Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Keep on being kind

A friend encouraged me yesterday to re-post something from just before the General Election in 2015.  Back then, I just wanted to encourage people to be kind.  Think the best of people.  Don't assume that others have terrible motives.  Speak well of one another.  That was all I was after.

Honestly, I couldn't simply re-post it.  Go back and read it, and see how far things have deteriorated over the last four years.  Look at the picture of Dave, and Ed, and Nick; three men with very different politics but obvious mutual respect.  It was a more elegant blogpost, for a more civilised age.

Nowadays I really couldn't encourage you to assume the best of everyone in politics.  It would be naive, even negligent, to do so.  There is, I am convinced, real evil at work in our politics.  When parties are going into a general election pledged to decriminalise murder in the womb; when a major party in British politics has been named the number one existential threat to Jews around the world; when politicians are pledged to enshrine corrupt gender politics into our laws; when at least one political party is led by someone with a proven track record of lies and deceit...  No, I can't tell you to assume the best.  There is evil at work here.

But here's a thing I can say on apostolic authority: if evil is not to overcome us all, and is instead itself to be overcome, it is to be overcome by doing good.

So I think we can - must - keep on being kind.  That in no way means failing to call out evil where we see it.  But it does mean recognising that there is no righteous choice here, and if others are making different choices from us - choices we can't understand or see the moral justification for - we can be generous and humble in the way we think, and gentle in the way we speak.  We might want to challenge people to change their minds; but we do it with kindness.

We Christians need to look to the model of Jesus, and model a robust kindness, a kindness which doesn't brush over evil, but looks it squarely in the eye and is nonetheless powerfully gentle, confidently humble.

However you vote, or whether perhaps you don't feel you can morally justify voting at all, keep on being kind.

3 comments:

  1. Very true and good advice.

    In the case of Corbyn, although I wouldn't vote for him (or anyone else for that matter), I do think Christians need to denounce the quite amazing propaganda campaign against him on the matter of anti-semitism. E.g.:

    https://www.medialens.org/2019/reopening-auschwitz-the-conspiracy-to-stop-corbyn/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid I think the evidence for Corbyn's lenient treatment of anti-semitism is pretty strong. And I'd be very wary of taking Media Lens as a reliable source!

      Personally, given the history, I'd be keen to see Christians standing up for their Jewish neighbours more clearly.

      Delete
    2. Media Lens's (among others) reporting of Jewish voices dissenting from the mainstream line is verifiable enough, not least Bercow's experience. What is omitted from the mainstream media (inc. arms sales and business interests in Israel) is usually pretty vital.

      The trouble is the blurriness between anti-Zionism and anti-Semtism. Much of the reports in the Telegraph, etc., seem to me to fail to make the distinction to almost absurd extents, but the blurriness may well have led to overlooked incidents within Labour. That said, the incidents are lower in percentage than for the population as a whole, and the Tories' own deep problems with anti-Semitism (as well as Johnson's racist language) have garnered hardly the same coverage over the last few days.

      So certainly, let's denounce anti-Semitism, but not at the behest of those with dubious agendas.

      Delete