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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 10. July 19, 1957


The professing Christian owes a duty to be constantly showing by his acts and attitudes that the moral teachings of Jesus have as great a relevance to our time as they had to His.

About that. B.D. and J.H.C. seem to have no quarrel with me or with Ur. Soper or Father Huddleston.

But on the relative importance of things concerning which Christians should perform these acts and have these attitudes, there are sufficient differences to warrant analysis.

To begin with, certain odd blind spots and inconsistencies in the article "Individuals are Important" (27/6/57, P.5) require comment.

First, by the mere act of citing Father Huddleston (once) on South Africa, can we justly be accused of suggesting that it is "the only country in the world where there is some kind of social injustice"? Surely the quotation from Dr. MacLeod, Dr. Soper's message, and the whole theme of my first contribution ("Christians Should Take Their Coats Off', 13/6/57. P.6) as well as the general policy of "Salient" all year, cry out to readers that our society is replete with injustices urgently in need of eradiation.

Secondly (immediately after a reference to "weeds in other people's gardens"), did our friends intend the irony of their attack on the White New Zealand policy being followed up by an implied comic quotation from a "Chinaman" (sic) in pidgin English?

Thirdly, did the whole point of Dr. MacLeod's comment about "sex and alcohol" entirely elude our friends?—because half their points of criticism of the New Zealand way of life concern one or other of these gnats.

The record indicates that Jesus spent a great deal of his time in the company of bohemians, boozers, prostitutes and sinners of the less socially acceptable variety, and was kindlier to their brands of shortcoming than he was to those of pharisees and money-changers.

Like many others who are more interested in the eternal comfort of their own souls than they are in real, practical Christianity. B.D. and J.H.C. have forgotten the extent to which the malpractices of individuals are a reflection of a sick social order.

And on directly political and economic issues, they merely enquire limply about starvation in the midst of plenty, and call for help for the peoples of Eastern Europe against Communism.

It is certainly not "Communism" these peoples need help against, it is the horrible nightmare of military dictatorship which is endemic in the cold war situation—not there only but also in West Germany. Turkey. Jordan. Formosa, Portugal. British Guiana, South Korea, and Guatemala. Some form of Socialism is the only conceivable way out of the economic chaos our friends complain about—and that it may be able to be found within at least a near-Communist framework is indicated. I think, by recent events in Poland and China.

The most practical thing one can do for the Hungarians and everyone else, is to press for the realistic policy being espoused by German Social Democracy and British Labour—for a gradual dismantling of the military alliances which have kept the world at war's edge for the past decade, and for the building up of a free and uncommitted zone through the centre of Europe. It is a measure of the (non-Christian!) Asians' greater political maturity that so many of them had already found that solution years ago.

Any other solution involves, logically, some form of hate-ridden violence—torture by or lynching of A.V.O. men, or in the last resort, the mass cricufixion of humanity in a thermo-nuclear war.

That is why this seems to me (and to many others) to be so far and away the most important issue confronting thinking Christian.—B.