Thursday, 29 November 2007

Catholic commentator Christina Odone in row over carol service speech

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Catholic journalist Christina Odone has pulled out of speaking at the Royal Commonwealth Society's annual carol service after her speech was rejected for being too polemical.

Odone, who regularly bemoans the "persecution" of the religious in British society (see our July editorial), had penned a speech on what she sees as the hostility shown towards those wishing to express their religion in Britain, claiming that "in a culture increasingly hostile to God and his followers, expressions of faith have become taboo". She had been asked to speak about "opportunities for all", and told that her speech could be "political and controversial".

Stuart Mole, the director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, told Odone the speech would not be suitable for the carol service, saying it was necessary to consider those of little or no faith who nevertheless might wish to turn up and hear a few carols. Instead Odone was asked to read a passage by Bertrand Russell, and needless to say she refused and pulled out of the event.

All this led to a heated exchange between Odone and Mole on this morning's Today programme, which you can listen to here (skip 20 minutes into the audio clip).

Also, if you do listen to the Today clip, let it run on after Odone to hear one of the least insightful pieces of sporting analysis you're likely to come across. A Professor Tom Cannon from the University of Buckingham's business school has "worked out" the four measures of success for judging who should become the next England football manager, a theory which basically boils down to "have they been successful in the past?" Thanks for that Prof.