on the dole. The poor should not be blamed for the greed of the rich.
Covetousness - the Greek word means ‘the desire to have more than somebody else’ - is mentioned as idolatry by Paul (Colossians 3, 5), and the structure of most modern companies - corporations are ‘artificial people’ in law— may be idolatrous too. The Bible tells us from Genesis to Revelation to avoid idolatry. Shouldn’t we be concentrating on this danger, rather than attacking socialism?
Bartley Green, Birmingham Sir, Peter Mullen’s article ‘What next? The Pope is a Catholic??’ saddens me, because it is clear that he doesn’t realize how many Bible-believing Christians are socialist. Like him, when I hear yet another attempt to explain away the Bible, to say Jesus’ miracles didn’t happen, or to just assume that the contemporary view is automatically the right one, I find my teeth set on edge. I agree with Dean Inge that, if the Church is married to the Spirit of the Age, it will be divorced in the next!
I have also found that the wrong sort of liberal thinking, swaying with the breeze, is pale pink in practice. Genuine socialists rock the boat too much, and the sort of person Peter is objecting to patronizes the unions, for example, rather than really supports people speaking for the poor.
In the 20th century, the “social gospel” seems to me to have been rather Pharisaic, and I’m glad, that when those ideas were fashionable, in the 60s, I, coming from a middleclass background, saw through their simplistic quality and rejected them. However, worsening personal circumstances taught me how difficult life can be for those who fall through the cracks, and I came to socialist beliefs the hard way.
Matthew 23, verses 2 and 3 are instructive. The Pharisees gave pious lectures, but they weren’t actually wrong. (Their error was instead to ‘say, and do not’, and lecture everybody!).
I live in the poorest Diocese in the country, Birmingham, in a council flat. There are indeed a few around me who are wastrels, but many of my neighbours are honest hardworking people who are desperate for a job. If they do get a job it’s on one of those wretched zero-hour contracts, and we have much in-work poverty locally. Meanwhile, the huge multi-national firms are avoiding and evading paying gigantic sums in tax - Jesus told us to pay what is due to Caesar - and the national deficit is largely caused by their failure to pay rather than by the very small sums, in comparison, misappropriated