Rev Roy Jenkins, Baptist Minister in Cardiff  
Saturday, 16 July, 2011, 08:07 AM - Justice and mercy, Jenkins
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

The Ministry of Defence has finally exonerated the two pilots of the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash. It's a fight that has taken the pilots' families and those of the other victims, 17 years to achieve. The father of one of the pilots, on his deathbed, urged his other son to keep on fighting as "justice has no expiry date."

It is a vision maintained by many who have been unjustly blamed, or who have seen their relatives lose their liberty, their careers and their marriages through injustice. Take the case of Wilberforce, a Christian, who, as a Christian, fought for the end of slavery imposed by Christians. He fought the good fight, as a Christian, for 44 years, and still said, as a Christian, he would go on fighting, as a Christian. So you see how important being a Christian is in persevering to end injustice.

What all these people have in common, even the ones who don't have an Invisible Magic Friend but mostly the ones who do, is a belief in the values of the Big Book of Magic Stuff. The temporary sacrifice of the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend to himself, initiated an era of peace and justice, where everybody is happy and contented, except for the ones burning in hell. It just hasn't quite got there yet.

In the meantime we're on our own, using flawed human reasoning and ever evolving human institutions and forensic science to do our best to bring about justice, almost as if the Invisible Magic Friend played no obvious part in it at all.

10 comments ( 1129 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 402 )

Akhandadhi Das, a Vaishnav Hindu teacher and theologian 
Wednesday, 11 May, 2011, 08:06 AM - Justice and mercy, Akhandadhi Das
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The Victims' Commissioner, Louise Casey, has spent a year listening to victims of crime and what they have to undergo in its aftermath. As well as the emotional problems, many suffer large legal costs, or financial loss through time off work. As it says in one of the Hindu Big Books of Magic Stuff (of which we have many), "Any society where there is any badness is bad."

Someone should do something to help people who are suffering. There should be more caring, more support, more help. Someone should comfort them, give them more assistance, just do more for them and make more money available from somewhere. But since none of that's going to happen, there's always the Invisible Magic Friend. The Invisible Magic Friend has four arms, in which he holds four things. These are what the four things are: a copy of Woman's Weekly, a sausage roll, a toilet roll and an mp3 player. This is what the four things are for.

Woman's Weekly, to show that he is a modern Invisible Magic Friend who is in touch with his feminine side and therefore has authority over all, regardless of gender.

A sausage roll, to provide nourishment for himself and victims of crime.

An mp3 player, so that he can listen to music and soothe the troubled hearts of victims of crime, or play Schoenberg to the guilty.

A toilet roll, the universal symbol of comfort and relief, because with four hands it means that one hand can be permanently dedicated to using a toilet roll and doesn't have to share a hand with the one that eats sausage rolls.

It really is about time that somebody did something about victims of crime.

18 comments ( 1216 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 459 )

Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 7 May, 2011, 08:11 AM - Justice and mercy, Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

It's been a week of closure: closure for the thousands of relatives of those killed in the twin towers, buried under tons of masonry with no due process or religious ceremony; closure after the London bombings verdict; the beginning of closure on the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Closure is all about drawing a line, closing the door, creating a sense of finality, putting the past aside, moving on, putting things in perspective, seeing everything in context, finding a sense of justice, having a judgement made. Oh, did I mention judgement? Oh, yes, judgement! This reminds me of the final judgement when all you sinners will finally get what you so undoubtedly deserve. Coincidentally, I've spent the last two years reading the book of Revelation - well, I'm a slow reader, and you do need to smoke quite a lot of dope for it to make any kind of sense.

The visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend said that you can avoid any further judgement by passing judgement on yourself. [Ed - Er, where exactly?]. For everyone else, there's the final judgement, just like it says in the Revelation of Saint John the Totally-Out-Of-It. For them their certainly will be a sense of closure, of finality, of closing the door. The number of modern euphemisms for burning in hell for all eternity are really endless.

16 comments ( 608 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 465 )

Rev Roy Jenkins, Baptist Minister in Cardiff  
Saturday, 19 March, 2011, 10:04 AM - Justice and mercy, Jenkins
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

What's going to happen to Gaddafi's inner circle? Will they go or will they stay? As Kate Adie points out, many are as afraid of the dictator as everyone else is of them.

