Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Apparently, this is what passes for "thought"

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

Last month, to what you might call minor media interest, Channel 4 launched 4Thought.tv, a daily five-minute religious slot that was mooted as a TV version of Thought for the Day. We were even told that the "films will give voice to a plethora of beliefs and opinions", with the implication that 4Thought.tv would draw on a more varied crop of metaphysical ponderers than Thought for the Day, with even – shock of all shocks – atheists welcome to contribute.

So far, the slot seems to have delivered what was promised, with the few I've seen featuring Christians, Muslims and, yes, even atheists, but to be honest it only really piqued my interest when I heard that Stephen Green of Christian "Lone" Voice (now, as you can see, shorn of beard) was set to appear. What were Channel 4 thinking? (Except, perhaps, that lots of outraged people would blog about it and drive viewers to their online viewing service by linking to it, as I am about to do.)

Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to the subject Green chose to hold forth on for his five minutes of shame? I'll give you a clue – he seems to spend every waking hour thinking about it. Yes, that's right, homosexuality. I don't know if you've noticed, but he's not a fan. And he manages to combine this with his other bĂȘtes noires – Islam. He was on last night – you can watch it on YouTube, if you can stomach it, but here are some sample lines:
"Anyone who says that homosexual activity isn't prohibited in the pages of the Bible is having a laugh."

"I'm Stephen Green, I'm national director of Christian Voice, which is a Christian lobby group."

"Homosexuals can never be one flesh, so they have to press into, like, sexual duty parts of the body that aren't designed for that."

"There is something inherently destructive about the homosexual lifestyle."

"We are seeing a homosexualisation of society, but not reproducing ourselves except in the Muslim population."

"In 30 years our dying civilisation is going to be taken over by a stronger one and the obvious candidate is Islam and the gays aren’t going to like it much living under that system."
So there you have it – in 30 years, there's going to be a big war between The Gays and The Muslims, or something. This, apparently, is what passes for "thought". Well done, Channel 4. I think we're all diminished by the fact that this was on TV last night, but I feel I'd be more annoyed if I was a Christian. Once again Stephen Green, who represents the most minor, bigoted and embittered section of Christianity in this country (if indeed he represents anyone, other than his own fixations), has been allowed by a national media outlet to present himself as a spokesperson for a significant number of British Christians. Look at the words he uses in his introduction – he calls himself the "national director of Christian Voice", which makes his organisation sound like a large national network, and describes it as a "Christian lobby group", as though it lobbies on behalf of Christians in the UK, rather than a tiny, obsessively homophobic, extremist minority. I think this is the worst aspect – I'm familiar with Christian Voice through doing this job, but I doubt most people would have a clue what it is, unless they're fans of Stewart Lee and followed the ludicrous campaign against Jerry Springer the Opera. Therefore, when they see this man pop up on national TV saying he lobbies on behalf of Christianity, they might think the version of Christianity he goes on to espouse is in some way representative of the majority. If TV and radio stations insist on handing this man a soapbox, they should at least make it clear that he speaks for very few people other than himself.

You can probably tell by the length at which I've gone on that this is a particular source of annoyance to me. Please feel free to join me in this in the comments.
blog comments powered by Disqus