No, you couldn't make this one up. Seriously. While the blasphemy debate was on in the House of Commons last night, and just as we were thinking that once the blasphemy law is abolished they would be calling for disestablishment of the Church of England as the next step along the road to an anti-Christian Britain, well, three MP's were putting down an Early Day Motion (it has no chance of being debated, it's just flying a kite) calling, er, for the Church of England to be disestablished.
Dozens of these motions get put down in a day on all sorts of issues. The clerks just allocated it the next number in the list. In a masterly twist, that number was 666, symbol of the Antichrist.
"This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways," said Bob Russell, a LibDem MP among those proposing the motion. "What is even stranger is that this motion was tabled last night when MPs were debating blasphemy," he added.
The motion says "That this House calls for the disestablishment of the Church of England" which would mean an end to the formal link between Church and State in England -- embodied in the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who is both head of state and head of the Church of England and the presence of bishops sitting in the House of Lords.
The number 666 is referred to in the Book of Revelation: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred, three score and six." (Rev 13:18)
"It is incredible that a motion like this should have, by chance, acquired this significant number," said Russell.
By chance? Hmm. The Lord Almighty is trying to tell those stupid, proud, arrogant, fallible Members of Parliament something about the holiness of His name, or about His sovereignty over this United Kingdom, or about His ability to intervene in the affairs of men. But will they listen?