Letter: A clergyman confesses all

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The Independent Online
Sir: I confess. I was one of those 200 clergy telephoned by The Sunday Times for the random poll whose results you report ("Clergy forget Commandments," 27 January).

I gave yes/no answers to deep and complex questions about my beliefs, ranging from premarital sex and adultery, through the Virgin Birth and Resurrection, to the most Christian party leader. And when asked to recite the Ten Commandments, I resisted the temptation to open the Bible on my desk or the one in my computer, and recited them.

Regrettably I missed one out. The delightful researcher prompted me - "That's only nine." But I couldn't then remember which I had said and which I hadn't. She helped again: "It's a biggie." They are all "biggies" to me, so that didn't help, and I said, "Put me down for nine out of ten."

"It was `Thou shalt not kill'," she told me, before courteously ringing off. It was a very easy way for a busy, or lazy, journalist to create a story on a dull Sunday.

I feel much better now - not because I have confessed, but because with all the opportunities for research and reference The Independent also can't list the Ten Commandments. You omitted "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy."

As I try not to shop on Sunday, I'm grateful that you reported the story in Monday's paper.

Rev STEPHEN LEEKE

Warboys, Cambridgeshire

Report, page 3

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