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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, April 14, 2006
    Defending our Christian culture
    There were those Good Fridays where, with many other Crosby youth I would make my way to Formby for the ritual punch-up centred on the Cheshire League fixture Formby Town vs Marine but often at its bloodiest around the railway station. There was the one year when the old wooden Formby stand was summarily diamantled and fired; there was the one other year when Formby youth showered bricks on Marine fans waiting for the train home. This all took place in the so-called 'posh' end of our city. It wasn't just the 'yobs' ... it was almost a church youth club outing.

    There were those Good Fridays in Liverpool Eight when effigies of Judas were burned, a regular ritual until quite recently, well-remembered by many I lived among there. Judas Burning is widespread in Spanish/Latin countries; in Liverpool, just like Guy Fawkes at the other end of the year, it had sectarian overtones. Some people talked of there also being Good Friday 'Pope Burnings' in Liverpool Eight, which may be mythical but is nevertheless a powerful memory.

    Then there is this Good Friday, when I rose to find through my door a bundle of election literature from a party of British nationalism. Powerfully, and hatefully, written, and published from Waltham Cross and Wigton. This party's fear is "the gradual Islamification of Britain". Their stated enemies are Muslim people. Their scapegoats are asylum seekers.

    The BNP are claiming to be defending our Christian culture. My solemn observation, in the light of all the lynchings and burnings that have gone before us on this day, is that it seems they are.