WESTMINSTER, May 30, 2011 ( – Christians are under attack around the world in the 21st century and it was ideological atheistic regimes, not Christianity, that committed the worst anti-human atrocities of the 20th, said a Northern Ireland MP last week. In a debate in the House of Commons on May 24th, MP David Simpson of the Upper Bann riding, vigorously denied the frequent claims of secularist campaigners that Christianity has been the cause the world’s worst historical crimes.

In comments that echoed Pope Benedict’s caution against “aggressive secularism” in his visit to Britain in September last year, Simpson warned against the current threats to religious freedom and freedom of expression that are increasing at home and abroad. He cited the current global wave of violent persecution of Christians both by aggressive atheistic states like China, North Korea and Vietnam, and by Islamic states like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Simpson called for “diplomatic and political pressure” on Pakistan other countries where Christians are being persecuted openly, “either individually or through organisations such as NATO, the EU and the United Nations”.

“It is not true, as some try to allege, that above all other things, religion is the great persecutor and the cause, source and substance of all the world’s great woes, for when atheism has been anointed as the faith of the state, to that, too, we can trace all kinds of brutality, inhumanity, violence and death.”

“There is violent persecution of Christians across the world,” he said.

And in Britain, a non-violent suppression of the civil rights of Christians is becoming all too common: “We may not even have to go to other countries to see Christian persecution, but simply look to our own back door.”

“In the United Kingdom, the policy seems to be that people can do whatever they like against Christianity—criticise it or blaspheme the name of Christ—as long as they do not insult Islam. It is sad because this country is based on civil and religious liberty for all.”

Numerous cases have come to light in recent years of civil liberties under threat for those British Christians who publicly object to homosexuality, “sex education” and abortion, or who simply try to share their faith with others.

Currently, violent attacks against Christians are increasing around the world both by Islamic militants and atheistic ideological states, although little of it reaches the ears of the public from the mainstream press.

In China, Burma, North Korea and Vietnam, “death is common and suffering is intense” for Christians. In the former Soviet Bloc Belarus, “violence, prosecution and imprisonment are common”.

Simpson also named Nigeria, a Commonwealth nation in receipt of huge aid subsidies from Britain, where Islamic militants have massacred hundreds of Christians in the wake of general elections. “Nigeria continues to witness wave upon wave of violence directed against Christians… Nigerian Government authorities were in such a hurry to hide the extent of the massacre that they organised mass burials of the victims almost immediately after the attacks.”

“Thousands of Christians are fleeing violence in western parts of Ethiopia,” where Muslim extremists have burned an estimated 55 churches and dozens of homes near the city of Jimma, in the western Oromia region.

Reports are numerous of Christians being murdered and violently persecuted, Simpson said, in Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. In Pakistan, he noted, the “notorious blasphemy laws have been used as a cover to justify violent attacks”. In Iran, the Orthodox Church faces persecution, and Protestant groups “face severe persecution and are regarded as enemies of the state”.

He cited the exodus of the ancient Christian community in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, “where more than half of Iraq’s Christian population has, as a result of violent suppression, been forced to flee their homes or else flee the country altogether”. Persecution of Iraqi Christians, he noted, has included beheadings and crucifixions.

The practice of Christianity is completely outlawed, and harshly punished, in many Arab states, including Kuwait, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

“The President of India recently expressed her shock at the upsurge in violent persecution of Christians, especially in states such as Karnataka and Orissa.”

Hindu extremists in India are responsible for atrocities against Christians, he said, including “murder, kidnapping, forced marriage, the burning of churches and the forced removal of people from their homes”.

“More than 56,000 people were displaced and more than 10,000 have yet to return home; and 1,000 have been warned that they can come back only if they convert to Hinduism.”

In the social and political upheaval underway in many Arab states, known as the “Arab Spring,” “groups are emerging that seek to exploit recent developments in order to establish a purist society in which the plight of other religious groups will be made worse”.

Recalling Soviet and Chinese communism, Simpson cited the mass deportations and slaughter of civilian citizens, the deliberately engineered famines and mass-slavery under the aggressively atheist regimes of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung. Under Cambodian communist dictator Pol Pot, he pointed to the “killing fields” where 25 to 30 per cent of the Cambodian population was slaughtered in the name of atheistic ideologies. 

In Stalin’s “Russian holocaust” he said, we must not forget the “labour camps and the culling of the disabled,” in which victims numbered in the “tens of millions and human beings [were] regarded only as commodities to be exploited and expended in the interests of the state”.

“We should not forget the repression of religion, including so-called accidental assassination carried out against people of faith.”