Will a booming voice deter church thieves?

GOD is portrayed in the Bible as the most powerful and bad-tempered force in the universe. Each time he throws a tantrum – which is often, if his biography is to be believed – he indiscriminately reigns down terror and death  on saints and sinners alike with plagues, floods, droughts and all manner of others ghastly things.

But when it comes to smiting rogues who nick metal from church roofs, the Celestial Psychopath has sanguinely chosen to look the other way.

Lots of silly things rouse the wrath of the Almighty, but nicking metal from church roofs does not appear to be one of them

This, perhaps, is his way of testing the ingenuity of his representatives on earth with an indifferent “it’s your problem, so solve it” shrug.

So they have, in a way.

A report in the Telegraph this week says that special movement sensors are to be hidden in spires and finials triggering a “booming voice” warning miscreants that they have been detected and that security guards are on their way.

The initiative, backed by the Church of England, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office, comes after the rate of metal thefts reached “catastrophic” proportions in some dioceses with an average of seven churches targeted every day.

An insurance company has donated £500,000 to pay for hi-tech alarms to be fitted in 100 churches in England, Scotland and Wales judged to be most at risk.

But organisers hope that hundreds of other parishes will raise funds themselves to fit the devices – adapting the traditional church roof appeal model to cope with the metal theft crisis.

Last year alone the insurance firm Ecclesiastical – which provides cover for 96 per cent of Anglican churches – received 2,600 claims for metal thefts, the highest ever in a single year.

The Church of England, which alone is responsible for almost half of all grade one listed buildings in Britain, has admitted the task of maintaining its buildings is becoming impossible.

Metal theft is now being viewed as a treated as a serious threat to Britain’s national heritage.

A security campaign called “Hands of Our Church Roofs” is being backed by an actress and a bishop: Liz Hurley and the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres.

The bishop said said:

Since the metal vandals have descended in such hordes over recent years our duty of maintenance has become nearly impossible. New Government legislation will undoubtedly help, but we all need to remain vigilant and try to get a step ahead of these well-organised raiders.

Miss Hurley added:

Beautiful old churches are at the heart of so many of our communities and I find it truly shocking that anyone would steal lead from a church roof. I heartily endorse the campaign to have alarms fitted.

There’s another solution that may be cheaper and more satisfying. Many ex-servicemen find it hard getting employment in the UK, and they could be enrolled as gunners on church roofs.

Given his past form, God would no doubt approve of the resultant slaughter.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

Please note: there may be a break in service starting soon as I am in the process of changing  internet provider, and have been warned that I may be off-line for a period.

65 responses to “Will a booming voice deter church thieves?”

  1. Ken says:

    ‘This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.’ Noah is described as a righteous man in a generation who only ever thought about doing evil – ‘The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually’.

    So, whether or not you believe it is true, the account does make perfect sense.

  2. remigius says:

    What the fuck were they doing that was so wicked that justified the annihilation of virtually the whole of mankind?

    Was it the eating of shellfish, or the wearing of mixed fibres, that finally sent your god fella postal?

  3. Ken says:

    The OT never gets mentioned without the shellfish and mixed fibres!

    The wickedness of Noah’s contemporaries (violence and corruption) had nothing to do with food or clothing, these laws came very much later in time. And of course no longer apply, so they are no relevance in discussing Christianity. You’d hardly think so from the number of times shellfish are brought up to show how stupid Christians are.

  4. remigius says:

    ‘…no longer apply, so they are no relevance in discussing Christianity.’

    But didn’t the zombie chap say that not even one teensy bit of OT law can be changed til heaven and earth etc…(Matt 5:18)

    That includes lobsters and polycotton dungarees.

    ‘You’d hardly think so from the number of times shellfish are brought up…’

    Yeah. I got an allergy too.

  5. missus_gumby says:


    “If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men. It has been a constant pain, a perpetual terror to every good man and woman and child. It has filled the good with horror and with fear; but it has had no effect upon the infamous and base. It has wrung the hearts of the tender, it has furrowed the cheeks of the good. This doctrine never should be preached again. What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.”

    – Robert G. Ingersoll

  6. Ken says:

    missus_g: define “hell”.

  7. missus_gumby says:

    Ken, I define it thus: The invention of anonymous writers.

    Now, if you would reciprocate by honestly answering my question (above). For the third time…

    …if it were conclusively proved to your satisfaction that no gods existed, what would be your first crime?

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Noah is described as a righteous man in a generation who only ever thought about doing evil”

    But that still doesn’t justify your belief that humanity is/was “irredeemably wicked”, because that would surely apply to Noah too unless, of course, he was somehow not a part of Humanity, i.e. he was an Extraterrestrial or something. Unless, perhaps, you believe that only some parts of humanity are/were “irredeemably wicked” and other groups/people are/were somehow exempt? When you flash such negative, misanthropic views around you should be careful to specify what you mean by them.

