Local Council elections are due in the UK shortly, and there has been some media attention given to surveys that suggest that up to a quarter of voters ‘have thought of voting for the British National Party‘. The BNP are a dangerous bunch; tricksters in the most cunning of modes. Their door to door campaign has focused on widespread grievances such as council housing, state education etc and on promoting ‘Christian values’. Their website spouts:
Can you just sit there and watch as our country is being ripped apart by the forces of multiculturalism? The BNP cannot do anything without your full and active support – join, donate, get involved. Today is the day to do something.
Feeling despondent or depressed, perhaps bewildered by daily events?
Feeling angry about news the newspapers and television stations are reporting?
Feeling ignored, abandoned and forgotten by Blair’s regime?
Feeling ripped off by the Big Brother Government and the corporate giants?
Feeling exploited, over taxed but unrepresented on your local council or in parliament?
You are not alone.
Millions – your next door neighbours, others in your street, your village, district, suburb and housing estate – feel exactly the same way. Many good people, just like yourself are afraid to make too many comments publicly because it is seen as a sin to make mention of one’s fears and concerns. Well there is a solution, an answer to your understandable concerns and that is to look at the pages of the website of the British National Party. If you agree with what we say, then stop remaining silent, work with us to regain control of our country and our future.
Of course, the racist agenda that is the root of their movement is only subtly mentioned, and this has proved attractive to many, particularly in the inner cities.
One voter interviewed stated ‘we didn’t vote for this influx of ethnic minorities – we didn’t get a chance to decide whether or not they should be allowed in. The government just went right ahead and did it without caring what the effects would be.’
I actually think their point is valid. The government has followed policies to support multiculturalism, but I don’t think over the past 60 years enough has been done to ‘bring the people with them’.
In other words, the ‘multicultural project’ is absolutely right, but is a project that is actually more difficult than people have imagined. Our inherited human nature appears to be naturally averse to ‘the other’. And this is where the BNP’s guff about ‘Christian Values’ totally breaks down. Jesus’ own summary of the gospel was ‘love each other; love The Other’. The divine in us celebrates multiculturalism, rejoices in difference.
People are scared of being ‘swamped by other cultures’, but the Christian response might be based on the idea of the Trinity: each member keeps their own distinct identity, while also having a wider unity. The fears people have of English culture being swamped are precisely because they are not clear about what this identity is.
How can the emerging church respond? First, by continuing to celebrate and embrace diversity. But also by reaching out to those in our inner cities and helping them to find a secure identity on which to build a love for the other.