The Race Card | An Emerging Response?

UjackLocal 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.

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8 responses to “The Race Card | An Emerging Response?”

  1. Simply excellent! Well said. Similar issues are raised in Canada. There needs to be a book about this. I have considered such a project, but I need to finish my current project first. Perhaps a collaboration…


    I know I’m an idiot, but I’ve never understood why people get all upset about so-called foriegners. I mean, from my point of view, the UK has ALWAYS been multi-cultural. Most of the Asian and Chinese people I meet were born in my city, so in my books that makes ’em British. OK, many Africans aren’t… as for the Europeans; well, we are part of Thatchers Europe after all…(?)
    A taxi-driver was spouted some racism gubbins a few days back, but i realised that he was old, like 50 or something, and so he actually remembers a time when all you ever saw was white people… how weird would that be? So, from his perspective there has been an invasion of sorts by non-UKkers; but how many of us Brits are actually from these parts anyway? I know I’m more Scottish, Irish and Norwegian than UKker.
    I still see a nation with more to give than to lose… it’s just badly managed. Perhaps if we reduce the National Lottery Draw to needing, say, 1 number? That should even things up a bit!!!!
    Damn white people. Go back to your own countries!!

  3. Jamie, you SERIOUSLY think I’d consider collaborating on a book with a freaking CANADIAN?!
    Lol, dead right – I’m actually thinking about plotting a book based on reflections on ‘the other’…. Kind of ‘A Complex Faith’. How long before you finish on your current project?
    And I always knew you were mud-blood DF. I’m at least quarter Scot. The mean quarter, that can’t resist whiskey ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. In terms of electoral politics, the BNP tactics would appear to be no more than a vote-catching exercise, cynically exploiting the racialism of white communities in the inner city. Their history however is not of tricksters but of racist thugs whose desired conclusion is compulsory repatriation or the final solution provided by fascism.
    It is true that successive British governments have used Nationality Laws and Immigration Acts to adjust the intake of labour into Britain, it is also true that there has been insufficient resource put into education to ‘bring the people with them’. The response of the VAST majority however has not been to support the NF/BNP and is extremely worrying if the statistic given at the top is valid.
    I agree strongly with your final paragraph. The emerging church clearly has a role to play in reaching out to inner city communities with a message of hope, tolerance and love. It must also make a stand and be very clear that there are hands it will not shake and compromises it will not make.

  5. Kester,
    You think that’s bad? I am actually dual Canadian/American citizen, and my Canadian half is largely FRENCH Canadian! Now you’ll have to block my comments for sure!
    As for my current project, I have computer meltdown in which my entire manuscript and all my notes disappeared forever. My backup? Corrupted. So, I am jsut at the beginning of the rewrite, but am considering putting it aside for now. The crash was very discouraging.
    I look forward to what you write!

  6. Arghh! That is horrific. So sorry. I actually have a private blog which I use as back-up. Every change I upload the new version. I just hope Typepad, my iPod, the f/w external hard drive, my iBook and my desktop and the DVD Rom don’t all go down at once. And, yes, I AM paranoid ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Just hope it’s worth saving once it’s finished…


    For good reason, my external HDD blew the hell up and i lost everything i ever did.

  8. I just installed PHPmybackuppro. Everyday I get my blog, study notes and sermon notes e.mailed to me. It makes me feel so much safer!