With over 200,000 having now signed the petition to ban Donald Trump from British soil the debate as to how we live peacefully, respectfully and with tolerance has never raged louder. His inflammatory comments this week enraged many as he has taken national security to fascist extremes and labelled a whole people group as the authors of terror and unveiled his master plan: ban the lot of them. That's right, let’s have a carpet ban on all Muslims entering the USA. Let's not treat people as individuals; lets group them together - lets label them well and lets deny them entry and let's do this until we now 'what's going on'.
Now that is what we call the politics of fear.
That is exposing people's primary fear, twisting it and using it for political advantage.
You want to stop people living in fear? Then encourage people to stop selling guns that might help. America has 89 guns for every one hundred people - the highest per head of any country in the world.
Why not instead Mr Trump use your money to create a fairer and more equal world? Instead of using it to buy influence use it to build freedom and liberation across a global community. Why not fund Academies of Global Reconciliation where we can sit and listen to and talk to each; using debate and dialogue as the means of building communities of tolerance and mutual respect and then, out of that mutuality and shared humanity discuss national security from the perspective of people living together with a sense of shared values, equity and purpose. Perhaps then we would be in a better position to sift out the ideologies of evil that can breed amongst faith communities of all kinds.
Using fear to drive agendas is bad politics, lousy business and dreadful religion and we all need to do better - a lot better. So during this season of Advent let’s take the words of the angel when she visited Mary with the announcement she would give birth to the Christ child. 'Fear not,' not he said, as the young virgin sought to make sense of her life and what was happening. And 'Fear Not' is the message that still speaks from the stable today. God doesn't deal in the politics of fear but of love. He doesn't drive people to respond to him - he woos them, and in a world being divided by fear and hatred that message needs to be heard. So let's be clear - the coming of Christ into the world was not associated with a message of fear but of love and even Donald will find it difficult to trump that.
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