Abdal Hakim Murad - Muslim chaplain University Cambridge  
Monday, 11 February, 2008, 07:46 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

People are finally starting to read the very sensible suggestions of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Williams, a highly intelligent, thoughtful and educated man, has suggested that we muslims (who are after all the largest minority faith in this country and therefore entitled to special privileges) should allow learn-ed clerics, such as myself, to arbitrate civil disputes between muslims.

Such arbitration will be entirely voluntary. There will be no question, for example, of putting any pressure on a young teenager to comply with family and community pressure to submit to being bound by clerical decision making. Nor is this the beginning of a slippery slope where more and more matters will eventually fall under muslim only jurisdiction.

Wise and venerable experts in holy law, such as myself, are not seeking to extend our influence. This is not about taking power away from the courts and handing it to a bunch of self-appointed, self-serving, otherwise laughable and irrelevant medieval males. I'm equally sure that, once we muslims are quite properly allowed to run our own affairs, the archbishop doesn't foresee Anglicans, Catholics, Hindus and Sikhs doing likewise. After all, no one wants to see a system where everyone in this country has different rights and different dispute resolution procedures that are based on the anachronistic and irrational beliefs of their forebears.

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Reverend Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance 
Sunday, 10 February, 2008, 02:24 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Oh dear. The Archbishop of Canterbury certainly seems to have provoked a debate over Sharia law in Britain. But what's all the fuss about? All the archbishop was suggesting was that we people of faith should be allowed our own laws. This is a perfectly reasonable thing. Democratically elected governments have started giving equal rights to women and gays (who for some reason seem to think they should be treated like real people), when the invisible magic friend has made it quite clear that these people are inherently second class. Believers, with our superior morality, should be given exemptions from democratically created laws. After all, Sikhs are exempt from wearing crash helmets and halal abattoirs are allowed to impose additional stress and suffering on animals, so why why aren't we allowed to discriminate against people that the IMF says are evil? We need more legally sanctioned discrimination in our country.

So hoorrah for the Archbishop of Canterbury! The best way to avoid civil strife and guarantee genuine equality, is to pander to a bunch of deluded irrational lunatics who believe our morality should be fixed by an ancient book rather than by discussion and mutual agreement. That's just common sense.

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Sir Johnathan Sacks - Big Chief Rabbi 
Friday, 8 February, 2008, 08:11 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I've just lost a stone in weight. Now far be it from me to start crowing about what an achievement this is. I'm not going to start being all judgemental about all you fat lazy slobs that sit there stuffing your faces with pizzas and pastries in front of daytime TV. I'm not going to go on and on and on about willpower and self-control, or how you need to stop eating chocolate and cream cakes and start eating healthily like me. Nor am I going to lecture you that just because you're genetically susceptible to weight gain doesn't mean you can absolve yourself of all the blame. After all, just because Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and brought about the fall of man, it doesn't follow that you're a wicked sad excuse of a human being for doing the same. You won't find me preaching about how virtuous it is to be thin again. I just thought I'd mention that I've lost some weight, that's all.

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Rev. Rosemary Lain-Priestley 
Thursday, 7 February, 2008, 05:29 PM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Global warming is here to stay. The warning of climate scientists is just like John the Baptist; except he was a lone individual, inspired by revelation from the Invisible Magic Friend, prophesying the arrival of the IMF who would give us the good news that he wasn't going to damn us all after all and everything was going to be OK; while climate scientists represent the consensus of scientific opinion arrived at after years of careful measurement and validated mathematical models telling us that we must act decisively now in order to prevent a worldwide catastrophe. In all other respects it's exactly the same thing.

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Breathtakingly Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool 
Thursday, 7 February, 2008, 05:01 PM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Enoch Powell, who was so famous for his Christian sentiments, said that all politicians end in failure, but in the USA, the fight to be the next president is still going strong. Super Tuesday just happens to fall on the day before Ash Wednesday. This commemorates Jesus' temptation by the devil. The devil took Jesus up to the top of the highest mountain, so high that it could see all the way around the surface of the earth. There the devil offered him every kingdom of the world, but Jesus said "No thanks, I've already got one."

As Lord Bishop of Liverpool let me just assure you that those of us who have faith don't pursue power and prestige in this world. Those of you who lack the virtue of faith need to be told this. All of the current presidential candidates, and indeed the current president, are avowed atheists and so need to be reminded of this more than most.

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Akhandadhi Das, Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian 
Tuesday, 5 February, 2008, 10:56 AM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

I want to talk to you today about public energy policy. Of course, normally if anyone wanted to talk about this they would be continually questioned by that rude Mr. Humphreys. Fortunately this is "Thought For The Day" and he's not allowed to interrupt. Ha, ha! This allows me to sing the praises of wind power.

