Toleration of the Intolerant


Managed to turn up for my live radio slot on Downtown yesterday morning without my pre-prepared "Review of the Week"... Ooops... so I had to quickly write it from memory... and given that this was at 7am, even with an extra hour in bed it was a miracle that I wrote anything vaguely coherent...

Here is an amalgam of the pre-prepared script and my improvised one...

Should we show tolerance to the intolerant? Should we afford the full rights of a democratic society to a party, which, if they gained power even for a nanosecond, would completely overturn that democracy, in the same way that the Nazi Party did in Germany in the 1930s? Were the BBC influenced by their respect for the 1,000,000 people who voted for the BNP in the recent European elections, or by the thought of the extra 4,000,000 viewers they were likely to get for Question Time by stirring up a media storm around it? And did Nick Griffin's subsequent appearance reveal him to be the "squalid racist" and a "21st Century pipsqueak heir to Hitler and Mosley" as former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey claimed, or did he come across as the pluck advocate of "Christian Britain" thrown into the modern day equivalent of the lions' den, the media circus where the mouthpieces of modern multi-cultural Britain were lying in wait like a lynch mob.
These and many other questions have been rolling around in my mind this week regarding the appearance of Nick Griffin on Question Time. In the end I didn’t see it because I had something more important to do that evening… but given the amount of coverage that it has received before and since I feel as if I did… and that frustrates me, because it shows how our priorities can be seriously skewed by the agendas of small numbers of people fuelled by hatred and bigotry… and how the policy of government and other public bodies can be derailed by having to kowtow to whatever the media decides is the issue that will gain them most viewers or sell the most papers.
I am not saying that if you ignore bigots and racists they will go away… far from it… there are times when you must stand up, speak out and counter those who stoke up suspicion and peddle half truths that promote hatred and division. But you have to be careful how you engage them and how much oxygen or legitimacy you give them.
Simply to say that because they have passed a certain arbitrary electoral threshold that entitles them to certain political rights is naive to say the least. Just because people vote for you, doesn’t mean you are right. Right and wrong are not decided by a political poll. Even what the majority says is not always right, any more than the loudest voice is the one that should be listened to. Justice… real justice, is not swayed by public opinion. Which is why the Kingdom of God is a kingdom and not a liberal democracy. A kingdom where God's word is the final word, but also a kingdom whose borders are wide open to whoever will come. A kingdom open to people of all races, nations and denominations: all cultures, creeds and colours, to all ages, stages and genders, and people of all political, theological and sexual preference.
All are invited to become citizens of God's Kingdom…
ps. Yesterday's News of the World also revealled that the Queen has "declared war on the BNP". First the generals who led the British Army, then the former Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the national church, now the head of State... But what would any of them know about being British!?

pps. Following on from Lord Carey's refutation of the BNP's Christian credentials the Evangelical Alliance has released a statement saying that the BNP doesn't speak for British Christians... That of course isn't to say that EA speaks for all Christians either, but I'm certainly right behind them on this one. This in turn has sparked a facebook campaign so if you are unsure about how you might be able to vent your frustration and demonstrate your opposition to the BNP, if you are a devotee of fb then perhaps this is a small way of doing so...


Anonymous said…
A very interesting and difficult conundrum isnt it.

Well reasoned arguments wont and cant come anywhere near to countering or dissolving the deep seated fear based brain and nervous system emotional-sexual patterning that such stuff appeals to AND enerigizes.

Who is going to decide to censor who--and on what basis?

And besides which the internet provides ample space for every possible point of view.
Paul said…
Racism begins with our families, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, people we admire, respect and love.

However, as we grow and mature we come to the realization that what we were told by our family when we were children were slanted lies base on their prejudices. We realize that most people are like ourselves and not so different and want the same things, like a home, steady work, a Medicare plan and schools for our children (if you travel you will see this). We realize that most people are of good hearts and goodwill.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him.

Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need.

Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his fellow man.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help our fellow man (immigrant) in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help our fellow man, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

This current climate of blaming others for our woes is not new. We have had this before and we have conquered it.

Remember “Evil flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing”. Raise your voices with those of us who believe we are equal and we can win this battle again.

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