BISHOP OF PORTSMOUTH, THE RT REV CHRISTOPHER FOSTER: ‘We will be okay, just love harder’

Police are investigating three incidents in Southsea and Eastleigh. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

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FOR many of us, waking up to the news of Donald Trump’s election as US president was a surprise.

The reaction, including that of the financial markets, was much the same as to the news of Brexit.

Part of that is due to the uncertainty that his election raises in terms of the future policy of such a major player on the world’s political, diplomatic and economic stage.

There are those who are delighted that someone outside the political establishment has managed to storm its gates.

Included among them must be those who believed, even if they didn’t like everything about his campaign, that someone who has made such a success in business would be a safe pair of hands for the nation’s purse strings.

People talk about the American dream – the idea that whoever you are and wherever you’re from, you can, with talent and hard work make a real success of your life. Donald Trump promises that for many.

Actually, he himself started off not at the bottom of the rung but in the very comfortable middle, benefitting from taking over his father’s property development business.

His business success and his rhetoric was hugely appealing to those who weren’t experiencing the wealth of their nation, or believed that ‘those out there’ were the cause of their struggles – much like Brexit here.

To be an outsider, pushed to the edge, is always to be vulnerable – and always, whether unemployed, refugee, victimised, marginalised, or misunderstood, to be near the heart of God.

Mr Trump has since spoken about wanting to be the president for all Americans. That’s an important and good ambition.

We don’t need to be American to pray that he will keep to this determination, and lead for all the people of his own nation and many beyond it.

And we can pray for our society and all in it who are at the edge.

One of the alarming trends following the EU referendum vote is an increase in hate crime. This is not just against those who look or sound like they weren’t born here.

Homophobic hate crime has also gone up substantially, perhaps because people feel they can lash out at anyone who’s not like them.

One American pastor tweeted after the result came out: ‘We will be okay. Just love harder’.

And actually, that’s advice that we in our post-referendum nation need to hear too.

We need to see all those around us, whoever they are, wherever they are from, however they voted, as in it with us. We are all part of the same human family, and also a national family.

We need to work together to continue to build and repair our nation and world, with a special concern for those who have no voice or little hope.