Will nobody say a good word for The God Delusion?
Scroogeard's career was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. He had given up biology, a subject at which he was considered to be very capable, in favour of theology, about which he knew almost nothing; as a result, he was reduced to sitting by the fireside all day long, foaming at the mouth, and shouting "Bah! Humbug!" whenever there was any mention of Christianity on the television.
As he sat there watching the BBC's Christmas Special, A Tribute to Jimmy Savile, and reflecting how, by telling the Daily Mail that bringing children up as Catholics was worse than raping them, it would give him some more column-inches and pay for Lalla's next trip to Gallifrey, the room darkened and a ghostly figure appeared before him.
The Ghost of Christmas Past.
"Hey," said the ghost. "Let's not be formal here. Just call me Tony."
"B-b-b-but you're a Catholic," gasped Scroogeard in terror. "You follow the beliefs of that vile Catholic church. Keep away from me!"
"Let's just say that I've got my own beliefs, and I'm encouraging the Catholic church to follow," said the ghost. It showed Scroogeard a vision of a world run by Blairite Catholics, in which abortion could thrive, and in which religion was gradually sidelined.
The vision faded, and another horrible figure appeared.
The Ghost of Christmas Present.
"Another worshipper of sky fairies!" shuddered Scroogeard. "An Anglican! That's nearly as bad!"
"Don't worry," said the ghost calmly. "The Anglican church does what I say now. If I want women bishops, it will appoint them. But I have an even better scheme, which I'm sure you'll like. Since men and women don't get married very often these days, we're going to insist that men marry men, and women marry women! And, as it says in the Bible, the lion will lie down with the lamb and have its babies, because after all, it has rights like anyone else. If this doesn't get the Catholics screaming, I don't know what will!"
The second vision faded, and Scroogeard, now considerably perked up, awaited to see what horrors lay in the future.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.
"But you're not a Christian at all," cried Scroogeard gleefully to the third ghost. "If you come to power, we shall see the triumph of atheism after all! Harriet Harman will rule with an iron rod, we shall become daily ever more equal and diverse, and the Catholic Church and the Church of England will disappear! Oh joy! Oh rapture!"
"Well, not entirely," said the ghost. "We will simply appoint Giles Fraser as Archbishop of Canterbury, and Tina Beattie as Archbishop of Westminster. That way, the churches will be able to move away from God, and be more in step with the great secular adventure."
Scroogeard, overjoyed, rushed into the street, generously showering gifts on all the poor people he met. To Bob Cratchit, whose family had no fuel, he gave a copy of The Blind Watchmaker, which Bob gratefully put on the fire.
But what of poor Tiny Tim, who lay sick in a corner of the room? Why, Scroogeard had a wonderful gift for him too, a copy of The God Delusion.
Yes, it was the biggest turkey they'd ever seen!