There is a rather strange story from the BBC a couple of days ago that basically reads …
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has attacked plans to increase aid to Pakistan to more than £445m, without any commitment to religious freedom for Christians.
Speaking in Glasgow, Cardinal O’Brien called on Foreign Secretary William Hague to seek human rights guarantees.
If curious you can read it all here.
OK, lets draw out a couple of points here:-
- The cardinal advocates that foreign aid needs to have strings attached, and so doing the decent human thing of helping impoverished peoples should be used as a political tool to blackmail foreign governments. In other words, let the poor starve if they happen to live somewhere that has a shitty ruler
- It should only be used as a tool to protect Christians. He appears to want it to be UK Government policy to enforce protection for his belief system
What is tragic here is that the Cardinal probably believes that he is taking the high moral ground here and is totally blind to the immorality of this. At the same time its also a great illustration as to why religious nuts should never be permitted any kind of political influence.
As for the foreign office, they have it right. The Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said:
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and we condemn and deplore religious persecution in any form. The effective promotion of human rights, including freedom of religion, is at the heart of our foreign policy.”
In effect what happens is that they raise concerns and lobby governments about religious freedom and persecution wherever it occurrs, including in Pakistan, yet at the same time, when desperately poor impoverished people need help, they decouple that from the politics and simply step in with humanitarian aid.
When faced with the claim that Catholicism holds the high moral ground, be very skeptical.