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Quotes of the week

06 April 2023


I’m . . . learning that prayer is just shutting up for 20 minutes

Sally Phillips, Radio Times, 1-7 April

King Solomon was particularly commended because, when he became King, he didn’t ask for conquest or riches, but the ability to make wise decisions. It’s this quality we need to bring to chatbots. So far as I know, this isn’t something which can be generated by AI itself, but it’s what we bring to it and use to shape its purpose. In the end, we’re in control

Richard Harries, Thought for the Day, Radio 4, 31 March

In the old days former BBC staffers were allowed to use the canteen, and one I remember would talk endlessly about how badly he had been treated and how the corporation had gone to the dogs a fortnight after he left. Clergy are the same. I remember talking about this to a retired bishop when I was feeling particularly disappointed with the Church of England. “You must remember, father,” he said, “that all institutions are demonic”

Richard Coles, The Sunday Times, 2 April

The broader point with SNP Members, as we all know, is that they have become humanitarian nimbys. The hon. Lady takes a kind of St Augustine approach: “Lord, let us welcome refugees, but not in our constituencies.” She would have more credibility if she stood up and welcomed refugees and matched her fine words with good deeds

Robert Jenrick, Minister of State for Immigration, House of Commons, 29 March, in reply to Alison Thewliss, SNP Member for Glasgow Central

The Minister referenced and misquoted St Augustine of Hippo earlier. He was from north Africa, and the Minister would have put him in a camp as a consequence

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP, House of Commons, 29 March

The Government . . . has manufactured an artificial humanitarian crisis on British soil. . . It has . . . stopped processing asylum claims entirely, and that’s why there are now so many people in the backlog waiting for a decision on their claim. It’s because the Government has completely given up on its responsibility to do its job and give them decisions

Zoe Gardner, migration-policy expert, Newsnight, BBC2, 29 March

When I was a child I lived five minutes away from a C-of-E church. . . there were few children, and fewer young adults in my church. It was like spending an hour each week in a care home. Every Sunday, someone else’s death was announced in the notices before the service ended. Church was a death-haunted place

Tomiwa Owolade, The New Statesman, 29 March

“Happiness”, whether for myself or others, cannot sensibly be restricted to scratching whatever itch happens to be most pressing for an individual at any one moment. Some will claim happiness in ways that fundamentally damage others, and what it might mean to “make them happy” is by no means simple. Sooner or later, most discourse of this sort is driven to make at least some normative statements about “happiness” that help us not to confuse it with plain gratification; and then we are on the road to something a good deal more metaphysical

Rowan Williams, The New Statesman, 26 March

I love the story of a priest in Starbucks giving as a name for the coffee cup, ‘The Lord be with you.’ When the coffee was ready, this was shouted out and many people in the cafe replied, ‘And also with you’

Graham Kings, Hon. Assistant Bishop, Ely diocese, Twitter, 31 March

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