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"Bible Abuse"

The Vicar of All Saints Margaret Street (off Oxford Circus) has this to say

to Mike Pence, Attorney General of the United States, and Mr Trump's

"right-hand-man", who has defended the shameful practice

of separating the children of illegal migrants from their parents

and incarcerating them in cages,

by quoting the 13th chapter of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans.....

One of the exams I had to pass to be ordained was called “Use of the Bible.” It was jokingly known as “Abuse of the Bible,” but the joke reflected an awareness that the scriptures have often been abused to support the aims and positions of the powerful: slave-owners over slave; rich over poor; men over women.

In recent days there has been a glaring example of that.

In a breath-taking combination of biblical fundamentalism and political expediency,

the Attorney General of the United States defended the shameful practice

of separating the children of illegal migrants from their parents

and incarcerating them in cages, by quoting the 13th chapter

of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities;

for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities

that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed,

and those who resist will incur judgement.”

If Mr. Pence knew much church history, he would know that this passage

was used in Nazi Germany, by those known as “German Christians,”

to justify submission to Hitler and his policies.

An interpretation which went back to Luther

meant that protest against government barbarism and cruelty

was illegitimate.

As God's work in creation brought order out of chaos,

government has a similar role. The order which proper government brings

serves the common good. While you and I may grumble

about the government of the day, few if any of us would opt for no government.

Yet while this passage calls for obedience to governments as agents

of the common good, punishing evil and disorder,

it also limits their authority.

As God's servants for the promotion of civil order,

they cannot claim divine prerogatives for themselves.

When government demands the absolute loyalty

which creatures owe only the Creator,

when it rewards evil rather than punishing it,

when it promotes sectional interest rather than the common good,

it ceases to be an agent of divine order.

It becomes an idolatrous opponent of God

and is no longer the kind of government Paul has in mind.

The Church of England's daily prayer for the Queen and those in authority under her recognizes the way in which good government serves the common weal.

Prayer for those in authority is not a seal of approval for everything they do,

or a refusal to hold them to account when they make mistakes

or succumb to that corrupting tendency of power

which the historian Lord Acton spoke of.

It is a recognition both of the difficulty of their task

and of our personal and shared responsibility for the common good.

As for Mr. Pence, others have already suggested

that he should read on in Chapter13 of Romans

where he will find Paul saying:

“Owe no one anything except to love one another,

for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery;

You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet';

and any other commandment are summed up in this word,

'Love your neighbour as yourself.'

Love does no wrong to a neighbour;

therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Fr Alan Moses, Vicar of All Saints Margaret Street, London. June 26th, 2018.


God of Love, God of Peace This fractured word cries out in pain Burns deep into my soul, And challenges me to make a difference God of Love, God of Peace, God of this world Scarred by grief and tears, ignorance and fear Soften hearts of stone, and begin with mine God of Love, God of Peace Create within me a heart for people, A desire for change, For new beginnings to start this day.

John Birch.

Disturbing God, you identify with the weak and powerless,

and surprise us as we seek to do your will.

Help us to find true hope in the now of our action

rather than in the distant future of our longing.

Joy Tetley.

O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray and to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone. In me there is darkness, but with you there is light; I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience; I do not understand your ways, But you know the way for me… Restore me to liberty, and enable me to live now That I may answer before you and before me. Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised. Dietrich Bonhoeffer - died 9th April 1945 in Nazi hands;

German Pastor of "The Confessing Church", standing in the

face of the evil of Nazi rule.


My soul glorifies the Lord,

My Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

For he has blessed me lavishly,

and makes me ready to respond.

He shatters my little world

and lets me be poor before him.

He takes from me all my plans

and gives me more than I can hope for or ask.

He gives me opportunities, and the ability

to become free, and burst through my boundaries.

He gives the strength to be daring,

to build on him alone, for he shows himself

as the ever-greater one in my life.

He has made this known to me:

it is in my being servant that it becomes possible

for God’s Kingdom to break through, here and now.


I believe, God,

that everything good in the world comes from you. I believe in your great love for all people.

I believe that, because you preached love, freedom and justice,

you were humiliated, tortured and killed.

I believe that you continue to suffer in our people. I believe that you call me to defend your cause, But I also believe that you accompany me

in the task of transforming this world into a different one,

where there is no suffering or weeping: A world where there is a gigantic table

set with free food where everyone is welcome.

I believe that you accompany us

in waiting for the dawning of a new day. I believe that you will give us strength

so that death does not find us

without having done enough,

and that you will rise in those who have died ,

seeking a different world. Amen.

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