Recently, a young woman from Canada, Lauren Southern, was expelled from Britain, and sent across the channel to Calais France, where she was detained briefly by French authorities. This is an odd story. I’m Canadian, and I can’t think of any time when a Canadian was banned from Britain. My family identifies as Scottish and I would be highly offended if I was expelled from Scotland. “Southern” sounds English to me and she probably feels the sting of being expelled from England.
And then there is the picture. Lauren Southern is a pretty young woman with long blonde hair, and the pictures posted with the story look professional. A picture tells a thousand words, and her image argues against the words. She just doesn’t look like a bad person.
Also, she was accused of being a racist for criticizing a religion, which is technically impossible. Religion is a choice that we can change any time, and not a race that we are assigned at birth.
- RELATED: Right-wing journalist Lauren Southern denied entry to UK, purportedly over criticism of Islam: Fox News
This is modern journalism. There is no truth, we only have stories that sell. I don’t know Lauren Southern, but I know she is successful in the modern information economy. She stirs up controversy and people notice her, unlike the rest of us who just go to work every day. Now the British government has made her a martyr and a hero, or an villainous enemy; people will take sides.
And the winner is Lauren Southern. If she paid an advertising agency to make her famous around the world, she would have to pay out millions, but the publicity from being expelled makes her famous, at no cost to her. And now, I am sure she will have stories to tell about interrogation and detention, and her audience will grow. More people will listen to her now. Her failure is actually success, her defeat is her victory; it’s a weird economy.
My son told me something interesting recently. He works in the media and he does not follow the news. He gets all his information on his phone, through his network of friends. I think he mentioned Facebook, and he believes the large media corporations that give us the news are dying. They are desperately trying to get our attention with extreme news, and their competitors are trying just as hard. Sales volume is now more important than the truth. All news is fake news.
When I was young, every family ate supper before six, and then watched the evening news in the living room. We knew what we were supposed to believe, and everything was so predictable.
We are living in a new world now.
So, what is the result of this new information economy? Actual truth is hard to find, and we are divided into tribes. If I identify as leftist, all those right-wingers are evil; I just know, and I don’t have to be kind to my neighbors unless they choose to be like me. The tribes are choosing sides, and sharpening their weapons, and starting to push and shove. Kindness and tolerance have lost their value, and now it’s hard to know the truth. We only learn what is wrong with ‘them’ with is no effort to forgive and make things right. ‘They’ are always stuck in their wrong behaviour.
We are seeing what the Bible predicted two thousand years ago “Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
I don’t know the whole story of Lauren Southern’s expulsion from England, but I can see a trend in modern society. We do know the truth about her; she can make good and thoughtful choices, or wrong ones, many times a day, just like me and you. She is never ‘one of them’ to be loved or hated because of a label, we need to avoid that trap. We can agree or disagree with anything she says, and we should show kindness and respect when we do that.
I’m a Christian, in the sense that I have chosen to follow Jesus, and not because I identify with an organization. That is the correct label for me. Speaking for all of the followers of Jesus, if we are offended, we must forgive, and we must offer kindness to our neighbors, in all the tribes. That is a radical thing in our politically-correct tribal societies. This is illustrated in the news story, but we are part of a different story.
The truth remains safe with God.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4: 1 to 4)