I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the way the government and the 'powers that be' are seeking to instil fear, paranoia and panic within communities.
A radio advert created by the Association of Chief Police Officers warns listeners about 'suspicious' behaviour by neighbours and the need to report it as it may be linked to terrorism (read here about it). And what is this suspicious behaviour...?
Keeping curtains shut
Paying with cash
Not talking to your neighbours much
Now I've heard numerous stories about strange behaviour by people in 'power' who detain people for suspicious terrorist behaviour. Often its because someone is taking a photo and sometimes its because people are not willing to be denied their freedom of speech.
And that is what I get concerned about, that our freedom of speech and opportunity to express ourselves are being opposed and oppressed. My understanding is that the Police were established to be preservers of the peace, a group who sought to serve the community. Yet it seems that increasingly we are now being 'booked' for stepping out of line or not playing by the perceived rules. Now don't get me wrong, I believe that we need the Police and that many of them are trying to do their job well serving the community. I have mates who are in the Police. Yet more and more it seems that the Police are being squeezed to become target seekers for rule breakers rather than preservers of peace.
This advert, it seems to me, is promoting fear and paranoia within communities about anyone that seems a bit 'different'. I think it is another example of how the beauty of diversity and relationships, community and solidarity, is being further eroded to make people wary and suspicious of each other and to paralyse people with fear of each other and fear of the government and Police. And that is not right.
Jesus spoke about the truth setting us free. I think we are called to be seekers of truth and in finding truth we find freedom. Let us not be so naive to believe everything that the media and government feeds us about our communities and neighbours, but rather be seekers of truth who go to our neighbours and into our communities to find out for ourselves who people really are and what the truth about each other is. In the building of our relationships with one another and the discovery of love between each other then we will now the truth and the truth will indeed set us free.