Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sentamu needs a dictionary more than a Bible

Interesting debate on the place of non-believers in modern society in the House of Lords (hat tip and interesting review). John Sentamu comes out with the new religious tactic of trying to define atheism as a religion, but this is my favourite bit:

Twenty-seven years ago I was chaplain to a young offenders remand centre, Latchmere House. Every inmate was asked to declare his religious affiliation, and four young men were registered as having no religion. One Sunday, all the inmates were offered the chance to go to worship. The four young men with no religion declined the offer, while their fellow inmates on the A wing took up the offer. The prison officer, not wanting the four men to remain locked up in their cells, asked them to clean the toilets on the wing. The following Sunday, our four non-religious young men took up the offer to go to worship. The prison officer was puzzled why they had opted in this week. "Why are you going to chapel?" he asked. The four replied, "Sir, we didn't like the 'No Religion' place of worship". Crudely as they put it, those four young men were saying in their naivety that we are all essentially religious.
No they weren't, they didn't like cleaning toilets. What a shocker.


James Graham said...

The problem with Hansard is that it is often hard to tell if something is said in jest or not. I suspect the Santimou was making a joke. However, it is a rather nasty, bullying joke, and one which speaks volumes about the church's attitude about religious tolerance.

He might as well have said: "get them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow."

Alcuin Bramerton said...

On the other hand, perhaps cleaning toilets is less dirty than messing with religion.