In an appeal to politicians, Can. Simon Godfrey asked politicians in Indonesia, Malta and the UK to stay out of justice. This at a diocesan ecumenical service presided by Archbishop Charles Scicluna at the end of a week of prayer for unity with the theme of seeking justice and only justice, celebrated in the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck in Valletta.
Can. Godfrey, who is the Chancellor of the Anglican Pro Cathedral of St Paul, spoke about the Indonesian theme related to Chapter 16 of Deuteronomy saying: “Justice and only Justice you shall persue.” He explained that the 2018 corruption Perception Index lists Indonesia at 96th out of 175, while Malta is 46th and the UK is 8th.
While the statistics are relative and the index not fully comprehensive, Indonesia, a country of 265 million where only 12% are Christian still have the issue of Justice in many people’s minds in the country, said the Can. Godfrey. He also added that “the politicisation of justice is indeed a concern for all countries that hold to the Christian moral imperative of God’s justice.”
A reading of the full Deuteronomy chapter were the theme of this week of prayer came from quoted chapter 16 as such: “You shall appoint judges and officials in throughout your tribes, in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you and they shall render just decisions for the people. You must not distort justice, you must show no partiality, and you must not accept bribes for a bribe lines the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are right. Justice and only Justice you shall persue. So that you may live and occupy the land that the lord your god is giving you.”
While Can. Godfrey pointed out that he is not a lawyer himself, “any reading of the old testament scriptures will incline to the conclusion that justice was arbitrary” prior to Jewish exile in Egypt. It was however Christian hegemony which “molded our justice system” according to the Chancellor, adding that its “prize is being compromised and eroded.”
He then added that “the contemporary ascendancy of cultures and nations without a Christian foundation” is “worrying and perplexing” because it is a challenge to those conscious of the Christian foundations of legal systems. Turning to China, Can. Godfrey points out that their fine imperial past is gone and replaced by economic advances with overarching political theory disallowing any real opposition. Meanwhile, Indonesia, despite their leaps and bounds of seeming progress, were still condiered a “flawed democracy” in 2017 by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
It is for these reasons, according to Can. Godfrey, that this year’s week of prayer was set for Christians around the world to pray for men and women’s rights and responsibilities within their own countries. Despite being worlds away from Asia, “it is our duty to continue our cycle of prayer and a prayerful commitment to justice, mercy and unity.” In short, prayer was focused on allowing “God’s impartial and loving justice” to “percolate through every level of society” and that “politicians in Indonesia, Malta and the UK should stay out of justice” to “allow God to evolve the justice that he so naturally seeks for his people.”