There is no doubt about it; the subject of immigration is a hot one and has become even hotter with the various unresolved conflicts happening in the Middle East, which has led to a refugee crisis.
It is a subject I have already included in my “Immigration and Islam” e-book and I have no intention of going over old ground or going deep into evaluating the evidence. I should say Immigration and Islam are separate subjects but in today’s paradigm they are increasingly connected. I want to give a personal perspective of how I see things and try to formulate a “Christian” based response to a complex subject that invariably stirs emotions and has, and continues to do so, polarized opinions among Christians.
One way or another, immigrants and foreigners have played an important part throughout my life, starting at University when I sought to befriend those coming from overseas. In my community activism in the latter part of my life, I have engaged with many from overseas, from many countries, cultures and religions, and played a significant in welcoming and empowering them and in particular spent time trying to help asylum seekers, that were often not treated fairly. I have had taken a special interest in Muslims and have sought to foster good relations and to befriend. My own rationale for doing so comes from the Bible: “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” Leviticus 19 33-34.
It is ironic therefore that with my support of Brexit, Trump and sympathies toward populist, often anti-Islam, movements across Europe, I am now seen by some as being racist and xenophobic. As I see what is happening across Europe with pressure being brought to bear on national infra-structure and with some immigrants, especially those that follow Islam, refusing to adapt to and respect the culture in which they are placed, I recognize that immigration needs to be controlled much more tightly than has been the case thus far. This belief is at odds with the philosophy of the EU and, while it was not the main reason for my voting to leave the EU in the EU referendum, it is one reason why I believe Britain should be out of the EU and also explains the rise of populism all across Europe. While Trump has received a lot of stick for wanting to build a wall with Mexico and curbing entry of those from problematic countries, usually Islamic dominated ones, I agree with him at least in principle, although in practice I have qualms when the above text is violated (as well as others to do with the treatment of foreigners). Concerning national identity, we operate a diverse culture and change is inevitable but those who settle from aboard need to accept and respect the way of life of their adopted country.
I became aware of that Immigration was a hot issue when as a teen I listened to Enoch Powell’s (in)famous “River of Blood” speech. The jury is still out as to the extent he was right or merely stirring up fear and hatred. Those who nowadays adopt that more rabid rhetoric are often vilified, as well as more moderate types who merely raise valid concerns that seem to be conveniently dismissed by the powers that be. But the issues raised have not gone away and if anything have intensified in the light of the refugee crisis resulting from various Middle East conflicts. One sympathizes with any who wish to move to other countries to provide a better life for their families and especially when it is also to escape the horrors of war or oppression. Some who succeed in relocating their country of residence do well, not just for themselves but for their adopted country, and I can think of a number that fit the bill. Some arguably make a net negative contribution, which begs the question of whether they should have been allowed in the first place and how to ensure we get the people who we want or are genuine asylum seekers?
While this touches on the realm of conspiracy theory, the reason why so many are seeking to be let in to Western European countries and more than arguably they can comfortably accommodate, is part of plot by the globalists to dilute national identity, destabilize national government, add to chaos and bring in a new world order, and the reaction to taking in more immigrants of the wrong sort (e.g. those sexually assault women and children and refuse to integrate or submit to the laws of the land etc.) is as a result of people seeing through this. I have yet to come to a fully rounded view although I believe a balance needs to be found between taking in those we must (insisting Middle East countries like Saudi take their fair share), and include the Christian refugees who too often are overlooked altogether. Part of the solution is finding pathways to peace in the Middle East, for arguably past Middle East policy has added to conflict and present policy continues to do so. As for proving aid, I remain skeptical even though I recognize we should help those who need it and while charity may begin at home it does not end there. But the aid needs to be of the right sort. I can think of many third sector organizations, including faith groups, who receive little aid yet punch well above their weight when it comes to helping the very people who need to be helped, and I continue to question if giving money to corrupt regimes is wise.
Going back nine months, I wrote an article titled “Why I have changed my mind on immigration”. It seems to me my thoughts have continued to evolve with respect to those set out in that article. There is no simple solution and the tragedy we see unfolding presents many conundrums and moral dilemmas. We should face up to the issues that are raised by immigration and globalism and as a Christian I seek to adopt a biblical approach.
One thought on “Immigration, globalism and a “Christian” approach”
You are factually incorrect, John. The EU does allow for member states to expel other-state EU nationals if they cannot find work in a given period. Belgium has been doing so for some years, within EU rules. http://www.euronews.com/2016/03/11/belgium-says-jobless-europeans-not-welcome refers. I am sure there are plenty of other sources that will confirm this.
What has happened in the UK is that successive governments, frightened of the racist rhetoric of the likes of Farage, Griffin and Yaxley-Lennon, have tried to play the race card, and scape-goated the EU, in order to garner votes from disillusioned white voters who were supporting neo-nazi groups like the BNP, UKIP and the EDL. But those governments simply chose not apply EU measures that were available to them, in the case of the Tories preferring to use the EU as a scapegoat. This also explains Gordon Brown’s “British jobs for British workers!” statement when he was PM. The trouble is that you cannot triangulate with fascists. They will never meet you half way.
The success of the far right has tended strongly to occur in deprived northern towns and cities – exactly those that have suffered a massive decline in manufacturing industry since Thatcher’s assault on the working class and unions. They tend to have large numbers of immigrants and that makes it very easy to blame immigration for those towns’ problems but there is nowhere in this country that has had as much immigration as London and the far right have made no headway in the capital at all. That is because the wealth of this country has, for many years, been more and more concentrated in London and the SE. But you don’t tend to find the same problems of racism and intolerance in London simply because of that wealth.
The solution to this problem is deliberate economic expansion in the north but politicians have only ever paid lip service to this – George Osborne and his “northern power-house” immediately springs to mind. But the tories have never made any effort to right the wrongs of Thatcher, but have merely exacerbated them with vicious austerity policies – and them blamed immigrants and the children of immigrants for the problems.
I will be even handed here. The Windrush scandal, for example, although very largely Theresa May’s doing, was actually started when David Blunkett was Home Secretary. There is a post on my facebook page about this, and I was very pleased when a good friend of mine, a human rights barrister, posted an excellent potted history of the way successive governments over the past couple of decades have exercised cruelly racist policies against our own citizens – people who were, 50-odd years ago, invited to come to this country to make up a shortfall in our labour force.