Archive for January, 2005

Green doesn’t save Soul

The latest email circular from Christian Voice confirms Joe’s report in the comment below that the Cambridge Theatre vigils are very poorly attended.

Seven turned out on Friday night, four on Saturday night, and on Saturday afternoon Stephen Green was on his own:

I stood alone on Saturday afternoon, wondering if I was the only man in London who thought it was all worth the trouble, when David Soul, who plays Jerry Springer, walked up and briefly introduced himself. No, I didn’t ask for his autograph, and no, there was no time to share the Gospel with him. But who knows what will happen this coming Saturday afternoon.

Green appears to hold high hopes for the Feb 19th performance: “final night, big rally”. It doesn’t seem likely.

Could it be that what we once regarded as a dangerously resurgent group of militant fundamentalists are in reality just a tiny, ineffectual group of idiots who got their 15 minutes of notoriety by making the stupid mistake of posting BBC producers’ contact details on their website (and immediately regretting it)? It certainly seems that way.

I’ll keep watching them, though. Not because they’re dangerous. Because they’re funny.

Beyer on Wogan

Unbelievably, The Daily Mail neglected to consult Mediawatch-UK’s John Beyer when the news broke that Terry Wogan’s Radio 2 breakfast show had set a new record by pulling in over 8 million listeners. It is only thanks to The Scotsman that we have a record of moral crusader’s views.

“There’s a great renaissance in radio. A lot of people are tired of what’s on TV and are seeking more wholesome entertainment on the radio,” he said.

Apparently he has never heard Jonathan Ross of a Saturday morning, with all his sex and poo jokes.

“The last episode of Wife Swap wasn’t very edifying and I think we’ve had enough of all the cookery, lifestyle, gardening make-over programmes on TV.

“People like what’s familiar and Terry Wogan is familiar. If you turn on his radio programme, you know what you are going to get – a mix of talk, laughter and music. It’s all very light hearted and early in the morning that’s what a lot of people want.

Surely if familiarity is such a plus, then we should be glad of all the light-hearted cookery, lifestyle, and gardening make-over programmes on TV? You turn it on, you know what you are going to get…

God tells Stephen Green: “Hold vigil outside theatre”

Fundamentalist action group Christian Voice are to hold weekly vigils outside the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden, starting tomorrow (Friday 28 Jan).
Stephen Green
In an email circulated to Christian Voice supporters, Stephen Green says he is “burdened by the need to protest and evangelise at the theatre”, and claims “God has told me clearly to make a decision”.

During the vigils, CV supporters will “pray – and pledge – that [the show] will not reopen anwhere else in the UK”. That’s quite a pledge.

Stevie also mentions that “papers are being prepared right now” regarding CV’s criminal action for blasphemy against the BBC and the Cambridge Theatre.

Will keep you posted as things develop.

Paisley Jnr backs Christian Institute

Ian Paisley Jr, DUP Assemblyman and carbon-copy clone of his father, further demonstrated his talent for mimickry by parroting the words of the Christian Institute director Colin Hart. In his declaration of support for the CI’s High Court action, Junior said:

It is inconceivable that the BBC would broadcast a show that abused the prophet Mohammed or Guru Nanak in the same way.

and added

Genuine religious debate and criticism is one thing, but this show is an offensive, spiteful, systematic mockery and wilful denigration of Christian belief.


It remains to be seen what impact Ian “Pretty Polly” Paisley’s endorsement will have on the action.

Springer “wouldn’t have written” JS:TO

Jerry Springer has spoken out about the BBC’s broadcasting of JS:TO. His actual criticism of the show seems fairly mild, but different news sources will put their own spin on it:

I wouldn’t have written it. I don’t believe in making fun of other religions

Haven’t seen the Tory press yet, but we can safely assume that the verb “slam” appears in a few headlines.

Asked if he thought the BBC should have broadcast it, he replied:

I don’t know if they should have had it on television but, good Lord, if you don’t like what’s on television, that’s why God gave us remote controls.

Interestingly, Murdoch-owned Sky Showbiz doesn’t mention these divinely-provided remotes, reporting blankly that his answer to the question was “Perhaps not.”

