Thursday, 9 June 2011

There is nothing new under the sun

We don't have a TV License at the moment, that means we can't watch programmes as they are being broadcast.  For the few programmes we watch we make good use of catch-up services on the internet.  This means I am reading a lot more.

I have read a lot of books this year.  At least 3 of them brought to my mind the horrors of prejudice.  I have read 'An Imperfect God - George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America' and was once again shocked about the inhumane treatment of slaves, all because of the colour of their skin.  That the slave triangle ever came into existence is beyond belief but the fact that it lasted for so long is incredible.  Thank God for William Wilberforce and others who fought hard to abolish the trade.

Alas, our job is not completed as modern day slavery still exists around our world.  In the 21st Century.

'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' is another book about prejudice.  Told from the point of view of a 9 year old boy.  Towards the end of the book he has a conversation with his sister and it is obvious he hasn't understood that he isn't supposed to like the Jews.  During the conversation he says "I don't understand why we're not allowed on the other side of it (the fence).  What's so wrong with us that we can't go over there and play?"  His sister tries to explain that the Jews have to stay together, and that they ('the Opposites') can't mix with them.  The little boy just doesn't understand this at all and asks his sister "Well, why don't we like them?"  Her answer is short and to the point "Because they're Jews,". 

Are we any different today?  How many people don't mix with 'Opposites' just because of race, colour or some other different feature?  Thank God, Christianity (in its perfect form as Jesus created it) is without prejudice 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.'

The last book I want to mention is called  'The Island' by Victoria Hislop.  It is a story about a lady who wants to find out about her past.  She is led to Crete and finds out things that she didn't know and people she didn't know existed.  One theme in the book is leprosy and how people react to those with it.  Misinformation and folklore lead to lots of prejudice and awful behaviour perpetrated from one group of humans towards another.

In the UK recently a reporter went undercover for 5 weeks into a home for adults with learning disabilities.  He recorded the behaviour he witnessed and then made a TV programme about it.  The Carers' behaviour towards their clients was abhorrent; the men and women were abused purely because of their disabilities.  Here is a report about it and a video which is distressing. 

The awful thing is that the report is recent.  It is now.  It is no different from what went on during the slave trade and the war.  It is sad.  We have to use our voices to speak out against prejudice and hatred.  And the show the world that there is a hope and a different way in the person of Jesus.

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