Gangsta & Mammon - idols of the riots
The rioting in London and other major English cities was fundamentally an idolatrous religious festival. The two gods being worshipped were Gangsta and Mammon.
Gangsta is a deity growing in popularity amongst black and white young people in English urban society. He is a god who glorifies defiance of the established forces of law and order. His hymns take the form of rap music with violent lyrics.
Mammon is the god of material greed. He is popular across all social classes and cultures in our country and includes Members of Parliament amongst his devotees. His hymns are pop songs that glorify the human ego.
This spiritual fact has to be faced by politicians inclined to talk up morality in the wake of the riots: the young people who took part in the devastating and appalling criminality on our streets are finding satisfaction and fulfilment in Gangsta worship. They find a sense of belonging and community in the church of Gangsta. And they are enthusiastic missionaries for him, spreading his word through social media.
What happened during the rioting was that Gangsta and Mammon formed a syncretistic alliance and that was what proved so attractive to the young people who looted from shops.
Britain will not rediscover Christian morality unless and until it rediscovers the Christian God. The Ten Commandments, the eighth of which was so flagrantly broken during the riots, begin with the following declaration: 'And God spake all these words, saying: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me' (Exodus 20v1-3 - King James Version).
This is the God who, the New Testament affirms, made himself known in his Incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Before the social revolution of the 1960s, British people used to worship this glorious Lord and Saviour in considerable numbers, and millions of young people used to learn about His love in Sunday schools.
Amongst other things, He taught them not to loot from shops and to respect the police.
Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire. He is an occasional columnist for the Church of the England Newspaper.