Halo Halo: Born with a silver spoon in your mouth or born in Sin?
Readers of the ‘Standard’ are probably not too bothered about the notion of being ‘born in sin’. To others though this can be a problem. Not least, you might suppose, because even those who warn us about the dangers of it – the various priests, parsons, rabbis and mullahs etc, have never been able to reach an agreement about the precise nature of sin. The various Gods, apparently, are offended by anything from people eating the wrong food or dressing in the wrong way to facing the wrong compass point when saying their prayers. Fortunately Iain Duncan Smith has now been able to step in to clarify matters and explain to us what sin is.
Duncan Smith is not only the Work and Pensions Secretary, he is also a practicing Roman Catholic and has previously informed us that “religion is integral to everything I do”. He also holds the view that many of the problems of poverty have a “spiritual base”. Now either this man is just talking out of his ‘spiritual base’, or he knows something the rest of us don’t.
During a BBC radio Today programme in November, commenting on Tory plans to take away benefits to the unemployed who fail to accept a job offer, he explained the problem of people refusing to take unsuitable, or poorly paid work. “Surely,” he said, “that’s a sin.”
If he’s right that’s good news. Well um, sort of. It depends on whether you hold the same religious beliefs as Iain Duncan Smith. Look at it this way. The penalty for failing to accept a job offer will be the loss of the £64 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance for three months. If you do it again you will lose it for six months. And for a third offence you lose it for three years.
Now if you compare that with what Christianity previously told us was the penalty for sin you can see how beneficial and merciful the Tory plans will be. According to the Pope, the Born Again mob and numerous other fundamentalists, the penalty for sin is to spend eternity in Hell, screaming in agony and being prodded back into the brimstone by the Devil.
Be honest now, Three years starvation for you and your family in this life, or eternity in hell in the next. Which would you prefer?
Whether Iain Duncan Smith has done his theological homework on this though is perhaps questionable. A quick check of catholic theology on Google throws up a few more sins that are so serious that they “cry to heaven for vengeance”. They include the oppression of the poor (Exodus 2:23) and defrauding workers of their wages (James 5:4). Are the Tories moving in mysterious ways here?