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by | 30th, July 2004

‘AFTER hearing of the Church of England’s monetary worries, we humbly suggest that it no longer relies on donations but charges a fixed entry fee on the door.

‘Hooray! We’ve got the honeymoon suite’

Seats at the back of the building will cost less than the front pews.

The elderly organists will be replaced by jukebox-style hymn machines, which will strike up the chords to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and other favourites with the help of a £2 coin.

Anyone wishing to earn a nod from the vicar and enter Heaven will be required to pay an upfront rental fee.

Space at God’s right hand is at a premium and a seat will only be guaranteed to those paying the full £500-a-year fee, with a discount of 10% if the Day of Judgement occurs in the first five years after death.

It’s much the same already in the prison system the Independent reports that two men wrongly jailed for the infamous murder of newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater in 1978 have been charged rent.

The pragmatic Court of Appeal has ruled that cousins Michael and Vincent Hickey, who each spent 18 years in prison, have to forfeit a quarter of loss-of-earnings compensation for the ‘free food and accommodation’ they received inside.

Porridge doesn’t some cheap, so the Hickeys will have to pay around £60,000 each, roughly £60 for every week they were behind bars for a crime they did not commit.

To us and, perhaps, to the Church of England, this seems entirely fair – the Hickeys should consider themselves fortunate that they are not being charged backdated TV licence fees and 50p for every frame they played on the prison’s pool table.

But Mark Leech, editor of The Prison Handbook, is amazed.

‘It has to be the sickest of all sick jokes,’ says he. ‘Can you imagine Terry Waite getting a bill for the living expenses he saved during his five years wrongly held in the Lebanon?’

Yes, we can – although where the Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy would have got the money for his bed and board from is a moot point in clerical circles.’

Posted: 30th, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink