I’m not an expert when it comes to the European Union, I’m not an expert when it comes to the intricacies of politics either. But hearing stories of the things that some people are saying after everyone woke up on Friday morning have me really quite scared.
This isn’t me saying I’m scared for the future of this country because the vote was in favour of leaving the EU. This isn’t me saying that we now need another referendum either. This is me saying that I’m genuinely horrified by the things that a select number of British people are saying to anyone who has the potential to be foreign.
I’ve heard stories of British people saying to Muslim mothers, Polish doctors and black co-workers that “I voted leave so we could kick people like you out”. This is abhorrent, this angers me, this frustrates me, but above all else this worries me. Putting politics aside, it has been expressed that voting to leave the EU feels like we have just legitimised racism through the irrational fears of some. People have, and are, being dehumanised by the colour of the skin, their accents and their faiths and the people doing so feel that’s their right after they voted leave.
I have even seen this recently on twitter:
“Daughter tells me someone wrote ‘[Child’s name] go back to Romania’ on the wall in the girls toilets at School today.”
Regardless of In or Out, we as a country need to pull together to nip this attitude in the bud because this sort of behaviour is not acceptable, not least because it’s illegal. Focus also needs bringing back to the referendum, the vote wasn’t one about racism but was held in order to discern whether the people of Britain wanted to remain part of the EU or not.
We as a Church must continue to show the world the love of Jesus Christ more now than ever. Yes, that also means to those who are being racist Sandy!
We must put aside our anger and frustration and show love to those who anger and frustrate us as the only way to stamp out hate is to spread love. I’m not saying anything new or unheard of, I’m not even the first to say this, but in a country that seems divided and bereft of love for all people, this message needs reinforcing in as many ways and by as many people as possible.
We are all in this together, whether you woke up on Friday in joy or in dismay. Phil Jump of The Joint Public Issues Team couldn’t have put it better in his recent post:
“We believe that every human being is made in the image of God. Any narrative that undermines this, or promotes division and discrimination, runs contrary to the values of God’s Kingdom. Our prayer is that we might turn away from the language of fear or self-interest and recommit to this sense of our common humanity.” (Click here to read the post in full)
I’ll say no more but this; may we love and forgive each other as Christ taught us.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13-14, NIV)