The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 
Thursday, 25 December, 2008, 07:02 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Without wishing to sound too self aggrandising, I speak to you today as God's representative on earth. This fact alone should be sufficient for you to trust me with nuclear weapons. Since you are all Christians, and therefore just one prophet away from the true faith, I know that you will understand when I say that, if Jesus were alive today, he would undoubtedly by a Muslim. Jesus, who always liked to take sides, would undoubtedly be on our side and not on yours. If I can paraphrase the prophet Jesus, what has the United States ever done for us?

When we look to today's world problems: financial crises, overpopulation, resource shortages, it is clear that they are all the result of people not being religious enough. And when I say not being religious enough, I mean not being Muslim. If the whole world were Muslim there would be no need for any more wars, would there? So at this happy time of year, when we all join to celebrate the birth of the second best prophet, let us look forward to his second coming, when he'll sweep away the United states and its lackeys with a wave of his magic hand.

On this joyous note, let me genuinely wish you and all mankind, a loving, prosperous and happy future, unless you're Israeli, disagree with my religious beliefs, or are homosexual. (Which we don't have in our country. I don't know who's been telling you such things.)

Now watch me do a Christmas dance for you.

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His Eminence, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, Prince of the Church, Cardinal Priest of the Titulus S. Mariae supra Minervam, The Real Primate of England and Wales 
Wednesday, 24 December, 2008, 08:18 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

As a man of the cloth I have a keen interest in boys' clubs, youth organisations, children's sports, and of course, young offenders institutions. I recently visited one where I mingled with 70 young men between the ages of 15 and 21. I chatted playfully with them, acutely aware that many needed a strong father figure, like me. As an elderly single male, who performs professionally in a frock, I felt that I could give these testosterone filled boys exactly what they needed. I could show them how to do things right, bring a bit of discipline to their often violent lives. They were grateful for my attention, deprived as they were of contact with the outside world, without access to their girlfriends, with nothing to do all day but pump iron, building up a sweat on their lean, muscular bodies. Many gave me cards, poems and small gifts - touching measures of their devotion.

As I sing carols and lead services today, I will be thinking about those boys. Have a very Merry Christmas everyone. I know I will.

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Titanically Reverend James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons 
Tuesday, 23 December, 2008, 09:10 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Have you ever wondered why gangs of clergyman roam the streets of Liverpool? It's because we're the established church, that's why. It's what we do. In hospitals, churches, crematoria - wherever there is illness and bereavement, you'll find us there muttering meaningless platitudes into the ears of the vulnerable. Misery, you see, is our business. Whenever some poor little boy is murdered, or some heinous crime is perpetrated, you'll always find a mob of, otherwise unemployable, vicars overrunning the scene, talking to journalists, appearing on radio and TV.

We occasionally share some of the desolation trade with other, less established churches, but we're much better at it than they are. It's not that we need to be established because without it we'd just be a sad little, minority faith - an anachronistic leftover from a bygone age with no real purpose any more. Without state sanction, there wouldn't be anyone to comfort the sorrowful. You only have to look to woeful, god forsaken places like the United States, to see how religion withers without the legal protection of the state.

A disestablished Church of England would retreat into the leafy suburbs, just like we have with our schools. It would become an irrelevant middle class club. That's why, in our quiet, unobtrusive way, we control schools, churches, hospitals, billions of pounds of investments, 26 seats in the Lords, the Head of State, and occasionally give you the benefit of our unchallenged wisdom here on Radio 4. Do you really want to see all that disappear?

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His Holiness Pope Benedict the umpteenth, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff, Successor of Saint Peter, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Sovereign of the Vatican State... 
Tuesday, 23 December, 2008, 06:41 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

A Christmas message from His Holiness

At this special time of year, as we celebrate the joy of Our Lord's birth, we pray for peace and goodwill to all men - well nearly all men. As this tumultuous year draws to a close, it is fitting that we should pause and reflect upon recent events. We pray for God's holy rainforest, that some of it may be left. We surely have a duty to protect trees, but if this is so, then how much more of a duty do we have to protect people? And what greater threat is there to humanity's continued existence than gayness?

All over the world a plague of gayness has devastated human populations. Our schools and maternity wards are derelict. Shanty towns lie sadly empty, devoid of poor, uneducated children in which the seed of the Catholic church may be planted. Brothels have been forced to close their doors. Hard working purveyors of heterosexual pornography find themselves destitute. In Africa and South America, vast surpluses of food, oil and fresh water go unused.

What are we to do about this tragic state of affairs? First, we must emphasise that you should not hate gay people. Do not bash them over the head or otherwise beat them up. However you must stop gayness from spreading. Stop them from bending their gender. Make it impossible for them to meet each other. Forbid them the simple pleasure of a lifelong partner to bring comfort and companionship. Deny them pension and inheritance rights. Deny them the right to raise children. Spread the word that they are sinful and an inherent moral evil. Make sure they remain the second class citizens they so surely deserve to be. We, the frock wearing, celibate, male leaders of God's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, demand that you get out there and start fornicating at once.

And may the peace and love Our Lord Jesus Christ go with you.

