Thursday, 21 May 2015

Intolerant Intolerance

David Cameron and the Conservative government are seeking to fast track a new bill that gives them greater power to 'deal with extremism' so that the 'greatness of our nation' is preserved, that we may truly be 'one nation'.

The chilling words of Cameron echoed out last week,

'For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance

“This government will conclusively turn the page on this failed approach. As the party of one nation, we will govern as one nation and bring our country together. That means actively promoting certain values.

“Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

“We must say to our citizens: this is what defines us as a society.'

'British values' is a slippery phrase, ambiguous enough to mean whatever the government wants it to mean at any given time. The result, contrary to what is said above, is the continued assault on freedom of speech, attack upon dissenting acts and speech and the strangulation of democracy.

Listen to Hitler in 1933,

'Germany wants nothing except equal rights to live and equal freedom.

However, the National Government wishes to cultivate this spirit of a will for freedom in the German Volk. The honor of the nation, the honor of our Army, and the ideal of freedom-all must once more become sacred to the German Volk! The German Volk wishes to live in peace with the world.'

As a people we need to be concerned.

The inclusion here of Hitler's speech is to highlight the language of freedom and peace steeped in a poisonous ideology that ultimately wants to rid the world of all that is oppossed to said ideology.

We need to recognise that we are rapidly being conditioned to think and speak in ways that fit the narrative given to us by big business and government. We are not meant to to think for ourselves and challenge anything. These new laws mean that if you dissent against the dictatorial, terroristic and oppressive policies of our leaders then you may well be seen as promoting 'extremism' and an enemy of 'British values' which may well result in being arrested.

Of course I might well be an alarmist who has no idea what I'm talking about, but history tells us that there are certain factors that ferment the ground for oppression, violence and scapegoating enabling cruel tryants to rule unopposed by great numbers of the people; factors like national identity, national debt, national security. Leaders and politicians have throughout history used rhetoric around these themes to pursue violent and oppressive ideology.

I'm not a prophet, but I believe the Church is called to a prophetic imagination that sees beyond the cultural and political lines drawn and is theologically ahead of the game in order to respond in a gospel way to the climate in which we live.

'It is for this very reason that the Reich Government will use every means to definitively eliminate the separation of the peoples on earth into two categories.

Keeping open this wound leads the one to distrust, the other to hatred, and in the end to a general feeling of insecurity. The National Government is willing to extend a hand in sincere understanding to every people which is determined to once and for all put an absolute end to the tragic past. The distress of the world can only come to an end if the appropriate foundation is created by means of stable political conditions and if the peoples regain confidence in one another.

To deal with the economic catastrophe, the following is necessary: 1. an absolutely authoritarian leadership at home to create confidence in the stability of conditions; 2. safeguarding peace on the part of the major nations for a long time to come and thus restoring the confidence of the people in one another; and 3. the final triumph of the principles of common sense in the organization and leadership of the economy as well as a general release from reparations and impossible liabilities for debts and interest.' Adolf Hitler's speech as Chancellor, March 23rd 1933

The current move by the UK government fits in with changes in law in France and Canada that effectively remove freedom of speech and democratic rights.

Perhaps we need to listen once again to history, interpreted through the Gospel and Spirit in order to respond in a Christ-like way to what is happening in the UK.

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