It’s coming up to 11 o’clock on the 11th of the 11th and traditionally people like to pause for a minute’s silence to remember those who sacrificed themselves to defend life and liberty. So, if that’s something you’d like to do, turn off your radio because here’s the latest track from Garbage . . .[music starts to blare]
The DJ was acknowledging the fact of remembrance but wasn’t himself observing it. And he was acknowledging our right to remember but it wasn’t going to affect him or his public broadcast. He sold it as a very inclusive stance – ‘You do what you want to do, I’ll do what I want to do. Everyone’s happy right?’
Well, no. Not everyone was happy. The ‘Switch off the radio if it’s important to you’ option is not a win-win compromise. There are significant losers in that approach.
Because there are some things that can’t be privatised. There are beliefs that are good and right and proper but, by their nature, they impinge on other people. They affect other people’s personal choice and, unapologetically, take up public space. Remembrance is a great example of this.
And maybe we’ll come to a place where our culture is unwilling to pay the price of infringements to our liberties and Remembrance will be entirely privatised. But of course, that would be the death of Remembrance.
The risk is that all beliefs (Remembrance included) will bow the knee to ‘Personal Choice.’ And all in the name of inclusivity and tolerance of course.
All of which shows that privatising faith is not the way to an inclusive, tolerant society. Because there are good beliefs that cannot be privatised. To insist on their privatisation proves the most exclusive and intolerant path.
So as we rightly ‘remember them’ this morning, let us be as bold in sharing something else that just can’t be privatised without great detriment to those that are currently not interested: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ (1 Timothy 1.15). That’s the message we must remember to take to the world.