THE BIBLE VERSUS CORRUPTION
"They are corrupt, their deeds are vile, there is
no-one who does good." (Psalm 14:1)
"Throughout the fabric of public life in newly
independent states runs the scarlet thread of bribery and corruption."
(Wraith & Simpkins 1968)
(Investigator 173, 2017 March)
The Bible condemns bribery, graft and extortion.
A "World War On Bribery" began in 1977 when the USA criminalized
bribing public servants abroad. Germany joined the "war" by an attack
on bribery in Frankfurt. Other countries followed.
In the legal and moral sense corruption refers to:
Bribery: Abuse of public office by accepting payment to discriminate in
favour of the payer or to otherwise break the law;
2. Graft: Obtaining profit or
advantage by dishonest means;
3. Extortion: Obtaining money by
threatening to inflict harm or damage.
In the Bible the word "corruption" embraces the above but includes
other immoral and criminal behaviour.
Payne (1975) observes that: "Corrupt men are always liars. Lies are
their instruments, their pleasure, their solace. In time they come to
believe their lies or rather to half-believe them."
James Walsh (1998) for Time
magazine reported "A World War On Bribery". Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko
had plundered Zaire's treasury of $1000 million during 32 years and
"bankrupted his country". In Italy prosecutions against top politicians
convicted 460 including a former two-time Prime Minister. In China
500,000 government or party officials were reportedly, "punished for
involvement in kickbacks and favouritism…"
In 1977 the U.S. enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Walsh
The costs of corruption
have reached earth-shaking proportions, prompting Herculean
international efforts to clear out the muck…
In Chile last April at the Summit of the Americas,
President Bill Clinton and other heads of government up and down the
New World reaffirmed a commitment to ending corruption. More crucially,
the world's 29 richest countries and five others are in a process of
passing laws to crack down on the bribery of foreign officials…
In effect, the signatories promise to do what the U.S.
alone has done since 1977: criminalize commercial payoffs by their
nationals to public servants abroad…
In 1991 Die Welt (Bonn)
Bribery and corruption
were rampant for decades at the municipal roadbuilding department in
Frankfurt am Main, one of the largest in Germany. Unscrupulous
officials had no qualms about demanding bribes…
The municipal administration and the public
prosecutor's office have worked hand in glove to prosecute 428 public
Frankfurt may have put its house in order, but what
about other sectors of the public service? …
Hesse's new director of public prosecutions, Christoph
Schaefer, 55 … has set out to eliminate corruption in the public
service and says that corruption, which has now even reached the police
and the courts, is the subsoil "in which the monstrosity of organised
crime flourishes." …
In the Frankfurt area alone nearly 1,000 people, public
service and company officials, are or have been under investigation in
connection with bribery and corruption allegations.
But corruption is not limited to Frankfurt. It occurs
all over Germany...
DEMOCRACY AGAINST CORRUPTION
Church (1996) reported that Columbia, India, France, South Korea,
Japan, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Ecuador and Kenya, among other countries,
"have been shaken by corruption scandals reaching into the top levels
of government." In Italy a probe of politicians and businessmen led to
1000 people being jailed; in India 25 top politicians were forced to
The exposure of corruption was: "powered by … the spread of democracy
to scores of once authoritarian countries, with its concomitants: an
independent-minded judiciary, a free and nosy press, and unrigged
elections in which opposition parties have found charges of kickbacks
and bribery powerful vote getters." (ibid)
COST OF CORRUPTION
Wide-scale corruption reduces national productivity, thereby increases
poverty and misery. Church (1996) writes: "Also, corruption-ridden
countries are lousy competitors in the global economy; bribes and
kickbacks kite their costs of doing business too high."
Walsh (1998) cited the lead economist of the World Bank: "Now we have a
plethora of literature showing that corruption has a negative impact on
all those indicators we care about in development—economic growth,
domestic and foreign investment, poverty."
