Organisers of the 2011 census are bracing themselves for a ‘tidal wave’ of jokers pretending to be Christians in this year’s household questionnaire.
Census-takers are gloomily predicting as many as 42,000,000 will style themselves as devout followers of Jesus Christ following an orchestrated campaign on Facebook to force the recognition of Christianity as Britain’s ‘official’ religion.
“I’m afraid it’s been coming for a while now,” admits Census Director Glen Watson.
“Clearly we can’t tell people not to make things up, and if they tell us that they really believe in the gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ, we have to take them at their word.”
“As long as they’re telling us their real name and address, that’s something I suppose.”
Census 2011 Religious Declaration
The option to declare oneself ‘Christian’ appears for the first time on this year’s census, alongside declarations of allegiance to paganism, voodoo, Baha’i, spirit worship, the veneration of ancestors, and ‘West Bromwich Albion’.
But while the long-running internet campaign to encourage Britons to declare themselves ‘Christian’ may have begun as a practical joke, it has snowballed after catching the imagination of plastic Catholics, Church Wedding Anglicans, and sanctimonious hypocrites everywhere.
“I haven’t been inside a church since my daughter was christened,” says self-styled Christian Sean Byrne, who will be ticking the box marked ‘Christian’ on March 27th.
“No, actually, I went back once when we applied to get her a place at St Anthony’s, and I needed Father Liam’s signature.”
“But I’m usually busy on Sundays.”
His neighbour, 58 year old Miriam Hythe, will also be describing herself as a Christian, as well as white, English, and living in a detached house with gas-fired central heating.
“My daughter had such a wonderful wedding, I really don’t think a Register Office is the same,” she enthused.
“The flowers were all lovely and we gave the bell-ringers a bottle of whisky. It rained a little, but you wouldn’t know from the photographs.”
“They’re separated now, of course.”