Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The LORD your God is the only Lord...

The Vatican has added another seven to the 'old school' seven deadly sins. They are:

Environmental pollution
Genetic manipulation
Accumulating excessive wealth
Inflicting poverty
Drug trafficking and consumption
Morally debatable experiments
Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

The reason? It seems like the old sins just aren't driving people to the confession box enough. [After all, who really gets upset these days by a bit of lust, greed, or sloth?]

Apart from questioning the presumption to decide which sins are death-inducing, cynics might also worry that the Apostolic Penitentiary (who, according to the BBC are "in charge of fixing the punishments and indulgences handed down to sinners") is motivated by self-interest in trying to stem the tide of ever-diminishing visits to confession.

Meanwhile Libby Purves has some thoughtful things to say about the way our tax and benefit system treats the poor as if they are incapable of looking after their own money. She says "the message [repeatedly given in successive government budgets] is that if you are poor, you must be kept in the status of client and petitioner..." handing wads of your hard earned money over to the government in order to "immediately beg nanny government to give them back." She sums up:

"If you are poor, the Government's message is simple: “You are not in charge of your life and prosperity. We are. Trust us. Keep on voting for us or you're stuffed.”"

All this in the same week that someone suggests that school-leavers should be encouraged to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country. What I found very telling was how Lord Goldsmith understood the education system: "The citizenship ceremonies, which are just one of the many things I have suggested, are a way of marking that passage of being a student of citizenship to a citizen in practice." It might surprise many of us Christians to discover that the education system is not, after all, about being taught 1+1 and your p's and q's in a value-neutral environment (as if one actually exists), but about being given "a sense of shared belonging, a sense that you are part of a community with a common venture, to integrate better newcomers to our society and be clearer about what the rights and responsibilities are."

Meanwhile, back in reality, there is still only one God whose righteous law defines what is sin and determines the punishment, only one Lord to whom we owe absolute allegiance, and only one Saviour in whom we trust for forgiveness, prosperity, and identity.

No comments: