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Friday, 23 October 2009

Freedom of speech!

One of the more commented-upon news items of the past week was the decision of the BBC to invite Mr Nick Griffin of the British National Party to be a panellist on this week’s edition of Question Time. The programme was underway by the time I switched on but, from the part that I did view, I suspect that it did Mr Griffin and the BNP no harm at all! My reason for arriving at this conclusion – unwelcome as it will be to many (myself included) – is that the programme appeared to be a ‘have-a-go-at-Griffin’ opportunity for both the other panellists, and a large section of the audience.

A long time ago, a very gracious man quoted to me the words attributed (wrongly, I believe) to the French revolutionist, Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This, it seems, is an idea that was foreign to most of the audience, and conveniently forgotten by some of the panellists – in spite of their occasional protestations to the contrary!

My concern is that the very way in which most of the programme came across as a concerted attack on one member of the panel will have provided him with something of a ‘martyr’ persona. This, in turn, may have a certain appeal to the traditional British attitude of supporting the underdog!

Of course, someone has said that a country gets the politicians it deserves. Perhaps the U.K. has so increasingly turned its collective back on its Judaeo-Christian heritage that it is merely reaping what it has sowed (see Gal.6:7).

“…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land.” (II Chron.7:14). Let us pray!

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