It is widely believed that Springer intends to make a return to politics in 2006.

UPDATE: The Sun’s report interprets Springer’s answer thus:

Springer said the West End hit, in which a nappy-clad Jesus admits he’s “a bit gay”, probably should not have been shown on television.

Again, no mention of the remote control comment; and “perhaps” has been upgraded to “probably”.

UPATE: A more detailed transcription of what Springer actually said is available at Monsters & Critics.

Rockall Times Mediawatch-UK spoof

Somewhat belatedly noticed this fairly amusing piece in The Rockall Times, dated Jan 17th.

The Government has announced plans to ban Mediawatch after the BBC aired graphic scenes of its members engaged in a highly inappropriate group activity outside Television Centre on Saturday night. Only days after a Tsunami killed over 160,000,000 innocent people and wrecked billions of other lives, members of Mediawatch were pictured shamelessly professing their faith in an omnipotent god who “loves mankind”.

Butterflies and Wheels

Excellent points made by Ophelia Benson over at Butterflies and Wheels about who deserves legal protection from having their beliefs offended.

Which religions, for instance, get to kick up a fuss and be listened to when some of their adherents are ‘offended,’ and which don’t? Scientology? Aum Shinrikyo? Branch Davidians? And then how do you draw the line between religions and other beliefs? Which imaginary or supernatural or metaphysical beings get to be protected from offensive comments and which don’t? What about Frodo? Spock? Yosemite Sam? ET? What are the criteria? And what are the reasons for the criteria, if and when there are any criteria? A belief is entitled to protection provided it is based purely on fantasy and wishful thinking, but if it is based on evidence then it must take care of itself? Is that the idea? Or is it only some kinds of fantasy and not other kinds. But if so, why? How exactly is that justified?

One commenter seemed to hit the nail on the head:

I think the government have already hinted at the answer. The more violent the reaction to the offending remark, the more entitled to protection the sacred belief is.

If, as seems to be the case, the BBC did indeed breach their charter by broadcasting JS:TO, the charter almost certainly has to be changed.

Cathedral fundraiser protestors largely ignored

Chelmsford Cathedral’s tsunami fundraiser was a sellout success, raising £15,000 for the relief effort, according to The East Anglian Daily Times. But a group from Dagenham parish church protested nevertheless, because the choir included two members of the cast of Jerry Springer: The Opera.

No mention of Stephen Green, who issued a press release about the fundraiser last week on the Christian Voice website. In his usual colorful language, Green described the performers as “a group of foul mouthed reprobates” and declared

To allow those who let obscenity come out of their mouth every night and are partakers in a mockery of our Saviour to perform in Chelmsford Cathedral  as if butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths is as much a deliberate insult to the Christian Community as the broadcast of ‘Springer’ on BBC2 was. 

I recommend you read the realease in its entirety if you need cheering up on this most depressing day of the year. It’s a masterpiece of impotent rage!

Doing my solemn duty…

…to the ideals of freedom, democracy, and empty rhetoric.

Onward Christian spammers

Adrian Warnock, an evangelical blogger who took part in the anti-JS:TO email campaign and a great believer in the “power of the blog”, wrote in his pre-transmission complaint to Ofcom

As a psychiatrist I am particularly concerned at the present time about the effects that watching this programme might have on someone with a belief in the real existence of hell who is currently greiving

Without wishing to denigrate the grieving (and leaving aside his ethically dubious use of the tsunami disaster to make his point), I have to say that his concern about the psychological effects of a TV show upon people with a belief in the “real existence of hell” brings to mind the image of an open stable door and a bolting horse.

In addition to this, he gets quite worked up about what he saw as a “cynical stock response” from the BBC to his complaint – one of around 45,000, a large number of which were no doubt cynical stock complaints. But he doesn’t mention that. Instead, without even a hint of irony, he exhorts his readers: “Let’s bombard them with the following email:

I heard from that you are replying to complaints about the Jerry Springer Opera with a standard e-mail. Consider yourself Blog swarmed.

Blog swarmed? A self-regarding Christian soldier drunk on the “power of blog” might like to think of himself as a “blog swarmer”.To those of us in the reality-based community he’s just another damned spammer.