Thursday, 15 October 2009

Derry methodists try to ban city's Hallowe'en festival

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Every year, the city of Derry has a Hallowe'en carnival - it lasts two days, and as you can see from the website, there are " magic shows, movies and live music, and of course the spectacular carnival parade and jaw dropping fireworks over the River Foyle."

You're probably thinking that sounds like lots of fun, that it sounds like the perfect event for families to enjoy. You might even be thinking that, in a city that has unfortunately had its share of sectarian conflict, it's exactly the kind of event that all communities can get behind and have a good time.

But sadly, if you're thinking any of those things, you are in fact evil. Because Rev Jonathan Campbell of Newbuildings Independent Methodist Church in Derry says that the seemingly harmless celebrations "make evil look innocent". So Rev Campbell has launched an online petition against the carnival, on the grounds that Hallowe'en is "one of the two major days for Satanists" and "God's word clearly condemns and warns people about celebrating or glorifying Hallowe'en or the occult" (is Hallowe'en mentioned in the Bible?). The wording of the petition will, of course, explain all:
"In light of the warnings of scripture, we call upon [Derry City Council] to scrap the Carnival. It makes evil look innocent and glorifies that which the word of God strongly condemns. It encourages people to get involved in Satanism and brings a curse upon the city. Families are encouraged to be a part of the carnival. Little children are being led astray. We have heard reports of people having sex openly in the streets during and after the parade. These are the reasons why we cannot stand by and do nothing. As old Luther once said - 'Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.'"
If Rev Campbell fails in his mission to ban the residents of Derry from having some Hallowe'en fun, he can at least console himself with the fact that his actions have earned him a nomination for our coveted Bad Faith Award – a reader, Sid, left a comment on our nomination post earlier, so the Reverend will be in contention when voting commences later this year. We wish him the best of luck.

You can still get your nominations in for the Bad Faith Awards - leave a comment on this post.


Alistair Scott said...

Hmmmm ... the signatories to the petition appear to be significantly orthographically-challenged.

Visit the petition web site and click on the 'Signatures' tab.

Many of them, in their comments, have difficulty in spelling such words such as 'satan', 'witch' and 'wizard'.

Obviously not the brightest bunch of citizens in Derry.

SilverTiger said...

I think this is great. I love it when the over-achieving wing of a religious organization does something like this to make itself, and the organization that it represents, look utterly ridiculous.

Good for you, Rev Campbell, more like this, please! Can we perhaps look forward in due time to a sermon on the "real meaning of Christmas"? I'm sure it will be a stonker.

Actually, I'm not at all sure that "bad faith" is what the Rev Campbell is demonstrating. Bad faith is when people make a stand that they know is erroneous but insist on doing so hypocritically. In the case of the Rev. Campbell, I have no doubt that he is utterly sincere in his convictions. In that case, an accusation of "bad faith" misses the mark. Perhaps "culpable naivety" expresses it better.

I am not nominating anyone for the Bad Faith Award. There is just too much choice in all walks of public life.

AT said...

The Reverend's not actually all that extreme in his opinion. Halloween's routinely condemned by conservative Christians, and in the US I went to school with a good percentage of kids who didn't celebrate it because their parents considered it 'Satan's holiday'. It's got nothing to do with the Bible; it's one of those great mixtures of puritan Christianity and paganism, doubly cool because they tend towards the fun (Christmas morning, trick or treating) and inspire the occasional entertaining ill-informed backlash.

So in a way, it's good news for Derry - instead of getting into the news for sectarian hate, they're getting into the news for routine Protestant hate. Party on.

SgtSkepper said...

By the bye, at the risk of missing something stultifyingly obvious, what's the other biggest day for satanists?

Russ Painter said...

> ... what's the other biggest day for satanists?

I'm guessing "Burn Your Baby Tuesday". They then donate the ashes to the Catholics for use on "Ash Wednesday".

Reverend said...

There is a an interesting (and certainly tongue-in-cheek) counter-petition here :

On the grounds that Mr. Campbell’s petition is illegal under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Word of God is not enforceable under UK law, but thankfully the Human Rights Act is.

Reverend said...

Apologies, my link got truncated somehow - last part should of course read "index.html"