Dom Antony Sutch, a Benedictine Monk 
Thursday, 2 October, 2008, 08:30 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

My family is full of bankers. My father, uncles, cousins, brothers - they're all bankers. For some reason, it was decided that I, and I alone, should become a cleric. I have no doubt that this was a special privilege reserved for me, and was nothing to do with that absurd line from Kind Hearts and Coronets suggesting that the upper classes always send the idiot of the family into the church.

Coincidentally, this week's readings in the Catholic Church come for the Book of Job, who was neither a banker nor a cleric. Having ruined him for a bet with the devil, some of Job's friends suggested that God was bit of a git. God soon put him right though, taking the time to recite several chapters about how great He is.

He even became Jesus so that he could tell us how important it is to love people. Before Jesus, no one had realised this. Things have got much better since people realised that they should love other people. Frank McGarahan, is a perfect example of how things have improved.

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Dashingly Reverend James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons 
Wednesday, 1 October, 2008, 08:32 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

We should all live a bit more naturally, like bees do. Or to put it another way, we should all die a bit more naturally like bees do. America's lost about a third of its bees, but you don't see bees rushing around trying to eradicate God's holy parasitic Varroa mite. No, they just get on with dying as nature intended, perhaps reciting a poem or two as they go. We should listen to people like Prince Charles, who knows about these sort of things. Prince Charles tells us that genetically modifying crops is wrong - going around making food disease resistant and more productive. Who do these bloody scientists think they are? What's wrong with just letting people starve to death in the traditional way? As the prince so helpfully points out, "One should only eat organic produce, available from one's Duchy of Cornwall website".

And another thing! What about all this chaos in the world's financial markets. It's exactly the same thing as the bees and GM crops. If politicians spent a bit more time praising my Invisible Magic Friend and reading a bit more poetry we wouldn't be in this mess.

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Professor Mona Siddiqui, University of Glasgow 
Tuesday, 30 September, 2008, 01:51 PM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Eid! Happy end of Ramadan everyone! At this joyous time of year, when we celebrate the love that we all have for our beloved prophet, let us remember that there really is no need to riot and murder and terrorise the publishers of The Jewel of the Medina. After the Satanic Verses, the motoons and teddy bear gate, you'd think western authors would think twice about writing a novel that centers on our beloved prophet's child bride, but apparently not. This latest book, and I emphasise that it is only a book, is offered in a spirit of reconcilliation and understanding. I'm sure all my fellow muslims will see it in that light and not mindlessly take it as yet another opportunity to be offended. 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 no one from the Religion of Peace will do anything other than provide a considered literary response to this new novel.

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Dr Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations 
Monday, 29 September, 2008, 09:31 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Dominic Grieve doesn't like the way Great Britain's going. It's not standing still like it should be. Things keep changing, and not for the better. People don't like change and often react against it violently. This is precisely how Nazi Germany started. But we British have always been changing. Look at our recent success in the Olympics, where we came a very un-British fourth in the medals table. There was change in 15th century India too. For some reason, Hindus and Muslims, who both believe in the same god and in universal peace and love, didn't get on very well. Guru Nanak saw this. "Look at all this terrible infighting betweens religions," he said, and decided that the best way to solve it was to create a new religion. It's because we Sikhs believe in the oneness of humanity that we dress differently from everybody else. It is thanks to we religious leaders coming together as one during the millennium celebrations that we have enjoyed the enlightened peace and prosperity that has ushered in the 21st century.

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Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 11:01 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Art, art, art! There's lots of wonderful, great, high art in Britain, i.e. London, this autumn: Byzantine art, Renaissance art, and Mark Rothko. Who can doubt that Rothko was a genius of the very highest order. No self respecting middle class intellectual would ever describe his work using anything less than four, yes four, superlatives. One speaks in knowledgeable tones about, colour, form and texture, about the overwhelming scale and dark, brooding insight evoked by his work. It is compulsory to weep before a Rothko.

Rothko himself, a great high artistic genius you will recall, considered his art to be a spiritual experience, even going so far as to create a chapel for his work. He was, after all, never one to take himself too seriously. Being a spiritual experience, Rothko's work proves that my Invisible Magic Friend exists. How can you possibly have a spiritual experience without an IMF? Music is a spiritual experience too, except gangsta rap, which is not a spiritual experience. Music, art, beauty and strawberry cheesecake - all the fine, noble, things in life, they all prove that my IMF exists. One of the psalms even says so, so it must be true. QED.

