Archive for September, 2005

Green given rough ride on Question Time

He may have seen it as a huge opportunity to bring the word of God to the nation but, in the event, Stephen Green’s stuttering, lip-licking, and frequently incoherent performance on BBC’s Question Time did more to undermine the credibility of Christian Voice than a hundred protesting pickets.

Laughed at by the audience, berated by Simon Hughes, disdained by Dimblebly, and openly mocked by Janet Street Porter, you would have almost felt sorry for him – if you didn’t know him, or had missed his latest press release entitled Purity Comes to New Orleans.

When he wasn’t inducing groans with his bible quoting, his contributions ranged from the nonsensical to the banal. As Tim at bloggerheads notes, he seems to believe that freedom of speech only applies when you’re criticising the government. Luckily for him, there were no questions which allowed him to exhibit the full extent of his ignorant bigotry. Homosexuality and Charles Darwin were conspicuously absent. Pity.

There was a demonstration outside the Corn Exchange in Brighton by local gay rights activists prior to the recording. And, according to Ekklesia, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, Rev David Peel, also spoke out in protest, saying

Christian Voice has the right to express its extreme views, but it is as representative of Christian opinion in Britain as the Monster Raving Loony Party would be of mainstream political parties – and far less entertaining.

It is unlikely that Mr Green will be invited back.

You can hear/see the whole thing again here (sans the lip-licking).

Double publicity coup for CV

The GALHA blog has a copy of the letter which Stephen Green of Christian Voice is sending out to supporters. He is appearing on BBC’s Question Time on Thursday 29th Sept – “a sign that we are being taken seriously by the establishment,” he believes.

This is a huge opportunity, and I do not want to let my Saviour down. I want to bring out the word of God, not just my opinions.

As we have pointed out before, there is a suspicious lack of difference between Green’s opinions and his interpretation of the Word of God. They are, in fact, one and the same. That’s the problem. Sane people have their own opinions. Stephen Green thinks he has God’s.

He asks readers to forward the email “to Christian friends only” and, of course, to pray.

It is OK, by the way, to pray when it is being transmitted. God is way ahead of you and knows your prayer and will answer it before you pray it. Is He not mighty?

Don’t laugh. It’s not funny.

Another sign that that CV are being taken seriously by the establishment is a cameo appearance in this month’s Viz comic. Terry Fuckwit ( “the unintelligent cartoon character”) is looking for a partner, so he goes to Club Cretinus, Britain’s No 1 dating agency for unintelligent people (“Let us find the gormless twat of your dreams”).

Here he is in their office, not having much success. But who’s that on the computer screen?

(Thanks to Adam Bowman for the heads up)

MCB not consulted

The BBC has more quotes from both the artist and the MCB on the Tate’s decision not to display “God is Great” (see below).

Apparently, the MCB felt a little bit left out of the decision-making process. Poor darlings:

We would have preferred to have been consulted by Tate Britain before the decision was taken to remove John Latham’s piece.

Sometimes presumptions are incorrectly made about what is unacceptable to Muslims and this can be counter-productive.

Come to think of it, MWW would have preferred to have been consulted by the BBC before the decision was taken to ask the self-important clowns* of the MCB for their opinion about anything. Don’t they realise how important and representative of our community we are?

*Bloggers and webmasters: feel free to join in.

(Tipped from Butterflies and Wheels, where Ophelia is in raging good form.)

Timorous Tate

godisgreatThe Observer reports that the Tate Gallery has chickened out of displaying a work which consists of a sheet of thick glass with copies of the Koran, the Bible, and the Torah embedded within its surface. The work is entitled “God is Great”.

Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain, made the decision “in the light of events in London in July”:

It was a very difficult decision,but we made it due to the exceptional circumstances of this summer and in the light of opinions that we value regarding religious sensitivities.

The artist John Latham is furious. He has called the Tate “cowards” and wants his work returned to him. Civil rights group Liberty are also concerned.

There were no protests from any religious group. The decision was the gallery’s alone.

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, understands:

if the art gallery itself felt the display of the divine and holy books in such a manner would be deeply offensive to the believers of the three religions and therefore withdrew it, then I respect their decision.

(Thanks to Adam Tjaavk)

Christians unite against Bill

The Evangelical Alliance has called for a massive rally against the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred legislation.

Parliament Square, Tuesday 11 Oct is the venue for the protest. The Rev Joel Williams, director of the Evangelical Alliance, says:

We continue to oppose this Bill as a matter of principle because it affects the freedom of speech of every UK citizen. We are committed to defending religious liberty and precious freedoms like free speech. This protest is about pulling people together to be a united voice in opposition to this proposed law.

