The government is creating Public Health England to nudge us into healthy lifestyles, £4 billion worth of nudging a year to be precise. Local authorities will have Health and Wellbeing Boards with new powers to nudge us as well. There'll be rewards for those who live healthily and no rewards for those who don't. In this way there will be less government interference in our lives.
Sikhs used to be very healthy. There would be regular competitions where fit young Sikh men would wrestle each other's semi-naked bodies to the ground in a perfectly healthy and totally non homo-erotic way. Sikhs were renowned for their physical prowess. Who can forget that famous post war, gold winning, egg and spoon race team, fully three quarters of whom were Sikh?
Sadly those days are past. Many Sikhs have lost their religion and become fat and gluttonous and not at all the sort of people you'd want to have a good, manly wrestle with. They've turned to drugs and alcohol and have ended up in prison. Many Gurdwaras now have to organise running and cycling competitions to get our fat, lazy youths off their humongous bottoms and get them into a state where they'll be fit enough to defend the Punjab again.
James Naughtie And now, because in a three hour secular programme, TFTD is the only opportunity to reflect on religious values, an interview with Gary McFarlane, one of the many millions of poor, persecuted Christians in this country.
Mr. McFarlane you were cruelly and irrationally fired from your post as a Relate counsellor, just for being a Christian, weren't you?
Gary McFarlane Yes James I was. It's totally unfair even though the High Court disagreed. Other religions get to discriminate against you-know-who, why can't Christians?
James Naughtie Yes Gary, but we're not going to talk about that even though that's the reason you got fired.
Gary McFarlane Yes James, we're not going to talk about that. We're here to talk about how I'm being persecuted as a Christian just because I refused to offer services to you-know-who and wanted Relate to have special provisions for poor, persecuted people like me. I just want to point out that I'm black.
James Naughtie Yes Gary, let's talk about Christmas cards then. Most people think of Christmas cards as a way of remembering friends and family and telling them that you're thinking about them during the cold Winter nights, but to you a Christmas card is a statement of belief.
Gary McFarlane Yes James, that's right. Every Christmas card must have a picture of the baby Jesus on it, because that's the true meaning of Christmas and anything else is just us being persecuted.
James Naughtie Yes Gary.
Gary McFarlane Yes James.
James Naughtie Yes Gary, and on that worrying note about Christian persecution, thank you.
Two events of major significance take place tomorrow. One is the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, where the RAF denied air superiority to the Luftwaffe and so prevented a Nazi invasion of Britain. And that would be bad because the Nazis were all atheists. We know this because the Pope said so. The Pope even needs extra security because of the usual gangs of Algerian atheists and secularists trying to kill hem.
But enough about that. Has anyone mentioned the Pope's visit yet? Come to think of it, has anyone mentioned Cardinal Newman yet? The other great event is the beatification of John Henry Newman by the Pope. Yes, Cardinal Newman has done just enough miracles to get his foot on the ladder to sainthood. Newman was an intellectual. In fact he was so intellectual that he decided to become a Catholic. That's how intellectual he was.
Newman wrote about the primacy of conscience. We can all see what happens when people ignore their conscience. Hermann Goering even said that he had no conscience, Adolf Hitler (a famous atheist and secularist) was his conscience.
But what happens when a Catholic's conscience conflicts with what the Pope says? Fortunately, the Pope is told what to say by the Invisible Magic Friend and is therefore infallible. We know this because he told us it was so. Thanks to this, the Pope is never wrong and no Catholic conscience is ever troubled by a conflict with the Pope's teachings. All Catholics are in complete agreement with the Reichsführer on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, women priests and the fact that the entire German nation from 1939 to 1945 was entirely populated by atheists (except the young Joseph Ratzinger, who only pretended to be a Nazi atheist).
Has anybody mentioned the Pope's visit to Britain yet? No? Well it's about time somebody did.
Whether his visit will be a success or not is not currently known. For some unknown reason, the British public have yet to realise what a wonderful, warm, charismatic man Pope Benedict XVI actually is.
This is all the fault of the British people. British people have a deep psychological problem that can be seen in their irrational distrust and fear of Catholicism. We Catholics are used to this persecution of course. It's just another cross that we poor Catholics have to bear. Quite why the British people are so distrustful of a male only, strictly hierarchical, undemocratic, homophobic, misogynistic, secretive organisation that breeds a fanatical devotion to its leader so strong that its clergy would rather cover up child abuse than admit scandal, is beyond me.
Then there's Islam. What have people got against Islam, the religion of peace? It's exactly the same as the hysterical, prejudice and bigotry that we Catholics have to suffer. No wonder the Catholic Church so often sides with the Organisation of Islamic Countries at the UN.
Why can't people just judge us by the evidence?
The Catholic Church has always been on the side of the poor. You won't find Catholic bishops, cardinals and popes living in fancy palaces, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful, enjoying all the trappings of wealth and status. It has always sided with the people against the state and would never sign concordats with dictators like Mussolini, Hitler or Franco.
