Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Saturday, November 25, 2006
Imagine if more of the extremely rich songsters in this world put in just a little more effort not to talk. Then there would be less need for articles like this one by Mike Rosen. He takes a swipe at Sir Elton John's call to ban organised religion. Less a call, more a burble really, with a hiccup at the end. Sir Elton's burblution to world problems is to hold a conclave of all the leaders of the world's religions, having presumably let them out of jail for the day. And if the religious leaders don't cut the mustard? He has a truly blood-chilling burble in reserve: "it's left to musicians or to someone else to deal with it."

Having dealt with Sir Elton rather charitably ("He's just venting"), Mr Rosen moves on to that mighty burbler of the previous generation, John Lennon.

Now I was very upset when John Lennon was murdered. So this might as well be the point where I say that his music has given me even more pleasure than Elton John's, and that has given me plenty.

And though obviously I disagree with it, there is nothing intrinsically silly about the atheism Lennon expresses in Imagine. The intrinsically silly bit is the naive burblo-communism at the end:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man.

Pope John Paul II visited Britain in 1982. He spoke in Wembley stadium and I was there. (Got a commemorative coin to prove it.) During the wait for him to appear the crowd was led in community singing. Astoundingly, Imagine with its "Imagine there's no religion" was one of the songs on the songsheet.
Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
The fact that eighty thousand British Catholics could sing those lyrics and remain unstruck by lightning must have been enough to covert some of the weaker brethren to atheism on the spot. Mind you, British Catholic singing of any lyrics at all often has that effect.

While the massed voices of Catholic Britain were sending their orison to Lennon's unheeding sky, the fleet was on the way to retake the Falklands, so maybe whichever earnest young guitar-playing nun was in charge of selecting the songs hoped to send a karmic boost to the forces of peace. (And if you think that there is something unlikely about a Catholic nun hoping for a karmic boost, then you have not seen what awful things can happen when a nun picks up a guitar.) Whatever her intentions, it could have only one result. When people sing of peace it is never long before war, bloody war, is loosed upon the world.

That's always the way. Pacifism causes wars.