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What is a Christian?

The day before Easter is a good time to ask this question, wouldn’t you say?

It’s also a good time to lament that this question needs to be asked at all. One would think that the answer is self-evident.

And so it was for the better part of 2,000 years. You could have asked anyone, say, 200 years ago, and you would have received an unequivocal answer:

A Christian is someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

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So who’s the fascist now?

Jews leaving a Donetsk synagogue after Passover celebrations were given the good news.

No, I don’t mean the Gospel, which would have been appropriate, if perhaps tactless, at a time between Palm Sunday and Good Friday. In fact, the glad tidings came from a source not just non-Christian but decidedly anti-Christian.

The news was delivered in the shape of leaflets bearing the letterhead of INDEPENDENT DONETSK REPUBLIC, HEADQUARTERS.

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The NHS claims another victim

Who says there’s nothing we can teach Americans? Here’s a valuable lesson our trans-Atlantic pupils would ignore at their peril:

Push Obamacare to its logical extreme, nationalise medical care, then start counting casualties, those killed by negligence and incompetence. They’ll multiply quickly.

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Scared of a world war over the Ukraine? Read your Romans

What have the Romans ever done for us? As posed by Monty Python, the question was never meant to be serious.

The Romans have given us quite a lot, including some basic lessons in how to avoid war.

Back in the fourth or fifth century, when neither Russia nor the Ukraine existed, the Roman military thinker Vegetius wrote “Si vis pacem, para bellum”. If you want peace, prepare for war.

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Earth-shattering news: lower taxes are actually good for the economy

This is the message delivered by our Chancellor, who claims that the modest upturn in Britain’s economic performance was caused by his cosmetic cuts in some tax rates.

In other words, well, see the title above. I’m sure when you first heard the news it hit you with the power of a nuclear blast. Your mouth stayed agape for hours and respiration was coming in stops and starts.

Now that you’ve got your breath back, here’s some more staggering news:

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Ed Miliband: theologian, historian, thinker – and God

Ed Miliband has my sympathy. His bulging eyes suggest he may be suffering from a thyroid disorder, and that sort of thing can make one deluded.

Specifically, he appears to have delusions of grandeur – to the point of thinking he is some kind of deity, possibly the Almighty himself.

It’s hard to interpret the remarks he has made on faith in any other way. But judge for yourself.

First Ed said he didn’t believe in God, which is par for the Labour course. But then he claimed he still had ‘faith’.

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A letter to a friend

I don’t know what possessed me. A friend e-mailed me, attaching a recent article by the American conservative pundit Pat Buchanan. The article asks a question that seemingly presupposes a yes answer: “Is God on the side of Putin’s Russia?”

Since such questions unfailingly make me see red, I replied at a greater length than my normal blogs. Not to let all that impassioned effort go to waste, I’m reproducing it here.

(SALUTATION)

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Don’t send me any e-mails after 6pm – you’ll get me arrested

Thing is, I’m currently in France, a country that wasn’t a paragon of laisser-faire even before my friend François took over. And then – oh là là.

To be fair to François, it wasn’t he who introduced the economically ruinous 35-hour work week. That happened back in 2000 courtesy of another socialist, then prime minister Lionel Jospin.

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What goes around comes around, Mr Murdoch

In the late 80s, when writing ads for The Sunday Times and other Murdoch papers, I had the pleasure of meeting the great man himself.

 An election was approaching, and someone asked Murdoch if he’d fire any employee voting Labour. “No,” he replied, “but I’d pay for his psychiatric examination.”

 “A man after my own heart,” I thought, thus proving that I hadn’t yet lost all my silly illusions.

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When bad people speak, good people should listen

Modern tyrannical regimes tend to proceed from an ideological premise, which makes them both stronger and weaker.

Stronger, because an ideology naturally lends itself to slogans behind which it’s easier to rally the masses. For example, Lenin’s slogan ‘rob the robbers’, usually mistranslated as ‘expropriate the expropriators’, instantly appeals to envy, described as a cardinal sin precisely because it’s so widespread.

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