Thursday, 28 May 2009

No Thought Today

No Thinking Sign, by Gray Woodland - released to public domainSo there I was feasting on bacon and egg sarnies this sunny Anglesey morning, when I came in for a pious ear-bending from BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day. The Reverend Roy Jenkins was explaining how - whilst he totally grokked the discontent of savers with prudent institutions like the Nationwide Building Society at being massively raided for Government levies to bail out insolvent Sphinx-building schemes whose investors had already trousered the proceeds of their unaffordably generous terms - he could somehow not get terribly worked up about it.

Sure, it was unfair, but God had made this an unfair world. Did not bad things happen to good people on a regular basis? And did other good people not then step in to help them, nay even to help sinners, without worrying about fairness or whose fault it might have been? Surely any community worth the name will feed the hungry, tend the sick, and comfort the sad for sweet charity's sake alone? Even so did the Son of God feed us, and tend us, and comfort us when our deserts were mere charnel-house vileness forever - and most unfairly take all those burdens upon His own shoulders, since no others were broad enough to bear them.

And the investors of Nationwide may deem it no ill thing, that they should follow in such Footsteps.

But wait! Who is that over there but 'Lucky' Satan Diabolos, dancing the hot metonymy shuffle with mickle glee and making obscene gestures behind the speaker's back?

Yes, it has happened again. We have slid imperceptibly between 'we, the bunch of guys and dolls giving succour to our distressed neighbours out of the love in our hearts', and 'we, Our Democratic Majesty Bob the Boss, giving love to Our distressed clients out of the savings of unwilling suckers'. And, lo, the characters of neither Bob the Boss, nor the guys and dolls whose identities he has annexed for purposes of making them suck it up, have been improved thereby.

I am not a Christian, though I admire Christ-like behaviour when I see it, and even aspire to it on occasion. But Christianity holds enough of a place in my affections that I can't help but wince when I see it too grossly abused, especially by those whose profession is to tend it.

And it seems to me that perhaps a Christian minister can reasonably be asked to distinguish between Jesus's sacrificing himself for the general good, and Pilate's sacrificing anybody handy for the same ostensible purpose.

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