The Church must not turn a blind eye to the impact of mass migration on Britain

Feb 11, 2024 by

by Lord Carey, Sunday Telegraph:

Christian compassion should be extended also to those affected by the inflow, as well as to migrants.

[…]  So my concern and attention is also for those affected by a severe lack of housing and services, a situation which is reaching breaking point in poorer areas. The elites are well-protected, but Britain’s poorest have a different experience. An experiment in mass immigration has been foisted upon them without their consent, changing their lives and their communities.

I’ve been surprised therefore by the thin-skinned nature of the church’s response in this latest controversy. When you raise your head above the parapet you must expect to be criticised. I know I will be over this article. But the Church hierarchy seems to be denying that there is a problem at all, or anything questionable about its own actions and statements.

One result of this is that churches stand accused of boosting the credentials of asylum seekers and gullibly accepting insincere conversions. This is not in fact so, because it is the Home Office and the judiciary’s job to apply the asylum rules – not the Church.

But the Church of England’s guidance gives information to clergy on how to “mount a personal campaign” if an application is refused. It does not give much advice on how to discern whether these conversions are authentic, long-standing and life-changing. While it is true that most clergy are experienced enough to deal with these sorts of pastoral situations, the Church should do more to insist that baptism preparation is rigorous.

The truly depressing thing about this is that Christian converts in some countries are among the most persecuted minorities in the world. Genuine converts in countries where a considerable risk is taken by “apostasising” find themselves undermined by a handful of false cases where people are gaming the system.

In recent years, church leaders have been slow to come forward to join me in making representations to the Home Office and the UNHCR, to ensure that flows of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan have included persecuted Christians. I am Patron of Barnabas Aid, a charity founded in the UK, which has supported hundreds of persecuted Syrian and Afghan Christians in gaining asylum in countries like Australia and Brazil. But the UK government has never accepted a single one of these most persecuted Christian converts living in daily fear in hostile environments.

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