See no evil... 
Friday, 26 March, 2010, 04:12 AM
...hear no evil...



...speak no evil.



By Morten Ingemann, via the Freethinker.
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3% growth in reverence James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons 
Thursday, 25 March, 2010, 08:14 AM - Materialism, James Jones
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Spring time everyone! The daffodils have arrived and the season of growth is upon us. The chancellor is predicting healthy economic growth too.

Now then, now then, now then, just hold on a minute. Let us pause to consider if an expanding economy is a "good thing". Just how many of you actually need jobs? Look at the lilies of the field, or me, for instance, who neither toil nor spin. I'm doing all right, as indeed is the rest of my church. In fact, despite the worst economic disaster since the last economic disaster, not one single C of E vicar has been made redundant. Pretty good eh? The whole thing works out fairly well so long as you all keep toiling and spinning for us. Just don't toil and spin too much because that's just being greedy and materialist and hedonistic and selfish and sinful.

I don't think it's going too far to say that Jesus predicted the world exactly as we see it today: billions of you toiling and spinning, supporting important bishops like oneself so that we can tell you how wicked you are with all that toiling and spinning. Tut, tut.

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Oliver McTernan, director of the NGO Forward Thinking 
Wednesday, 24 March, 2010, 08:09 AM - Freedom of speech, McTernan
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Oliver McTernan here, from the NGO Forward Thinking, a proactive, demand-driven, facilitative organisation that works to promote in the UK greater understanding and confidence between the diverse grassroots Muslim communities and the wider society including the Media and the British establishment, to promote a more inclusive peace process in the Middle East, and to facilitate a global dialogue between the religious and secular worlds. Hi.

Proving that we British can still beat the world, England has become the top destination for Libel Tourism. The rich and powerful from all across the globe flock to England in private jets to stamp on the vile journalists, bloggers and commentators who have offended them.

Freedom of expression and the free exchange of views and ideas is of course terribly important. Terribly important indeed. No one would argue otherwise. I'm a big fan of freedom of expression. Everyone should be free to air their views on any topic. Open criticism of scientific, political and ideological positions is exactly what we need in an open, democratic society.

But...

There are some things you shouldn't say, some ideas you shouldn't criticise. You really might upset someone. I don't have any particular group in mind here, it's just a general point about people in general who might be offended if you say they are wrong. They might start crying because you've called somebody, not anyone in particular just a general somebody, something that they don't like. You may even upset them so much that you drive them to violence and murder, you wicked bloggers you.

If you'd all just shut up about certain things, not that I have anything specific in mind, and just do things the way they tell you to, then everything would be so much calmer an generally nicer. A guy from the 1st century who believed in the Invisible Magic Friend said so too, so I must be right.

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Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife 
Tuesday, 23 March, 2010, 08:27 AM - Gibberish, Atkins
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Albert Gubay, founder of Kwik Save, is giving away his fortune of £480m, stipulating that half of it must go to the Catholic Church, furthering all the good work that that splendid institution does. Albert made a pact with the Invisible Magic Friend, "Make me rich and I'll give you half the money," to which the Invisible Magic Friend agreed. Now, at the age of 82, Albert has decided this would be a good time to fulfil his half of the bargain.

Pacts with the Invisible Magic Friend always work out well for both sides, except when they don't. You do have to be careful what you promise. Jephthah promised to kill the first thing to run out of his house if he was allowed to slaughter Ammonites, thinking it would be the pet dog or one of the slave girls. Unfortunately the IMF sent his daughter out to greet him. That's just one of the IMF's little pranks - he has a wicked sense of humour.

When the IMF gives you what you ask for, that just proves that he exists and cares about you. When he doesn't - well that's up to him, but you still have to keep your promises otherwise he might toast you for all eternity. This includes the promise of (heterosexual) marriage. Too many of you are going around, ending unfulfilling relationships and seeking happiness. It's not good enough - you're breaking your promises to the IMF and that means damnation I'm afraid.

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Reverend John Bell of the Iona Community 
Monday, 22 March, 2010, 08:01 AM - Sex, Bell
Rating 0 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)

The Pope's letter this weekend is lengthy and detailed. However, if I was a Catholic priest I would be on my knees asking my congregation for forgiveness. Any institution that remains silent in the face of widespread harm to children taints everyone in its leadership. The widespread control of schools by the Catholic Church in Ireland only makes the problem worse.

