No, not Robert Plant. The new vicar, Tom Plant, at St Michael’s Church in Camden, has applied for an alcohol licence. He is planning to run gigs in the church 4 evenings a week, in order to earn much needed revenue to support their mission. He does not have a problem with alcohol and said “Jesus turned water into wine for a reason.” To help with one of the problems that alcohol consumption brings, three new portable loos have been installed on the grounds of the church. Flirting with alcohol is nothing new, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, they also run a Theology in the Pub session, where those of drinking age can talk about faith over a pint. Father Plant, who is a Nine Inch Nails fan, says they are not talking about heavy metal or a mosh pit and he has no plans to invite AC/DC or Metallica, but rather solo artists and poets. No, he won’t violate you. No, he won’t desecrate you. Well let’s hope not. We wish him well with his novel approach.
Congratulations to our 15,070 friends in the Czech Republic who listed their religion on the recent census as Jedi Knight. While it represents only 0.14% of the population, or 0.31% in Prague, the impressive turnout caused some ripples that could be felt in the Force. This recognition follows similar results in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Some people question whether the Knights of Jedi is a ‘real’ religion, just as they sometimes question Apathism. As JediChurch.org states
No religion is truth. It’s all just a matter of faith.
And let us not forget the words of Adi Gallia
Better a few faithful supporters than a wealth of false friends.
May the force be with you.
First they banned veils in France, now they are banning UK nurses from wearing skimpy attire. The administration staff claims that this is a health and safety rather than an Islamic Shariah law issue. A number of hospitals have been affected including the Lister in Stevenage. A new six-page dress code explains that denim, shorts, leggings, miniskirts and excessive cleavage are not permitted. Sounds like I’ve been going to the wrong hospitals. In a possibly unrelated case, a British man by the name of Sean Murphy decided to treat himself rather than going to hospital. He tranquillized himself with lager and then used a shotgun to remove a wart on his hand. Unfortunately he also removed most of his finger and got a 16 week suspended prison sentence for unlawful possession of a firearm. Mr. Murphy said he is glad that the wart is gone.
Dear Leicester City Council,
Can you please let us know what provisions you have in place in the event of a zombie invasion? Having watched several films it is clear that preparation for such an event is poor and one that councils throughout the kingdom must prepare for.
Please provide any information you may have.
Of course, under the freedom of information act, the council was obliged to supply whatever information they had on the subject, which was very little. Even though most of the people there believe in God, life after death and other strange things, they do not seem to be taking the zombie threat seriously. The head of information governance, Lynn Wyeth, even said that they laughed at the letter. I would urge all readers to write similar letters and send them to their local council or representative. Make sure you mention the freedom of information act, so they will be compelled to investigate. We need a disaster recovery plan, should the zombies attack.
The Tom Pepper pub in Clacton, in the UK, has upset Christian locals by placing a Thank Christ for the Easter Bank Holiday notice outside their premises. It shows a grinning Jesus giving the thumbs up to the special offers being made in the pub for the Easter Holiday. A 61-year-old local got in touch with the local Gazette to complain after seeing the poster. The manager of the pub, Michael Denny, defended the use of the poster claiming it is not meant to be offensive. They had considered using the Easter Bunny, but went with Jesus instead. The Easter Bunny would probably have been safer, as there are far less Bunny worshippers to be offended than Christians.
A recent study has concluded that organised religion is an endangered species. This follows a study of nine countries, selected because they have census figures with the relevant data over a significant time span. The countries involved were Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Daniel Abrams and Haley Yaple of Northwestern University together with Richard Wiener of the University of Arizona predict a continued growth of non-affiliation, tending toward the disappearance of religion in 85 regions around the world. Even in Ireland, which is mostly Catholic, the figure has risen from 0.04% in 1961 to 4.2% in 2006. Another census is taking place shortly in the UK and Ireland, so perhaps there will be more data to back it up shortly. So do you as an Apathist belong to the non-affiliated group or others? That’s right, you don’t care. Let someone else worry about it.
Today, the shortest day of the year, is Yule, celebrated by pagans since long before the Christian Christmas. This year it coincided with a full moon, which looked particularly spectacular in my part of the world as it shone on a snow covered Europe. There was also a lunar eclipse last night, but it was not visible in all parts of the world. The last total eclipse during the winter solstice was in 1638, so it was truly a once in a lifetime event.
This morning the dawn at Newgrange, was broadcast live on Irish Television. Newgrange, claimed by some to be the oldest building in the world, was built over 5,000 years ago, just north of Dublin. It was constructed so that shortly after dawn on the Solstice, the sun shines directly into the inner chamber. This evening it will be the turn of Stonehenge. The main focus of Stonehenge, built about 1,000 years after Newgrange, seems to be the solstice sunset, as viewed through the arches of the Great Trilithon.
This year is especially a happy Yule for pagan prisoners in the UK, as their religion has now been recognised and prison governors have been issued with a list of the 8 main pagan holidays, including Yule. The prisoners may choose to celebrate 4 of these and may also keep tarot cards, a hoodless robe and a wand in their cell.
Happy Yuletide to all. Look forward to longer days.
A recent report commissioned by the Church of England in the UK among people born after 1982 had some surprisingly pleasant results. The new generation are not hostile to their parents’ religious viewpoint and religion is irrelevant to them in their everyday lives. The report studied over 300 people in England, between the ages of 8 and 23, who attended Christian youth and community work projects. Their faith is centred around family and friends, with the church only playing a role on rare occasions. Furthermore, they are happy with this arrangement and are not seeking to know more about religion. This has not prevented them being keenly aware of ethical issues and when faced with a difficult decision, they consult friends and family for moral guidance. Isn’t it good to know that the next generation are so astute? The keys findings of the report are summarised in new book, “The Faith of Generation Y”.
Nurse Alex Cotton of Coventry was relaxing in her garden, minding her own business, when she suddenly saw the face of Jesus appear in a creosote stain on a drainpipe. Knowing it was a sign from God, she excitedly called her friends to share the apparition and has extended an invitation to Pope Benedict to come and witness this marvel, when he visits the UK this September. Despite the invitation to the Pope, she hopes that she will not be flooded by pilgrims to the holy drainpipe. To me, it looks like a squashed rodent, but people see things in different ways.
A bus advertisement stating, “there definitely is a God” drew the largest number of complaints in 2009, according to the British Advertising Standards Authority. The campaign was organised by the Christian Party, the Trinitarian Bible society (a bible publisher) and the Russian Orthodox Church. The add was a direct response to another bus advertisement placed by the British Humanist Association which stated, “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” The Humanist advertisement was the sixth most complained about in 2009. It’s a little disheartening to an Apathist that people are willing to go to such lengths to advertise their beliefs and that so many people care enough to complain about them.
Bus advertisements seem to be the weapon of choice for religious battles. In the US, Pamela Geller, who maintains the blog “Atlas Shrugs”, started a “Leave Islam” campaign, which she claims advertises support for Muslims fearing to leave their religion. Similar adverts were pulled in Miami after Muslims claimed they were a smoke screen for hatred, but they were re-instated following a lawsuit.