Page 5, 21st March 1969

21st March 1969
Page 5
Page 5, 21st March 1969 — Those student rebels

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Those student rebels

MY reply in your issue of February 14 to John Braine's reactionary masterpiece was offered as an analysis of the revolting habits of today's students. I made no claim to be their representative.

Nor did I claim to be a spokesman for any of the contemporary pundits of revolution, having read little and quoted none of them. I am not ignorant of their ideas, however, or of the words of Christ: "You cannot be a slave of God and of money".

. Christ's mission was to reestablish our liaison with God, and He devoted His life to the liberation of men from complete dependence on things. I consider this to be the guiding spirit of "the revolution."

Today's revolutionaries work for the recognition simply of man's humanity, people as people; to this extent it seems to me that their actions are essentially Christian. And this was Che's mission: he, too, was concerned about humanity in a way which Eastern European communism is not.

The Church has for too long compromised with the prevailing economic. political and social systems, to the detriment of Christian values, and with a consequent disregard for the livelihood of man. It is systems which corrupt, and capitalism, the money-maker legitimised because it seems to improve the general standard of living, has made money central to values. This is surely not a Christian concept.

On their latest LP, "Beggars' Banquet," the Rolling Stones express a more Christian attitude than do many orthodox churchmen, reminding us of the "social sins" and our responsibilities to those whom we oppress and ignore, instead of fostering a bitter intolerance of change and a rejection of "unconstitutional" activities no matter what they achieve.

Christ's criticism of institutions is an attack upon the warping influences of money and power. When He spoke of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer he was not condoning the misuse of power. He was illustrating its injustice. The same Man drove usurers and merchants from the Temple.

We. as people of God, belong to his "Father's house" in the world; a world riddled with corruption and misery which we must not only transcend but also convert. And we cannot convert the world merely by praying, or playing along with it in the hope that one day we'll have the chance to call a summit meeting and persuade the statesmen and financiers to be good boys and play the game our way.

For students in revolt the choice is between their fellow men and systems which are inhuman; for the Christian it is between these same systems and God. Christ has shown us all what our decision should be — in practical terms it amounts to the same for believers and non-believers.

Love of our fellow-men must always exceed reliance upon power and materialism. It is the suffering involved in the making of this decision that is "efficacious,not that which is the result of inhumanity. Non turbetur cor loam, neque formidet. Sir Arnold.

But whatever the cost to our lives and ambitions come the revolution. Mr. Brainc, there is no need to lose our senses of humour. Reactionaries and revolutionaries share a singular lack of this virtue, and it is something they might both do well to cultivate.

' Mike Jempson University 'of Sussex

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