666 - disestablishment of the Church of England
Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, one of the signatories, said: "It is is incredible that a motion like this should have, by chance, acquired this significant number. This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways. What is even stranger is that this motion was tabled last night when MPs were debating blasphemy."
Well, Mr Russell, it may not be coincidence, for if the Lord knows every hair upon your head and every sparrow that falls, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he knows numbers within a House of Commons document. And the motion to disestablish the Church of England may very well be the work of an anti-Christ. Looking at some Members in the House, the possibility is rather high.
So, at last, another piece of the jigsaw helps us to solve the millennia-old mystery. The Beast was neither Nero, nor Hitler; neither the Pope, nor Tony Blair. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred, three score and six. It is now clear that the AntiChrist is not an antidisestablishmentarianist, and that will massively facilitate the process of identification.
House of Commons motions tabled by backbenchers very rarely get debated. They are normally tabled simply to gain publicity for a cause. But momentum for looser ties between Church and State is growing, as the support for the repeal of the blasphemy law illustrates. While the blasphemy law presently favours Christianity and the Church of England in particular, a High Court judgement in December linked the identification of blasphemy with the likelihood of causing civil strife. Since no attack upon Christianity is now considered likely to shake the fabric of society to such an extent, the laws of blasphemy are effectively obsolete.
Or are they?
If one of the criteria now adopted in the definition of blasphemy is the extent to which adherents are likely to protest violently, has the UK now adopted a default definition which favours Islam?
It is worth noting that the purpose of the historic law of blasphemy is often misunderstood. It is not to protect God; it is to protect us from divine displeasure.
It may, of course, be too late.