Love your neighbour—unless they are Muslim, poor, refugees or not like me

Marko Joensuu         2 comments
A lot of writing, talking and sharing by Christians and in society about refugees, Muslims, the poor and others today is following the conventions of war propaganda. I studied war propaganda in the university over a few years, and it is so disheartening to see so many Christians wholeheartedly embrace these weapons of destructive communication that are at best based on misconstructing partial facts. 

War propaganda doesn’t care about the truth, but uses everything at its disposal to propagate hatred, as to unite a nation for war, the propagandist needs to demonise the enemy. One of the best weapons of a propagandist are misconstructed partial facts. It doesn’t matter whether something is true or not, what matters is the impact of our argumentation. 
Muslim woman when visualised according standard Western aesthetics for picturing women 
Adolf Hitler was the master of propaganda. He took power in Germany by using it. The wartime United States Office of Strategic Services described Hitler's way of communication:

“His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”
Jews according to Nazis
In war propaganda, words lose their usual meaning; for example, the death of civilians becomes “collateral damage”. The suffering of others is ignored, whilst every wrong our side has experienced is magnified. The death of their children is never mentioned, as the enemy is demonised—who cares about the devil's children?

You have seen the American action films where the bad guys keep on coming at you, as if they didn't care about their own lives. 
Muslim women in the right wing media
Hence, I thought it might be worth updating what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love, so that it better conforms to our views, as we wage our culture wars. I’m sure Jesus won’t mind, as He would certainly be the first one to agree with us that we know what He meant better than He did. 

"My love suffers nothing and is kind, unless you are different from me;  it envies for anything given free to anyone else in society; it parades its own rights, it is certain that it is always right; it doesn’t behave rudely, unless you are a refugee, poor or Muslim, only seeks its own, is always provoked, thinks the worst of others; does not rejoice in seeing the others receive anything good, but rejoices in the lies about others; bears nothing but projects the behaviour of every badly behaving individual to a whole people group or religion, believes nothing good about the others, fears the worst, endures nothing.

My love never fails. But whether there are balanced facts, they will be unnecessary; whether there are other points of view, they will not need to be understood; whether there is history that explains what is taking place today, no one needs to remember it. For we know in part and we remember in part, hence we don’t need to check our facts before we share our views. But when that which is perfect has come, the utopia, where the world conforms to my understanding of how it should be, then that which is the others will be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke to other children regardless their race, I understood other children, I thought kindly about other children, especially those in need; but when I became a man, I put away childish things, and learnt that the most important thing is the difference between me and them. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see the full evil of others. Now I know in part, but then my worst paranoia will be proven true.

And now abide my love, fear, lies, these three; but the greatest of these is my love."

Or perhaps some readers prefer the original text which can be found in 1 Corinthians 13!

Marko Joensuu is an author and journalist who has worked for the last sixteen years in the media and publishing ministries of Kensington Temple, a large multiethnic congregation in London, UK.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at or by visiting

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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  1. If your neighbor comes to your front door with a gun, does loving him mean opening the door?

  2. Of course not. Keep it shut. But I live in a multicultural city, and not once has my neighbour come to my door with a gun. Once, a white Christian friend of mine, who was on drugs, began to cause disturbance around midnight, and I had to call the police. It was amazing to see how the London police, trained in conflict resolution, could calm him down in seconds. Once, in another country, a white male put his knife on my neck, but I talked my way out of it. Twice, I have been attacked by a white male in the street, once in London and once in Finland.

    In numbers, a white male American is the most dangerous person in America, but no one likes to talk about that. Yes, there is a massive problem with the violence in the Middle East, but we did destabilise their governments, as we wanted to keep the cheap oil coming. It is unlikely that the current refugee problem in Syria and Iraq would even exist without our intervention. We bomb their countries to the ground and then wonder why they want to leave. In many ways, we have been very bad neighbours.

    And yes, there is a huge problem of rising Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and Asia, and I have Christian friends who have had to flee because of that, and I am working with Arabic ministries who preach the gospel in these areas, so there is no denying that the world has a number of Islamic extremists – who have murdered at least ten time more Muslims than representatives of any other religion. And yes, these Islamic extremists should be stopped at the borders, but they are only a fraction of the Muslim population. If we applied the same "Trump logic" to white males, not one of us would be able to fly.

    Yes, sometimes loving your neighbours means that some of them should be shut in prison, for the benefit of the whole community. But we are not entitled to demonise whole people groups, because then we should also demonise all white males, and I would not be able to visit any other country...




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