  9. Ken says:

    missus_g: I haven’t answered your question, because I don’t see what you are driving at, not because I can’t be bothered!

    And whilst here, anonymous above, the part of my post you quoted answers your question.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @Ken: OK, but the the thing is YOU SAID in one of your previous comments in an attempt to justify the Amalekite genocide, that it was your god’s way of dealing with an “irredeemably wicked humanity”. You didn’t put any parameters on this statement. You didn’t say “an irredeemably wicked part of humanity” you didn’t say “an irredeemably wicked tribe” or “an irredeemably wickedly nation” you said “an irredeemably wicked HUMANITY” which, by implication means the WHOLE of humanity, including, therefore ‘Yahweh’s’ own little errand boys the Israelites and all the generations of people before, no matter how “righteous” they may have pretended to be(assuming, of course, that they were human beings and not Angels/Aliens/something else, and therefore part of HUMANity – not that we, as far as I know, have any reason to suspect otherwise).

    It appears, though that you DO want to put a parameter on that statement, which is fair enough and is certainly a step up from the spiteful notion that the WHOLE of humanity is/was “irredeemably wicked” as your original statement implied.

    But even given this parameter, how then does an “irredeemably wicked” humanity become magically redeemed? Surely “irredeemable” means “irredeemable”? So you still haven’t solved the logical dilemma caused by your original statement.

  11. Ken says:

    Anon – it’s what comes of discussing anything in an abbreviated form like a post! In the case of both flood and Amalekites the judgment was against evil people. I used the term ‘irredeemable’ to indicate the impossibility of dealing with this any other way. Like all these old biblical judgements, there was a period of ‘grace’ in which those concerned could choose to mend their ways and avert the catastrophe. The fact they decided not to was their decision. There is always an element of human responsibility in the equation – perhaps the main element.

    How should even a ‘loving God’ deal with corrupt and violent men who refuse to turn from their evil? Force them against their will? Most people even if they think God only might exist don’t want an interventionist God, they want to left alone to their personal autonomy and do their own thing and invent their own morality. The biblical God allows them to do this, but only so far. This non-intervention is either a) because God does not in fact exist, or b) he is not like the ‘booming voice zap them for doing wrong’ caricature so often portrayed.

  12. Solutionist says:

    Ken – There is never any argument for killing. Trying to reconcile who has the right to kill and who hasn’t is a pretty slippery slope. Personally, I see two options here. Either God is an immoral being responsible for the deaths of countless innocents. Or there is no God and the biblical stories are entirely fabricated/exaggerated tales which have been further expanded through the years.

  13. Solutionist says:

    Ken – Some food for thought.

    If ‘God’ made Adam and Eve in the garden of eden, made them perfectly in his image, made them fully satisfied in him, in full communion with him. Now, remembering, that he is the perfect creator, so he made them flawless, he designed every facet of them. He created their ability to desire, but he also shaped what they would desire. In all of this, the logic of them turning away from ‘God’ is simply illogical. Why would we have been created to need more then God could offer? Or if he was all we needed, why would we look for something more?

  14. Solutionist says:

    Ken – Whether there is a heaven or hell is completely beside the point. When it comes to morality, it isn’t about fear of being caught, or of punishment in some possible afterlife. Its about doing what is right. I believe the apostle Paul said something to this effect? Can’t seem to find the passage, but you might know it. Should have kept my bible when I turned to the dark side, I knew where everything was in that copy.

    In short: morality comes from within a man, not from outside him.

    Trying really hard not to be offensive, I mean, even if you think an idea is complete rubbish, you should still give the person a measure of respect.

  15. Ken says:

    Solutionist – I did a nice answer to you some time ago that disappeared into cyberspace!

    To give a brief answer to your points, I think we have to see God as righteous and us as unrighteous, not a moral monster condemning the innocent. The reason we are not innocent – why didn’t God make us sin-proof to avoid all the trouble – is at least in part the principle of freewill, of personal responsibility. It was man asserting his personal autonomy, something generally considered more important than anything else amongst atheists and agnostics (meaning they don’t want a God who interfers with them and their right to invent their own morality as they go along).

    Far from morality coming from within, it is immorality (the tendency to do what is selfish and wrong) that is within man. Nature more than nurture. A universally applicable morality has to come from outside man. The best you will get otherwise is perhaps a partial consensus as to what is right or wrong, together with someone who will consider themselves the exception!

    I didn’t find your post at all offensive. Being offensive or treating others or their ideas with contempt is to me usually a sign of having a weak argument or being emotionally devoted to an idea rather than it being rationally arrived at.