Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Unnatural Creatures - God Squad Bans Garden Gnomes, Plastic Flowers

I'm not a big fan of garden gnomes. I think they're tacky, pointless and, broadly, a waste of valuable garden space that could be used for something more productive. On the other hand, I also appreciate that some people like them, and I see no reason to frown upon their preference even though I don't share it.

I'm not a big fan of religion, either, for much the same reasons that I don't like garden gnomes, with the addition of pig-headed arrogance, mutton-headed stupidity and ostrich-headed denial of reality to the charge sheet. Again, though, I don't object to people carrying out their religious rituals as long as it's not harming anyone else and doesn't cost me any time or money.

Apart from their similarly pointless existences, you could be forgiven for thinking that there isn't much connection between garden gnomes and religion, and, generally, you'd be right. However, according to the Telegraph, the Diocese of Bath and Wells has forged a link between the two, albeit an unwelcome one. For those God (and aparently Gnome) fearing individuals have banned garden gnomes from the cemeteries under their control on the basis that they (the gnomes, not the folks from the Diocese - a distinction well worth making!) are "unnatural creatures". A spokesman for the Diocese said, "There is no such thing as a real gnome, so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards."

Unnatural creatures in a cemetery, eh? Obviously, that will never do, and I expect to hear that the Worshipful Timothy Briden, Chancellor of the Diocese will be taking an equally firm line with all those angels, cherubs and other "unnatural" statuary that so inappropriately clutters up the region's dead body disposal sites. After all, whether you claim that angels and associated items of religious paraphenalia exist or not, you can't easily claim that they're "natural" creatures, can you? They're either divine or they don't exist!

So hop to it guys, and lets see the back of all those "unnatural" tomb decorations. Yes, I know, many of them are traditional, of historical signifcance and, when all's said an done, they're often quite impressive works of art. But I'm sure the under-smart, over-zealous minions of the Diocese won't let that impede their desire to follow Briden's new instructions. Whilst they're about it, they might like to consider removing Briden from his post, and, indeed, the post and the Diosece itself - purely in the interests of preserving an entirely "natural" environment, you understand.

This policy has to be one of the best examples of pot-kettle-black mentallity that I've ever seen, even in the context of normal background stupidity usually encountered in religious communities. Being something of a traditionalist (although not traditionalist enough to want or need any religious affiliations) I don't particularly like garden gnomes in cemeteries myself. But for an institution whose entire stock-in-trade is the furtherance of an unproven and inherently unprovable belief system to object on the basis that garden gnomes and plastic flowers are "unnatural" is ludicrous.

No wonder church attendance figures are falling - even the British education system is now incapable of producing citizens stupid enough get suckered in by this kind of argument! How long will it be before gnomes are joined in the nation's gardens by minature vicars, priests and other equally unnatural figures?

Billy Seggars.

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