and other laws or practices that have similar effects in muzzling free expression.

The Holocaust was the nadir of Western civilisation. When the Jews suffocated to death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, freedom of thought, speech and religion died. It took years, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, for Europe to begin to recover.

The Reformation was the zenith of Western civilisation. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of church in Wittenberg, the first hammer blows he struck in favour of freedom of thought, speech and religion echoed throughout Europe.

Now, once again, that hard-earned freedom is being ‘incrementally eroded,’ and in the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation the Niemöllers and Bonhöeffers of Barnabas Fund are nailing their manifesto to the doors of the House of Commons. Wachet auf, Europe! Wake up, Britain! One day they will come for you and—and there will be no one left to speak for you.

(Image: Rchard)

Rev Jules Gomes

  • Andy

    Excellent piece, I think you could dispense with ‘very real’, it is a useless addition ( in a very real sense)

    • Bruce Atkinson

      But you have actually revealed its value. “Very real” means that it is not only real but that people now must realize it and get their collective heads out of the sand. “Very real” is not only about reality but about public perception of that reality.

  • CRSM

    Don’t forget the 1.5 million Christian Armenians slaughtered by the Turks in 1917.
    Unlike the wealthy and well-connected Jews, there was no-one to speak for them.

    • timbazo

      US Presidents have persistently refused to describe this massacre as it was – attempted genocide – because they did not wish to alienate Turkey and drive it out of NATO. Other NATO leaders have followed suit.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It is posited that our campaigns in that area was brought about because of precisely this event. It began in 1915, in fact.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    To start with, Christianity in this country needs to identify and rid itself of the influence of secularism in its beliefs. We all live in the world but we should not be spiritually rooted in it. If Christians want to be taken seriously they need to show they are serious about their beliefs, whatever the world thinks. Compromising the Christian faith to conform to non-Biblical ideas is capitulation and surrender. The result is a luke-warm pseudo-Christianity that feeds nobody but becomes food for the wolves. Until we take our religion seriously we shouldn’t be surprised that our calls to respect the freedom of other Christians seriously are largely ignored.

    • James Chilton

      “Christianity in this country needs to identify and rid itself of the influence of secularism in its beliefs.”

      With Christian leaders preaching what they’re supposed to believe in and not mechanically repeating the social gospel of secularism, that might be possible. The rot starts at the top (as in a fish), and that’s where a Christian renaissance will begin – if there is to be one in this country.

  • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

    `No one knew the full horrors of the gas chambers until Allied forces went in to liberate the camps and the first shocking pictures flashed across the world.’

    Absolute rubbish. Churchill knew all about it from the beginning and their are various theories regarding his inaction.

    • What the bloody hell was he going to do? Write an op ed? War takes time, blood, and steel, to win. We all closed our eyes in the ’30s and so we all reaped the whirlwind.

      • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

        Indeed but the suggestion that the the UK government was not aware of what was going on is erroneous.

        • That’s true, in fact much of it was printed in the New York Times in 1942. But what could be done by then, except win the war as soon as possible.

          • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

            Yes. Bombing the camps was on the table at one point apparently

          • Phil R

            “Bombing the camps”

            How was that going to help?

            However, I see our leaders have not moved on from that postition and are still determined to make a bad situation (if they can) worse.

  • Nice words, and yes, I agree. Now the hard part, how many divisions, and how many casualties? Who, if anybody, are our allies?

    Your (and our) politicians are great at words, and at thinking that writing a paper is ‘doing something’. Well, it’s not. World War II was the most expensive thing America and the United Kingdom have ever done, this is not going to be all that much easier, unless of course, we adopt the Albigensian crusade model, and just kill them all with nuclear fire, and let God sort it out.

    For the problems in our home country, well there is only one right answer, it’s called evangelisation by people who believe what we have always believed, everywhere. Politics is a second order activity, downstream from culture, and we are losing the culture wars, and badly.

  • timbazo

    ‘ … politicians like Tim Farron … are required to pass the “test” of the prevailing orthodoxy of identity, gender and sexuality politics—even at the risk of compromising their deeply held Christian beliefs.’ No he was not. He chose to make a statement that is probably in contradiction to his religious beliefs because he did not want voters to be put off voting for the Lib Dems. He chose to put his political career ahead of his religion.

    Andrew Turner is also free to stand for election as an MP without changing his views on homosexuality. He probably won’t do so because he knows that his previous election as an MP depended far more on the Party that chose him as its candidate and far less on his personal qualities.

    If you don’t like the way the Conservative Party is going, then start a new party. Nigel Farage did.

    • Vox Populi

      No need to start a new party. I vote for UKIP.

  • Charitas Lydia

    I am grateful that The Conservative Woman is giving a voice to the suffering Christians all over the world… Thank you Conservative Woman and thank you Barnabas Aid.

    We as Christians will be asked by the Lord, ‘Where is your brother?” as He asked Cain. Though like Cain we might say, ‘ Am I my brother’s keeper?’ and shrug our shoulders, it still will not justify our complacency. We better heed the warning lest we perish without any help, and stand condemned before God for our apathy to Christians suffering and dying for Christ. And more importantly, Christ is suffering with those who are being persecuted directly or indirectly, what is our responsibility to Him, then? We need to ask ourselves where do we stand? With Christ or not with Christ? That would change everything.

