by Julia A. Seymour
Government officials defend the donations as anti-poverty efforts. But critics say the U.K. and other Western nations should use aid efforts to help promote religious liberty, not trample it.
John Bingham, religious affairs correspondent for The Telegraph, reported last week that the U.K. gives 2.7 billion pounds ($4.2 billion) a year to countries where Christians face extreme persecution, including Somalia, Iraq, and Pakistan.
Bingham compared 2013 donations (the most recent year available) from the Department for International Development (DFID) and other agencies to the World Watch List of 50 countries with the worst persecution records. Open Doors, a Christian non-profit that serves the persecuted, generates the annual list. Four out of five countries on that list got 2013 British taxpayer assistance, The Telegraph reported...