Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 3 September, 2011, 07:31 AM - Environment, Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

There aren't enough houses in Britain. Last year we built the fewest houses since the 1920s. Some people own their homes. Others would like to to own a home, but they haven't got the money. Some are trying to save the money but aren't quite there yet. Some of the people who've managed to get themselves a nice home in a nice area, don't want any more homes built there, spoiling the nice area.

Where your home is is important to people. It was important to people in the past, whether they lived in an isolated dwelling, a hamlet, a village, a small town, a slightly larger town, a small city, a big city, or a vast metropolis. It's important to people today too.

You'll recall that Jesus of Nazareth came from somewhere. It was a place called Nazareth. That's why we call him Jesus of Nazareth, owing to him coming from Nazareth. Many other famous religious people came from places too.

In a place like Britain, I think everyone should have a right to a home. Otherwise they won't have anywhere to come from. Some people are just getting married and moving into their new homes. I do weddings you know. Other people die. They usually move out of their home when they die, making it available for somebody else who has saved long enough to get the deposit. Their invisible magic bits then move into their new, eternal, home, where they'll be happy forever, or possibly not. I do funerals as well you know.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 27 August, 2011, 07:11 AM - Gibberish, Winter
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Most of the time we like to play safe, but sometimes we like to take risks.
Sometimes we prefer the familiar, sometimes we're more daring.
Sometimes we prefer caution, sometimes we try to be brave.
Sometimes we prefer certainty, sometimes we prefer uncertainty.
Sometimes we prefer to be guarded, sometimes we prefer to be adventurous.
Sometimes we prefer what is sound, sometimes we prefer what is dangerous.
Sometimes we prefer what is dependable, sometimes we prefer what is hazardous.

Most people think the Church is sound, dependable, reliable, traditional, familiar and all and all a jolly good thing. In actual fact, if you look at the Big Book of Magic Stuff, the Invisible Magic Friend is a great innovator, constantly coming up with new ways to tell you how to run your life based on authority and revelation. Jesus said to change the world, which is why the Church has always been so socially progressive and doesn't spend all its time hob-nobbing with the rich and powerful.

The Christian Church is just so radical.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 14 May, 2011, 07:39 AM - Winter
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Isn't the Queen just fantastic.

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.

She does her duty. She's now nearly done her duty as long as Queen Victoria. Long live her gracious majesty Queen Victoria! God bless ye maaaarm.

In doing her duty, the Queen is following the stern voice of the Invisible Magic Friend. Doing your duty isn't popular with the younger generation. Soldiers, the police, fire service, nursing, teaching - you name it, youngsters these days are just bone idle and don't want to do their duty. Not like her majesty, who always does her duty. Even when the whole country went temporarily insane over the death of Diana, her glorious and most noble majesty did her duty.

Despite her horrible anus she continued to do her duty dutifully. Some weird people seem to think that having a hereditary head of state who must be born into the Windsor family is a bizarre idea, but even they think the queen does her duty.

There can only be one reason why this short, plain woman who writes the most boring speeches can be so popular. It's because she does her duty. Duty's a good thing and the Queen does it wonderfully. I can't think of anyone who does her duty the way the Queen does her duty. The one thing you can be absolutely sure about, is that the Queen always does her duty, because it's her duty to do her duty, which she does most dutifully. You know, I could squeeze in a "Sir" after the "Canon", I was head of BBC religious propaganda after all.

The Big Book of Magic Stuff says it's your duty to obey the Invisible Magic Friend. So if you want to be like our amazing and most august and distinguished monarch, you should do your duty and obey the Invisible Magic Friend and those who speak for him.

That's not the only place where the Big Book of Magic Stuff mentions duty. In the New Tasty mint, Saint Paul tells us that it's our duty to be nice to our slaves. I'm sure the Queen, who always does her duty, is nice to all of her slaves.

God bless yer most dutiful Majesty!

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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.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 16 October, 2010, 07:39 AM - Bible, Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

France is at a standstill. Mass protests have erupted over government plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

I've searched the Big Book of Magic Stuff from start to finish. There isn't a single mention of what the correct retirement age should be. The entire Big Book of Magic Stuff, including the Old Tasty mint and the New Tasty mint is completely irrelevant when it comes to deciding the age for retirement. So my religion really has nothing whatsoever to say on the matter. You see, in those days, when they didn't have medical science to keep them alive, most people never got anywhere near retirement.

So what on earth am I going to talk about? Well I'm going to have to stretch things a bit and talk about the Sabbath instead. It's a sort of weekly retirement isn't it? A time of rest. The Big Book of Magic Stuff has got loads to say about the Sabbath, especially in the Old Tasty mint.

1. The Invisible Magic Friend rested on the seventh day, thus making it much holier than the other six days.

2. When the Israelites were wandering the desert they learned that the Invisible Magic Friend wasn't going to give them any Manna on the Sabbath 'cos they were supposed to be doing something much more important: worshipping him.

3. No one is allowed to go out on the Sabbath.

4. It turns out that some people don't do any proper worshipping on the Sabbath. They're to be put to death.

5. None of that wicked lighting of fires on the Sabbath.

6. Despite being told several times about working on the Sabbath, some bloke went to gather some wood. Well obviously he had to be stoned to death for such blatant non-worshipping.

The Invisible Magic Friend does seem to have mellowed a bit by the time the second bit of him became briefly visible. He revealed that all these piffling little rules didn't apply to him, what with him being God and all.

