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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Venerating The Despised

There is one cure for racism and one cure only ... a conversion of the heart whereby my black sisters and brothers are venerated as cherished icons of God. For an Orthodox venerating the scores of African saints, (amongst them, St. Moses the Ethiopian), such reverence for the divine image in all is and should be second nature. It is the foundation for the biblical ethic of hospitality and the justice that God requires from us in our dealings with one another. In our society, however, often a different reality prevails.

Today the BBC has broadcast another of its ground breaking whistle blowing documentaries following a undercover reporter working in a detention centre for asylum seekers. Some 15 employees have been removed from post during ongoing investigations. The racism, the violence, the hatred, the collusion to conceal recorded in this programme was truly sickening. Here at St. Aidan's we do a lot of work with asylum seekers and refugees enabling them to find their voice and confidence against a backdrop of tabloid vilification and prejudice. Some of the stories of our people are truly heart breaking. I can only pray that such incidents that the BBC has exposed, which are not exceptional, may prompt the racists and the appeasers of racists to be removed from post (be they warders or politicians) and, hopefully, reformed.

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