Since the shocking death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, we have seen wave after wave of demonstrations sweep across America. Police brutality in the US clearly needs urgently to be addressed, but, sadly, the protests have often degenerated into violent and frightening confrontation. In Seattle, for example, areas of the city appear to have been taken over by aggressive Black Lives Matter protestors, leaving residents reportedly terrified to go out at night (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEWjQOnrZRg; http:// https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/i-am-really-scared-seattle-resident-living-on-the-border-of-chaz-speaks-out/).
Any death in such circumstances – be it black, white, or any shade in between – is truly terrible, and it is regrettable that there has been no comparable outcry over the death of Tony Timpa, a white man who suffered the same fate at the hands of Dallas policemen – one of whom was black – in July 2016 (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/dallas-bodycam-footage-released-showing-moments-death-unarmed-man-n1037291). Mr Timpa’s family are also fighting for justice, and the fact that one death has provoked fury, while the other has been casually dismissed as unimportant (as has been openly stated by some who have written to VfJUK over the last few days accusing us of racism) speaks volumes.
Let us be clear, any kind of injustice or brutality is never acceptable; whatever the race of the victim, and whatever the race of the perpetrator.
Sad to say, the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn from the nature of the protest over George Floyd is that what has happened is being exploited by individuals who want not just equality, but ‘revolution’. To put it another way, the nature of the demonstrations seem to be directed not at securing justice and equality for all – or even simply for black people – but to hijack the reaction against Georg Floyd’s death in order to use it as a way of challenging the system and of seizing control. To this extent the demonstrations are in themselves profoundly racist, and inevitably lead to the fear that, as with France in 1789, or Russia in 1917, we are witnessing the beginning of an uprising that will pave the way for a transfer of power. Little wonder that those who don’t 100% agree are branded white supremacists and racists – because in today’s climate, this is the trump card to silence all opposition.
Over the last couple of weeks, similar demonstrations have spread to the UK. Large crowds have gathered, and we have seen statues defaced and overthrown, combined with attacks on the police – with onlookers standing by and laughing. There’s pressure for everyone ‘to take the knee’, and a campaign for the statue of everyone who has allegedly been associated with, or profited from, slavery to be removed. History, protestors say, must be rewritten, so that the nation’s heroes are no longer be presented as brave defenders of our country – including even Churchill – but exposed for the despicable and vicious exploiters they were! England must pay.
VfJUK has pointed out before that it was Britain who in the 19th century led the way to end the evil of slavery. And indeed, after 1808, it was the West Africa Squadron, a branch of the Royal Navy founded at considerable cost, that was tasked with suppressing the Atlantic slave trade. From admittedly feeble beginnings – it started out with only two ships – the squadron grew in strength and over the next fifty years captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans, some of whose descendants no doubt live here now (https://www.forces.net/services/tri-service/how-royal-navy-helped-stop-slave-trade). But to protestors all this is apparently irrelevant. We are every last one of us wicked exploiters who must submit and be made to pay.
This of course – thankfully – is not the view of many of Britain’s black community. Their home is here and they are proud to be British. They truly want for us all to be one people – a shining example of the inclusivity to which we all aspire, and which together we must make real. But true equality does not mean dominance of or by anyone – and white people must not be discriminated against by what has become an insidious attempt to destroy this country’s history, society, and culture from within.
Every nation has it faults, and most assuredly that’s true of Britain too. But we are a nation founded on Christian belief, and we can be justly proud of our long defence of human rights, of our courage in face of enemies far larger than ourselves – and our defence of those far ‘smaller’ – and of our often stunning achievements.
When someone has suffered deep wrong, one of the hardest things they can ever be called to do is forgive. But, in the example of His own suffering and death, that is precisely what Christ calls us to. This is the way of the cross, and the reason is simple – if we do not forgive, then we become irrevocably bound to the one who has caused us harm. We become enslaved to sin, and the result is that neither we, nor the one who has done us wrong, can then be free. To hang on to, and nurture, anger is to be in bondage – and to open the way to even greater evil.
It was to set us free from sin and restore us to that fullness of relationship with the Father for which we were created, that Christ died. Real forgiveness is never easy, and it’s not ‘cheap’. On the contrary, it’s costly and it’s something we can only do with the help of God. But it’s the way of freedom, and of life. So now, both black and white need to learn to forgive – to let go our offences against each other and, by God’s grace, go forward as one people, ‘loving’ and respecting each other – working for our common good.