Chief Rabbit, Sir Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 27 March, 2009, 07:58 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy two weeks before Passover everyone! Yes, it's that jolly time of year again when we celebrate the genocide of Egyptian first born by our Invisible Magic Friend, the original, the best and only real IMF. Passover is a historical fact, just like Noah's ark, where the lion and the lamb lay down together. Isaiah prophesied that this would happen again, so it will - I mean it's only been two and half thousand years, give a prophet a chance. The lion and the lamb are going to have to get along at the G20 summit next week, otherwise we're all screwed. What they need is a nice passover meal together.

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I think we should be told. 
Friday, 27 March, 2009, 06:47 AM


Why was the pope accompanied to Africa by a 7 foot drag queen? Is there something his poopiness isn't telling us?
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Screaming Dom Antony Sutch, a Benedictine Monk 
Thursday, 26 March, 2009, 08:35 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I'm astonished to hear that some people are afraid to travel on the London Underground. I myself have the courage to realise that the probability of me being affected by any attack on the underground is minimal. The underground stops some way short of Norwich. Even if I was afraid of the underground, which I'm not, I hope that I'd have the courage not to be. For if I ever fear to travel on the London Underground then the terrorists will surely have won. I do fear some things however. Ghosts would be one. School bullies is another. Drunks just make me want to scream, and pretty much everything else for that matter. Some parishioners of mine, not me, are even afraid of ill health and the plague of street violence in rural East Anglia

Fear has it's place, however. As someone famous once said, "Do not poke a tiger with a stick." But being afraid of virtually everything, as I am not, is debilitating. The government, in its wisdom, has everything under control. Even as I speak, shop and hotel workers are being trained how to deal with crazed fanatics armed with grenades and automatic weapons. An army of migrant workers with poor understanding of English are being taught how to clean up the dust after a dirty bomb attack. High level security and early warning systems are being put in place. As the Home Secretary herself has reassuringly pointed out, we could all be blown up at any time.

Yesterday was the feast day of the Annunciation. For the benefit of Radio 4 listeners, that's when my Invisible Magic Friend sent the Angel Gabriel to tell Mary that she'd just been impregnated by him. She was not afraid. Let this be a message of hope and inspiration to you all. Remember, the Virgin Mary, like me, is not afraid to travel on the London Underground!

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Professor Mona Siddiqui, of the University of Glasgow 
Wednesday, 25 March, 2009, 08:21 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I know what you all think about disabled people. You think they're second class citizens, that their lives are worth less than proper people. You want to just shut them all away and pretend they don't exist. I know I do, so you must as well. Oh sure, you all makes noises about the inherent dignity of human beings, but when it comes to dealing with the disabled you really just want them to go away. Well, as Professor of Islamic Studies and Public Understanding and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Glasgow, let me just assure you that everyone is equal in the sight of my Invisible Magic Friend. Even the ones that he's disabled. For centuries, Islamic scholars have tried to figure out why a merciful IMF sends so much misery and human affliction. They haven't figured it out yet, but we do know that the IMF never disables anyone more than necessary. My IMF wants you to treat disabled people just like normal ones that he hasn't disabled, so I think that's what you should do.

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Effulgently Reverend Tom Butler, Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Tuesday, 24 March, 2009, 08:36 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Jonafan Aitken wantsh to reform our prishons (hic!). He'sh been really inteshted in the welfare of prish'ners ever shince he became one. Ash a poly... (hic!) poly...tician, he used to lie lotsh. He jusht 'ad the mishfrot... mishfrunt... bad luck to get caught under oaf. While awaiting to (hic!) pleasure Her Majeshty he found Jesush, whom he had previoushly losht, while writing letters of recommenda...shun for hish fellow inmates. He now wants shupervised communishty hoshtels for low risk offenders - perjurersh for example (hic!). Thish won't happen (hic!) 'cos there'sh no votes in rehabitating offendersh. If only we could give'em a bit more Jeshus. Look at Jon'fan, he got lotsh Jeshus (hic!) and turned into a really nice bloke (hic!).

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Rev Dr Colin Morris, a Methodist Minister and (coincidentally) former head of religious broadcasting and BBC controller in Northern Ireland 
Monday, 23 March, 2009, 08:54 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Josef Fritzl may have been guilty of kidnap, imprisonment, enslavement and rape, but it was incest that made it such a juicy story. You see incest is "taboo". Taboos are the list of things, given to us by God, that we absolutely must never, ever do, or if we do do them, must never, ever talk about. It's very fashionable nowadays to go around talking about making taboos like incest not taboo any more. However, we should think twice about untabooing taboos, i.e. not do it. Certain disgusting bodily functions come to mind. These things are taboo for a very good reason, and the reason they are taboo is because they just are, so there. There are always stupid, vain exhibitionists that want to smash taboos and go around telling everyone about their disgusting bodily functions, but that's because they're stupid, vain exhibitionists, obsessed with the modern day cult of celebrity and media fame. We all share God's dignity, so every time you talk about your own poo-poos in the media, you are exposing God's poo-poos. To quote Falstaff in Henry IV, part II, Act III, scene ii, the bit just before the end, "I do see the bottom of Justice Shallow."

