The Church of England is at it again. In 1995 I was provoked by their odd ethical investment policy. Now it's a 22% threshold of sinning. In my book Unusual Suspect I wrote:
On the arms trade the Church had eccentric guidelines that allowed them to invest in any company as long as no more than 30 per cent per cent of its production was in arms. So it’s OK to invest in GEC. They are big-time merchants of death producing millions of deadly weapons. But they also make other things. But not OK to invest a penny in a small company making nothing but £30,000-worth of hand grenade pins.
I produced a spoof press release from the Archbishop of Canterbury announcing the 30 per cent threshold of sinning. His Grace wrote:
As a practical, attainable religion for our times Christians would in future be allowed to sin for 30 per cent of the time as long as they were virtuous at other times. No longer need anyone strive to do the impossible and obey the full ten commandants. Seven would be enough and three could be ignored. Free choice would be given in the selection. His Grace added that he hoped that not many would deny themselves the chance to covet their neighbour’s ox in exchange for rampant adultery.
By a stroke of luck, one of our most original contemporary writers, Dr Dorothy Rowe, noticed the story. She used it in her thoughtful book The Real Meaning of Money published in 1997. It neatly illustrated how morality is relative to most religions.