So there you go, a biblically sound recipe for a long, healthy and happy retirement.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 11 September, 2010, 07:27 AM - Money, Winter
Rating 1 out of 5 (Hardly platitudinous at all)

The spending review is almost upon us and in the words of Nick Clegg:

DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!!

In what might be a comforting figure for the government, 60% of the public approve of cutting the deficit. However, 80% don't want any cuts in healthcare, education, defence or pensions. With these forming the bulk of UK public spending, the only large area left is welfare.

It's easy to blame those on benefits, to use them as scapegoats, but it has to be remembered that many are not there through choice. They have often just lost their jobs or are disabled. We can't expect those on welfare to bear the sole burden of the cuts. We all have to take our share, to carry each other's burdens.

It's simply not fair to expect the cuts to fall entirely on someone else.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 4 September, 2010, 09:02 AM - Science, Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

It's the big religious news story of the week. According to Stephen Hawking, the universe doesn't need the Invisible Magic Friend. And I thought he was one of the nice scientists.

Professor Hawking is, of course, a very intelligent person. Very intelligent indeed, no doubt about that. Far be it from me to pour scorn on such an intelligent person's theory, but he doesn't really answer the fundamental question, why does the universe exist? Obviously there has to be a reason. I mean it stands to reason, doesn't it? Why something rather than nothing? Eh? Eh? Obviously nothing is much more likely than something. Answer me that Mr. clever clogs physicist.

Anyway, I'm not bothered about all that stuff. I don't really care how the Invisible Magic Friend created everything, I just know that he exists because I have a relationship with him. It's all very well being rational and demanding logical explanations for things, but I have the Invisible Magic Friend in my head and that's real enough for me.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda  
Saturday, 7 August, 2010, 07:39 AM - Be nice, Invisible magic stuff, Morality, Winter
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Thousands, perhaps millions, will give this weekend to the Pakistan flood relief fund. But why? Why do we want to help people thousands of miles away? Why aren't we cruel and horrible and selfish? That's what you'd expect after all. And these people aren't even the same religion as most of us. Why on earth would we want to help people who aren't even the same religion?

It's a mystery, that's for sure. I certainly haven't found any examples of altruism, compassion, sympathy or empathy anywhere else in the animal kingdom, but then I haven't really looked. The one thing I did read was that "compassion" (which is the technical term for feeling compassionate) is really just a form of inverted selfishness, a survival tactic common to all social species that rely on cooperation and mutual support. That's an explanation that's all very scientific and subject to testability and that makes compassion less real and less good. I don't like it, so it must be wrong.

I prefer an explanation that there is no evidence for and therefore can't be disproved. My preferred explanation is that we are all made in the image of my Invisible Magic Friend, even the ones with the wrong religion. The fact that he made us spiritually and intellectually like him (except that he's ineffable and mysterious and beyond all human understanding) means that we see little bits of the Invisible Magic Friend in all those furriners and therefore we feel compassion for their plight.

Yes that's a much better explanation. Thank goodness we have slots like TFTD to really enhance our understanding of basic human emotion.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda 
Saturday, 29 May, 2010, 07:15 AM - War, Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Seventy years ago, 300,000 British troops were evacuated from Dunkirk via an armada of small ships. They were welcomed home as heroes despite their crippling military defeat at the hands of the German army.

Churchill took to the radio. The country hoped he would tell us things were not as bad as they seemed, but far from giving us good news, Churchill emphasised the immensity of the task ahead. Invasion was imminent. The odds were heavily stacked against us. There would be nothing but blood, sweat, toil and tears ahead, but no matter what the cost, we would never surrender.

We had been optimistic at the start of the war, but this sudden dose of reality gave the country a new vigour, a new determination. As the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend said, the truth will set you free. The comfort blanket had to go. There was to be no more wishful thinking, no baseless optimism about a long and blissful future, no dreams that some magic solution would help solve our problems. Just like the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend said, this was stark reality now, time to face facts. Our fate was in our own hands from now on.

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Canon David Winter, former BBC head of Religious Propaganda 
Saturday, 22 May, 2010, 07:20 AM - Winter
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Wasn't the previous item, about not having finished the translation of the bible into Patois yet, just fascinating? I'm sure the vast majority of Today Programme listeners were delighted to find out that the project had been started and had now reached the significantly newsworthy stage of being over two years from completion.

And now for my Thought For The Day, a small reflection from a faith perspective in an otherwise cold and ruthlessly secular news programme.

People often say things that they regret. Henry II accidentally asked why no one would rid him of this troublesome priest. He was most terribly upset when someone did.

Lord Triesman, the famous Labour peer that everyone had heard of before last week, accused the Spanish and Russians of match fixing, thus hoping to win their support for the English 2018 World Cup bid. He was most terribly sorry too.

Then there was Gordon Brown with his bigoted woman comment that he hoped was just going to be a private insult but turned into a very public one. He was so sorry that he spent 40 minutes in her house apologising with all the sincerity that a politician can muster.

Somewhere in the Big Book of Magic Stuff it says we should watch what we say. Somewhere else in the Big Book of Magic Stuff it says something very similar, which just goes to show what good advice it is. Jesus, the second lump and visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend, was called "The Word" because he said a lot of things and every single one of them was right because he was the second lump and visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend.

So say the right things in public and don't say the wrong things.

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