I always feel a little sorry for Cherie- she has been a tabloid target for years. There is something gawkishly vulnerable about her that always made me sort of like her, whilst being a little afraid of her at the same time.
But I suspect she is no fool.
But this latest story- it seems she was sitting as a judge in the case of a man who had suffered some queue rage, and ended up breaking a man’s jaw.
Inner London Crown Court heard that Miah, 25, of Redbridge, east London, went into a bank in East Ham and became embroiled in a dispute with Mohammed Furcan about who was next in the queue.
Miah – who had just been to a mosque – punched Mr Furcan inside the bank, and again outside the building.
Ms Booth told Miah that violence had to be taken seriously, but said she would suspend his prison sentence because he was a religious person and had not been in trouble before.
She added: “You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.”
The National Secular Society soon latched on to the story with a howl of militant evangelical atheistic outrage, feeling that Cherie’s comments meant that she might have treated a non-religious person less leniently.
I suspect that Cherie’s comments have been taken way out of context, and that if we examined most of the summing up comments made by Court Judges when passing sentence, we would find much more juicy morsels to splash around the red top papers.
But the story seems to have stimulated a wider debate about whether religion really does make people behave better- and whether faith makes us better people. And if so- then are Buddhists better than Followers of Jesus, or are Muslims better Pagans?
What do you think? Because I am not sure.
I can not comment on other faither, but I have known a lot of bad behaviour in churches. But I have also noticed that on the whole, people are motivated to do good. For every insensitive bigot, there are a whole lot of other folk who are seeking to live better lives.
In my experience, society is full of wonderful people, who seek to make the world a better place. Some of them have faith which gives a code for life, and a bridge to understanding things in a deeper way.
However we are all capable of such good and such evil. Sometimes religion brings out both.
I have not used one of these voting things for a while- so here we go-