Superinjunctions and the nearly omniscient secular state


In the age of the superinjunction many public figures are seeking a way to control the press.  The presenting legal issue is personal privacy.  Famous people don’t want their dirty washing hung out for all to see.

We might have some sympathy with those in the public eye.  Those who fall into sin must feel trapped like hares in the headlights of an oncoming juggernaut as they know that wide-scale gossip and public judgement will ensue.  I know as vicar that I am scrutinised by the community, I can’t imagine what that is like on a national or international scale.  Moral failure corners people, and the more public the figure, the more attention is drawn to them, as King Solomon wrote:

The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast. (Proverbs 5:22)

“News” spreads quickly, especially in a digital age, fuelled by gossip, which is a source of power for which we all have an insatiable appetite.

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. (Proverbs 18:8)

There is an obvious solution to the problem.  If you don’t want people reading about your sin, stop sinning. But then, people fall, and fall hard, even church leaders.  So do people have the right to know or should gossip be discouraged?

The confusion lies, it seems, in the role of the media as a the means for holding those in power to account.  There needs to be a mechanism, apart from the state, for restraining evil.  The state has its visible and hyper vigilant police force, CCTV cameras and of course the ultimate source of omniscience, GCHQ and SIGINT, whose stated aim is to provide intelligence, protect information and inform relevant UK policy to keep society safe and successful in the Internet Age is supported by good investigative journalism, and so it should be.  The media even helps increase a godly fear of the state by the proliferation of reality TV programmes about the work of police; Road Wars, Night Cops, Lock Up, Border Patrol and of course the regular news.  Of course, the reality on the ground is that the police are spread too thin and so are ineffective.  Yet, the media must be free to be able to hold the state to account, by exposing the sin, greed, corruption and hypocrisy of those in power and the media thankfully aims to fill that role.

We should be worried if the state holds absolute power, by also controlling the media, as some argue is already the case in the UK as the BBC functions as the mouthpiece of state religion in Britain.  Our judiciary have acted independently of the state to introduce superinjunctions, granting celebrities some freedom from snooping hacks and public gossip, but for how long?  The state wants to decide whether or not the courts can grant such injunctions.  We would not want politicians to make use of superinjunctions, would we?

I want to argue, that the concept of personal privacy is academic, we live in community where people know what other people do, our community is quite a large one, joined by the media.  An then, of course, God is omniscient.  God knows what we do in our bedrooms and whether it is good or evil.  We have no privacy in the eyes of God. Superinjunctions can’t stop God from knowing our transgressions.

The British state might be attempting to be omniscient but it can never know what everyone is doing, imagine a state where every home had state controlled CCTV (GCHQ and SIGINT is not far from that reality).   The solution to the unhappy situation of superinjunctions is to know and accept that God is omniscient and omnipresent, so that nothing escapes his attention, because then evil is truly restrained and the media loses its place as gossip monger.  God holds those in power to account.

For your ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all your paths.
The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
(Proverbs 5:21-23)

The question we face is, who do we want to be our God?  The state or the living God?  The choice is not difficult.

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