Sunday, 18 October 2009

Keeping Sunday Stupid

Yet again faith-based lunacy evades the sub’s spike and slips onto the news at Radio Cowshed.
Must be Sunday then.
This time it's the enthusiastic, but pointless, activities of Ramsey’s Faith in Action crew. Previously they’ve spent their weekends wandering round beaches picking up rubbish, or de-weeding the gutters of empty Parliament Street shops. Well, at least it stops the deluded going door to door encouraging the rest of us to talk to their imaginary friend in an empty barn.
And it’s not as if anyone can tell these days which Parliament Street shops are empty and which are in use, apart from the ones where shopkeepers run out every two hours to change the discs on their 4WD vehicles - which block the street and cause people to shop elsewhere, or just online.
This time FiA have repainted a church which nobody goes to, and which even a previous vicar once admitted to me is only standing because it is a ‘heritage site’ nobody can knock down, rather than a place of worship. You can see the story at
Jurby is a fine example of church inability to deal with social change. It’s an empty, windswept barn on a cliff, listed as a heritage site because it has some fine Celtic crosses. It may have once served a village community, but Jurby is now (to be blunt) a sink estate built from the remnants of an abandoned military airfield. Even when the airfield was going, the RAF preferred the posher, better kept, Andreas Church a few miles away.
That previous vicar tried the sensible option of a multi-denominational meet-up in Jurby School, and much as I dislike public buildings being used that way I admit it gave some comfort for elderly, disabled or carless folk who couldn’t get to the tiny Methodist chapel down the road at Sandygate, or travel to Ramsey if Catholic.
As it happens, I like Eddy, the FiA spokesman. He’s a helpful little ‘teccie who works in an opticians and solves everyone’s problems. He once even fixed an old clock for my wife and refused payment.
That said, why are FiA allowed to flout the ban on advertising signs enforced throughout the island by the Highways Division/Department of Transport?
We’re told the old joke of hanging a bedsheet wishing someone Happy 60th on the wall at a major roundabout is dangerous. Similarly, local business and charities shouldn’t advertise their wares and events on the crash barriers at tight bends coming into town.
Yet FiA, for around a year, have had their banners on the walls outside a Ramsey local authority office, one at a nasty little roundabout next to a pedestrian crossing, the other directly opposite a T junction where cars and pedestrians narrowly miss each other at the best of times.
Now this couldn’t be because the Transport Minister is a notorious fundamentalist who thinks religion is, somehow, above the law, or that the need for tiny evangelical sects to get recruits trumps the need for the general public to cross roads in relative safety.
Could it?

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