One day they may have to answer before a court of law, to face judgement. I bet you can't guess where I'm going with this. Ooooo! It's going to be such a surprise when I get there, but let's keep up the suspense.

Meanwhile, in Japan, we see humanity at its best, as workers at the stricken nuclear plant, brave the radiation in order to bring it under control. Others have been less brave, abandoning 128 pensioners at their nursing home within the nuclear plant's exclusion zone. They're going to have to be judged as well.

Yes, it's time to reveal my big surprise! According to the Big Book of Magic Stuff, the Invisible Magic Friend will judge you all in the end! So pray that the Visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend does not put you to the test, because you'll probably fail and end up being sent below.

I bet you weren't expecting that.

6 comments ( 996 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 418 )

Rev Roy Jenkins, Baptist Minister in Cardiff  
Friday, 18 February, 2011, 08:52 AM - Justice and mercy, Jenkins
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

MPs have been infuriated by recent court rulings demanding that prisoners be given the vote and paedophiles be given the right to appeal being held on the sex register for life. Tabloid headlines were predictable.

But human rights are not just for good people, evil people are entitled to them as well. What about the rights of paedophiles?

As a Christian, I see all people as being made in the image of the Invisible Magic Friend and therefore deserving equal rights. Those of you who don't have an Invisible Magic Friend probably can't think of any good reason why all people should have equal rights, so it's a good job I was here to explain it to you. Sometimes we voluntarily sacrifice some of our rights, such as when paedophiles voluntarily go to prison to be rehabilitated, or when Jesus sacrificed his right to the be the Invisible Magic Friend for a while so that he could become visible and slightly less magic.

We can find all we need to know about rights in the Big Book of Magic Stuff. Admittedly it doesn't actually mention human rights as such, it's more about how to worship properly, the punishments for not worshipping properly, the rules for enslaving people, committing genocide and so forth, but it's definitely very much in the spirit of equal human rights for all.

So in the spirit of equal rights for all, I have to say, won't someone please, please think of the paedophiles!

12 comments ( 1045 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 459 )

Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, just down from Fortnum and Mason 
Thursday, 9 December, 2010, 08:24 AM - Justice and mercy, Winkett
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Ken Clarke has outlined his proposals for changing sentencing guidelines. These include halving sentences for early guilty pleas, more help for those with mental health problems and an overall reduction in the prison population.

The press are not impressed but we need to move beyond this "tough on crime" mentality. The Christian vision of all this is extremely practical. It includes such words as: justice, rehabilitation, victims, society, understanding, healing, relationship, restoration, community, respect, mercy, family. It does not include such negative words as: punishment, revenge, judgement - although ultimately many criminals will be condemned to hell.

I was in a men's prison recently, surrounded by hundreds of lonely, deprived, hard, rough, virile young men, with rippling muscles and impressive tattoos. Who, I wondered, saw to their needs? What could I do to relieve their loneliness and restore some healthy relationships to their lives?

10 comments ( 1115 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 257 )

Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Friday, 13 August, 2010, 07:24 AM - Justice and mercy, Morality, Pepinster
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Archaeologists have found the oldest house in the UK. It is 11,000 years old and what is remarkable is how little things have changed. Remarkably, people lived in sin with other people even then. They ate, slept (often together and sinfully) grew food and had animals.

I know what you're thinking, it's all so depressingly familiar, isn't it? People going around, sinning all the time. Has nothing changed? Are we no better than we were 11,000 years ago? Yes, there's been all the wonders of science to make our lives better, and I'm a big fan of science, wonderful stuff, whatever it is, but human nature seems to be just as sinful as it always was.

What can we do about this inbuilt slavish devotion to sin that all you Radio 4 listeners have? Fortunately, a group of believers in the Invisible Magic Friend wrote down a comprehensive list of all possible sins several thousand years ago, so that no future ethical progress would ever be necessary. It's thanks to them that we know not to eat pork or wear poly-cotton shirts or go to bed with anyone with similar looking naughty bits.

Now that you know about your sinful nature and how irredeemably flawed and worthless you are, now that you're properly infused with good, old fashioned, Catholic guilt, you're naturally becoming very depressed and pessimistic, but do not fear, for I can reveal to you, live on BBC Radio, that you are saved, Saved, SAVED I TELL YOU! The Invisible Magic Friend will forgive your sinfulness! Even a piece of lowly grot like you can be saved.

