BRITISH bar owner James Aspell, inset above, is praying that the authorities will approve an application he’s made to convert his premises in Nottingham into The Church of the 400 Rabbits.
Aspell’s move was prompted by the recent placing of Nottinghamshire under the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions – Tier 3– that allows places of worship to stay open, but not bars.
Aspell, 34, said:
The intention of this is to be a joke but it comes from a serious place.
With the new restrictions we’re forced to close and it could be months before we can reopen. We don’t have a food offering so even if we were in Tier 2, we couldn’t open.
We feel like we’ve been targeted unfairly, to an extent and it seems wrong. Everything from gyms to massage parlours can stay open and even the Christmas markets are happening – that was the point when I thought, this is ridiculous.
So we have sent in an application to register as a place of worship.
Aspell, who opened the bar five years ago, said the application has been sent to the Registrar General in Nottingham for consideration.
From next week, The Church of Four Hundred Rabbits will be signing people up to its congregation through a new website.
While Aspell insists that his action is very much tongue-in-cheek it serves to “point out the hypocrisy” of the latest lockdown.
This time of year it’s usually all guns blazing but instead I’m sat at home putting my Christmas decorations up. We have no intention of opening unless the application is granted or when restrictions are lifted.
We’re not doing this to offend anybody or break any rules.
In a post on Facebook, 400 Rabbits said:
With places of worship allowed to open in all tiers we thought fuck it lets start a religion! Can’t be that hard can it! The Church of the 400 Rabbits’ launching as soon as we get the green light. Congregation daily til late. More deets coming soon!
Aspell said the response has been “overwhelmingly positive”, with one person branding the idea as “genius”
Another person commented:
The only religion I would get on board with. Hopes and prayers for your salvation and delicious drinks.
One woman added:
I will take a tequila baptism any day!