Honesty defeats corruption

A Christian Science perspective.

According to Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Barometer 2013,” corruption continues to be a major issue with little change in percentages since last year. Transparency International’s survey – 114,000 people in 107 countries – revealed that 27 percent had paid a bribe in the past 12 months. In the United States, more than 60 percent of respondents believe corruption has increased in the past two years.

The good news is that nearly 9 out of 10 people said they would act against corruption, and two-thirds of those who were asked to pay a bribe had refused.

In the US, 76 percent said they believe “ordinary people” can make a difference, and in his lead article in the Christian Science Sentinel (Oct. 28), Kevin Graunke reinforces this point. The Christian Science Monitor regularly reports on people making a difference, although not all of these articles are about combating corruption. Each story, however, reinforces the idea that all of us have a stake in the world’s journey toward uplifting humanity at every level.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, expected her followers to pray for the world daily and to recognize God, divine Principle, as the source of all true government. Such prayers uplift humanity and put the weight of thought and desire on the side of good.

In her “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” Mrs. Eddy says: “The vox populi, through the providence of God, promotes and impels all true reform; and, at the best time, will redress wrongs and rectify injustice.... God reigns, and will ‘turn and overturn’ until right is found supreme” (p. 80).

And in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she declares: “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help” (p. 453).

Today, nations and international corporations are grappling with deep financial challenges. There are “wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6), and reports of “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Yet comfort can be found in this point: If dishonesty forfeits divine help, it follows logically that honesty receives divine help.

People have declared that they are ready and willing to strive for honesty – to at least tackle the problem of corruption at their local level. That’s a foundation to build on as broader issues of corruption are addressed. Their willingness to break the first link in this chain of dishonesty has divine power behind it, and if that divine power is truly unleashed among the nations, think of the great good it will bring forth.

From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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