‘A day of shame for the British state’.

That’s how the prime Minister described the report of the public inquiry into the infected blood scandal, which suggests evidence of a cover up. Thousands of victims were repeatedly failed by the NHS and successive governments, after being infected with HIV and Hepatitis C by imported, contaminated blood.

Campaigner Clive Smith of the Haemophilia Society said: ‘Now the country knows, and the world knows, there was a deliberate attempt to lie and conceal.’

The Prime Minister has promised that changes will be made to ensure this kind of appalling scandal can never happen again – though the recent election announcement suggest those changes will fall to the next government.

This article is from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity section on Connecting with Culture Issues & Trends.

Except we all know this will happen again, don’t we? Perhaps not this exact scandal, but another one very like it. Only recently we witnessed a very similar pattern of cover up in the Post Office debacle. I don’t doubt the Prime Minister’s sincerity, but improvements to organisational systems alone will not solve the problem, because even the best system can be corrupted by those who operate it.

The root cause of corruption and cover up is not our imperfect systems of organisation or government: the root cause is the broken system of the human heart.

Ever since the original cover up of shame with fig leaves in the Garden of Eden, humanity has suffered with ‘contaminated blood’ – a heart contaminated with selfishness and self-centredness. Our motivations, our instincts, and our methods are all damaged and we ourselves need to experience healing before we can bring true healing. Jesus is the vital key to that.

As the lyrics of an old hymn say: ‘He breaks the power of cancelled sin, he sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood availed for me’. Jesus washed clean the bad blood of humanity with the sacrifice of his own sinless blood on the cross. In a world still infected with selfishness, we can apply that cleansing personally.

In response to scandals like this, Christians can promote good governance that deters and detects corruption, by campaigning for structures and systems that require openness and transparency in reporting, and by modelling truthfulness in our everyday transactions. In whatever system and contexts we find ourselves, alongside those of all faiths and none, we must work and speak with clarity and courage – as this public inquiry has done, to seek justice and call people to account.

Paul Valler
Chair, LICC Board

This article is from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity section on Connecting with Culture Issues & Trends.

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