Their motives may be questionable, and they waste an awful lot of time praying, but if the rally has any chance at all of preventing this potentially disastrous piece of legislation from getting through parliament, MWW wishes them godspeed.

Trouble in Milton Keynes

Local reactions to the resurrected JS:TO tour have begun, with Milton Keynes councillors being the first to stick their heads above the parapet with public displays of aggrieved piety. According to MK Today, liberal democrat councillor Isabella Fraser says,

As a committed Christian I would not be in favour of it. I think we have laws to protect religions from being slandered and they should apply to all religions.

Not very well informed then…

Conservative councillor Andrew Geary agrees:

I always found the whole think reproachable and thoroughly offensive and I am disappointed it is coming to Milton Keynes Theatre. I would love to see it banned, but we live in a secular society and there’s very little I can do about it.

Stewart Lee comments:

Jerry Springer the Opera was developed on public money in public spaces and belongs to the nation, whether the nation wants it or not.

Bowdlerising Blockbusters

A funny article in yesterday’s Independent delves into the world of Clearplay and Cleanflicks – two American companies devoted to renting out “cleaned-up” DVDs of otherwise biblically-unacceptable Hollywood films.

What are decent-minded middle-American Christian conservatives to do if they abhor sex, bad language, illicit drug use and gut-spilling violence but still have an urge to see Saving Private Ryan? Or Goodfellas? Or The Amityville Horror? The beginnings of an answer came a few years ago with the advent of CleanFlicks, a kitchen-sized Utah company that decided to offer videos and DVD for rental – after they had been edited to remove all content likely to be offensive to the local Mormon population.

Some of the films they rent turn out to be quite short. You’ll have to read the whole article, because there’s too much to condense in this small space. But we should point out that John Beyer would almost certainly disagree with this form of censorship, because it would permit adults to make their own choices about what to watch. As his latest comment on Mediawatch-UK (on the issue of mobile phone porn) confirms, there is only one solution:

The complete answer to this problem is to strengthen the law against pornography so that much of the imagery that is now available becomes illegal in line with Parliament’s intention in the 1959 Obscene Publications Act

Because, as we all know, if you criminalise something, it just disappears.

But back to the DVD tamperers. MWW was interested in finding out if a Christian ex-porn addict would be able to rent “cleaned-up” hardcore movies from them, featuring the likes of Jenna Jameson and Jill Kelly not “in action” per se, but rather speaking the lines that drive on the plot of your average adult feature. Their response:

We do not clean up any of these types of movies.

Thank you


Hensher on Green

Philip Hensher has an amusing opinion piece in The Independent (unfortunately, a “portfolio” article – you have to pay for it) making fun of “the incorrigible self-publicist from Carmarthen”, Stephen Green.

Hensher expounds on the issue of “taking offence”, and concludes,

What we should be doing, and what Mr Green, the promoters of the Religious Hatred Bill, and all other forces now cheerfully threatening our liberty should be doing is not looking around for causes of offence, and deciding which of them cause us, personally, offence. We should just accept, as most of us have, that we live in a big complicated world; not everyone is like us, not everyone holds, or should hold, the same beliefs that we do; and from time to time we will prefer to avert our eyes or close our ears.

Fine words. Stephen Fry said the same thing rather more pithily in a debate about religious censorship at this year’s Hay-on-Wye festival: “You’re offended? So fucking what?”

More on JS:TO resurrection

The Stage has the most comprehensive coverage of the reborn Springer tour. The major players in the rescue operation were the Birmingham Hippodrome, His Majesty’s in Aberdeen, and the Plymouth Theatre Royal, which have agreed to cover the £150,000 marketing costs lost when the Arts Council dropped the project.

Stuart Griffiths, director of the Hippodrome:

The fact that regional theatre has responded so positively illustrates its support for new musical theatre and freedom of expression. I know that the audiences of Birmingham will be keen to make up their own minds after [the show] has provoked such a debate.

The creative team has also offered to defer their royalties for the tour. Stewart Lee has the last word:

If people become too frightened to put on a show like this, what are we meant to do as artists? Are we are doomed to put on pantomimes and bad rock musicals forever?

Christian Voice “almost ready” for blasphemy prosecution

One of the few interesting things about Stephen Green’s latest impotent rant against “The triumphalism of Avalon” (the producers of JS:TO) is the revelation that

we are almost ready to issue proceedings for blasphemy on Avalon and the BBC, so the timing of Avalon’s announcement is interesting, to say the least.

[rubs hands in delight]