In fact, there are a great many things that people would agree with the church about. The trouble is, it has a bit of an image problem. When asked the following questions, people always replied yes.
- Do you think everyone should have a job?
- Do you think people should have the right to join a union and the right to strike?
- Do you think everyone should have food?
- Do you think everyone should have water?
- Do you think everyone should have a roof over their head?
- Do you think investment should be done ethically rather than unethically?
All policies of the Catholic Church! So you see, you really agree with the pope on just about everything. So why does everyone hate the Catholic Church so much? Why are we so persecuted?
Those bloody militant atheists are at it again. Now they're militantly taking legal action to try and ban official prayers at the start of council meetings. We've been telling counsellors that they must pray to the Christian Invisible Magic Friend for centuries. Now they militantly come along, militantly disagreeing with us and militantly telling us that we can't force people to follow our religion? I mean, just who do they think they are?
In a bid to support our brave, persecuted, Christian councillors, valiantly fighting for freedom and tolerance against the overwhelming forces of militant secularism, I have devised some useful prayers that might be said in defiance of those who would militantly deny our undoubted right to tell them what to do.
"Dear Invisible Magic Friend, who is so very, very big and who is so wise in the matter of civic amenities, guide us in these, our puny human deliberations, towards decisions that are thy will and in accordance with thine divine law.
"Thou who art the Rock of Ages, should priority be given to the potholes in the High Street, or shalt we give preference to residential areas?
"O mighty creator of the universe, who set the planets in their orbits and the stars in the firmament, shalt we vote for or against the dedicated cycle path proposed around the outside of the town park?
"Thou who has given us this green and bountiful earth, reveal to us thine will regarding the introduction of a separate wheelly bin for glass and tin cans to be collected on alternate Tuesdays.
"Regarding the replacement of the separate Gents and Ladies toilets outside the train station, with the new, self-cleaning, unisex model, guide us with the benefit of thy urinatary wisdom O Lord.
"On the provision of a new children's playground in the forecourt of Councillor Herbert Pratt Tower, what is thy will regarding a climbing frame, provided a suitable rugged, yet injury resistant ground coating can be obtained and thus not suffer the little children?
"O fount of all knowledge, give us the benefit of they guidance on the extension of early evening weekday opening hours for the central library.
"Assist us, we pray, thou who has boundeth body and soul together, to choose between a dedicated gymnasium or a dedicated IT facility to be shared between Queen Anne's School for Girls and St. John the Confused Primary School.
"Smite in thy righteous fury, O Lord, the Transport Committee who have singularly failed to choose a new location for the replacement bus shelter in Woodland Drive.
"O source of all grace and good fortune, look kindly upon our application to the lottery grants committee for the provision of a new pavilion that might shelter the town brass band and in so doing, be pleased to deny funding to some less worthy cause.
"Give wisdom to the local government minister that he might increase our Council Tax grant for the coming financial year. We know we prayed for this last year but we didn't get any increase and if we don't get one this year then Happy Valley old folks' home will have to close.
"This we ask, even those who are unbelievers, through Christ our Lord. Amen"
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
The evil forces of international secularism are cruelly oppressing we Christians yet again. The nurse, Shirley Chaplin, has been told she cannot be a Christian and remain a nurse. Her only crime was to wear a three foot tall, flashing, neon cross on her head. She brought comfort to her patients by hosing them with holy water, burning incense, and introducing 24 hour evangelical choirs to pray for divine intervention. Her reward? To be treated like some sort of superstitious loony and wickedly banned from her profession by health and safety fascists.
Then there was the case of the devout Christian bed and breakfast owners, Susanne and Francis Wilkinson. The Wilkinsons were cruelly asked by a homosexual couple if they could stay the night. As a human rights commissioner, I have to ask, have these homosexuals no shame? Why would they do such a thing? Do they not realise that by staying in a Christian B&B they would defile and desecrate that holy place, forcing the owners to reject the message of love of their Lord Jesus?
Does this satanic government not realise that we have the right to proselytise in the workplace? That we have the right to deny goods and services on the basis of our prejudices? How can society fail to realise that we are doing this for your own good, bringing you good, decent, holy, Christian values?
I wish to make it absolutely clear that I have no strong opinions on this subject. It is my duty to be completely objective and not take sides. I simply wish to mention the tale of Daniel who remained true to the faith of his people in the face of wicked and unjust laws. It just goes to show that it was ever thus, we good people of the Invisible Magic Friend, persecuted by the forces of darkness, cast into scorching furnaces, daily made to tread the lions' den. Oh, how we have to suffer!
Just because we think we should be exempt from the law, is no reason for this intolerance of Christianity. After all, it's not like we exaggerate the extent of our suffering or demand opt outs on a daily basis.