There are some words that can lay dormant in the dictionary and are seldom used, the word ‘bigot’ is one of them. Yet when the UK’s Prime Minister made an awful gaffe, by labelling Gillian Duffy a ‘bigoted woman’, with his lapel microphone still switched on for the media to hear, the word is immediately spoken or printed during the next twenty-four hours, in the majority of languages worldwide.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word, ‘A person who is prejudiced in their views and intolerant of the opinion of others’ George Bernard Shaw said, “There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.”
Mr. Brown’s words spoken in private but captured by the media for the world to hear became an embarrassment for him and he had to go back to Mrs. Duffy’s house to apologize to her for this insensitive blunder. Outside her house he confessed to the media pack that he was a penitent sinner. This said, he might find that his unjustified outburst against Gillian Duffy will come back to haunt him in future days.
The scripture says in Matt. 15:17, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.” James said, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” To be in control of what we say whether in private or in public is good because if we lose control of the words we speak we might try to cover up afterwards and say words that are not true. How lovely it is to hear a person speak the truth and live what he or she says, life and lip in perfect harmony. This was seen absolutely in the life of Jesus Christ, He never needed to call a word back or apologize for anything He said, because He always spoke the truth.
Politicians of any party-colour can spin lies and make them sound like truth but ultimately truth will out and expose the lie.
Bigotry is dangerous because it can deteriorate into violence. no matter what sphere it manifests itself in, whether racial, political, religious or even sport. History has many examples; a prime one in recent times is Hitler’s bigotry against the Jews and the policy of extermination, allegedly responsible for the death of six million people through the gas chambers.
The same day that Mr. Brown made his howler; a taxi driver took my wife and myself from a hotel in St.Paul’s Bay, Malta, to the airport. It was morning and the derogatory remark by the PM had not yet been uttered, but his questions about the forthcoming elections in the UK were central to his thinking and his overall respect of politicians was low.
While staying at the Hotel I asked an Englishman who had lived on the island for a number of years, if St. Paul’s Bay was the actual location where the Apostle cane ashore after being shipwrecked (Acts 27 and 28) but he did not know and did not seem particularly interested till I quoted Paul’s words that “The barbarous people shewed us no little kindness” for he recognized that the people of Malta are still friendly and hospitable.
Saul of Tarsus who became the Apostle Paul is an example of a religious bigot. Before his conversion to Christ (Acts 9) he boasted of being a Pharisee of the Pharisees and could not stand the thought of Jews becoming Christians. He persecuted those who did convert, some to prison, some to death. His intolerance of Christians was absolute until Christ spoke to him on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why persecute thou me?” Christ was saying if you persecute them, you are persecuting me! What followed was dynamic, his life was changed, he became a Christian, he said, “Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Saul of Tarsus was a penitent sinner and was converted to Christ, and became committed to preaching the gospel of Christ to others. He wrote to Timothy, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” What a remarkable change, the blasphemer became the preacher, the persecutor became the persecuted, to the Romans he said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
I thank God that even today there are people who are prepared to listen to the truth of God’s Word and abandon preconceived atheistic thoughts about evolution, or religious dogma and turn like Saul of Tarsus did, to a Saviour who died for them, rose again from the dead and now lives at the right hand of God, a living Saviour. Christ can be your Saviour too if you sincerely be that repentant sinner and call upon the Lord in prayer to save you. How lovely it would be if a bigoted woman or a bigoted man turned right now to Christ! God bless.
Written for Stephen Baker by Stan Burditt