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Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 26 September, 2008, 08:17 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Happy Jewish New Year everyone! There's a lot of talk these days about how free markets have ruined the world. How the world has struggled to find the resources to attack poverty when the USA alone can find $700bn in a weekend to prop up its debt laden banks. Let's just put a stop to that kind of talk right now. My Invisible Magic Friend has ordained that the Holy Markets are not driven by fear and greed, thus tending to grossly exaggerate short term variations in sentiment. The Holy Markets (peace be upon them) are not responsible for the fact that drug firms invest very little in Malaria research or infant mortality in poor countries. Nor is any of this my IMF's fault, even though He made everything. No, it's all the fault of evil short sellers, and the market liquidity that they engender when people are desperately trying to sell their depreciating assets. These immoral spawn of Satan speculate on falling asset prices. This is wrong and evil and demeans God's Holy Markets. Only investment in rising asset prices, and their associated derivatives, is good and moral and godly. It would be quite improper for me to advertise one of the pet charities I founded by mentioning it on Thought For The Day, but let me just mention the Jewish Association for Business Ethics which I founded, and whose seminars, publications and roadshows will explain to you exactly how short sellers, and not God's Blessed investment banks, are responsible for malaria.

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Dom Antony Sutch, a Benedictine Monk 
Thursday, 25 September, 2008, 08:31 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

When I heard that Joanne Hill had drowned her baby, I immediately thought, "If only she had known me." With my wisdom, compassion and experience, I could have persuaded her not to be embarrassed by her child's cerebral palsy. Under my guidance and tutelage, I could have helped her come to terms with her own mental health problems. I would've taken her to Lourdes, where everyone gets cured. Everyone except amputees - God hates them and never cures them.

The pope has attended Lourdes. For those of you who belong to one of the other, heretical, religions, the Archbishop of Canterbury has also attended. If people as holy and wise and good as these venerable personages can make pilgrimage to Lourdes, then simple, ordinary people like you should believe in its miraculous powers. It certainly has miraculous powers for the year-round hoteliers, restaurateurs, and purveyors of tasteful Catholic memorabilia.

It's easy to be a spiritually empty cynic about these things, but at Lourdes, all people are treated as equal human beings. Except for the pope of course, and amputees - the bastards. I have seen a bolshy young man cradle a mentally and physically deformed adult in his arms. God didn't cure him either (the deformed are nearly as bad as amputees) but he did make the bolshy young man more human, something which never happens anywhere but Lourdes.

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Reverend Angela Tilby, Vicar of St Benet's Church in Cambridge 
Wednesday, 24 September, 2008, 08:08 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Many of you are going to great lengths to stay alive, with all sorts of underhand tricks being used. Doctors, professionals who have actually been specially trained to stop people dying, are being employed and even sanctioned by the state. Some advocate being able to purchase drugs and all sorts of other medical chicanery in order to stay alive longer. This dismal state of affairs is a direct result of all the godlessness in our society nowadays. Why can't you just accept that when your time is up it's up. I mean, provided you're a Christian, haven't committed too many sins, and got the opportunity to repent on your deathbed, you've got a more than 50% chance of not being horribly tortured in hell for all eternity. What's to be afraid of? Whatever happened to the good old days, when vicars were productively employed to hang around the dying and remind them just what might be in store? Bloody doctors!

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Gloriously Reverend Tom Butler, Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Tuesday, 23 September, 2008, 08:12 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Here, listen to this one. Some gezer's retired (hic!) retired and bored. So hish mate says to him "take up jade collecting" and introdushhhes him to this (giggle!) to this expert. After a while his mate ashks him how he got (hic!) on and he tellsh him "I gave your sho-called expert 25 quid a week for a bit of (hic!) jade. I wouldn't have minded," you're gonna love (hic!), no honeshtly, yer gonna love this, "but the last bit was fake!!!!" Ah, you gotta laugh aint ya! Fake!!! (ppppfffhhhh). Anyway, that Shaint Paul washn't fake. Genuine bloke he was, always suffering and dying and getting up and going on, bit like my jokes really. I'm the Bishop of Southwark, it's what I do (hic!).

Jusht one teensy weensy little sherry - never did anyone any harm.

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Professor Mona Siddiqui, University of Glasgow  
Monday, 22 September, 2008, 08:18 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I was going to talk about the the current financial crisis. There's the injustice of huge bonuses for fund managers who gamble with other people's money, especially when I'm forced to eek out a humble existence on my meagre professor's salary. The whole system is very unislamic. Then there was the terrible bomb blast in Islamabad. So I've rewritten my original piece so that the first half talks about money not being safe and the second half talks about lives not being safe. Phew, all that work saved at the last minute! These suicide bombers have got Islam all wrong. Don't they realise there are some nice bits in the Koran? Like the bit that says don't kill people (well, at least, don't kill them sometimes). And to cap it all, they ended up killing fellow muslims, and during Ramadan as well! What's the point of that? I mean, if you're determined to blow people up you could at least try to make sure that they aren't muslims, and try to avoid it entirely during Ramadan.

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