As we commemorate the profoundly iniquitous onslaught upon the Jews, commonly called the Holocaust, I hope we will not forget a deeply Christian nation, the Ukrainians, who remember their Holodomor - the deliberately contrived mass starvation which Stalinist Russia unleashed upon them. It is estimated that between seven and ten million of them died.
As well as being a pious act of charity, such remembrance would serve to remind us of one or two things. We live in an age of 'Apologies', when we are supposed to be sorry for acts of oppression and cruelty perpetrated by our predecessors; perhaps, for example, in the Slave trade. I am distinctly dubious about such games. Should those of us now who have the 'Christianity' label attached to us really have to 'apologise' for iniquities done in past generations by other people who also had the 'Christianity' tag around their necks? Well, if so, then I think it would be rather jolly if those now who wouldn't vastly object to being called Scientific Atheists did a bit of grovelling for what that other soi-disant Scientific Atheist Joseph Stalin did. Perhaps Dr Dawkins and his tribe would like to step up to this pious cultural duty.
And it is good to remember that nations other than Jewry have had their holocausts. Many Jews very generously use Holocaust Memorial Day to make precisely this point; and most laudably. Our Holy Father acted with great courage when he ignored the threats of the Turkish government and referred to the onslaught upon the Armenians as 'a holocaust'. It would be mistaken to act as if any one community had an exclusive right to the status and rhetoric of victimhood. It seems to me sadly, depressingly, ironic that some politicians (who are not usually orthodox observant Jews) appear to treat Palestinians as just a problem, as a group who have so few rights that their land can be appropriated and built on to provide ... what? Have they no memory of the infamous demand for Lebensraum ... lebensraum in the East ... .
But, far, far worse than this, right on our own doorstep, we have our own daily holocaust, the slaughter of the unborn, performed by well-heeled Englishmen with nice accents and clean fingernails who are kind to their wives and wouldn't dream of kicking cats ... rather like the kindly family men who administered the extermination camps, and went home from work to kiss their wives and read bed-time stories to their children.
The smoke that rises from the incinerator at your local hospital is more than a little like the smoke that rose from the incinerators in the death camps.