As the EU summit gets underway in Brussels, The Association of Christian Financial Advisors (ACFA) wants to see debt forgiveness to avoid greater hardship for the poor and a growing dependence upon other countries for credit.
Along with debt forgiveness, ACFA says there must be genuine contrition – and changes in the way sovereign states manage their finances.
ACFA spokesman Arwyn Bailey said: "The nations of the world ? it is now apparent ? are running their economies on a tank of debt. There have been strong calls from international aid organisations over many years for a total forgiveness of the debt of third world countries. Generally these calls have been met with a wall of platitudes and silence from western politicians.
"Few would ever have predicted that the same problem of national debt would become a crisis in the rich nations of the European continent, creating an ever-increasing reliance upon developing nations such as India and China for a continuing line of credit.
"As far as the Eurocentric countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal are concerned, no-one has yet taken up the mantle of demanding debt forgiveness, despite the economies of these nations stumbling on in a similarly unsustainable position to a third-world country run by a dictator.
"It is also clear that the policy-makers are as uncertain today as ever as to what route they should take to get us out of this mess.
"A clear Biblical principle is to forgive debt in a year of 'jubilee'. Forgiveness may be out of favour these days, but it is a good principle ? one that politicians should perhaps take to heart in this economic crisis.
"Managed 'forgiveness' could yet prove to be the only long-term solution to containing the continuing crisis in the Eurozone and preventing the collapse of the currency.
"But, within the concept of forgiveness there is another clear principle. Forgiveness is offered unconditionally, but along with forgiveness is a need for contrition and repentance upon the part of the transgressor.
"Yet in these so-called enlightened times this principle is perhaps seen as out-dated, for if any politician should admit that they have been at fault then their chances of re-election are sorely diminished. As Elton John put it: 'Sorry is the hardest word.'
"However, it may well be time for politicians and bankers to swallow their pride and utter the ‘S’ word. For the current crisis to reach a resolution, ACFA’s suggestion is that Europe’s leaders should propose an alternative of forgiveness.
"They should consider breaking the mould by seeking a straightforward apology from politicians, bankers, traders and whoever else is to blame for this financial crisis.
"This year of the Golden Jubilee of our monarch is an ideal time to lead the way to forgiveness, by offering a true 'Jubilee' to those countries who are willing to seek a resolution through contrition.
"It would involve some sacrificing of profit, and the humility to seek – and live with – forgiveness. In order to complete the circle, it would also require a significant change by politicians, and a determination for it to be truly different this time by not being so eager to live with so much complexity and borrowed money.
"This concept may not win many votes, but for the poor and dispossessed who are suffering the most within this economic crisis, humble debt forgiveness is perhaps the only meaningful resolution that can offer any real hope for the future.
"The alternative could well be a rapid collapse of the banking systems in Europe, which is something few of us may be able to live with."
ACFA is the UK network of Christian financial advisers and related professionals. It aims to be the voice of Christian financial advice and champions best practice in the UK. The ACFA website offers links to Christian financial advisers across the UK.
For more information see: http://www.christianfinancialadvisers.org.uk
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