Fascinated by the latest edition of JD Wetherspoon's News, in which its outspoken founder, Tim Martin, is in good form. Mr Martin has always been outspoken on matters of government and law, and I've often agreed with him. As a purveyor of cheap alcohol to the masses, there are few better. But on this occasion I wonder.
You could argue his reasoning is sound. Increasingly, the country that has kept its clerics under control is China - oh boy, have they kept their clerics under control - and they're not half doing well economically.
On the other hand, you could figure that somebody who depends for trade on people coming into his establishment might do better than to insult something which has inspired altruism, the arts, great spiritual insight, and arguably the whole basis of democracy and human rights. Sure, there are places where religion causes trouble. But then, North Korea's not got a great record on human rights and it's banned there. The USSR had much the same attitudes.. So maybe the problem is people using religion, not religion itself.
How does Mr Martin plan to reduce God's representatives to secondary status? Will he add special corners for vicars, like their children's areas? Will he only sell Christians beer beer made by Carlsberg? It's not made clear, but I reckon it's safer if I avoid the 'Spoons in Bedford and Milton Keynes in future. The thought of having to wear a special badge, or put on a special hat or something, is not appealing.
Thanks, Mr Martin. My God, as Dave Allen might amusingly say, will go with me. To the Wellie Arms, not the Pilgrim's Progress, next time I visit Bedford. The beer's better there, as well.