Last Friday, 25 May 2018, the new EU 2016/679 regulation for data protection and individual privacy came into force. Called the General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, the law aims to limit who can hold data on any citizen of the European Union and what can happen to this data. But, why wasn’t God consulted before this law became practice? He’s fallen foul of the law.
Apparently, both the Church of England and the Scottish Catholics have told its parish priests not to publish the names of sick people in need of collective prayer without first obtaining their permission. To do otherwise is a breach of their privacy and, under the new GDPR, could lead to huge fines. The priests have been advised to first obtain some form of consent from the sick person before exhorting the congregation to offer up a collective “Dear God, please help so-and-so get better soon” prayer. The same is true if you want to light a prayer candle in a church and place so-and-so’s name on the nearby board. The form of the consent is not defined: a signed form, a text message, a scribble on a hand-held delivery recorder, or an e-mail perhaps?
God is not only worried about the reduction in collective prayers reaching His chambers; He’s also worried about the vast amount of data He holds on each and every one of us. He is, after all, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. It’s the omniscient bit—knowing everything— that now worries Him. I’ve heard that He is busy cleaning out everything He knows about EU citizens before powers that are even greater than Him, the EU legislators and law enforcers, come knocking on those pearly gates.
I’ve also heard on very good authority that Father Christmas will not be visiting any EU households in the future. The data he holds on EU children—their age, their sex, where they live, what they want for Christmas, and whether they’ve been good throughout the year—is a serious breach of the new GDPR and he’s decided the safest course of action is to bypass all EU countries for the foreseeable Christmasses. I understand that Swiss and Norwegian hotels are bracing themselves for a deluge of small children wanting to stay over the 2018 Christmas period. Best book early if you want to join them.