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Freedom of Information Laws

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he [Jesus of Nazareth circa AD 30] began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have said in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.....”            Luke 12: 1-3


Please note (in bold above) that Jesus spoke the above words first to his key followers. They were the first who needed to know about his freedom of information law that, although unwritten, applied to them, to all men and women.


The present meltdown in the UK Parliament because of MP’s expenses is a case in point. When a system exists for a person (any person) to make monetary claims to be paid by someone else – and when the claims made and paid are confidential (secret) – self-interest takes over.


Didn’t the MPs know that “nothing is covered up that will not be revealed”?


Jersey intends shortly to pass a Freedom of Information Law. Will it work? It didn’t in the UK Parliament over MPs expenses. Disclosure was resisted, time and again, in the UK courts. But such Laws are vital. Why?


Jesus set out his freedom of information law as part of a warning, not so as to feed the media. He said, “Beware of.... For (because) nothing is covered that will not be revealed.....”  In fact, therefore, it was a reason why they should heed his warning. A reason to “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees...” He wanted his followers to become aware of leaven.


Leaven = yeast. Yeast is something unseen and hidden – and something that makes otherwise-unpalatable baked dough into highly-edible bread – and something that runs right through every part of the dough.  


According to Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived AD 37-100, the Pharisees in AD 30 numbered around 6000 in Jerusalem and Judea. As a religious/political party they were very popular but they concentrated on the outward and not on inner righteousness. Much like the UK MPs, it seems.


Their leaven was “hypocrisy”. This, in Greek, is hupokrisis. In classical (pre-Jesus) Greek it meant the art of play acting. By AD 30, the word had come to mean human life in general – because a person of ability could play any part with confidence. This was not originally regarded as a negative thing – but later it began to be seen as “sham” and “deceit”.


This leaven, this play-acting is hidden. You don’t know they’re doing it. How true. And it doesn’t matter when I do it – because I’m different. I have good reason to do it (although you may not think so).


And this play-acting, like leaven, makes attractive the unattractive. Inedible flat bread becomes a 2-lb. White Sliced if the dough is leavened. That’s why everyone uses leaven.


And this play-acting goes right into every part of the dough – into all my words and deeds.


Truly, society cannot manage without this leaven. But... But ... For one very good reason – his freedom of information law – his followers must watch out for it (despite the fact that it’s invisible).


Apart from that, the Westminster Expenses saga provides the reason why the leaven, the play acting, is abhorrent. Play-acting is always done for a reason – one, only one, all pervading, sweet tasting reason – to assist the play-actor himself or herself. That’s the real evil.


Is there any way, any way at all that I can get out of this evil that I so much love? Because Jersey’s draft Freedom of Information Law won’t stop me acting.

 ‘A hypocrite is a man who so lets his light shine before men that they can’t see what’s going on behind.’ (Anon.)
All the world's a stage And all the men and women merely players...And so he plays his part.’ (William Shakespeare, English Poet and Playright, 1564-1616
Richard Syvret

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