Get thee hence, Satan, says the House of Bishops

According to the Anglican clergy, the rejection of Satan, first described in the fictional work known as the Bible, is now complete.

Proving that the papists aren’t the only ones who can use progressive marketing techniques, the C of E has researched its new brand positioning in a wide poll of Anglican clergy.

Queried with the use of an up-to-date testing methodology, the statistically significant sample provided valuable insights into the baptismal ceremony, which for the last 2,000 years has been seen as the USP (Unique Selling Proposition, for the Martians among you) of the Christian brand.

The results of the survey having now been tabulated, a new marketing strategy has been devised in accordance with the findings. The House of Bishops (henceforth to be known as the Board of Directors) has come out strongly in favour of the repositioning and repackaging of the brand.

The anecdotal evidence from the clerical focus groups shows that the subjects favour “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil”. The old wording, they feel, damages the brand value of Christianity by “putting off people who are offended to be addressed as sinners.”

The test sample has suggested a simpler, non-judgemental pitch, promising only that we “shall do all that we can to ensure that there is a welcoming place for you.” This repositioning strategy will enhance the brand’s sales potential by enabling the Church to compete for a share in the markets currently dominated by pubs, hotels, strip shows, community clubs, casinos, restaurants and massage parlours.

Although no comments to that effect have been made, the Church clearly envisages further brand-specific activities aimed at re-establishing its role as market leader. Though the time for taking subsequent steps hasn’t arrived yet, the marketing logic dictates additional embellishments.

The strategy practically writes itself. Now that the obsolete notions of Satan and sin are about to be abolished, the matter of salvation comes into sharp focus. Salvation from what exactly? Since there is no Satan and no sin, what are those newborn babes to be saved from?

Such questions could present a problem to anyone unfamiliar with state-of-the-art marketing, but any MBA worth his/her/its salt knows how to turn a negative into a positive. In every crisis there is an opportunity gagging to be seized and ravished.

All it takes is some radical thinking unhindered by any unwanted baggage. Persons endowed with the mental faculties to think in this innovative way will be unafraid to offer groundbreaking solutions. To wit: if salvation has sunk into obsolescence, the term must follow ‘sin’ into oblivion.

It logically follows that the Christ-centred marketing strategy has outlived its usefulness, as senior Church figures have been intimating for decades. Since no sin exists, and hence no salvation is necessary, the figure of a saviour becomes redundant.

For the sake of continuity in the brand personality of so-called Christianity, the fictional presence of Jesus Christ, though downgraded, will still have to be preserved. Jesus will take his place next to Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius and Karl Marx as a teacher of a new all-inclusive, all-permitting morality free of such outdated concepts as sin, original or otherwise.

In parallel with school tests, now designed to guarantee top marks for all participants, the new morality will enable every parishioner to feel like the paragon of virtue regardless of his/her/its misdeeds. There are no bad men… sorry, persons. There are only bad societies, those that renege on enforcing the ultimate, nay only, virtue: all-inclusiveness.

Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, embodies this virtue in his own person, and one can only lament his absence from the forefront of the current marketing effort.

When still the principal prelate of Anglicanism, by way of job-sharing His Grace also acted in the capacity of chief Druid. Now that he has some spare time on his hands, Lord Williams has been inspired by Buddhism to spend 40 minutes meditating every day. Though his celebrating the black mass hasn’t yet been reported, His Grace is clearly in tune with the new direction taken by the church he once led.

By endorsing the new strategy, the Board of Directors (formerly the House of Bishops) takes another step along the road brightly lit by modern marketing techniques. Now members of the Satanist community will no longer suffer ecclesiastical exclusion: no longer will the founder of their faith be disparaged or indeed mentioned in the baptismal ceremony.

Therein lies the social significance of the new strategy, happily coexisting with the commercial opportunities. By excluding Satan and thus potentially including his followers, the Church strikes an important blow for equality and religious freedom.

Displaying enviable foresight, the Board of Directors (formerly the House of Bishops) has courageously abandoned the strategy that once made Christianity the brand leader. The Board is thus serving not the parochial interests of the so-called Christians but the community at large.

Though the strapline encapsulating the new strategy is yet to be finalised, the current frontrunner is ‘Vade retro, Jesus’. If the dollar bill can have a Latin slogan, why can’t the Church?









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