Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 02/02/04

Holy Mad Axeman, Bat!

In the churchyard of the village of Fair Oak in Hampshire, there stood a magnificent and healthy 140-year-old yew tree.

It stands there no longer.

Well, you might say, nothing lasts forever, not even in a cemetery. In this case, however, the cause of death is the local vicar.

This clergyman, and the church council, had it cut down without seeking permission to do so. Their reasons make for interesting reading:

  1. Yew trees grow poisonous berries, which a child might eat.

    Well, if you're into god-bothering, surely you should see this as part of the Great Plan. Who are one vicar and a few assorted members of the self-important to second guess The Ancient Of Days?
  2. A child might climb it and fall out.

    Again, if it happens, then this is an example of god-given Free Will, and the child will know better than to do it again (once the plaster has come off, of course).
  3. The tree might fall over.

    Yes, that's right - it has been there since Victoria, it's in fine condition, and now it's suddenly going to topple over and increase the church's insurance premiums. Even the rapacious heathens of the insurance world have heard of 'acts of god', so why hasn't the vicar?
  4. Paedophiles might hide behind it.

    No, really, that was one of the reasons given. In which case, let's demolish all trees, hedges and walls, let's make sure no vans or lorries are more than four feet high and six inches wide and let us all have to live and work in glass and perspex buildings, just so that we can be utterly sure that we can see everyone and everything.

When confronted with such an example of holy simpletonry, I can only resort to the cruel suggestion that we should demolish all churches; after all, far more paedophiles have hidden behind them than behind anything else.

(further reading here (second item)).