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Freedom and Responsibility

Last night I watched BBCs Question Time - well I expect one heck of a lot of people did - and then part of the programme following it (This Week) which discussed to some degree the rights and wrongs of what had gone on.

Jim has some helpful thoughts on the programme here which are well worth reading and pondering.

It's a really tricky one isn't it, balancing freedom of conscience and expression (something Baptists love to assert is part of our heritage) with responsibility; how to permit diversity without allowing bigotry or prejudice to go unchecked.  Someone where in all of this the creative tensions of being Gospel People seems to emerge: the call to be inclusive (welcoming the stranger and not demonising the 'other') whilst prophetically challenging that which is wrong, sinful, evil.

The BBC is, I think, quite probably right in prompting the debate its actions have prompted, but that doesn't mean we should simply accept what was broadcast without asking many, many questions.  Too easily we blame the government or the BBC for what has happened and shrug off our own responsibilities.  At the same time it is too simplistic just to say, as some did yesterday, well you voted for them, you caused the situation to which you now object.  Has this programme given extremist parties publicity they may crave? Has it created an minority underdog being beaten up by the mainstream majority?  How much of the inherent bias of this so-called impartiality have we noticed?  It is very tricky, and this virtual 'thinking aloud' is not making it any less so.  Questions about the responsibilities that accompany freedom do need to be wrestled with.  I don't have any answers, I just recall that Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who hate us.


Who is it we demonise in all of this?

What are our own sins of omission or complicity?

How do I abuse my freedom?


On us, and on those we find offensive:

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy

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