The Church of England, Tobias Jones tells us, while explaining how they have a church buildings problem, has 15,700 churches. But each year it sells 20. This, to Tobias, is a crisis. And indeed we should take note. At this rate, in 785 years time, they will all be gone. Time is running out.
To be fair, Tobias gives us some other important facts. For instance, the Church of England has nearly five times more buildings than Tesco. He doesn't make it too clear why this is a relevant comparison, however. The Church does not mostly build out of town sites. The square footage of a Tesco superstore is vastly greater than that of even most cathedrals. And one of these was built to be the spiritual centre of its world, but has been left behind by modern trends and is now contracting quite rapidly. While the other is a church. This isn't comparing Egremont Russets with Ashmead's Kernels, is it?
The irony is that Tobias then lists a load of things that churches are doing to use their space effectively - things that churches in the right places have been doing. He doesn't mention that the building stock of the Church of England is overall in remarkably good shape - a tribute to those small congregations. He tells us Catholic churches are closing in Salford. He doesn't comment, as Private Eye might do, that the attitude of modern Catholic bishops to church buildings - even useful ones - makes the Iconoclasts look reverent, and that Catholic church attendance in this country is stable. But then Tobias tells us just how much he knows about religion:
"Christians believe Jesus tore down a temple and rebuilt it again in three days."
No. No they don't. You see, this was the charge they brought against Jesus at his kangaroo court. And even then, they only said he claimed he could. And even with a judge already putting on the black cap, they couldn't make it stick. Jesus's own temple (ie his body) was torn down and he brought it back in three days. But nowhere ever does anyone think Jesus tore down a temple. This is one of the most spectacular pieces of drivel that even the Guardian could write.
Here's my suggestion. If Guardian writers are this utterly incompetent, they should not be telling other organisations what to do with their building stock. They shouldn't be dabbling in politics, religion or economics. They should be made to sit at home, calculating the Grauniad's annual losses, until they come to the conclusion that they're not very good at what they do.
Instead, Tobias Young is probably off at this very minute, having his photo taken in the Guardian Commentator Pose. You know the one? Body at 30° to the camera, face forward, defiant, campaigning, smug look on face. The look of someone who believes they know how to run the world. And won't let facts get in the way of that belief.