Yet another pressure group

A new religious pressure group has sprung up in the wake of the BBC’s JS:TO controversy. Their website went live yesterday, on the same day that their spokesman made an appearance on Radio 5 Live with Victoria Derbyshire. The Christian Congress of Traditional Values (CCTV – do you see what they’ve done there?) appears to be run by right-wing fundamentalist “Bishop” Michael Reid of the notorious Peniel Pentecostal Church.

CCTV is based on two rather dubious premises. First, it aims

to protest at the corporation’s intention to “push back the boundaries of taste and decency”

Vigilant readers will recognise this catchphrase as one which has been magically following John Beyer around for years – as documented by Manic at Bloggerheads recently. It appears that no one at the BBC has ever actually said this, but that hasn’t detered CCTV from sending a letter to the Director General asking him to withdraw the statement.

The second dubious premise is that because 72% of respondents to the National Census ticked the box marked “Christian”, therefore 72% of the UK’s population are Christian (actually, only about 18% of the population are practising members of an organised religion). In contrast,

A powerful BBC elite which seems to be unaccountable to the people it is required to serve – the licence-payers – has declared its intention to impose its values on society and that means mocking and ridiculing values which are cultural traditions.

You may remember Peniel Pentecostal Church. Values espoused by Michael Reid reportedly include: unemployed Christians should be allowed to starve, homosexuals are “filthy perverts”, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are “vile” and “foul heathens”. They have been in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority over their adverts claiming miracle cures, and even resurrections. Members were accused of infiltrating the local Brentwood and Ongar Conservative Party, prompting Martin Bell to contest the seat in 2001. And legal action has been brought against them by former members for “undue influence”, although accusations that it is a cult are always strenuously denied, so it can’t be a cult. Oh, no, definitely not.

My favourite quote from the site is this Orwellian leap of logic:

We stand for freedom of speech. We don’t use bullying tactics and are fiercely opposed to censorship. Freedom of speech means listening to the 55,000 licence-payers who objected to the Jerry Springer broadcast.

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to The Christian Congress for Traditional Values!

UPDATE: There’s a Times piece about this group today with quotes from its founder Garry Selfridge

UPDATE: Interesting analysis of CCTV by Nick Barlow.

UPDATE: More on Michael Reid at Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion

7 Responses to “Yet another pressure group”

  1. […] media in Britain are leading the nation into sin.

    Read the Times report and an item on MWW, a website dedicated to tracking these media pressure groups.

    [Peniel Church, some […]

  2. Bloggerheads says:

    Do not disturb

    Shhh! I’m busy negotiating, planning, building and animating. Have a quick linkdump: Terror Bill: Taking liberties Ice cream! It softens the blow of not making this list. Auntie breathes a sigh of relief Watch him! Take a survey. Ski your…

  3. Monitor says:

    Thanks, Joe. I think I’ve fixed it now.

  4. Bartholomew says:

    Does anyone else remember that weird Channel 4 documentary about Reid from (I think) 1998? Reid hired an actor who pretended to be from the government and who tried to warn the documentary-makers off on grounds of national security. Of course, they filmed him secretly, challenged him on his identity, and got more evidence that Reid is dodgy than they could have ever hoped for…

  5. Monitor says:

    I do not remember that documentary, but it sounds great. I’m trying desperately to find out more details about it. Unsuccessfully, so far.

  6. Monitor says:

    Think I’ve tracked that documentary down. It was broadcast in Dec 98 on Channel 4, part of the Joe Public series. It was called Congregation, and was nominated for a Royal Television Society award for current affairs.