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John Bell of the Iona Community 
Monday, 22 December, 2008, 08:16 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Do you believe all that stuff about the baby Jesus? Mary bobbing up and down, riding a donkey? The innkeeper with his wife? The lonely shepherds with their sheep? And as for snow in Bethlehem - don't make me laugh. No, all that "traditional" nativity scene is a load of old rubbish. It's just made up. Tacky Victorian fairy tales the lot of it. You'd have to be pretty simple to believe that load of old toss. Serious, scholarly, Christians, like me, aren't fooled for one minute by all that fictional trivia. We turn to the bible to seek out the truth about Christmas, and the truth is that the omnipotent, omni-present, omniscient, Invisible Magic Friend became incarnate of a virgin, as foretold by the prophet 700 years before, was attended at birth by wise men following a moving star, in order to die on a cross and thus save us all from His wrath. I think you'll all agree it makes a lot more sense than a virgin riding a donkey. Talk about gullible!

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Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, the Vicar of Putney 
Saturday, 20 December, 2008, 10:36 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The Archbishop of Canterbury is not an economist, but he is an archbishop and therefore the natural choice to turn to when seeking advice on fiscal policy. Unfortunately, the bearded, old, lefty marxist just doesn't appreciate the benefits of Keynesian economics. Was the bishop right to run in where economists fear to tread? Yes of course he was. Religion is about everything, including economics and materialism. I know we're always telling you that materialism is a bad thing, but not when you get it in a religion. And Christianity is the most materialistic of all religions and therefore the best. When the Invisible Magic Friend became briefly visible and was asked about tax policy he replied, "How should I know? I'm not an economist." As a Reverend Doctor let me nevertheless assure you that markets are a good and holy thing. When Luke and Matthew tell the touching story of Our Lord being born in a lowly stable, they were telling us all to go out there and shaft the consumer: mega-profits at all costs. It is right and proper that we should solve the debt crisis by borrowing more. So don't forget the true meaning of Christmas. Do your sacred duty and get out there and spend, spend, spend!

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Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 19 December, 2008, 08:20 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

You secular types like to think you've got the upper hand don't you? Well someone singing about religion just won the X-Factor, so there, and we all know what a discerning, spiritual lot of people its viewers are. Anyway, having got a dig in at all you atheists out there, let's move on to what's really important: this week's ancient, and terribly, terribly meaningful Jewish festival. Happy Hanukkah everyone! Yes, it's that happy time of year again when we celebrate the holy, monotheistic Jews beating the evil, polytheistic Greeks. We took back our temple, cleansed it (because it had been polluted by the dirty gentiles) and made it holy again by putting a box with some stones in it that only priests were allowed to see. Now what's all this got to do with the recession, I hear you ask? It's simple really, if you have faith in the Invisible Magic Friend, just like His chosen people did, then you'll be as happy and carefree down the ages as Jews have been. The worse your predicament becomes, the more virtuous you'll be for still being gullible enough to believe in Him. Some of you may lose your job soon, but don't worry. Try sharing any stuff you have left among yourselves. I won't be unemployed of course - we'll always need really important jobs, like a Chief Rabbi, and I'll always be able to come on here from time to time to remind you of the next really holy Jewish festival. There now, I bet that's cheered you all up!

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Open Thread 
Saturday, 13 December, 2008, 05:02 PM
I'll be up in Scotland again all next week. Not sure how often I'll get to do my daily platitude. This is the place to add your own versions if I miss any. I hope you do, the ones a couple of weeks ago were superb.
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Rev. Rob Marshall - Anglican Priest 
Saturday, 13 December, 2008, 10:24 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I want to talk to you today about a subject that is very rarely raised on Thought For The Day: the cult of celebrity. There are proper celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing, which I'm sure you're all fans of. Then there are the sobbing, pretend celebrities, with appropriately dismal life stories, on the X Factor. I'm sure you're all avid fans of that too. I mention these programmes because I'm a down to earth, man of the people, sort of reverend. I know that, with you all being far less spiritual than me [Ed. Except me - I'm a Rev. Dr. you know!], this is the kind of programme on TV that you habitually watch and connect with. Being the media savvy sort of chap I am, I know how important it is to talk down to you in terms that you will easily understand. Of course, by following the antics of these rather superficial, transient, celebrities, you're missing out on the greatest celebrity of them all. From his very first appearance on "I'm a Messiah, Get me Out of Here", Jesus proved himself to be an instant hit. If it's simple entertainment you're after, I recommend the Old Testament. With it's wacky stories and it's endless cruel punishments for seemingly trivial infractions, it's a laugh a minute. I don't really have anything to say, so I'll just come to a sudden stop.

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Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 12 December, 2008, 09:25 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

This year's Children of Courage awards was an inspiring event. These brave young people were joined by a host of celebrities, and the Dean of
Westminster. I've been similarly inspired by the determination of children that we took to visit Auschwitz, or the Bar Mitzvah girl who didn't want presents, but wanted money given to charity instead.

Unlike everyone else, Judaism is a very child oriented religion. That's why we celebrate Passover: the mass genocidal slaughter of Egypt's first born by our ever loving Invisible Magic Friend. It's why Judaism has been so popular and had such an easy ride through history. You see we allow children to grow and don't just turn them into mini-consumers obsessed by the cult of celebrity, or even the cult of the Dean of Westminster.

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