Miles Kington: Gods get fired up over burning issue

He thought that blowing up Parliament was a bit extreme. It would have been 9/11 all over again
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The Independent Online

1. The chairgod said that the next item on the agenda was the 400th anniversary of Britain's Gunpowder Plot. He wondered if anyone had any comments to make.

2. The Catholic God said he did not know why they were going into all this again. While he did not condone violent terrorist acts in any way, shape or form ...

3. The Jewish God said that, in his experience, when anyone started off saying that while he did not condone violence, blah blah blah, it meant that he did really condone it, but he could not afford to admit it.

4. The Catholic God said he hoped he might be able to finish his sentence.

5. The Jewish God asked him to be his guest.

6. The Catholic God said that the conditions under which Catholic believers had lived in Britain at the time were brutally repressive and it was not surprising that the younger Catholics had decided to do something about it. At the same time, he thought that blowing up Parliament was somewhat extreme. It would have been 9/11 all over again.

7. The Jewish God said it could not be 9/11 all over again as 9/11 had not happened yet.

8. The Protestant God said that maybe the brutality of repression of Catholics was something the Protestants had learnt from the Catholics. Who had invented the Inquisition, after all?

9. Jupiter said that listening to these ding dong battles took him back to the heyday of the the Roman gods, when his gods and goddesses would argue all day and then forget the next day what they had been arguing about.

10. Thor, the Norse god of thunder, asked what they argued about. Perhaps if they had not settled the argument yet they could get on with it now. It was years since he had got into a good argument and knocked someone's block off.

11. Jupiter said they argued about such things as how to punish Prometheus.

12. Thor said he did not think that was much of an argument.

13. The chairgod said they seemed to be straying from the point, which was how odd it was that the British were still celebrating the foiling of some ancient Catholic plot, by burning the effigy of one of the plotters.

14. The Protestant God said that for 200 years, until 1806 at least, they had not burnt the effigy of Guy Fawkes. They had burnt the effigy of the Pope.

15. The Catholic God said the Protestant God would have to do better than that to provoke him. He had often stressed that the Pope was not so much a religious figure as simply the managing director of the Catholic Church, or whatever the boss was called now.

16. CEO, said the chairgod.

17. Whatever, said the Catholic God. And therefore he did not think it was an insult to religion. Now, if people started burning gods in effigy, THAT would be different.

18. It would also be very difficult, said the Jewish God, because people on the whole did not know what gods looked like. Which, he thought, was a good thing. Religions which forbade their followers to depict their deities knew what they were up to.

19. Ganesha, the Hindu elephant-headed god, said he had used to think that, before he had got used to having the head of an elephant. But now he felt proud to have his effigy all over India.

20. The Jewish God said that if you were the only god in existence with an elephant head, you were riding high. Nobody could mistake you for anyone else. Nobody ever said, Hey, I wonder which elephant god that is over there! But if you were portrayed as a an old man with a beard, you were a dime a dozen. Which reminded him of the story of the Jewish rabbi who decides one day to shave his beard off ...

21. The chairgod said they seemed to be straying from the subject again.

More of this tomorrow, I hope.