  • Ravenscar

    However slow it is to dawn, people will instinctively divine what is right and what is wrong and as God has witnessed it, in the west and most particularly in the UK, be they of the Roman way or aught else: the hierarchy of the Church has the fabric and framework of the rock has been undermined. UK Christianity is smashed so completely, that, it is very difficult to see how it, the fabric of faith, the network of Churches can ever be rethreaded and rebuilt.

    About the Yazidis, added to the appalling plight of the last speakers of Aramaic, the language of Jesus just were once clinging on – in Syria and under the protection of the secular Ba ath party of Bashar al-Assad, who it is speciously claimed by many of the pro Sunni elements here in the UK is “the enemy of the people”. Aye, for, we know what the Sunnis are doing to the Christians across the Maghreb, Sahel, Horn and in the ME and the Levant…………For pities sakes – yet our government happily trots off to kowtow to their leaders in Riyadh, and not least notable CoE ‘light’ one nicknamed, mother theresa of Westminster, ah God the Anglicans, good people but no sense being nor common, nor much of God – either.

    Britain was made Godless, it was deliberate policy, cultural Marxism is writ inured – here in the UK and Hobsbawm, Horkheimer and Ralph Miliband have much to be proud of. The ruination runs so deep, even if theresa May willed it, and clearly she does not, cleaning out the echelons of ‘Common purpose’ would probably require removing hundreds of thousands of teechurs and pubic sector apparats – people brought up to hate Christianity with such vehemence – but with no clue as to why. But then the Church was guilty of supping deep at the fount of Antonio Gramsci and any other anti Christian secularist nutter social engineering Marxist you could have a care to mention. They got into Rome, they run the Curia, the SJ’s were fully compromised and from within the Marxists did triumph, all round the oblivion of western Christianity was choreographed and I still believe that, since the early 1920’s, the Soviets greatly aided this bloodless anti western tradition, a revolution, it was Illyich Ulanov’s revenge and payback for Churchill’s adventures in ‘White Russian movement’ revolution, its incitement.

    Finally, it is a bit of a reach to expect a nation which knows little to nought of a Christian God to beseech them to ‘save’…………..even to murmur dissent when they have no idea of what it is to be a Christian.

    I think that, like in the days of the Venerable Bede, there needs to be found an English way, a simple Christian faith, profoundly catholic, profoundly English but never – of Rome.

  • D J

    I applaud you for trying to raise awareness of this.
    My English grandfather worked in Hamburg from 1935-39.His Jewish doctor and the doctor’s wife committed suicide in August 1938.
    He talked to his old friend from a Glasgow church John Reith about getting the BBC to say something about Jewish persecution then.No luck then and generations on there seems to be little change in the BBC.

  • Under-the-weather

    It seems as though there isn’t a lot of refugee support (other than in camps) from other Muslim nations, and if running camps is the chosen route, (it costs 10 times less to support refugees living in camps, than moving them to the US for example), then there should be a concerted effort to help Christians who could be considered ‘outsiders’, with dedicated on the ground facilities.

    Those refugees occupying camps as ‘registered refugees’ in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, won’t acknowledge then as such, so they can’t work.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/09/daily-chart-18

    Saudi officials claim the Kingdom has given residency to between 100,000 and 2.5 million Syrians, though these numbers are widely disputed[108][109][110]

    2015 Chart of European immigrants, shows Afghanistan on the list after Syria and before Iraq, then Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan latter all obviously economic. Iceland is more popular a destination than UK, Ireland (BBC?) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911

  • mollysdad

    The difference between now and the Second World War is that the nations were unequivocal in their conviction that Nazism was an evil ideology which must be destroyed for the sake of preserving civilisation, and they were willing to expend blood and treasure to do so.

    Today’s atheist elite and the societies of the western nations have no beliefs or values they are willing to defend. They have no conviction that Islam is a false and blasphemous ideology, or that it even matters that it is.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    At the very least, sympathetic people in the west can give generou$ly to both Barnabas Fund and Open Doors, two wonderful organizations which exist only to aid persecuted Christians.

  • captainslugwash

    There will be no need to look beyond Europe for your reports of Christian genocide within 50 years.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Meanwhile in a clinic near you, the genocide of unborn children continues unabated.

  • UKCitizen

    First they came for the Socialists!
    What do you do when the list of who they are coming for becomes endless and the perpetrators are the socialists themselves?

  • UKCitizen

    There was probably a brief respite after the fall of the Ottoman empire when Islam was weak and it returned to its Meccan state. But as money flowed into Saudi Arabia it was possible to once again re-ignite the Jihad out of the Arabian peninsular returning Islam to its Medina state of strength and spread Wahhabism far and wide.
    Our problem is that we see Mosques as places of worship whereas the Wahhabists see them as bases for Jihad.
    We have a perfect storm brewing in the West with the left trying to destroy us mentally and the Islamists trying to destroy us demographically.
    Given the recent French result, it would seem they are winning on all fronts.