Dear Prime Minister Tony Abbott,
I just read an article about how you want to cut funding to universities by 20% and spend more money training priests. Under your proposed higher education reforms:
"Religious teaching, training and vocational institutes would be eligible for a share of $820 million in new Commonwealth funding over three years".
I'm not sure how much it costs to educate a man of God, but $820 million sounds like quite a lot. Now, I know you guys are in a fair bit of debt at the moment, so I've come up with a solution to help you out.
But before I get to that, have you thought about hitting up the Vatican for some cash? You know, the third largest property owner on the planet; the guys with an estimated $15 billion in the bank, an art collection worth approximately $17 billion, and vast reserves of untold wealth tied up in stocks, gold bullion, jewels and funny-looking hats.
Actually, don't you think it's a little strange that the Catholic Church hoarded such an immense treasure trove of material possessions, especially since Jesus said:
- "Foolish is storing treasure for self; not being rich toward God".
- "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life does not consist of the abundance of the things that he possesses".
- "Go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me".
- "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God".
Anyway, back to how I'm going to save you $820 million, plus the $244 million you've already pledged to the school chaplaincy scheme.
Did you know that some people think there should be a separation of church and state? It's pretty much the essence of this thing called secularism. They reckon that your government shouldn't officially recognise or favour any religion. I know, weird.
But don't worry about that, Tony. I've got your back. What if I told you I could train priests on your behalf and it wouldn't cost one single cent?
Well, today's your lucky day, because after much research and development, I've created a multiple choice test that comprehensively trains budding priests. There are only ten questions, and like I said, it's completely free.
1) God is:
a) An unjust, jealous, vindictive, barbaric, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, sadomasochistic, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, megalomaniacal, malevolent, man-made construct.
b) The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
a) Share a common ancestor with modern African apes.
b) Were made by God using some dust and a rib.
3) Praying is:
a) A futile, time-wasting pursuit that comforts the person praying, but has never had a demonstrable impact on anything, ever.
b) A direct line to God.
4) Thou shalt not:
a) Rape children.
b) Take the Lord's name in vain.
5) If one of your colleagues is sexually abusing a child, should you:
a) Call the police immediately.
b) Help them cover it up.
6) If one baby is pulled out alive from the rubble of an earthquake, is it:
a) Because of the heroic work carried out by rescue teams.
b) An act of God.
7) If five hundred other babies are crushed to death in the same earthquake, is it:
a) An act of God.
b) Because God works in mysterious ways.
8) If a homosexual couple asks you to officiate their wedding, do you:
a) Happily oblige.
b) Projectile vomit, because gays are repulsive abominations.
9) Condoms are:
a) A highly effective preventative measure against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
b) The devil.
10) Should women have the right to be ordained into the priesthood?
a) Yes, of course.
If the aspiring clergymen answer 'b' to all questions, then they're fit to preach the word of God. But, if they answer any questions with 'a', then the blasphemous heathens will burn in the bowels of hell for eternity.
See, it's a win-win. Firstly, you save $820 million, and secondly, evidence-based university degrees aren't hindered by the faith-based training of men who dedicate their entire lives to something for which there is no evidence.
Let me know what you think, Tony. If you want to get in touch, just reply to this letter, or tweet me @RichWisken.