The Anglican Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has said that people need to realize each and every life is “valuable in the sight of God,” whether that be a child suffering from a preventable disease in Africa or a child suffering poverty in the U.K.
Dr. Sentamu made the comments writing for The Yorkshire Post, as he entered the debate about international aid spending. He was responding to the announcement last week that the U.K. was pledging £814 million ($1320 million) more to a global vaccinations program.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticized by some, who are questioning how he could offer so much for foreign aid whilst Britain was still suffering amidst widespread austerity measures.
However, Sentamu gave a very opposite opinion by saying he believed the U.K.'s spending on foreign aid was still “woefully short of what is needed.”
Sentamu, 62, said: “I would like to ask you a question: 'What should be our top priority, the life of a child suffering from poverty in the UK - or the life of a child dying from a preventable disease in Africa?'
“The answer is, of course, that each life is equally valuable in the sight of God, and the language of 'top priority' is misplaced.”
He went on to rebuke the nature of discussions that have emerged, saying they had digressed into a debate about whether “we should bother” to help others when many in Britain were still suffering from the aftermath of the economic downturn.
Sentamu said, “I am concerned at how the recent debate about global poverty seems to have been reduced to a discussion about whether we should bother helping those in poverty overseas when we have our own problems to address at home.
“It is not an 'either/or' question - we should be funding initiatives to tackle both.
“John Donne once wrote that 'no man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.'”
He then urged people to look beyond their own borders and to have a global community outlook: “We would do well to remember that the UK is not just a group of islands, it is an important part of a global community.”
Britain currently spends 0.7 percent of its GDP on foreign aid programs.