JS:TO: Nottingham counter-demo report
A group of 15 anti-anti-Springer demonstrators turned up last night at The Royal Centre Nottingham to face down around 100 Christian protestors. Included among the fifteen was a guy from the “Church Of The Militant Elvis” and a Maoist with a megaphone.
One participant, Roger Geowell, has posted in the comments below about his encounter with Stephen Green, the prominent Christian think tank:
I can confirm, having met the chump^H^H^H^H^H sorry I mean “chap” today in Nottingham while counter-protesting JS:TO that he indeed does not appear to think very much. He’s quite happy with “god did it” as an answer to almost anything.
Not only that, but he doesn’t listen either! He essentially comes across as a rather crap politician stuck in some kind of religious role, churning out lines like a stuck record.
Once the protest had died down and most of the Christians had gone home, a few of us remaining anti-censorship types ended up talking to him.
His debating tactic involved continually interrupting and talking over us (despite that, we still gave him time to speak), rubbishing plenty of things we said without any shred of evidence to the contrary, using logic along the lines of “evolution can’t explain the coloured feathers on a mallard duck, so therefore evolution is bogus” (despite us saying “we don’t claim to have all the answers, but your view is incredibly simplistic and seeks to stop the need to ask the question”).
In short, talking to him was an incredibly frustrating experience – largely because not only does he barely give you space to put your point of view across, he also doesn’t listen in the brief seconds you do manage to get a word in edgeways.
He makes good use of the “if I don’t acknowledge you have a point and just go lalalalala with my fingers in my ears, you can’t win” tactic, which back in the school playground was a surefire way to a sound beating.
In conclusion, I found him to be a rude and arrogant arsehole – far more arrogant and smug than any atheist I know of, even those with a reputation for smugness.
In contrast, most of the other Christians we spoke to were very polite and receptive to our side of the argument, once they’d realised that actually we random collection of anarchists / humanists / socialists were pretty decent folks, who were there to make a serious point against censorship and did in fact have brains on our shoulders.
I ended up having a friendly debate / chat with a couple of middle-aged Christian guys (Ken and Graham) who essentially wanted to apologise for the arrogant Christian Voice weirdos – kudos to them, we actually ended up seeing eye-to-eye on a fair few issues, and I could happily have gone for a drink down the pub with them (although I got the impression they didn’t drink).
Funniest thing was, while being talked at by Stephen Green, some random Christian passer by (not involved in the protest) came up to our little group and said (to Green) “Look mate, I’m a Christian too, but I agree with the anti-censorship lot. It’s not our place to pass judgement on others, it even says that in the Gospel.”
At which point Green started being a patronising arsehole to him too, pulling the “yes well I know which verse it is and you don’t so nyah” kind of playground superiority tactic, so I offered the passer by the warm hand of friendship on our side of the debate if he felt pushed out by those claiming to represent his views.
All in all, a very strange day. It’s not often you can have a friendly chat with the opposition in a protest, but with the exception of a few more hardline Christians (mostly older women giving us evil looks, it seemed, one of whom came and had a bit of a rant at us about how we wouldn’t be protesting against Muslims) I found the Christian protestors to be a fairly harmless, albeit slightly mislead bunch.
That even some of them seemed quite keen to distance themselves from the Christian Voice bunch is an encouraging thing indeed.
With the exception of Green, who I disengaged from as soon as I realised he wasn’t even going to let me speak, a few of the other Christians bid us a warm goodbye, shook our hands, thanked us for the chat and said “see you tomorrow then”.
See us tomorrow they will indeed – and hopefully the rest of the week too!