Saturday, 14 November 2009

Smash the BNP?

Today the Edinburgh Feminist Network banner went on its first ever road-trip out of edinburgh, along with me and Hilary. Our roadtrip was to take part in the Scotland United Rally in solidarity with the muslin community and all victims of racial violence. This was organised in response to plans by the Scottish Defence League's plans to protest outside Glasgow Central Mosque (which actually didn't happen in the end). Overall it was a really positive time, its always great to see huge amounts of people coming together to say that racism in all its forms is unacceptable. And yet, despite all the positives there were a few things that happened today that have left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

One of the slogans being chanted on the march was 'smash the BNP' and this was further emphasised by statements in the (many) speeches which used at times violent and dehumanising words to describe fascist groups and racist people. Much as I agreed with the anger being expressed, by far the best suggestion was made by Rev Ian Galloway, a speaker from the Church of Scotland. In his speech he made mention of the fact that in his tradition (and mine!) we are called to love our enemies.

During the march I was very tempted to counteract the 'smash the BNP' chants with 'Love your enemies - pray for those who persecute you', but when it comes down to it, I'm to much of a coward. However righteous our anger, threats of violence and hate, even when done in the name of justice, only lead to more hate and more violence. If we want to really create change, then we will have to use different tools.

Behind all the shouting, the message of Christ is a much more radical one. Its the call to love your enemies. Contrary to our many easily made slogans Nick Griffin, the BNP, the SDL and co are not actually evil, they are human. They are tragically wrong about a huge amount of things, and their hate should justly be condemned, but until we acknowledge the humanity of those we disagree with I truly don't believe we will get very far in trying to make the world better. Peoples minds aren't changed by being yelled at, they are changed when we engage with them, or even better, work to change the conditions in which hatred thrives.

You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend' and its unwritten companion 'hate your enemy'. I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best - the sun to warm and the rain to nourish - to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the loveable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run of the mill sinner does that.

In a word what I'm saying is Grow Up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. LIve out your God created identity. Live generously and graciously towards others, the way God lives towards you.
The Message Bible Matthew 5

Feminist Blether Report

Lovely Liz has a shiny new podcast with her friend Gordon, and myself and Hilary are on it to make an exciting feminist special! So go have a look at the blether report!