The expenses scandal concerning MPs in the UK has made the national press even here in Kenya. It's very informative to see the wide-scale outrage as I read the websites of the UK press. Right across the spectrum - people of all shares and stripes of ideological opinion are agreed that gross, iniquitous excesses have taken place.
What I find particularly informative though is to look at one of the places where this agreement has concentrated. Whilst many MPs protest that what they did was "within the rules", there's basically unanimous agreement that a) that isn't good enough b) the rules are crooked and c) we expect MPs as public servants to obey principles which are more ultimate than simply what's in their own self-imposed rule-book. There is, we're all quite sure, a rule book beyond the rule book. There are principles which the rule book should be judged by. The self-made laws of parliamentarians, even though parliament is the highest body in the land, must bow before and be judged by the higher ideals. Corruption has an independent existence from human opinion, and can never be made right just by the fiat of even kings.
The elephant in the room which I don't find the commentators in the UK press then raising a question about, is this: what exactly is this "rule book to rule the rule books"? What is the source of these higher values that can judge the highest body in the country? Who made these laws that judge the law-makers? If we all agree that such things exist - and there seems to be no disagreement about that at all - then shouldn't someone at least ask on what basis such things can be?
You know the answer; as I say, it's the elephant in the room, and that's why the secularist UK press can't bring itself to mention it. Man is bound by the law of God. It's external to him and imposed upon him - he must ultimately bow to it, whether he pleases to do so or not. It's written on our consciences, and we know that we are ultimately accountable.
Ultimately the secular principles on which the UK has been governed by its present elite float in mid-air. The MPs who protest "I was within the rules!" are actually 100% right on their own secularist principles. As good secularists, those MPs are simply protesting on the same basis as they previously governed. It is truly a bit rich for the secular press which never questioned them before to now be raising these higher principles which before could be so conveniently ignored. But that's the tragedy of unbelief - it can't be carried out consistently. Once you try to press it too far, something has to give. If you try to bring it too much out of your private thought world of unbelief and into the real world that God created, pressure will build up until something bursts. It doesn't work! The pressure just burst in Westminster - the irresistible force of the idea that man was the highest being and could make his own laws met the immovable object of man's knowledge that "thou shalt not steal" is an immutable law of God that all men must bow to, and it lost.
The real tragedy behind the tragedy is that this obvious question that's been raised - of how we can be so angry about these higher principles being broken when we've spent so many decades refusing to officially acknowledge their real existence and trying to build a society without them. And what that means is that if and when we clear the decks of the present exemplars of our moral corruption, we'll just wheel in some more. What the UK needs is not a change of faces without questioning its underlying principles; we need to turn in godly sorrow to the God whose laws we routinely despise but can't ultimately escape from. Jesus Christ is still a gracious Saviour, and will receive us - even us - still.