Flogging a dead horse – a solemn promise


I hope I’m not breaking copyright law

I swear by the authority vested in me by the Church and ‘by the State Gaming Commission’ (to quote the Las Vegas officiant at Homer and Marge’s wedding) that this is the last time I shall refer to flogging dead horses in this context. That said, let me proceed.

I take as my text – again – the gospel story in which Jesus tells the disciples not to linger in houses that do not welcome them. In other words, don’t flog a dead horse. Not even for burgers. Could someone explain to me what’s wrong with eating horsemeat, or dog, or rabbit, or whatever? I’d have thought it preferable to the reconstituted toenail clippings and bits of cheek and intestines and brain and other morsels that find their way into some meat products.

Yes, yes, I know, it’s deception that’s the problem: we’re told something that turns out to be untrue. And we’re shocked. We’ve never been lied to before. This is the first time we’ve been duped by a large organization. This is the first time we’ve come across a conspiracy. Banks would never do it. Politicians never say one thing and mean something else. And of course we ourselves would never be economical with the actualité. So we get hot under the choler when the food industry does it, because we are always so careful about what we swallow, aren’t we? The trouble with being well fed is that one becomes fussy. If we were scrabbling round in the desert desperate for sustenance it might be another story.

Cock up or conspiracy? I wonder. It’s just possible that this imbroglio stems from error, or maybe one deliberate act, that was never picked up. Whether we like it or not, we are complicit. Before any one gets bilious about the evils of the food industry, or the supermarkets, let’s remember that our pension funds are invested in such concerns. It’s all part of the sin of the world. Ash Wednesday readings asked: do you say one thing and do another? do you show off so that others feel worse about themselves? do you let other people’s opinions stop you from doing what you know in your heart is right?

Mrs Rector and I don’t go in for burgers, Shergar-free or otherwise. We are therefore more virtuous than those who do, ensuring us a more select place in heaven, maybe like the premier seats on the Jonathan Swift to Holyhead. However, I like salt. I am therefore a bad person and I am told off by salt police. I also like eggs so am, some say, destined for Sheol. St Paul was quite eloquent about how undesirable it is for people to inflict their food fads on others. Why do they do it? The best thing to do with those who think they know best is to bless them. Love those who persecute you. I shall try my best. Bless them.

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