Mind your language

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Mind your language!

In recent days, politicians have been urged to speak out against the increasing level of hatred, intolerance and racism that is being expressed and to set an example.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission expressed concern about hate attacks since the Brexit vote and has called for "accurate information and respectful debate" from politicians.

In the run up to the European referendum, the rhetoric became increasingly ugly and in many ways normalised a level of anger and hatred that had not been previously seen or experienced.

The Commission said politicians had spoken about "the need to heal the country and bring people together" following the events leading up to 23rd June. But instead, it states "there is growing concern that the divisions on a range of big questions are widening and exacerbating tensions in our society".

We are not alone in all of this, for the briefest of looks across the Atlantic to the United States of America, tells us that there too, in the wake of the most brutal and degrading Presidential contest ever, the same thing has happened.

In France and Italy also, as they in turn look to Presidential elections and a referendum, we find echoes of what we have been through and are experiencing.

On both sides of the 'pond' a Pandora's box has been opened in regards to the way in which we see each other and speak to and about one another. Whilst politicians both British and American, may without breaking stride, change positions and shift attitudes on their promises and policies, they leave behind in their wake, a toxic and divisive legacy that has pitted citizen against citizen and family members against one another.

One of the great themes of Advent as we prepare for Christmas, is that of peace.

Whilst leaders and politicians might seek to set an example on the way in which we communicate and treat one another, peace cannot be simply imposed from on high. Peace (and come to that tolerance, understanding and mercy) needs to start with you and me.

If we are to give peace a chance and in this season of goodwill, make a difference, then we need to ensure that the way that we speak to and about others, (especially those with who we disagree) are not tarnished with prejudice, anger or hatred.

To quote the singer/songwriter, Paul Field;
"Be righteous, speak truthfully
In a world of greed and lies.
Show kindness, see everyone
Through heaven's eyes".

With love and God bless this Advent,

Keith

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