Monday, 27 August 2012

The All-Purpose Press Religious News Planner

I'm not talking about the good press specialising in religious news here - Ruth Gledhill, Andrew (not the other one) Brown et al. I'm talking about that mainstream press that occasionally dips its toe in the waters of religious reporting.

Every now and then some religious news story genuinely hits the headlines - a new Pope, or Archbishop, or someone saying we shouldn"t allow gay marriages because the next thing you know they'll be letting marsupials demand civil partnerships. But I've discovered the press's Religious News Year-planner. And
found out that they actually plan for the same stories every year.

As we near the start of the Old Beaker Year on September 1 (to be distinguished from the Traditional Beaker Year (21 Mar): Revised Beaker Year (1 Nov) and Beaker Civil Year (2 Feb) why not join us in this year's Religious Press Bingo? If you spot any of the following stories in the press, award yourself a point. We'll see who wins next Beaker New Year...

21 Oct - first warnings of the Satanism hidden in Halloween

31 Oct - Interview with a bank-clerk from Dorking who dances with the Surrey Coven on Halloween and claims to be named "Willow Springsdawn". (NB - may be substituted by a council planning officer called Hazel Zephyr from Swindon on Solsbury Hill, etc)

1 Nov - Desperate, clumsy attempt to complain about fireworks being let off early for Guy Fawkes without complaining about fireworks being let off for Diwali.
13 Nov - Desperate, clumsy attempt to complain about fireworks being let off late for Guy Fawkes without complaining about fireworks being let off for Diwali ).

14 Nov - Leftwing council in Midlands "bans Christmas so as not to offend Muslims"

15 Nov - Assorted Muslim bodies say they are not offended by Christmas.

16 Nov - Leftwing council in Midlands says they're not banning Christmas. The decorations are banned on strictly Health and Safety grounds. And what's wrong with calling their winter celebrations "Snowfest"?

17 Dec - "Was this comet / conjunction of planets / unusual outburst of solar radiation / newly-discovered alien spaceship the "real" Star of Bethlehem?

20 Dec - Theology Professor explains the "mythical" elements that Matthew and Luke added to the Nativity: i.e. the Wise Men, Shepherds, Little Donkey, Census, Bethlehem, stable, lowing cattle, little drummer boy, virgin birth, Davidic ancestry, Jesus. Bishop writes story off as "hogwash".

21 Dec - Bishop complains about modern carols.

22 Dec - Christingle services "a Health and Safety nightmare".

23 Dec - Jesus "really a Hindu"

24 Dec - Christmas a "totally pagan festival", claims somebody based on very bad sources and wishful thinking.

27 Dec - Xmas congregations slightly up/down/about the same compared to last year.

28 Dec - Church explains congregations slightly up/down/about the same due to weather / X-factor / Recession / Christmas falling on 25 Dec, which is a bank holiday.

6 Jan - Unexpected discovery that Eastern Orthodox churches have Christmas late.

April (if Easter very late) complaint that "unpatriotic, left-wing" Church has moved St George's Day because it clashes with Holy Week / Easter Day / Easter Week / Sunday.

Monday in Holy Week - Theology Professor announces that the "mythical" elements of Easter include the Passover, darkness, Judas, the thieves, the angels, the Resurrection, Jesus.

Tuesday in Holy Week: Bishop refers to Monday's story as "hogwash".

Wednesday in Holy Week: Sexy archaeologist announces she's discovered the tomb of someone called Jesus in Judea - "and there's bones in there." Nearby are tombs of people called "James" and "Mary".

Thursday in Holy Week: Bishop points out that you couldn't throw a stone in Jerusalem without hitting someone called Jesus, James or indeed Matthias son of Deuteronomy of Gath. It would be a miracle not to find the tomb of someone called Jesus near that of someone called Mary - so this story is also hogwash.

Good Friday - Judas "misunderstood", says other bishop who's fed up not being in the news debunking people who debunk things.

Holy Saturday - Easter "entirely pagan", claims someone who's unaware that the "goddess" Eostre has one source (St Bede) and the Easter dating is based on Passover - which, ironically, is the one Spring Equinox festival we can find really good evidence for.

Wednesday in Easter Week - attendance at Easter services slightly down / up / about the same compared to last year.

Thursday in Easter Week - attendances were slightly up / down / about the same due to weather / lateness / earliness of Easter / the decline of religious belief / a sudden revival / Easter being on a Sunday this year, says Church.

30 April - An HMRC official in Chipping Norton likes to dance around the Rollright Stones on May Morning. Claims his name is Rowan Goodberry.

1 May - Morris Men are a bit of a laugh, aren't they?

May to  Halloween - Religious story close season. Although in August we may try to scrape together some sexual scandal / cover-up if there's not much news about.


  1. Don't you find that stories about the secularisation of Christmas and marginalization of Advent appear earlier each year?

  2. You've forgotten the bit where Christmas and/or Easter (those being the only ones familiar to the general public) not only were pagan festivals, but still would be if Christians, lacking any enthusiasm for their own festivals, hadn't stolen them.

  3. You've omitted the silly season. Every August we have a national sensational headline like (this year) brown paper bag mistaken for lion in Clacton or (last year) Paul Daniel hospitalised after Sooty throws pizza and hits him in the eye (which was quite a good one) (for everyone but Paul Daniels) (although I bet he dines out on it now). They usually declare war in August too.

  4. No mention of Hundreds of priest and laity defecting to Rome/Orthodox/Non Conformist/Muslim/Hindu/Spiritualist due to plans by the Church of England to marginalise children by banning them from Church until they can genuflect reverently.

    Or, The Pope has decided to excommunicate all catholic's who practise contraception/don't receive communion daily/who don't give 90% of their income to the church.

    Or, a man is arrested after going naked in Church because he couldn't find any fig leaves when playing Adam in the play on Genesis planned for back to church Sunday The Vicar when questioned said that while he didn't really mind what happened, most of the elderly ladies were cheering the man on with cries of "off, off".

  5. This post made me laugh like a drain.

    Not a very intelligent or thoughtful comment but, sometimes, you just have to tell it like it is.


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