Why I sympathize with Brexiters

To be clear, this is not an endorsement of one position over another. This isn't even a statement of what I might have voted. There are many things, such as location of my hypothetical residence and my perception of how I'd be affected, that I would have to consider. As it is, in reality, I don't live in the UK and I am not a UK citizen. Be that as it may, I can sympathize with those who voted in favor of Brexit.

1. "An idea is not responsible for those who hold it". In other words, there are several good ideas that are held by unscrupulous people. That doesn't them bad ideas. Yet, all too often in the popular imagination, every idea held by someone we dislike is believed to be guilty by association. It is not a secret that there are a number of xenophobic and bigoted people that promoted the decision to leave. Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP and the Euroskeptic Grassroots Out campaign, was very outspoken; and to many, he was the face of the "leave" campaign. However, he was not the spokesperson for the official leave movement. Instead, the Vote Leave campaign was the official "leave" organization (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36033481). Unfortunately, since Grassroots Out and Vote Leave shared the same conclusion about leaving, it was also thought by many that the two organizations shared the same values in all other respects as well. Sadly for Vote Leave and the other leave campaigns (there were several), the most vocal and extreme individuals became the de facto representatives of the movement in the minds of many. But in terms of statistical probability, the voters motivated by prejudice are most likely the smallest percentages within those who voted for Brexit.

Although they're only anecdotal, most of the rationales I've heard from friends or read in public forums included considerations that were thoughtful, measured, and altogether devoid of xenophobic reasons ( http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-i-voted-for-brexit-eu-referendum-leave-214749510.html). These moderates have borne the brunt of criticisms: being accused of simply being motivated by hate. Guilty by association.

I can relate as I witness fringe elements within my faith bombastically spewing their messages in the name of religious ideology. They and I may nominally be linked because we share the same religious label, but they do not represent my views. I've often cringed as I heard the proclamations of extremist views declared to be in line with Christianity. I've shaken my head as I contemplated how far these beliefs and actions are from MY concept of being Christian! Although I personally make the distinction, outsiders often conclude that we all must believe the same things. The Westboro Baptist hate group in the United States is the most prominent example, but I face-palm regularly as I hear about the so called "religious right" co-opting the Bible for political purposes. In the process, they tarnish the image of Christianity in the eyes of many; the things they champion are often antithetical to concepts like charity and mercy and other tenants I believe are central to the Gospel. I want the general population to understand that these folks are not the official representatives of the faith. Yet, their visibility often leads people to believe that they speak for all of us.

There are several examples in Adventism as well. I shuddered as I would hear rhetoric by Ben Carson, "I hope they don't think we are all like that!" And, popular though he may be in some circles, Doug Batchelor's views aren't the official views of the church either! EVERY group suffers from this same situation. The most recognizable, loudest, or most flamboyant elements are often taken to be the core constituents. Muslims are not represented by extremist Islamic terrorists, but sadly, to some, they are synonymous. I can relate to those moderates who feel lumped together in spite of their best efforts to illuminate the differences between them and the fringes.

2. Even for those whose Brexit votes have been motivated in part by their desire to reassert their nation's individualism, I hesitate to ascribe this to prejudice. The desire for self-determination is such an ingrained part of human nature that, for centuries, it has served as the impetus for forceful and sometimes bloody struggles for independence. This is not to say that being subjugated is the same as being in a partnership with a coalition, but when the policies and movements of an entity are restrictively tethered to the decisions of others, it can sometimes feel the same. Even when the UK joined the EU there were those disappointed because they recognized that they would have to relinquish their ability to make many policies independently ( http://features.marketplace.org/brexit/). In light of the refugee crisis, many point to immigration policies, but this is a relatively recent concern. Trade and general economic issues far predated immigration as a domain of concern. It's not necessarily that the nation WOULD choose different policies. However, the ability to reserve the right to independently make their own decisions according to the nation's needs is important to many. To have their policies determined by folks in another country instead of being able to set policies that account for their own citizens' interests is something that was intolerable to many.