When I enquired after former fellow child care colleagues in London, I was surprised to find that several were serving sentences for abuse. How do we deal with those who are sexually attracted to children? How do we help prevent them from turning their desires into actions? When I was on my student representative body, a young student came to me and admitted that he both wanted to be a priest and felt a sexual attraction to children, but he promised me he would never harm a child.

What would you do?

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His Holiness, Reichsführer Benedict the Umpteenth, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter, Patriarch of the West etc. etc. etc. 
Saturday, 20 March, 2010, 12:40 PM
Rating Millions out of 5 (Unbelievably platitudinous)

It is with great concern that I write to to you as God's only true representative on Earth. It seems that some of your Irish bishops have been very naughty - very naughty indeed.

Some bishops in your country of Ireland have shown an inadequate response to the problem of a tiny proportion of priests (no more than 5% - tops) having sex with your children. Before you get all too concerned, let's not forget that other people abuse children too. Indeed there are more abusers outside the church than inside, so let's keep things in proportion, OK?

Coincidentally, a few bishops in other far flung places in the globe have behaved exactly the same - I can't think why. Thank God I handled things so much better when I was an archbishop. But don't dwell on this, just remember how brilliant the Irish church is. I'll pray for you to get over the mess you've made of everything. Remember too how your forefathers stood up to protestants and remained stubbornly loyal to the Holy See. What a bunch of selfish traitors you'd be to give up on that loyalty to me now. You've all been getting a bit too secular nowadays and haven't been paying enough attention to what I tell you to do. Now look where it's got you.

None of this would've happened if people followed orders. Unfortunately, a few rogue Irish bishops, doubtless through a misplaced loyalty to the reputation of the Church, haven't notified the proper ecclesiastical authorities and so haven't done the cover up properly. I've done everything I could to clean up after the Irish bishops' total bumbling incompetence on this, stonewalling every request for cooperation from the police. I told the Irish bishops to find out the truth, then bury it as quickly as possible but they even messed that up.

I really am most terribly sorry that some of you were raped by Irish homosexual priests. For some reason, in a society where being gay was an imprisonable offence, we seemed to attract a lot of them. I've known about the whole thing for decades, but now that everyone else knows about it, I really am very sorry. It must be awful for you, especially when you spoke out and were threatened and leaned on to shutup just like in every other diocese in the world. (Anyone would think someone had sent secret instructions to all the bishops telling them to hush the whole thing up.) But please don't worry, we've started an even more intense persecution of homosexuals. Yeah! And if you come back to us in a spirit of penitence and humility, we'll welcome you back to the Church and will happily hear your confessions and forgive all your sins again.

To the priests who caused all this trouble for me, you've been very, very, very bad indeed. Very bad. Don't do it again or you'll have to be moved to yet another parish.

To parents, I can only say that it is every child's right to be brought up a Catholic. It's a great shame that in so doing some of them have been scarred for life, some have even killed themselves (which I need to remind you is a mortal sin and so they won't go to Heaven), but on the plus side they still got to hear about how great we are.

To children - stay Catholic. It's really important that you keep contributing funds, kneeling in front of us and kissing our rings. It makes us feel really important you know.

To Irish bishops - for god's sake get your act together. This is a PR disaster.

To all the faithful of Ireland, I hope these words of encouragement and support make you feel much better. You face a difficult task after the mess that you and secularists have made of things. But don't worry, the priests of Ireland are right behind you and they're willing to go all the way with you.

And now to specific steps that I'm going to take to address all of this. First I think you should pray a lot. Pray really, really hard. Next, come to Confession more, and come back to the Adoration of the Eucharist a bit more too - congregations are getting a bit too patchy and takings are down. I'd also like the Bishops to go on retreat, do a bit more praying, a bit more apologising and figure out how you're going to handle this a bit better next time round.

And now, a prayer for Ireland. Dear Jesus - keep everybody Catholic. Amen.

There - now that everything's fixed, I've said I'm sorry, can we please move on.

