Now that the dust has settled on the recent European Football Finals, once again 'The Beautiful Game' has been marred by the ugliness of racism. Sadly one of the abiding memories of this event will be the abuse directed towards the 3 English players of colour who failed to score in the penalty shoot-out.
Now in days gone by I would have jokingly called myself a supporter of Scotland... or anyone who was playing England! I say 'jokingly' until, on examining my own heart, I realised that to my shame there was more truth in that statement than I'd care to admit. In this particular case my problem wasn't because these 3 players were men of colour... they were ENGLISH!
Now, I'm sure none of us would want to admit to holding racist views ourselves. But wait a minute, have we ever stopped to think about some of the words of what has become the Scottish National Anthem... 'Flower of Scotland'? Are the first verse and chorus not worthy of closer examination in this respect? After all, there's a fine line between being 'patriotic' and 'racist'. And as the Bible is completely anti-racist the attitudes and values behind some of the lyrics in question would actually clash with those of Scripture.
For example, doesn't this song express a point of view which is...
...rather boastfully ARROGANT?
'When will we see your likes again.' ...seems to express the same conceited mentality as, 'Wha's like us?'. Yet the Bible promotes the opposite attitude...
'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.'
And as the lyrics speak of an event in 1314, aren't they...
...rather gloatingly RETROSPECTIVE?
'Proud Edward's army...' refers smugly to the victory of Robert the Bruce over England's Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn, whereas Scripture says...
'...forget the former things; do not dwell on the past...'
In addition, don't these lyrics encourage an attitude which is...
...rather willfully VINDICTIVE?
'And sent him homeward Tae think again.' Can this not have an unhelpful and rather negative sense of racist triumphalism, whilst God says to us...
'Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right
in the eyes of everybody... Do not take revenge... 'It is mine to avenge;
I will repay.' says the Lord.'
Romans 12:17 &19
Of course if you're anything like me, self-examination can be a painful process, yet can prove so worthwhile. So let's aim to love our neighbours, commiserate with them in failure and rejoice with them in success. After all, isn't that the way we'd want others, and especially English people, to treat us... and not, with great gusto, be continually reminding us of Culloden?