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Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Saturday, 21 March, 2009, 10:54 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Baby OT is to be murdered by the hospital, or as they call it, be allowed to die with "dignity". They all like to use that word "dignity": Dignity in Dying who specialise in murdering old people, "Dignitas" who'll dispose of anyone for a fee. As Saint Irritating once remarked, "I am rational, just like my Invisible Magic Friend." A sentiment as relevant to the subject today as it was then.

Some people want to live as long as possible. Rich people get especially irritated by dying. "You mean I've paid you all this money and you still can't make me live forever?" I spoke to a Catholic priest once who was incensed that hospital staff patronised his dying father, treating him like an infant. We Catholics don't do that. When we find a dying person, we rub some magic olive oil on them that's been blessed by a very holy person indeed. Then we mutter incantations over them, and cry and wail that they're going to eternal peace and happiness. That's what I call letting someone die with dignity!

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Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 20 March, 2009, 08:21 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

It's the nightmare that all we famous public speakers dread. The Irish Prime Minister accidentally gave President Obama's speech. While others might lose their temper and spray the room with automatic gunfire, spiritual people, like me, stop to reflect on what my Invisible Magic Friend is trying to tell me. You see, life doesn't always go to plan. Stuff happens. Whether it's an Asian tsunami that kills untold thousands, or a tribal genocide in Africa, there's always time to pause and reflect how I, personally, can grow as a human being in the face of everyone else's suffering. It helps that I have a sense of humour and can see the funny side of disasters. This great spiritual strength that I've developed, allows me to deal with tragedy. You see, I have Faith and because I have Faith, I don't fall over and roll around on the floor, dribbling like weaker minded lesser beings and muttering "Oh, why, why, why, why...?" This, then, is the explanation for why bad stuff happens. It's so that the Invisible Magic Friend can teach me something without being so crude and obvious as to just write it down. So now I look forward to catastrophes because it means I'll have a new message from my IMF to ponder upon. On that tragic day of autocue failure in the White House, Barack Obama and Brian Cowan, grew a little bit closer to becoming the kind of real human being that I am.

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Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney 
Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 08:49 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The conditions at Stafford Hospital have been described as "third world". This is a gross insult. No third world country would have a hospital like that. This is what comes of worshipping bureaucracy. These managers get up in the morning and the first thing they think about is a nice juicy 40 page form to fill in. They realised that surgeons wasted enormous amounts of time on critically ill patients, most of whom would soon die anyway and wouldn't appear in the waiting time statistics. For every major heart attack, they could deal with hundreds of grazed knees, thus meeting government targets and improving customer satisfaction.

This bowing down before targets is idolatry I tell you, idolatry! As a Reverend Doctor let me just assure you that there is only one real Invisible Magic Friend, who in his goodness never sends you forms to fill in. He's more a sort of "thou shalt get on thy knees and worship me lest ye be smitten" type of manager. He doesn't set targets, other than the less-cursing-and-plenty-of-worshipping target. He's immeasurable, and everyone knows that immeasurable things are much better than measurable ones. If Stafford Hospital hadn't wasted so much time filling in forms about all their dead patients, then we wouldn't have all this fuss about form filling. Which just proves my point about going around measuring things.

Won't somebody please, please think of the patients?

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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield)  
Wednesday, 18 March, 2009, 08:35 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Some of you are rich and some of you are poor. Those of you who are poor are probably feeling pretty miserable right now. Your self esteem is probably at an all time low. You're not valued or respected. You feel unequal to people with loads o' money. You feel alienated. You're a worthless, useless, good for nothing, nobody. Being unemployed, you've probably got lots of free time to mope around feeling bitter and resentful at people who've done something more useful and productive with their lives.

You may still harbour some vestigial ambition or thoughts of recovering your self respect. We're all ambitious, envious and jealous of others. Even Buddhist monks go around muttering about other Buddhist monks, "Just look at him, he thinks he's so great because he's so close to Nirvana, well just wait 'till that bucket sitting on top of his cell door hits him."

If you're one of the downtrodden, hopeless basket cases, then don't waste your time with ambition or revenge. You won't get anywhere. Just put on some soothing music and burn some incense, or go look at the birds and the trees and pretty blue sky. Seek some solitude, which, since you haven't got any friends, shouldn't be too difficult. Feel some compassion for yourself. Compassion is a big word for Radio 4 listeners, but I'm sure you can look it up in the dictionary. As the Buddha said, even inferior people can feel sorry for themselves.

I don't want to raise the old cliché of Buddhists recommending meditation as the solution to just about everything, but we Buddhists do like to meditate. It's what makes us so patient, generous and mature. If you became a Buddhist and meditated with all that free time you have, then you could become patient, generous and mature too. Who knows, you might even start feeling sorry for other people too.

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