"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902).
I was encouraged this week by a prisoner (who's an atheist) telling me that I absolutely live what I believe. What a lovely thing to say. No doubt I don't actually always do so, but I do try and it's so lovely when someone notices. :)
Living what we believe is part of integrity, isn't it? Integrity is a trait we value in people. Integrity is a trait we absolutely look for in those in authority over us.
Today, I've been feeling very frustrated over various issues to do with lack of integrity.
(1) I'm not a football fan really (I support Airdrie United, after all and I know about football as much as I, as a Status Quo fan, know about music), but one of our leading Scottish teams, Glasgow Rangers, has been hugely in the news because of its financial troubles. If you don't know about it and you want to, google it. There are way too many articles I could point you to; the whole thing has been keeping journalists going at full tilt for a week or two. Suffice to say, something stinks in the financial wheelings and dealings at the centre of it all. Big time, it stinks.
(2) There's also the wee fracas that broke out in the bar at the Houses of Parliament last night. By the way, most workplaces aren't allowed a bar on their premises - how come those with power at their fingertips which the rest of us will never begin to have, are allowed alcohol in their workplace? Here is the story, for those who don't know.
(3) Rupert Murdoch, whose mess at the, thankfully now defunct, very seedy News of the World, is still being sorted through at the Leveson Inquiry, seems to be free to produce a new newspaper starting this weekend. Free press is a great thing, of course, but the price is quite high, it seems.
Actually, when I think about it there are way more than 3 things which frustrate me in this way. Lots of stories about bonuses payed to bankers who have brought about the credit crunch, and many other things all add to my frustation.
Those of us who work in PrisonWorld, not just chaplains, want to help prisoners to start to think along the moral and pro-social lines that will endear them to, in the first instance, the parole board, and then, more importantly, society. We really do want them to start thinking morally. We want them to start thinking of a possible future life that is lived within the laws of the land. We want them to stay out of jail, for goodness' sake!
It's ten times (or fifty times, or, I don't know...) harder for us to proclaim a message of moral living when at the heart of "Rich-and-Powerful"-world, corruption seems the way to go. Seriously you leaders, GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! Please. Thank you.