It upset many, many people, something I guess they’d actually be quite happy about as it means more publicity for their brand of hate. Publicity which, yes, I am granting them more of now (albeit only to the 70-100 readers each post gets on average on this blog. So not much publicity, really). For me, the reasons I got upset were fourfold.
Firstly, it meant I was angry at the Daily Mail yet again, despite trying so hard to just ignore them.
Secondly, the use of the sudden death of someone, Cilla Black, to make an attempt at humour based on a humanitarian crisis. It lacks class and humanity on many levels.
Thirdly, “illegals”. So many of the people at Calais at the moment are running scared from war, extreme poverty and persecution. They are human beings who want a chance of a better life which they don’t have, yet we do, due to an accident of birth. Yet the Mail decides to go a step further than the constant description of these refugees, these people, by most of the media as “migrants”, and decides to completely dehumanise these people by labelling them “illegals”. As if they have no right to exist, no right to compassion, no rights at all. It disgusts me!
Fourthly, though, was the heavenly imagery used in the cartoon. Hundreds of people locked out of God’s Kingdom whilst riot police try to keep back an influx of these “illegals”, whilst judging one person as worthy due to her elevated social status. It’s an image which so misrepresents God’s desire to accept us all that it was this which made my blood boil the most.
In the letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote this,
“Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:23-29 NIVUK)
Today, Paul may well have said that there is also no celebrity nor illegal. All are welcome and justified by their faith in Christ alone, not by their place of birth or bloodline. There is no need to climb over the fence, as some are doing in the background; rather, if we knock, the door will be opened for us.
That is what is truly wrong. The idea of God, the one who made the heavens and the Earth, the one who breathes life into us, the one who came down to Earth in order to die and save us from ourselves, the one who invites every one of us into a relationship with him, would lock the gates on those most vulnerable. Christ spoke more about helping the poor, sick and marginalised than anything else, except for the Father’s Kingdom. He did this to make the exact point Paul did to the Galatians; we are all equal in God’s sight and all equally welcome into His courts through Jesus.
There is no need for us to queue or clamber over gates. There will be no policing, no truncheons, no hatred, no fear, no desperation. There are no “illegals” or legals. Instead, as Matt Redman put it in his song “Holy Moment”,
“We will run run run
Through your gates, o God
With a shout of love!
With a shout of love!”