Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has called on the Coalition to attach conditionality to its aid to Muslim countries.
Surely, the main aim of aid is not to attach the conditionality of ensuring religious freedom, but to help the most impoverished people of the planet.
I am not theologist, but I cannot imagine that Jesus would have attached such conditionality.
Yes, it is only right that we encourage religious freedom wherever it is not present, but we cannot threaten to withdraw, or not to offer aid, to nations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, on the basis that Christians in those countries have not the freedom of religion you can find in Scotland. The aim of aid, in the mould of Christian altruism, is to help the poorest and most vulnerable in society, no matter their religion, or the politics of their state.
I must also point out, why isn’t Cardinal O’Brien drawing attention generally to a lack of freedom of religion in some states, and is only interested in members of his own congregation?