As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates.
It is finally time to end this series. It has been a bit risky to focus so extensively on Europe on a blog with readers from all around the world, but I hope you have seen that these seven deadly sins are relevant to know about for most people. For my readers in the majority world (Africa, Asia and Latin America): I want you to know that I am strongly opposed to the neo-colonialism, environmental destruction and activist sloth of my continent that hurt you countries so badly, which is why I try to highlight this now that there is an election to the European Parliament. And for my readers in non-European rich countries: I hope you realize that these deadly sins are present in you countries as well, unfortunately.
Anyways, let us turn to the final sin: wrath, or anger. Our good ol’ friend New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia simply defines it as “The desire of vengeance… It becomes sinful when it is sought to wreak vengeance upon one who has not deserved it, or to a greater extent than it has been deserved, or in conflict with the dispositions of law, or from an improper motive. The sin is then in a general sense mortal as being opposed to justice and charity.” We have already seen how Europe kills non-European through lack of aid or by destroying the climate, but Europe also executes violent wrath in a much more direct way: through selling arms to dictatorships and countries at war.
Compared to its American cousin in the Wild West, Europe often portrays itself as a much more peaceful and friendly part of the world. But historically, Europe has been an extremely violent country, with hundreds of wars that have changed the borders of European countries over and over again. And of course, Europe was the main playgrounds for the two of the most bloody wars in history: the first and second world war. Thankfully, this violent era ended with the creation of the European Union. Increased trade and diplomacy has made Europe a much more peaceful place than ever before.
However, this doesn’t stop us from arming dictators abroad! According to the European Network Against Arms Trade, “European weapons are often exported to dictatorships or to countries at war. European weapons were used against civil populations in the Middle East and North Africa during the uprisings from 2011. They turn up in civil wars in Africa. They were used in Sri Lanka, Columbia, Libya and Georgia.” During the Arab spring, European armies intervened in Libya to help the rebels overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, a ruthless dictator who killed his own population. However, the weapons Gadaffi used were European as well. Andrew Smith from the Campaign Against Arms Trade writes:
“In 2010 alone EU states licensed $484 million worth of arms exports [to Libya], including ‘weapon firing equipment’, ‘ammunition’ and ‘explosive devices’. This policy continued right up until the Arab Spring, when Qadafi used European exports against pro-democracy campaigners. Following Qadafi’s fall, sales to Libya continued, with almost $30 million of military export licences having since been approved.”
The European Union does have a common position that encourages member states to take ethical issues into consideration when selling arms and not let them violate human rights. However, member states are allowed to make exceptions, which they often do. And so many violent conflicts around the world are creating huge profits for European arms corporations. Which increases European BNP, which is the main goal and purpose of the Union. And so the circle is complete – Europe’s worship of Mammon and hunger for gold is so harmful that it literally kills people.
So, will the European MP try to repent from these sins and promote righteousness and peace instead of inequality and death? Well, Jean-Claude Juncker who is the presidential candidate for the conservative and Christian democratic European People’s Party, will defenitely not deal with these sins. His priorities are money, growth, trade and jobs, not equality, sustainability and free migration. The Socialists and Democrats says surprisingly little about anything, which is strange since they are the biggest party in the European Parliament. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats show partial interest in environment and humanitarian issues, but are not doing so much. The Green Party however is very committed to justice, peace and the environment, but when it comes to moral issues they are quite liberal.
What we do know is that Jesus Christ is committed to make people repent from these deadly sins. He is our President and we should put our trust in him, not any politicians. They try to change society through laws and policeforce, He transforms society through discipleship and the power of the Holy Spirit. Vote for Jesus, every day. Then we will be “set free from sin and become slaves of God, and the benefit we reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Rom 6:22)