You can imagine my delight then when the words “Cup of Tea with a Refugee” appeared on my Twitter feed. The Scottish Refugee Council has launched a project to help people see refugees not as statistics or news stories, but as real people – just like us.
Most scholars, most priests, most Jews, most Arabs, while they would prefer some less horrendous sight than the burning flesh of children, are not seriously shaken in their style of mind, their taxpaying, their consumerism, their spiritual, economic, or political complicity, by such “incidents.”
Theirs is the faith, when it is set out in plain words, of the zealot and the fanatic. By no means do I intend to suggest that they are zealots, fanatics, or indeed bad people. All that I will say is that their ideas – or some of their ideas – are fanatical and dangerous in the extreme, and in this assessment there is no exaggeration.
This little man’s bible, his instrument of hatred and torture, his upside-down roadmap to hellfire, was the word of his god. No doubt his slavery to it already had him living a bleak and dismal living hell, and he is to be pitied for that.
When the man in the pulpit says that Islam is satanic and the Bible teaches that homosexuals are wicked, how might a Christian fundamentalist respond to a Muslim man murdering innocent women and men in a gay nightclub?
Since 1948 the State of Israel has existed as a homeland for the Jewish people. On the basis of Zionism, as an ethno-nationalist ideology, this stake in a geographical territory, according to the colonialist conventions of the time, is arguably legitimate.
True, modern political Zionism, rather than being a Jewish nationalist aspiration, was first the product of English and American Protestantism. English Puritans, from the earliest colonisation of North America, conceptualised their new home as a new Israel, a ‘City on a hill;’ a New Jerusalem.
These people are not the “Christian Syrians” that the EU would prefer to welcome, but Muslim families fleeing the horror of war in their country, and these people will be joining other Syrian refugees already welcomed to sanctuary in the Vatican.