The Weekend Australian in 2011
officials siphoned off more than $114 billion out of the country in
less than two decades…
Between 16,000 and 18,000 government officials and
executives of state-owned firms have fled China or simply vanished…
(June 18-19, p. 19)
With their tremendous oil reserves Venezuelans should be prosperous,
happy, and secure. Instead Gallup has ranked Venezuela "the most
insecure nation in the world", and Transparency International its
judicial system as the world's most corrupt.
The murder rate is among the world's highest; very few crimes result in
prosecution; looting of trucks and shops is common; sex trafficking is
rife; officials and police commonly cooperate with drug-traffickers and
other criminals; kidnappings for ransom number about 16,000 yearly;
people put enormous time and effort into self protection; and foreign
travelers stay away.
In Sicily the Mafia is in decline. But in 2008 80% of businesses still
paid protection money: "The Mafia's annual rake-off was calculated at
almost €1billion, equivalent to 1.3% of Sicily's gross domestic
product." (Jacobson 2011)
In Solomon Islands a gold-mining company failed to reopen its goldmine
because: "police corruption, political collusion, and the fact that
unless you pay bribes nothing gets done, rendered the mine too lawless
to operate." (Higgins 2014) With corruption so rampant: "kids
can't get an education, hospitals are a disgrace, roads are full of
holes, public safety is an issue…"
Regarding Papua New Guinea, Callick (2010) writes: "an extraordinary
proportion of public funds have been purloined by members of the elite,
while 40 per cent of Papua New Guineans live on less than $US1 … a
day." The consequences included declining government services,
outbreaks of disease, hospitals unable to buy equipment and
life-expectancy in decline.
China has joined the war on corruption — President Xi launched a
crackdown in 2013:
The Communist Party's
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection reported yesterday that
182,000 officials nationwide were investigated by police for corruption
in the past year…
Mr Xi said his government … would take a "zero
tolerance" approach towards government officials involved in graft and
taking bribes… (Murdoch 2014)
Corruption is common for the same reason that crime in general is
common, because people don't know right from wrong and easy money is
In the case of bribery, clever men often find ways to disguise it. A
bank, for example, gave jobs to relatives of government officials in
Asia to win business. Viswanatha (2016) reports: "JPMorgan agreed to
pay $US264m and admitted it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
— which bars US firms from paying bribes to officials of foreign
government to win business…"
THE BIBLE AGAINST CORRUPTION
The Bible commends anyone who: "walks righteously and speaks what is
right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from
accepting bribes…" (Isaiah 33:15)
Bribery, graft and extortion along with attendant conduct such as
deceit, lies and violence are all condemned in the Bible. Regarding
bribery see Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 10:17; I Samuel 8:1-3; Psalm
26:9-11; Proverbs 17:23; Isaiah 1:23; 5:22-23; Amos 5:12; Micah 3:11;
Bribery and corruption, in government, business and courts as well as
by common people, has been standard practice for thousands of years to
the economic detriment and impoverishment of all nations. This
demonstrates the truth of the biblical teaching that everyone is
deceived, and no-one, not even the most intelligent, knows right from
wrong and does only what is right.
The modern "world war" on corruption benefits the world economically.
But the Bible, the "Word of God", got there first and taught
life-improving ethics thousands of years ago!
Callick, R. Grand larceny robs PNG of millions, The Weekend Australian, June 12-13,
2010, Inquirer p. 4
Church, G.J. War Against Sleaze, Time,
May 6, 1996, 50-56
Higgins, E. Aussies fail to eradicate graft… The Weekend Australian, November
15-16, 2014, p. 13
Jacobson, P. Sicily Fights Back, Reader's
Digest, October 2011, 103-108
Murdoch, S. Xi vows no mercy in China graft fight, The Weekend Australian, January 16,
Payne, R. 1975 The Corrupt Society,
Praeger, p. 249
Scherer, P. (translator) Stop bribery and corruption says public
prosecutor, The German Tribune,
6 October 1991 - No. 1487, p. 8. Translated from Die Welt, Bonn, 23
Viswanatha, A. Bank's 'corrupt' $47m scheme, The Weekend Australian, November
19-20, 2016, p. 30
Walsh, J. A World War On Bribery, Time,
July 13, 1998, 37-43
Wraith, R. and Simpkins, E. Corruption in Developing Countries, In:
Kebschull, H.G. (editor) 1968 Politics
in Transitional Societies, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 246-254
(Investigator 174, 2017 May)
A noteworthy case illustrating my article "The Bible Versus Corruption"
(#173) is the British engineering giant, Rolls-Royce Holdings plc.
