Thought for the week

Undated handout photo of the Rev David Clarke, elected Wednesday February 8th 2006 as the new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Rev Clarke, who has been minister of Terrace Row Church in Coleraine, Co Londonderry for over 20 years, is the son of a butcher, and his brother played professional football for Sunderland. See PA story ULSTER Church. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Photo credit should read: PA
Undated handout photo of the Rev David Clarke, elected Wednesday February 8th 2006 as the new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Rev Clarke, who has been minister of Terrace Row Church in Coleraine, Co Londonderry for over 20 years, is the son of a butcher, and his brother played professional football for Sunderland. See PA story ULSTER Church. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Photo credit should read: PA
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Get thee to a cinema this week, gentle reader.

I amend Shakespeare’s phrase to encourage you to view the film ‘A United Kingdom’, now showing in a cinema near you.

On one level it’s a love story, with a white woman falling in love at first sight with a black man.

On another level it is a damning indictment of racism and of cynical political manoeuvring.

The film is based on the true story of Seretse Khama, heir to the kingdom of Bechuanaland in south-west Africa.

When the story opens, in the gloom of post-war Britain, Seretse is a student in London, being prepared for the kingship to which he became heir as a young boy, on the death of his father.

While in London he meets and falls in love with Ruth Williams, a typist at Lloyd’s insurance business.

The path of their love did not run smooth.

In those years the phrase, ‘No blacks, no Irish, no dogs’ was common, and her own father refused to speak to her again.

Back in Africa, Seretse’s uncle was acting as regent, but he too opposed to the marriage.

While in Whitehall, the British government of Clement Attlee was also alarmed.

Bechuanaland was a British Protectorate, and the marriage of a white woman and a black man as seen as provocative to neighbouring South Africa, where Prime Minister Malan was introducing his ‘apartheid’ regime.

But Ruth Williams stood by her man.

To buy time, the British lured Seretse back to London, and proposed exile for five years, at a time then he and Ruth were expecting their first child.

Even Attlee’s successor, the war hero Churchill, emerges with less than credit from the episode.

However, like all good love stories, everybody lives happily ever after.

As I said, get thee to a cinema!

The Bible, in its opening chapter, disposes of the idea that one person is superior to another.

It reads, ‘God created man in his own image...male and female he created them.’(Genesis 1;27).

Had the Bible’s radical democracy been heeded, the world would have been spared the horrors of slavery, the evils of anti-Semitism, the tribal butchery that has beset Africa and other places. Who said the Bible isn’t relevant?