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"... for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56.7

Last night at the South Skye Sea Kayak Club I heard about a worrying incident which occurred on the summit of Ben Nevis last weekend. A group calling itself Patriotic Alternative unfurled a banner proclaiming "White Lives Matter." Of course they do but that misses the point of the "Black Lives Matter" campaign, which is not to state the obvious but to redress an historical outrage, whereby so-called civilised society behaved as if those with darker skins mattered less than others of a whiter complexion.

The Bible makes no such distinction. Even if the ancient world was riven along racial and religious lines, prophets like Isaiah harboured a more inclusive vision, confirmed by Jesus in his ministry which reached beyond the narrow confines of Judaism and was developed by the apostles as their appreciation of the reconciling implications of Jesus' mission grew.

To Scotland's shame many of those who suffered the injustice of clearance and forced migration meted similar outrages on those to whose territories they were deported. Today we have an opportunity to atone for the sins of our forefathers by welcoming those requiring sanctuary from persecution, danger and starvation in their homelands. Patriotic Alternative and their ilk prey on our fears of being taken over by alien hordes. But it does not have to be that way. We can choose to reach out confidently and in the best traditions of highland hospitality.

Scotland was created through successive incursions by Gaels, Vikings, French and, more recently, Poles and Orientals, mixing with the indigenous Picts and Bretons. Where migration has failed is in situations where new arrivals are rejected, herded into ghettoes, ignored and starved of resources. Where they are welcomed, celebrated and given space and resources to flourish, their cultural and economical contribution is a mutual blessing.



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