Wee Danny Finkelstein is kicking off in the Times again, and you'll be stunned to hear he's having a go at the Muslims for a change. You know, just to mix it up.
Apparently, the mosque in Oxford wants to broadcast the call to prayer through loudspeakers, and have written a nice letter to the council asking if they can. Danny disapproves, because this would fundamentally change Britain's Christian character.
Well, thanks to my appreciation of our Christian heritage, I'm in complete agreement with him. I used to be woken every Sunday by the sound of the Christians calling the faithful to prayer by throwing tons of scaffolding off the roof of the church next door, so I have little time for pious cacophonies.
Oh, sure, they said they were ringing church bells, but having spent half an hour every Sunday listening to their incessant clanging and clattering, I'm certain it was scaffolding.
Now, if that mosque, or any nearer me for that matter, wished to plonk some guy outside and have him wail his lungs out on a Friday night, that's no bother at all - this is Scotland, and bearded guys bellowing incoherently in the street is a local tradition. I draw the line at loudspeakers, however - if it's necessary to cajole the faithful, perhaps they could go for semaphore, or text messaging?
Carrier pigeons are cheap and make a good hobby for the elderly, for instance.
Personally, I treat all religious people with the same respect and consideration - I believe they all have the right to worship their invisible, intergalactic superheroes however they see fit, provided they do it quietly and don't annoy the sane.
Quite frankly, I have a hard enough time concentrating on all this sin, drunkenness and fornication without having people chuffing on about the glory of God in my earhole.
As for Danny's contention that Britain's Christian heritage must be respected - I was in a church the other week that's been converted into a Hammer Horror tribute pub complete with animatronic Frankenstein and dark, satanic organ music. The clientele were a gaggle of half-dressed, tottering seventeen year olds guzzling alcopops like they were being paid by the bottle and pastel-shirted acne-casualties telling each other lies about their sexual conquests.
I think it's about time that we confessed that Britain's values can be calculated and printed on a price tag, don't you?