This is a religious slot, so somehow I have to make this area of critical political decision making sound religious. I have therefore decided to call it a moral question. Since virtually everything is a moral question I should be able to get away with that. I'll also throw in something from the Vedas about treating others the way you would like to be treated, which should keep the Department of Religion and More Religion happy.

I will now choose three criteria which any alternative energy source must meet and which happily are satisfied by that amazing wind power. I will conveniently forget other criteria such as continuity and control of supply and local objections (which may be safely ignored - they're not being moral). So there you have it, the invisible magic friends say "Wind power is lovely and will solve all our energy needs".

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Abdal Hakim Murad - Muslim chaplain University Cambridge  
Monday, 4 February, 2008, 01:14 PM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

It's the passing of an era. Tesco and M&S are finally banning cheques from their stores. Pure and godly cheques (which were invented by muslims) are being replaced by sinister plastic cards (not invented by muslims). People like me, who like to fumble for our glasses, while we find our chequebook, scribble out the pounds and pence, and finally sign our signature in the supermarket queue, are being left behind. It is an ancient tradition, dating back to at least the 1980s, where patient queues of people watched fondly on.

No longer do armies of bright young messengers hurtle along Lombard Street with their bags of cheques. Where once our wealth was held securely in a large, leather bound tome, lovingly inscribed in black ink, now it is debited instantly by electronical communications to devilish, non-muslim invented computers. There are more credit cards than people in the European Union. There are also more pencils, bottles, paving tiles and clothes hangers. Wickedness, sheer wickedness.

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Reverend Joel Edwards, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance 
Sunday, 3 February, 2008, 11:49 PM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Sharon Coleman has won a milestone legal ruling which prevents discrimination in the workplace against those who care for disabled relatives. What's really important in this is not that we are becoming more and more aware of the challenges faced by disabled people and their carers, nor is it the fact that a secular legal system, enforcing man made laws has chosen to uphold carers rights; no, what is important is that my Invisible Magic Friend approves. Being so reverend, I am in constant contact with the IMF. Jesus says to be nice to disabled people and their carers. I'm sure you'll all agree thatthis carries far more weight than any ruling from the European court of justice.

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Hello from Florida 
Friday, 1 February, 2008, 11:46 PM
When I was 8 years old, my mum woke me up one night, got me out of bed and took me downstairs to watch a grainy image of Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Even though I was barely able to understand, I knew that something really special was taking place. The political rivalries that partly drove the space race were set aside that night. For one brief instant, all who could witness that moment sat transfixed, united in a shared common dream. Humans dead and gone, from Euclid to Newton, James Clerk-Maxwell to Thomas Edison, played their part in that historic achievement, and not just scientists: poets, philosophers, musicians and dreamers, saw an ancient dream of mankind fulfilled.

Today I stood beneath a gigantic Saturn V rocket, the culmination of thousands of years of human ingenuity and cumulative effort. I ate a soggy NASA chicken burger and limp fries underneath a lunar lander, oblivious to the sheer awfulness of the food. I touched a rock from the moon that was 3.7 billion years old, from a time when my distant ancestor was no more complicated than a bacterium. Children ran around screaming, unaware of the magnificent heritage that was only inches away. I hadn't felt so overcome by the sense of history, by the sense of human achievement, since I first stood in the sanctuary of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It's said that when the Emperor Justinian first stepped inside his great cathedral he was heard to whisper "Solomon, I have surpassed thee". Solomon and Justinian would both understand what I felt today.

And the purveyors of religious platitudes claim that they alone have the monopoly on inspiration; that science arouses no wonder or awe; that science can never provide that sense of purpose or sense of our place in this world.

That's their loss.
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Superb Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 1 February, 2008, 11:38 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

America is much more religious than Europe. This surprised the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville who was used to seeing democracy and religion as opposites. Strange, given that religion has always been such a big fan of democracy, always depending upon reason and persuasion rather than authority, power and patronage.

Tocqueville put this down to America keeping religion and politics separate. Politics always divides people, religion never does, so by keeping the two separate America ensured that religion could concentrate on building moral values, on kindness and charity. Those of us who believe in the Invisible Magic Friend value the sanctity of human life. It's our job to pass these values onto amoral hedonists such as you. But we still believe in democracy, so you won't find us making life hell for family planning clinics, homosexuals or stem cell researchers - oh no, not us.

Religion's job is to teach us all to love one another. This is especially important now that there are so many different religions around, none of which are divisive, but many of which are quite difficult to love.

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