This blogpost isn’t about the referendum whether the UK should remain or exit the European Union. While it is a story that is worth exploring, this post is about the attitudes and behaviour that is becoming more and more prevalent in our communities in the UK especially in light of the referendum. In light of this, it must be said that not everyone who voted to leave the E.U. is a fascist or connected to neo-nazism.
On 16 June, Jo Cox who was a Labour MP and was campaigning to remain in the E.U., was shot and stabbed several times just before she was about to meet with her constituents. A few hours Cox sadly passed away. Her murderer was Thomas Mair who had links with a neo-nazi group. It was said that as he was attacking her, he was shouting ‘Britain First‘, a far-right political party.
A week before Cox’s murder, my friend Jon found a few dozen disturbing fascist stickers plastered and openly displayed all over Camden Town. The stickers were from a neo-nazi group.
Today, the day after the referendum, I heard two stories;
1) A British Asian lady with a small child in a local Tescos was approached and told “Glad we are out, we can get rid of your lot”
2) A woman on a bus moved her bags on the seat next to her to make room for a man who had just boarded her bus. He instead chose to sit opposite, then leaned across, and said to her: “I’m glad I voted Leave yesterday, cos it means people like you can go home”. When she politely told him she is English, he said “Well you don’t look it”
Today I heard how the the far right in France, Denmark and the Netherlands have already proposed a similar referendum as well.
Fascism and neo-nazism is on the increase in our communities. This referendum has made it acceptable to voice outrageous xenophobic views.
How are churches/communities/Christians responding to fascism and neo-nazism?
If we don’t respond, the church will find it selves complicit by its silence.
As Christians who follow the way of Jesus, we need to rediscover our prophetic voice and declare in the pulpit and out in the streets that such fascist attitudes and actions are not tolerable. There is no room for such behaviour in God’s dream for the world.
When news was made of Cox’s death, many Christians rightly expressed condolences with the surviving members of Cox’s family. However, we can take it a step further and use the opportunity to make it known that fascist behaviour will not be tolerated.
For anyone who still thinks that fascism doesn’t exist or that white supremacists and other bigots only live in the woods: take your head out of the sand and look at what’s going on around you.