A Google search on "Rolls Royce Bribery Settlement" brings up a long
list of reports. Top of the list when I searched was:
Rolls-Royce will pay
over $800 million to settle bribery charges
Jan 17, 2017 - Tangled up in corruption investigations
on three different continents, Rolls-Royce will shell out more than
$800 million to deal with the legal fallout. The British engineering
giant says it has reached settlements with authorities in the U.K., the
U.S. and Brazil over bribery...
People in management with the power to allocate money to pay bribes,
would be among the most intelligent on Earth.
And if the brightest people are misguided and fail to distinguish right
from wrong, what about the majority of lower education?
This is actually a theme of the Bible — that everyone thinks himself
blameless but is deceived and often does not know right from wrong.
A history of Rolls-Royce Holdings is at:
(Investigator 175, 2017, July)
"Corruption" in politics and ethics refers to bribery, graft and
extortion. In #173 I showed that authorities throughout history
favored corruption and that the practice contributed to keeping all
nations in poverty, whereas the Bible all along opposed it. In
1977 US lawmakers commenced a "world war" on corruption.
The extent of the problem, even after 40 years into the "world war", is
indicated in The Weekend Australian
which reported: "Brazilian meat giant JBS is facing a backlash from its
business partners after admitting to bribing nearly 2000 politicians in
exchange for subsidized financing..." (June 10-11, 2017, p. 34)
The report says that "JBS's holding company, J&F Investimentos" has
agreed to pay Brazilian prosecutors $US3.14 billion in penalties.
If the world's smartest people — which would include politicians and
heads of companies — don't know right from wrong, what about the common
people who also, in many ways, reject biblical guidance? This is
actually a biblical doctrine — that everyone feels himself to be
blameless and good but is deceived.
(Investigator 176, 2017 September)
"Corruption" in politics and commerce refers to bribery, graft and
extortion. In #173 I showed that authorities throughout history allowed
or ignored corruption and that the practice contributed to keeping the
world in poverty, whereas the Bible all along opposed it.
Recently a Chinese billionaire was found guilty of bribing two UN
ambassadors. (The Weekend Australian, July 29-30, 2017, 13) In #175 I
cited a news report about a Brazilian company that bribed nearly 2000
Australia is not immune. The Weekend
Australian (June 3-4, 2017, p. 5) reported the ten-year sentence
for corruption of a former NSW Labor minister, and the six-year
sentence of the former head of a Union who was found an accessory. A
second article on the same page lists other Australian politicians
recently sentenced to prison for corruption:
former Queensland Labor minister (14 years)
• Three former NSW Labor ministers
(10 years, 10 years, and 5 years)
• An ex-Federal Labor MP (6 years)
• A former WA premier (3 years)
Type the phrase "Guilty of Bribery" into Google Search and the guilty
include doctors, senior officials, a "top prosecutor", businessmen,
judges, a former senator, and the former president of Brazil. In China
a pharmaceutical subsidiary was found guilty of bribery and fined $500
The world's smartest people with the highest IQ's would include
politicians, doctors, judges, and heads of companies.
If the smartest people with the highest IQs often do not know right
from wrong what about ordinary people when they ignore the Bible?
It is actually a biblical theme that everyone needs God's guidance
because no one knows right from wrong and does only what is right.
attempts to prove the Bible by comparing its statements with opposing
opinion in hundreds of topics on this website: