Keep Your Mumbo-Jumbo to Yourself

I had to check it wasn't April Fools' Day. The news that the "relics" (read: bits of thigh and foot bones) of "St Thérèse of Lisieux" (read: a nineteenth-century French nun) had arrived in Britain in 2009 for a month-long tour just had to be a spoof, surely? Sadly, it appears not - there are still sufficient numbers of people so deluded as to actually believe this nonsense. As Matthew Parris in The Times today points out, an event like this is a reminder to all right-thinking people not to legitimise mumbo-jumbo with undeserved respect.

Don't get me wrong, if you want to believe in mumbo-jumbo then that is your right. What you are not entitled to do, however, is try to force your version of mumbo jumbo upon others. Take, for instance, this article that appeared in the Guardian's Comment is free column yesterday. It seems that last week the Jewish Agency for Israel and Israel Journey released a video advertisement which likened Jews who married outside of the religion to missing persons. Now, I'm no expert on the arcane intricacies of the Jewish faith (and I have far better things to do with my three-score years and ten than to study them), but prejudice is still prejudice no matter what the excuse. This particular piece of mumbo-jumbo prejudice came to light (and the perpetrators have been forced to back down), but how many insidious instances must there be every day of parents/relatives/'friends'/church/community/etcetera pressurising people not to marry someone who does not belong to the same mumbo-jumbo group?


  1. Apart from the sarcastic undertones, I actually share your rejection of the religious customs that you describe here.
    Red day in the calendar, eh?

  2. I too read this and wondered if we hadn't somehow slipped back to 1009. Talk about choking on your cornflakes.

    Matthew Parris calls it 'paganistic nonsense'. It isn't. It's Christian nonsense. You can't dignify Christianity by calling the bits you don't like pagan.

    Apparently the relics don't even work, which is really the least that can be expected of relics, although they can be used, the Times reports, for the blessing of roses, if you can get them close enough. Personally I'd rather use horse manure. Perhaps they would be more effective against the Rabbit of Caerbannog.

  3. THE RELICS DON'T WORK??? I'm ringing the Trading Standards office...

  4. I'm actually partly named after Thérèse, my middle name being Martin (I would have been Theresa, had I turned out differently). But am certainly not a Papist now of course. I'm sure if I ever did lose my marbles and turn my gaze heavenwards it'd have to be by making my peace with Benedict and buying a rosary - however ludicrous Rome is, it's somehow grander and bolder in its ludicrousness than the Marks and Spencerish C of E. It does still drive me mad when people misunderstand the immaculate conception. Both wine and pork are allowed except on Good Friday. And nobody really pays attention to the contraceptive stuff.

    Pending senile dementia however, I relish my status as an excommunicated apostate.

  5. Excellent, Carl. I suppose one thing that can be said for the Papists is that they allow apostasy, thankfully.


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