Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Monday, 3 December 2007

The Christian Who Was Banned From Speaking In Church

OK, it’s time to move on from Donorgate for a while. Let’s watch justice take its usual majestic course, unencumbered and unmolested but, of course, fully supported by the political forces of the day (Hah !)

Instead let’s talk about something else that’s going on in this country which I believe we should be concerned about. It’s about the closing down of serious debate and the ever-increasing aversion of those in positions of influence to allow or facilitate controversy.

When Cristina Odone, Roman Catholic commentator, was invited to speak at a carol service hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society, she decided to talk about the ways in which it is getting harder for religious followers to express their allegiance. Her words, which were actually designed to illustrate that all religions suffer in this way, have been banned by Stuart Mole, the director-general of the society, who told her the script was not acceptable. He said it did not fit in with the overall theme of the readings, adding: "We also need to be mindful of the congregation, which will probably include quite a few drawn by the occasion and by the carols but who do not hold a deep (or even a shallow) faith."

I beg your pardon ? You can’t talk about religion at a carol service ? That’s insane. A carol service is, by its nature, a religious event. People who can’t stand religion, or Christianity, or Christmas, needn’t go. And those that do have no cause for complaint if they don’t like what they hear.

Ironically, the theme of this carol service was deemed to be “opportunities for all”. Opportunities for all, it appears, as long as they’re prepared to conform to the banal, secular celebration of Christmas that so many Christians understandably abhor.

Quite apart from rather neatly proving Cristina Odone’s point for her, this nitwit from the Royal Commonwealth Society has touched a raw nerve belonging to those of us who believe that freedom of speech is under serious threat. Her talk was deemed “inappropriate” because, it seems, there was a concern that some people present would not have agreed with it. The natural conclusion is that it is only permissible to preach to the converted, and you must never say anything which might offend anybody. We are seriously reaching the point where “causing offence” is at best a non-option and at worst a criminal activity.

It’s time people stood up to this nonsense and explained to those in charge around here that offence is in the eye of the beholder. We really have to get away from the idea that offence is necessarily a bad thing. Because if we don’t, the consequences for freedom of expression in this country are dire.


Shades said...

You might be interested in this news if you haven't seen it yet...

Womble On Tour said...

I hadn't seen it, but it looks interesting. A genuinely libertarian party is just what we need. Could do without the references to the 4 nations of Britain though...

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Great Blog.
Are you On Facebook. If so, pls. feel free to join my Margate FC group.

It was nice to see Dickie Guy last season at your place.