Again, I can say this is not a foreign concept to me. Although I know the many legal reasons, it becomes difficult to explain to congregants why our financial set-up with the conference has the configuration it does. "So help me get this straight? We buy the building, but the conference holds the deed. But we pay the insurance. And we pay for any renovations. And if we need to borrow money to do so, we get a loan from the conference… that we have to repay…to fix their property". The idea of "us" being the local church AND the conference can be replaced by "them" seemingly on a whim. But Adventism continually touts the fact that "we" can do more together than apart. I sometimes have to audibly convince remind myself of that…

And as we think of the larger organization, it's not difficult to think of various examples that make "independence" tempting. There are many situations in which the desires of the overall institution didn't take into account how policy changes affected my local context. And it sometimes discourages my members when they are impacted by the decisions of people far away instead of being able to set policies that account for their own interests. And when change doesn't happen, despite votes and study committees and meetings ad infinitum, it gets frustrating. When ministry for your local area is hampered because of being tethered to the larger entity, it can seem defeating.

To my knowledge, there's no upcoming referendum for separation within the church. And I certainly don't know what I would've done if I'd been a UK citizen during the Brexit vote. But I do know that sometimes staying together is as emotionally draining as parting ways. I'm just saying, Brexiters, I can relate.

Pastor Courtney Ray finally gets to sleep again after successfully defending her dissertation for her PhD in Clinical Psychology.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7544

Yes!
It is difficult to have to live in the 1890s
It is difficult to have to live in the 1950s
It is difficult to have to live in the 1980s
I would much rather live in the 2016s where ALL are Welcome. Where ALL may be ONE.
But, Alas, that is Not where we are allowed to live.

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As you know, Brexit was about a “state” leaving a larger confederation of states. There is a “split.” While there are similarities, in the case of a “split” in Adventism, it woiuld not happen by vote–it would occur by individuals or large groups leaving the church to either establish a rival faith community or to disperse into a number of other Christian denominations or churches. In one sense, I admit with profound regret and pain, that many on the so-called “other” side would rejoice believing that EGW’s prediction of a “falling away” was now being fulfilled. This would be characterized as the “purifying” of the church. They would not fight to keep us; in fact, they are now doing all they can to distance us as much as possible.

I recall with some consternation a high-ranking officer of the General Conference whispering during the Glacier View conference that we needed to “get rid of him” and absorb the shock of hundreds of thousands leaving the church. In his view, the people who leave were a price he was willing to pay to solve the “administrative” problem of a theological challenge to the church.

Who is a “real” Adventist is what is debated in the current controversy. This mirrors our current national debate: Who is the “real” American? Which side of the Supreme court more properly interprets the constitution (read EGW and Bible)? They stay because they believe they have no choice if the church as they understand it is to triumph in the end. If we leave, it is because we will have come to the bitter conclusion that we have no choice if we are to maintain our integrity and faithfulness to Christ.

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As Christians we wish to see a society underpinned by democratic rights, set against a backcloth of Christian values and shared values of peace and reconciliation with those of all faiths and none. It is time for Britain to regain its independence working with EU countries and non EU countries more effectively for the common good.

Like with most political issues there is not a blueprint in the Bible which determines policies. But the Bible has much to tell us about national identities and diversity as ordained by God and something to be celebrated. From Old Testament Israel to the Pentecost and the future New Jerusalem, distinct nationhood and self-determination is seen as a blessing from God.

The EU has become less accountable, more interfering, more damaging to our national well-being, and more eroding of our national sovereignty. An aggressive supra-national secularism which is increasingly at odds with British and Christian based rule of law and Parliamentary sovereignty. Since Britain signed up to the free trade agreement in 1973, membership has snowballed and now dictates policy areas as diverse as health, welfare, energy, fisheries, and justice. The costs have also multiplied per day which could be used better by decisions accountable to Parliament not unelected EU bureaucrats
The idea of an army without democratic control shows how far the EU has gone beyond its original ideal and Christian principles. Political and economic decisions should have wide participation to ensure accountability in the exercise of power and restrain our fallenness which, unchecked, could lead to an authoritarian state. Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. The former head of Interpol described the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe”.

There are Christians in Britain who wish to see a society underpinned by democratic rights, set against a backcloth of Christian values and shared values of peace and reconciliation with those of all faiths and none. It is time for Britain to regain its independence working with EU countries and non EU countries more effectively
for the common good.

Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. The former head of Interpol described the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe”.

