Viewpoint: I don't feel discriminated against for being a Christian

St Edmund Campion

St Edmund Campion

Today was World AIDS Day. Some 33.3m people around the world have the virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, according to the latest figures from the United Nations. Many of them, including many small children, will be dead by the end of next year in a world in which governments spend millions on weapons, but will not buy antiretroviral drugs for their sick people. That's discrimination.

Today is the feast  day of St Edmund Campion. He gave  up a glittering academic career to become a Catholic priest and was tortured here in London for days, then  hung, drawn and quartered for his faith. I would call that religious discrimination. For centuries after his death,  Catholics weren't allow to own property or even come within ten miles of London. Thousands of Catholics and Protestants  have died for their faith in this country.

In Iraq, Christians are being killed on a daily basis. In China hundreds of bishops, priests, nuns and lay people are in prison. Millions of Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith. That's religious discrimination.

Today a group of campaigners lead by the former Archbishop of Canterbury,  Lord Carey  launched the  'Not Ashamed Day' to protest over the discrimination they say  . Christians are suffering in the UK. I am not joining their protest.

Yes, there is a growing intolerant secularism here, but using the language of victimhood to describe our situation is exaggerating things. We need to dialogue with people who don't understand us - not adopt a hostile or cringing pose.

This is the historic year in which a Pope came to England and was welcomed by the Queen and government. As this year comes to an end I am so thankful for that and will continue to work and  pray for a British society that is tolerant of all faiths and beliefs.

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