The Mothers’ Union is issuing a new version of the Ten Commandments. The MU is a powerful Christian pressure group of 3.6 million members within the worldwide Anglican Communion. It has issued its new style of self-disciplines in a drive to help the world’s poor and to fight against climate change.
The Mothers’ Union is issuing a new version of the Ten Commandments. The MU is a powerful Christian pressure group of 3.6 million members within the worldwide Anglican Communion. It has issued its new style of self-disciplines in a drive to help the world’s poor and to fight against climate change. It takes as its text the Old Testament prophet Micah, who urged the Israelites to ‘act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God’” (Times, 16 October 2006).
Instead of tablets of stone the Union, founded in 1876, with 122,000 members in the UK (and not to be confused with the Women’s Institute), has produced a campaign booklet entitled Fair Enough? “which lists 10 small but effective ways in members can mother the Earth back to good health. “Christian mothers and fathers, it says, must change the world for the better”.
Suggestions include shopping by public transport, refusing to buy out-of-season fruit and vegetables flown halfway around the world – unless they carry a fairtrade label – buying less meat and more second-hand clothes, and reusing plastic shopping bags. Mothers en masse can “make a difference”, the MU believes.
Quoting the Bible further (e.g. Proverbs xxxi, 9), which exhorts believers to defend the rights of the poor and needy, the organization says that members need to make sacrifices in their lifestyle and to challenge the capitalist mantra that all economic growth is good. “Living for justice is different from charity”, states the Union in its booklet. “Charity may bring temporary relief to people in poverty, but it still keeps rich and powerful people in control”.
The MU interprets in its testimony of the ten New Commandments the purpose and mission of “our” Green Plan of 1976 for farming, food, health, and the land in its broad purview (which embraced animals of all species and the environment we share); it notably enjoins the qualities of thrift, care, and self-control and curbing the-more-I’ve-got-it, the-more-I-want-it attitude. These are Quality-of-Life messages, not calls for meretricious High Standards of Living. The Food Standards Agency is one body who is tardily appreciating the exigency. Impressive as the thought of 3.6 million practising and proletyizing mothers is, the MU’s commandments apply generally and respectfully. Celebrating Christmas with a sermon of peace and goodwill while the turkey is warming up in the oven is crassly incongruent.
We reproduce the new Commandments
(Note: written by the Times and not the MU)
Out of the Great Depression there came in 1925 a song that would serve as an anthem to accompany them and send adherents dancing down the aisles. We reproduce a few relevant verses; more could be made up to set all the Commandments. For the whole tune and words, click here.
“…Button up your overcoat,
When the wind blows free,
Take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Oh, eat an apple every day,
Get to bed by three,
Take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!
Be careful crossing streets, ooh-ooh,
Lay off meats, ooh-ooh,
Cut out sweets, ooh-ooh,
You'll get a pain and ruin your tum-tum!...”
(Button up your overcoat. Words and music by DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson)
Nor has the message gone unnoticed in the powerful dietary advice offered by The Economist (30 April 2005) that “a healthy diet is built on a base of grains, vegetables and fruits, followed by ever-decreasing amounts of dairy-products, meat, sweets, and oils…”
For a portfolio of guidance and tasty menus acclaimed confidently by nutritionists and medics to follow this advice to counter the epidemic of obesity and implement the MU’s commandments go to Portfolio Eating Plan and Almonds are in.
The Mother’s Union was set up by Mary Sumner in 1876 after her daughter Margaret had her first child. Queen Victoria was the first Patron. The MU campaigns across the world for parental rights, international debt relief and an end to child poverty. Members may stay at the Union’s HQ, Mary Sumner House in Westminster (for £31 a night). The premises are used for public events organized by various organizations and agencies, e.g. the open meetings of the Farm Animal Welfare Council, to which VEGA and other NGOs, farmers, and vets send representatives for lively debates. They serve a useful purpose and demonstrate a worthwhile commitment.