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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield)  
Saturday, 20 March, 2010, 08:17 AM - Vishvapani
Rating 1 out of 5 (Hardly platitudinous at all)

There was some good news yesterday. Little Sahil Saeed was reunited with his smiling mother while seven kidnappers were arrested. Meanwhile, doubts remain over whether a ransom will be paid for hostages kidnapped in Somalia. This gives us a moral dilemma. Our heart says to pay the ransom and guarantee the hostages' lives, while our head says this will only encourage further kidnaps.

I could turn to one of my many excellent books of ancient scripture at this point, which would undoubtedly be full of excellent advice and numerous wise and thoughtful suggestions, but I won't. Or we could turn to law enforcement officers and politicians who would advise not to pay the ransom. Alternatively, we could turn to moral philosophers, who would deliver an extensive 1,000 page treatise covering views from Plato and Aristotle through to Hume, Kant and beyond, exploring the various ethical dimensions of the problem in scholarly detail, balancing the various arguments, exploring the pros and the cons from different perspectives and providing extensive references where you will be able to explore in more depth than is possible in such a cursory and necessarily superficial overview, the full implications of the fascinating predicament that you face.

Instead, I will turn to another Buddhist who said, "Now just hold on a minute. Let's not be rash. Don't be too hasty. Just think about it for a while. Make sure you've thought through the consequences. Perhaps meditate on it a bit. You're anxiety is being caused by wanting to know the right thing to do. Just lay back and enjoy not knowing for a little while."

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Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Human Rights Commissioner, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation 
Friday, 19 March, 2010, 08:05 AM - Edwards
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

It all looks very bad for Christianity. "Pray for me," says the cardinal who made two young boys sign vows of silence over church sex abuse. As sex abuse cases surface in America, Ireland, the UK, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Italy and just about everywhere else, some are beginning to doubt the veracity of our claims to moral leadership. As a Rev Dr Dr, let me just assure you that none of that stuff matters. We're still right. A Christian bishop agrees with me, so it must be true.

As always, it is we poor Christians who are the true victims here. Alas it was always so, a Church persecuted and besieged by the heathen hordes who do not want to hear our message of love, compassion and toleration (except for you-know-who of course). As I, and other Christian leaders were shown around the Houses of Parliament, I explained to parliamentarians just how marginalised and neglected we are. Oh, how we have to suffer! There are even some schools left that are not being run by us.

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Mountainously Reverend James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons 
Thursday, 18 March, 2010, 08:35 AM - Environment, Science, James Jones
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

The Advertising Standards Authority has adjudicated on Climate Change and found the case wanting. Despite climate scientists' 90% confidence that extreme weather events will increase, the ASA considered this did not justify the use of the word "will" instead of the more guarded "may".

Climate scientists could learn a thing or two from Jesus' answer to difficult questions. With all the tact of a political spin doctor, the second lump of the Invisible Magic Friend rarely gave a straight answer to a straight question. He left people guessing, even now 2,000 years later. This is exactly what climate scientists should do. After all, it's not as if there's any rush or anything.

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Oliver McTernan, director of the NGO Forward Thinking  
Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 08:13 AM - Gibberish, McTernan
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Oliver McTernan here, from the NGO Forward Thinking, a proactive, demand-driven, facilitative organisation that works to promote in the UK greater understanding and confidence between the diverse grassroots Muslim communities and the wider society including the Media and the British establishment, to promote a more inclusive peace process in the Middle East, and to facilitate a global dialogue between the religious and secular worlds. Hi.

Happy Saint Patrick's day everyone! Saint Patrick is of course the oldest, the biggest, the best patron saint of the best country in the world. Although other countries are quite good too. I wouldn't want to be seen to be putting them down or anything like that. I totally respect other cultures that have the misfortune to not be Irish. I mean it's not like it's their fault or anything is it? I've met some jolly nice people who're not Irish. Some of my best friends are not Irish.

Saint Patrick followed in the example of Abraham by going to Ireland to found a church. He created a uniquely Celtic way of being Catholic and the people of Ireland have never looked back. Today, Christian priests in Ireland are more popular and enjoy greater respect than they've ever done. Generations of Ireland's sons and daughters have been entrusted to their holy hands.

It was as a young teenage boy, alone with his sheep, that Patrick discovered the need for natural rhythm, for a lifelong partner, to experience the imminent, yet transcendent nature of the Invisible Magic Friend.

So let's all join together in being proud to be Irish, even those of you who aren't.

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