Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Smoking ban threatens churches with closure

In all of Cranmer’s years in ministry, he has witnessed all manner of things in churches and cathedrals. These include the wearing of bikinis and swimming trunks, the eating of ice cream, women doing their make-up, men holding hands (with other men), beer, whisky, pornography magazines, condoms (really), and a sizeable smattering of smuttiness.

But never, no, not even once, has he ever witnessed anyone light up and smoke.

There are some 16,000 churches in England and not one has a problem of smoking. Despite this, the Government, in its increasingly infinite wisdom, requires all public places of worship to display prominent ‘No Smoking’ signs in their foyers from 1st July, even if those foyers are Grade I listed. The Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev Colin Slee, has already said that these regulations are ‘daft’, and the Dean of Peterborough has received a very heavy-handed letter informing him that if he fails to comply, he will be ‘closed down’.

Now then… being a rather contrary cleric, Cranmer advises the Dean of Peterborough to refuse to comply. Yes, he knows that there all sorts of scriptures that demand compliance with the laws of the land, but this one is so absurd as to be laughable. He can hardly wait for the local council to enforce the closure of the cathedral, with all the attendant publicity to highlight the absurdity of regulation of which there is and never has been a transgression.

The bizarre thing is that the Government permits the continuing use of the highly carcinogenic incense, but demands the banning of tobacco (in a place where none is consumed). Why should altar boys be subject to the ‘bells and smells’ cancer-causing chemicals? Why does the Government not intervene to protect these young innocents?

Cranmer wonders how long it will be before there are signs for the compulsory wearing of lifebelts around the font. There are just seven weeks for churches and cathedrals (and mosques, mandirs and gurdwaras) to comply with this legislation. If the Government had had a sense of humour, they would at least have given a temporary derogation until Ash Wednesday…

(and please, no ‘jokes’ about Cranmer’s propensity to ‘smoke’, or other distasteful allusions to that fateful day…)


Anonymous Voyager said...

These include the wearing of bikinis

Women priests have little sense of propriety methinks.

This is obviously an EU Directive. I hope in future to see such signs visibly displayed when the Commons Chamber is shown on TV. I think such signage should be affixed to the Despatch Box and to the Speaker's Chair. I would also favour signs there stating "Do not drop litter", "No mobile phones" and "Do not foul the footpath"

The MPs should also wear protective clothing for workplace hazards and a big illuminated sign should state "No Spitting" alongside one for "No Tinkers"

15 May 2007 at 07:38  
Anonymous Master Ridley said...

The law is an ass and must be seen to be an ass.

15 May 2007 at 08:39  
Anonymous bob said...

"the Government permits the continuing use of the highly carcinogenic incense"

I was rather shocked at the above statement and clicked on the link to see the ground-breaking research that had been conducted to prove that incense was highly carcinogenic. Unfortunately it was only Jim McDaid, who serves as a TD in a neighbouring constituency to me, and so his statements never cease to underwhelm me.

In my experience of Catholic churches, most use incense very infrequently, and even then the altar server (boys and girls serve at the altar) concerned is in the presence of the "billowing" thurible for no more than 10-15 minutes.

15 May 2007 at 09:26  
Blogger haddock said...

I once heard David Pawson relate that when speaking in churches in Germany he was taken aback by the fact that many among his audience would be smoking.

15 May 2007 at 12:47  
Anonymous david aberdeen said...

If christian anglicans are going incite rebellion, should it not be reserved for something a wee bit more important than a "no smoking" sign?

[ 1 Peter 2 should still be relevant

13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

15 May 2007 at 14:13  
Anonymous billy said...

I am fairly certain that the Lord is a smoker; probably a pipe.
Isiaiah 6:4 King James Version

15 May 2007 at 19:13  
Blogger Cranmer said...


'âshân may be figurative or literal, and may also mean dust, vapour, or anger.

But His Grace always suspected the Lord had a fondness for pipes...

...as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel (Isaiah 30:29).

15 May 2007 at 19:59  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I once heard David Pawson relate that when speaking in churches in Germany he was taken aback by the fact that many among his audience would be smoking.

Germans are so addled and addicted they even smoke in No Smoking areas and especially near smoke alarms

15 May 2007 at 20:32  

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