Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
Mao Zedong (1873-1976) Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wrote the blueprint for government by fear. Even more than Joseph Stalin and independently of him, Mao from his earliest political ambition used terror as his weapon of first choice. As a communist revolutionary his primary objects were not only the rich or middle class, but the peasantry and the poorest. These he treated mercilessly, killing, subjugating and starving millions from the late 1920’s onward. He sacrificed millions of expendable soldiers to establish the Chinese Communist Party in the time of the mythical ‘Long March’ against Nationalist forces of Chiag Kai-shek. He instigated absolute loyalty of thought and action towards himself and used torture, imprisonment and murder to implement these among supporters and party members. Betrayals of disloyal thought led to death for many. Mao exercised disruption, treachery, unpredictability, arbitrariness, favouritism, ostracisation and assassination to maintain control, wrong foot and eliminate dissenters and political rivals. In the 1950’s Mao ordered large scale famines in order to sell food to Russia to pay for armaments to turn China into a super power. The Great Chinese Famine of 1961 resulted in the deaths of 30,000,000. Mao sought further to purge China of remaining capitalist influences and traditional culture and replace these with ‘The Thoughts of Chairman Mao’ codified in his ‘Little Red Book’ (1964). The Cultural Revolution of 1966 saw a new age of terror in which denunciation, ostracisation, violence, torture, imprisonment and murder were the weapons he instilled in those who rose to enact his will. Massacres took place leading to perhaps 20,000,000 deaths. 10,000,000 young intellectuals were sent to work in the countryside. It all ended with Mao’s death in 1976. Mao was the worst human being ever to live by scale of inhumanity and evil.
There is no obvious comparison between Mao Zedong and Nicola Sturgeon except in one respect, the political use of fear. During the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic this has succeeded in cowing the population. It has enabled micro-management of social and personal life. People are not allowed in and out of their own homes as they please. Thousands of businesses and have been closed down and tens of thousands of jobs have been lost. The fear presented is fear of Covid-19, of death and serious illness. This is the context of all other discussion. Christian Churches were closed down early and they complied meekly. As yet they cannot open up fully. Congregations are not allowed to sing. Organs are not allowed to be played (air circulation is a problem). Masks must be worn. Elaborate choreography for entering, seating and exiting is laid down in detail by the administration. Much Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sanitising has to take place continually. No-one ever thought that any administration of government would act in such a repressive way towards people in general and Christians in Scotland in particular. It has happened. The suppression of Christianity is an old communist practice. Nicola Sturgeon has no time for Christians and the SNP has no respect for Christianity. It is their crypto-communist dream come true.
Journalists and commentators are waking up to this political strategy for it is part of a whole. The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012, the Named Person Scheme and the current Hate Crime Bill are manifestations of this new form of political control of the thoughts and actions of the people. There is a strong element of fear behind them, especially with the last of these which will criminalise private conversation in some circumstances. If these practices were to be enacted in the domestic situation they would be described as coercive control. Thereafter they might be reported to the Police for investigation. Criminal cases might follow and convictions thereafter. Yet the SNP administration is getting away with this behaviour towards citizens. It could go on for years because the Coronavirus will be with us for some time. Once politicians have tasted absolute control they are reluctant to give it up. We are being given a glimpse of the future in a neo-communist independent Scotland.
The SNP has also suddenly changed its rules to prevent Joanna Cherry standing as a candidate for Holyrood because she is a potential rival to Nicola Sturgeon whose husband Peter Murrell is Chief Executive Officer of the SNP. In Hong Hong Joshua Wong has been prevented from standing for a seat in the Legislative Council. Here is a straight parallel of political oppression, Scotland and China. Teacher assessments have achieved a significant increase in attainment among students from poorer areas set against their steady examination rates over recent years thus fulfilling the SNP mantra to close the attainment gap. This resembles the false production figures of communist China and Russia.
Nicola Sturgeon has unusual control of the SNP. Rarely is there any public dissent on SNP policy. This political skill has been transferred to the whole nation during the Covid-19 crisis. Fear is a very serious and useful political means. Once embedded it can take long to depart. It is indeed like domestic violence being subtle and those subject to it are slow to seek escape and freedom. When they look back they are surprised by their own timidity and compliance. It may seem absurd to detail all this as creeping communism but time will tell. Scotland will continue to suffer for its rejection of Christianity, of Jesus Christ.
‘Perfect love drives out fear’ is a Biblical quotation from 1 John 4:18. It expresses core Christianity which is built on the love of Jesus Christ for humanity. These words describe a spiritual, mental and emotional state in which fear is placed in context, psychologically overcome and eliminated as a dominating factor in life. This is owed to the resurrection of Jesus from a grim and terrible death on Calvary. His ongoing and eternal life transforms our human mental horizons. Maybe church congregations are not perfect expressions of the love that drives out fear but they aspire to be so. Hymns are largely full of reassurance and hope. The whole experience of worship is inspiring. At least for an hour, love drives out fear. But for many Christians love drives out fear every day of their lives. This message is relevant to everyone suffering from and struggling with Covid-19. In Scotland there is no political message of love driving out fear nor even of resilience and optimism balancing out depression and dread.
False bonhomie is neither needed or wanted. Christians themselves are afraid to worship, sing and confess their faith. They do not think for one moment that their Faith makes them immune from Coronavirus. They will not put God to the test lest they be humiliated. There are no specialists around demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit to protect. No-one is prepared to experiment with the Scripture verses such as Mark 16 : 18 describing Christian believers ‘they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” There is no national appeal to God, no faith expressed in the hope of deliverance from Covid-19. Church leaders have not suggested as much, keeping quiet about the central import of their Faith. Neither are there any collective expressions of joy and happiness in the midst of trouble, disappointment and suffering.
Badly beaten and wrongly imprisoned Paul and Silas were able to sing hymns in the middle of the night (Acts 16:5). Whence this upbeat response? From the life and power and love of the risen Jesus Christ. ‘For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Hebrews 12:2). Christianity is a dimension above human politics. It is needed in our land. The entire atmosphere of the country would be lifted by collective Christian worship. We can’t. We might emit or receive atomised aerosol droplets containing Covid-19. Even with extreme social distancing and sanitising we are forbidden to worship our Maker. Politicians have no understanding of the necessity to live in relationship to God. This was never considered and was nowhere a priority. But ‘perfect love casts out fear’. There is a better way. There is an answer. It is not to be found in pubs. It is to be found in Jesus Christ.