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As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates.
Greed, or avarice, is acoording to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia “the inordinate love for riches. Its special malice, broadly speaking, lies in that it makes the getting and keeping of money, possessions, and the like, a purpose in itself to live for… In so far asavarice is an incentive to injustice in acquiring and retaining of wealth, it is frequently a grievous sin.” Greed is of course the natural consequence of the economic envy that I see in Europe today. And its consequences are enormous, brutal and extremely sinful.
We’ve all heard about colonialism; how Europe took control of territories all around the world and exploited the indigenous people, took their resources and ruled their societies. And many think this is something that lies in the past. But let me introduce you to the neo-colonialism that Europe (together with other rich countries like the US, Australia and China) are practicing again to gain wealth and influence in a very greedy fashion. There are many types of neo-colonialism, involving politics, culture and even religion, but since we’re discussing greed here we will focus on economics.
1. The use of cheap, exploited labour in the globalized economy. It is no secret that the big, multinational companies of the West use cheap labour in the majority world – our coffee is made in Ghana, our toys in China, our clothes in Bangladesh, etc. There are countless examples of how workers in the supply chains for these companies are suffering due to horrible working conditions; mimimal wage, forced labour, long working days, health risks and environmental destruction. There are even examples of child labour, slavery, and child slavery. Surprisingly, it’s totally legal to sell goods in Europe that has been produced during horrible working conditions, slavery and by child labour, even if those practices are illegal within Europe. Furthermore, even if the working conditions would be decent the whole system of hiring cheap labour while enjoying big profits in the West only promotes global inequality and injustice. (more…)
I’ve written about my friend Simon Adahl previously, a Swedish musician who is passionate about Jesus and who has an amazing prophetic gift. Not only is he using this gift to lead people to Christ, but he has also used it to promote human rights and fair trade. Here’s how it happened:
On August 15, 2011, the Lord woke Simon up and told him to write a song about the reunification of North and South Korea. “Never!” Simon replied, “Do I look like a Korean to you?” “Write the song” “No, nobody will listen to an unknown Swede anyway.”
Then the Lord started to sing: “The one who walks with God can change nations. The one who walks with God can impact millions.” A song Simon himself had written.
Simon gave up, wrote the song “I’m gonna pray for Korea”, recorded it with his brother Frank and sent it to some South Korean publishing companies. They all said “thank you but no thank you”. It was too controversial.
But then things started to change. A friend of Simon’s said that she got an email from the International Prayer Center requesting prayer for North Korea, since one of their prophets said that Kim Jong Il was about to die (he did die in december 2011). Simon asked them if they wanted to use his song for their prayer meetings, and they said yes.
Shortly after, activist organizations promoting human rights in North Korea, like Stop Genocide in North Korea, wanted to use Simon’s song on events and demonstrations. Suddenly, it was played during a massive global manifestation in New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Seoul – at the same time! And finally, a South Korean publishing company published the song.
In 2012, Christians from Indonesia contacted Simon and invited him and Frank to come to World Prayer Assembly 2012 – the biggest prayer meeting in world history – not only to play that song but to write the theme song for the whole event. Simon said yes. And suddenly they were leading worship in front of 200 000 people, as well as millions that watched it through God TV.
And this is where the really cool things began to happen.