Clifford Longley, a distinguished Catholic gentleman who talks a lot about religion, Platitude of the Year Winner 2010
Happy six months to the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens everyone! Has anyone mentioned it yet? No? Good job I got in there first then.
Charles Dickens' books were all about the hypocrisy of Victorian England, which is exactly the same as the book Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman, which is all about Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. I asked a small girl what she thought about it and she said it was a really good book.
Life and Fate was last week's Book of the Week. OK, it wasn't really, but it was on Radio 4 and it is a book, which is pretty close to the truth by religious standards.
Back to Dickens, whom you'll recall was writing in a different century about different things, but is otherwise absolutely identical to Grossman. Dickens wasn't renowned for his religious fervour, but I think it's fair to say that he was nevertheless a big fan of Christianity. Dickens undoubtedly took his inspiration from the Big Book of Magic Stuff.
Who can forget the fantastic Abraham, who shortly after attempting to sacrifice his son to the Invisible Magic Friend, became famous for his generosity. He was so famous for his generosity that his tent had no sides. Or possibly he was just a bit short on cloth. The Big Book of Magic Stuff is just full of tales of people being generous, except to those who worshipped the wrong Invisible Magic Friend, for whom extermination or enslavement was the appropriate response.
Now I have to admit, Christianity hasn't always been the warm, cuddly, compassionate religion that it is so well known for today. There was a time, before secular authorities took all our power away, when we sometimes abused that power. But that's all in the past, and I think you can rely on religion nowadays to speak about every human being as being equal - except those that the Catholic Church doesn't think should be equal.