Monday, 6 June 2011

Porky's Scratchings

The lovely Kingdom of Northumbria is celebrated for its tolerance and diversity; we have - along with the indigenous Anglo-Saxons - Vikings from Norway and Denmark, some of the aboriginal British (those that didn't take to the hills of wild Wales), and a motley collection of immigrants from the Holy Roman Empire (which is neither holy, Roman nor an empire) and farther afield. Such is the result of the rough-and-tumble of international trade.

We're also blessed (or cursed) with diverse beliefs: there are pockets of Vikings with extreme views too; they provide lots of entertainment for the masses, and they certainly keep the soothsayers busy with their antics and jolly japes. Nevertheless, to all intents and purposes, this is a Christian kingdom. Although the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who first invaded these shores were rabid card-carrying pagans, the patient work of missionaries from Wales, Ireland and Rome paid off, and the advent of Christianity gave the realm a measure of stability and civility. Well - almost.

I've already pointed out those frothy-mouthed Viking elements who wish to rock the boat. However, they're not the only ones who would like to see the dismantling of our Christian heritage: in recent times there's been an increasingly strident voice raised by atheists. Caedmon engaged in a discussion with one a few months ago. These people have an irrational fear of God and things pertaining to godliness; to counter their phobia they deem it necessary to argue very loudly and forcefully that Christianity is outmoded, superstitious and unworthy of a civilised Kingdom. One such spokesman is a self-styled professor called Porkins. I can only surmise that his family are all as noisy and as voracious and malodorous as the friends to which his name alludes.

Porky has written Books about the subject and there are many people in the realm who have bought them and eagerly devoured the adolescent wisdom of their contents. Some people swear by every word that has been scratched by his pen. Even so, Porky's strident public anti-Christian posturings have made him something of a figure of fun, and even more reserved members of his coterie are worried that his rantings are doing more to undermine his position than underline it.

And now Porkins and his stablemate Hazy Greyfish have announced that they're going to set up a new Posh Big School to encourage (the very, very best) children who aspire to be 'freethinkers' like themselves. Caedmon told me that he's going to have a word with the Abbess Hilda of Streonaeshalch Abbey and suggest that she establish a Christian Union and a Christian theology faculty for the kiddies. By the time they've heard more than their fair share of Porky's rantings, they'll come in very useful...

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