He and I did not see eye to eye on some political issues. But this didn’t matter. Or rather, the fact that it doesn’t matter matters hugely for the flourishing of our democracy. Disagreement wasn’t a cause of enmity or division. Disagreement didn’t mean separation. Yet it is precisely this that we see around us in so much of the trench warfare of current public and political discourse, the vitriolic and ever amplifying echo-chambers of social media now invading other areas of life.
How do we counter this?
David Amess was a kind man.
The word kind is related to the word kin. When we are kind to someone, it doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with them, or even like them, but that we recognise a kinship, a common humanity and treat them accordingly; or as we sometimes say, ‘treat them in kind.’
David’s robust kindness came from his Christian faith. He was a devout Christian, a Roman Catholic. But the idea that we human beings belong to one another and have a responsibility to each other is not self evident. Observation of our behaviour and attitudes shows us the opposite. Our worst desires can be seen everywhere, leading us to separation, fuelled by selfishness, and bearing fruit in hatefulness and the possession of each other.
The picture of humanity that God gives us in Jesus Christ offers something else. In this regard, perhaps the most radical words Jesus ever spoke are the ones most of us know and many of us say every day: ‘Our Father’. In saying these words we don’t just acknowledge we belong to God, we acknowledge our belonging to each other as kith and kin.
Sir David Amess murder suspect had considered killing other MPs, the Telegraph understands https://t.co/62jZoznAZj
— Chootchy Face (@chootchyface) October 18, 2021
— Stephen Cottrell (@CottrellStephen) October 18, 2021