Great Britain is a global nation that nation needs to be a more open free trading nation not just to Europe but the world. Great Britain could play a greater role in the world today unfettered from the burden of membership of the EU. Britain can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU was going down.

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Please name a time period of peace in central Europe that lasted as long as the one since WWII and the conception of the EU. Please name a time period of greater economic growth in the history of Europe.

But the main point of the article seems to be a different one:
Firstly, understanding those who have a different opinion than I might have. Listening to rather than assuming reasons. Secondly, splitting might be a temptation on many levels… the author is hinting at the church, I could add examples from professional organisations, right down to marriages. “Falling apart” is a fruit of post-modernism - whether we like it or not.

HOWEVER, what I would have hoped for in our church would be more compassion for those who lose out in such situations, no matter which side of the argument they are on. We seem to have more compassion for the “winners” (who in the case of Brexit have been fleeing the scene … Cameron, Johnson, Farage … and the betrayed people frantically googling “EU” on the day after to understand, what they actually have voted on).

I always thought that the writer of Hebrews was observing the frustrations of certain members in the early church and the temptation to “throw in the towel” and leave the church over various personal and theological differences when he made the following statement,

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)

This counsel has done a lot to quiet me when I experience conflict within the church. I accept that my job is to see others as God sees them and not as I see them. My reputation will be soiled by my association with certain people, but Jesus experienced that as well. That is the nature of all relationships - not just those within the church.

Also, this didn’t escape my notice: _Pastor Courtney Ray finally gets to sleep again after successfully _
defending her dissertation for her PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Congratulations Dr. Ray!

For Andreas Bochman
I found myself pondering the questions you asked me and then of how faith and patriotism relate to one another. The bigger issue is not as simple even as my own SDA American tradition might seem to make it by advocating separation. I do think that “separation of church and state” is the best approach. But surely that doesn’t mean that Christians and other religious people ought not to discuss and participate in the political life of the nation. And so how to do that in a way that protects religious freedom can still be challenging.

It was interesting to reflect on our celebration of the Declaration of Independence a few days ago made by the American colonies in relation to Britain, even as Britain has declared its independence from the European Union. Has anyone else noticed the odd juxtaposition and offered some thoughts on what we might learn by considering the two together? Britain deserves to be free from the tyranny of those who would enslave it to the fate of other countries.
There are Christians in Britain who wish to see a society underpinned by democratic rights, set against a backcloth of Christian values and shared values of peace and reconciliation with those of all faiths and none. It is time for Britain to regain its independence working with EU countries and non EU countries more effectively for the common good.

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We must remember we are not saved by belonging to a church. Doctrines do not save people our salvation is dependent on our relationship with GOD. In saying that the Church provides us with a medium of conducting this to others cooperatively while we conduct it our selves on a personal basis.

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this may be a hopeful assessment…the cellist in my string quartet now, a brit, explained to me recently that europe has been over-run by immigrants of color for many yrs now, and the current influx of muslims has kind of been the last straw for many in britain…this wouldn’t be as evident in a cosmopolitan town like london, but in the smaller towns and country areas, racism - quiet racism - has been a building phenomenon that found expression in brexit…this is what the mom of one of my newer violin students, also a brit, has also said to me…what both these sources indicate is that it is only the cultural and educated elites who see anything desirable in the browning of britain…rank and file brits apparently want to return to the days of camelot when people of color were known to exist, but weren’t neighbours…

it occurs to me that what the brexit vote may be showing is that it is fundamentally difficult for many whites to truly accept non-whites, even if they say they want to…historically, racism seems to have always been a phenomenon directed towards non-whites, who of course have reacted in proportion to their political clout…i can’t think of even one country or social niche where there hasn’t been racism directed towards people of color by whites…and if there is racism directed towards whites by non-whites, this can usually be perceived to be reactionary…

given this reality - if it is the reality - brexit may not be a warning to conservative adventists that they need to give their more liberal counterparts more breathing space, which is what i think this article is hinting at…from what i’ve been seeing, especially in connection with san antonio, not a few conservative adventists, from both the global south and NAD, would probably rejoice if liberal adventists did a brexit, once and for all…i believe they feel their lives would be simpler…in this respect, the brexit vote may be an opposite phenomenon to what’s brewing in adventism…