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


Innominatus said...

You are certainly right in this post. The left love to describe those they choose to label "fascist" or "racist" as "scum". To refer to a fellow human being in such a de-humanising term simply demonstrates that the accuser lacks a soul or that he or she is in rebellion against their soul.

Christian Feminist said...

Broadly I do agree, but just want to be clear that I do think the beliefs of the SDL/BNP are both fascist and racist, and also that I don't think anyone lacks a soul. Thats the point.

Christian Feminist said...

Actually I also don't really agree that they are 'in rebellion against their souls' as that doesn't make much sense to me. Generalisations are never helpful!

Innominatus said...

I see what you mean. I guess I was wrong to say that they lack a soul. I guess what I should have said is that their soul is deadened, which is evidenced by the fact that they do not see fellow human beings as fellow human beings.

Anyway, one point, the SDL is not interchangeable with the BNP - despite what Sarwar, Anwar and Sturgeon said yesterday.

The so-called SDL roused 70 rough-nuts to stand kettled by the police after spending a couple of hours in a pub. The BNP is a political party which spent 4 weeks, on the streets, every day, explaining its ideas and engaging the voters in Glasgow North East, and came within 63 votes of beating the Conservative Party.

Hils said...

yes, its funny when as my self an staunchly a-religious anarchist type I found myself most engaged by christian speaker. One of the few that spoke of love, rather than hate. One of the most gutting moments for me on that march was the attempt to derail him with shouts of 'no Gods no masters'. A philosophy I agree with but not when its used to silence other people.

Its so easy to fall into hatred. Which is what both the SNP and BNP exploit, whether they do so in thuggish protest after the pub, or in polite conversations on door steps.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the reason I don't go on many marches, because one or two idiots doesn't speak for you, but they effectively do when you're gathered in a crowd with them and everyone is being sheep-like and joining in the hate.

Aydan said...

I just found this blog through your post on shaving. Are you still writing? I hope so!

-- Aydan

Toyin O. said...

Only God can give us grace to love our enemies, but all things are possible with Christ.

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