As Saint Paul famously said, humanity's just rubbish, isn't it? Even our Saviour's very own words confirmed this "The spirit is willing, but on the whole humanity's just rubbish."

That's why you need Christianity, the religion of forgiveness and optimism.

14 comments ( 1166 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.2 / 264 )

Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic Studies and Public Understanding and Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Glasgow 
Thursday, 12 August, 2010, 08:11 AM - Justice and mercy, Women, Siddiqui
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Gul Wazir and his wife, Niaz Begum were gunned down while eating breakfast - a so called "honour" killing. I just want to make it very clear, this is not a good thing at all. Anyone who is listening and thinks this is a good thing, I have to tell you it is not. You are wrong. It is a bad thing, a very bad thing indeed.

Now, some people think this is to do with religion. While the Islamic religion does indeed cherish essential human virtues, like honour, it remains the religion of peace and general niceness, and logically therefore cannot condone honour killings. 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 those who say this is connected with Islam are mistaken. Real Islam, proper Islam, my Islam, does not enforce honour killings, or wearing the hijab or the burka or any of that sort of stuff. Too many countries seem to completely misinterpret Islam in this respect.

Honour killings are, in fact, a cultural thing, where a man's honour is tarnished by a woman who refuses to do what he tells him to. Then, for the honour of his family or tribe, he feels there is simply no alternative but to kill her.

Anyway, Happy Ramadan everyone! And remember, all you big, butch, honourable men out there, please do try not to kill any women during the holy month. Remember, Islam is a religion of compassion.

8 comments ( 1160 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 288 )

Reverend Lucy Winkett, Canon Precentor of St Paul's Cathedral  
Monday, 21 June, 2010, 07:32 AM - Be nice, Justice and mercy, Money, Winkett
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Everyone's worried about the austerity budget due out tomorrow. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that it must be fair.

I was looking for a piece of scripture that would reveal how "fairness" was based on Christianity, when I suddenly realised there wasn't one. So I sat there, busily Canon Precenting, puzzled, when the answer came to me: the reason there's no mention of fairness in the Big Book Magic Stuff is because it's concerned with much more important things than that.

Every child sharing a cake instinctively avoids the accusation "it's not fair". Christianity goes much further than this. It provides a revolution in human thinking. For the first time, people realised that there was much more to being people than just being fair. There were other things, like justice (which means more than being fair), care for the poor and the weak (who are not poor and weak because of unfairness) and generosity of spirit (which doesn't just mean being fair to everybody).

As I think you can see, Christianity offers so much more than can be found in our simple instinct to be fair. It has so much to say, so much to offer, so much more great wisdom that you might find in a child sharing a cake.

9 comments ( 1113 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 272 )

Reverend Roy Jenkins, Baptist Minister in Cardiff 
Thursday, 17 June, 2010, 07:46 AM - Justice and mercy, Jenkins, Northern Ireland
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Has anyone mentioned Bloody Sunday yet?

People who were shot dead unjustly and grieving relatives who pressed for justice following that day, have had to wait 38 years for the truth to be told. Not a lot of people know this, but learning the truth is a jolly good thing. It says so in the Big Book of Magic Stuff, so it must be true, which as you know is a jolly good thing because I've just told you it is. I can quote you several places where truth is mentioned as being a jolly good thing.

"I am the light of the world, the son of the Invisible Magic Friend and I'm always right," Jesus said modestly. "If you believe this truth then it will set you free."

There's another bit where it says Jesus wants justice. Justice is a jolly good thing too, no matter how long it takes, and is very similar to truth, which as we've already discovered is also a jolly good thing.

And if all that hasn't convinced you that truth and justice are jolly good things, then just read on in the above passage. You might think that truth and justice demands that those who commit crimes should face prosecution, but Jesus agrees with the amnesty for terrorists in Northern Ireland and thinks that in fairness this should be extended to the soldiers on Bloody Sunday as well.

So there you have it: truth, justice and mercy are all jolly good things. Jesus approves of the Northern Ireland peace process and the Saville Enquiry findings. All in all, £195 million well spent.

4 comments ( 660 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 314 )

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