News of the World and the police crisis

6 July 2011

British society is lurching from crisis to crisis.

On the back of Greek debt and the euro crisis, we have the looming possibility of Portugal’s sovereign debt default.  However this has been knocked off the lead news item by the News of the World phone hacking scandal which has plumbed such depths that advertisers have begun to withdraw.  If Rupert Murdoch paid attention to the Bible from which his grandfather used to preach, he would realise that it is the end of the story which counts.  His building his media empire will stand for nothing if the end of the story is historical opprobrium.  The cost of unchristian principles is measured not only in monetary terms.  Debate on Newsnight suggested that this will unravel to include other newspapers.

There will be more enquiries at great expense to the public purse.  The public money wasted on the Tommy Sheridon perjury trial will be compounded with more money investigating possible perjury by former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, then Prime Minister David Cameron’s former communications director, and a review of the longest and most expensive trial in Scottish legal history, which many people considered to be an inappropriate use of public money to satisfy the News of the World.  The apparent collusion between the media and the police is the most damaging and dangerous aspect to public safety and confidence.

The solution is not more enquiries and spending more money.  It is to recognise that this morale malaise is the result of spiritual death in society.  These institutional failures happen because of corrupt individuals who are promoted beyond their competency and compassion.  Why do we keep highlighting corruption?  Because it is so endemic, and it manifests the root of the problem - “the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked” Jeremiah 17:9.  Our society needs Christian redemption which is why Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the Gospel to nations and not just to individuals.  The Old Testament prophets pointed to the social ills and injustice of their times as a manifestation of the spiritual apostasmy by their religious and civil leaders.  It is the same today.

Into this morass and darkness the true Light of the Gospel still shines.  Who will give heed to it?  How long will it take us to build a society whose institutions are once more run by men of integrity, with Christian grace and discernment?  It will take at least a generation, but it is not too soon to begin and we need to begin now.  This change of direction is known as repentance - changing our mind about God and His Gospel.  It is no use turning from bad to worse - we need to change for the better.  Righteous indignation is not enough; we need Christian wisdom.  Where are the leaders in public life showing the way?

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