4th November 2022

Hearing so much about ‘identity politics’ I tried to find out what it means. Google and  Wikipedia defined it as identifying with a group to push certain views, especially in favour of groups feeling victimised, examples being black and coloured, LGBT and disabled people, etc. So is identity politics good or bad? Campaigning in favour of oppressed people must be good: think of reforms like the abolition of slavery, universal suffrage and women’s suffrage which only happened through vigorous campaigning.

But the downside comes when identifying oneself with an exclusive group opinion means insisting everyone else is wrong (should be ‘cancelled’?!). Campaigns mentioned above always left space for people who disagreed to express their view. Today’s identity politics, especially in the USA seems bent on excluding any contrary opinions. For people self-identifying as pro-life the idea of freedom to choose seems impossible – and vice versa! Here in the UK are we more understanding and broadminded? But beware!

I ‘identify’ as a Christian: that’s where I belong, and that means I must identify with Jesus in being completely open to all people and trying to express this in love and understanding yet also trying to live like Jesus in honesty and truthfulness. That might hopefully encourage some other people to speak and act more tolerantly and tone down some of the cruel and hurtful divisions in our/God’s world.

Lesley Fuller