United Kingdom: Perhaps if Woolies had not bowed to fundie pressure, and refused to sell things people want to buy, they might not have been in this mess now.
England: A court has ruled that Jerry Springer: the Opera is not blasphemous, a move that has hopefully cost Stephen "Dogshit" Green a small fortune.
Springer opera court fight fails—BBC News, 5th December 2007.
Six months ago, you decided to cave in to fundamentalist religious bampots and remove the DVD of Jerry Springer: The Opera from sale in your stores. As a result I signed a pledge that I would not shop at your stores, nor those of the equally lily-livered Woolworth for a period of six months. At that time, Sainsbury's was the household's regular supermarket and we spent quite a bit of cash there. Now that the six months are up, how has it been?Continue reading "Dear Sainsbury's,"
United Kingdom: Steve Chaloner has set up a second PledgeBank pledge relating to Jerry Springer: the Opera—one that will appeal more to people who don't fancy confronting the managers of their local Sainsbury and Woolworth stores. This one reads:
I will boycott Sainsburys and Woolworths for 6 months due to their banning of DVDs due to religious pressure. but only if 10 other people will too.
I've signed this one, along with 52 others. As the original ban was based on between 10 and 20 complaints (probably nearer 10), that's rather a lot of business lost, and probably none gained.
I will boycott Sainsburys and Woolworths for 6 months—PledgeBank, 8th December 2005.
United Kingdom: The BBC has cottoned on to the stushie over Jerry Springer: the Opera, and an article on BBC News Magazine covers the response of bloggers to the withdrawal of the DVD from two major retailers. Scroll down, and see where the link reading 'pagans' leads to. (thank you , tjc).
In the meantime, if you have the confidence, a pledge set up by Dean Wilson might interest you:
I will tell the manager of both my local Sainsburys and Woolworths, in person, and in a civilised manner what I think of the decision to bow to complaints from Christian fundamentalists concerning the sale of the Jerry Springer DVD (re: http://tinyurl.co.uk/qjel) but only if 10 other people will too.
The pledge has already reached its target, but you may still sign it up until the 20th December.
Merry Hell—BBC News Magazine, 8th December 2005.
United Kingdom: It seems that I am not the only person who has decided not to spend money with businesses that cave in to pressure from barking mad fundies and is willing to write about it.
Manic at Bloggerheads has some updates, including a quote from Steve Green that indicates that he was, indeed, the loony fundie in question, though there is still nothing on the Christian Voice website. The article also provides links to buy Jerry Springer: the Opera online from Tesco or Asda, and a suggested compromise for the supermarkets.
Justin at Chicken Yoghurt also has a long article detailing his decision to boycott the stores, and encourage his friends and family to do so. He also makes an uncomfortable comparison:
So who's going to bring Stephen Green and his grotty little fundamentalist band to heel? Should it be down to the Christian community just as the Muslim community have been urged to rein in their own fundamentalists? Regardless of whether they're involved or even care? If you're in the club don't you bear some reponsibility for the conduct of the other members?
Shouldn't we get Prince Charles to announce thatevery true Christianshould root out the extremists and declare thatsome may think this cause is Christianity. It is anything but. It is a perversion of traditional Christianity? Or are such exhortations addressed beyond the pale?
I don't mean to equate Stephen Green and his fundamentalists with Muslim terrorists. Oh, hang on, I do. Green and his ilk have taken the message of Christianity, twisted it, and are now attempting to force their own morality and values on the rest of us by use of threats and blackmail. And with every little victory they'll swell a little more and look for another challenge. Once this battle's won, there'll be another, and their cry go up,Remember Jerry Springer!
The comments thread attached to the original article at MediaWatchWatch is also well worth reading.
For reference, here are a couple of links to where you can buy the DVD in the UK. Note that I'm not an Amazon affiliate:
The Jerry Springer DVD saga continues—Bloggerheads UK, 6th December 2005; Putting the fundament in fundamentalism—Chicken Yoghurt, 5th December 2005; Woolworths, Sainsbury remove Springer DVD—MediaWatchWatch, 4th December 2005.
United Kingdom: Two major retail chains have bowed to pressure from a tiny "Christian" group and stopped selling DVDs of Jerry Springer: the Opera
Woolworths and Sainsbury have both taken the unprecedented step of removing the film from shelves because ofcustomerconcerns about the content of the musical, released three weeks ago. Sainsbury has admitted it received just 10 complaints.
Presuming this is the miniscule Christian Voice, it seems that Steve Green now wants to control what you can watch in the comfort of your own home as well as what you can see on the telly.
This is not the first time the Sainsbury supermarket has found itself in league with barking mad fundies. Back in the 1980s, the wealthy Sainsbury family, which owns the chain, gave money to Derry Knight, a con man convicted in April 1986, who claimed to have escaped an elite Satanic group led by Willie Whitelaw, a senior government minister at the time.
Knight gained entrée into a circle of determined anti-Satanists who gave him several hundred thousand pounds to fund his campaign to bring others into the light. Contributors included the enormously rich family which owns Britain's Sainsbury's supermarket chain, and other wealthy supporters of the Charismatic movement. One of the most prominent was the wife of Timothy Sainsbury, the Conservative MP and anti-pornography campaigner. She claimed to have experienced the gifts of prophecy and glossolaliaat a Bible meeting for parliamentary wives at the House of Commons.
Stores bow to Christians and ban Jerry Springer DVD—The Independent on Sunday, 4th December 2005. (via MediaWatchWatch); Prof. Dr. Philip Jenkins, "The New Witch-Hunt: Evangelical Christians and the Invention of the Satanic Threat"—Millenium: Fear and Religion (IV Conference of the Sociedad Española de Ciencias de las Religiones), 3rd-6th February 2000. See also Jenkins' Intimate Enemies: Moral Panics in Contemporary Great Britain, 1992.
United Kingdom: New laws against incitement to religious hatred have received strong criticism, some of it hypocritical. The Racial and Religious Hated Bill would create make incitement to religious hatred an offence, but the definition includes words and behaviour which is likely to stir up religious hatred too.
Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris is concerned that the plans will stifle freedom of expression, and that it is too broad a measure for dealing with what is essentially race hatred. He has put forward an amendment to the Bill with narrows its remit to specifically to outlaw
reference to a religion or religious belief or to a person's membership or presumed membership of a religious group as a pretext for stirring up racial hatred against a racial group. The amendment as written makes no provision for dealing with sectarianism - which is analogous to racism as it is really hatred of somone on the basis of the perceived religious beliefs of their parents.
The Conservatives are expected to support this amendment, although their reasons for opposing the legislation are different - it would prevent fundies from lying about minority faiths! Conservative shadow Home Secretary David Davis started off well enough when he pointed out that law would
seriously undermine freedom of speech and be
massively counter-productive. But he then noted:
Whilst this new law would technically prevent what many people may regard as reasonable criticism of devil worshippers and religious cults.
And presumably prevent reasonable criticism of barking mad fundies who use their religion as an excuse to spread hatred about minority faiths, pooves etc.Continue reading "Thou shalt not bear false witness, for it is the law."
United Kingdom: The organisation formerly known as the National Viewers and Listeners Association neglected to register the obvious choice of domain name when they changed their name. So, MediaWatch UK might not be quite what you were expecting:
MediaWatch-UK is a collective of grumpy old men and frumpy old women singularly dedicated to spoiling the fun of the rest of the British population. Please take time to browse through our site and read about our campaigns. For members of the bigoted right wing press who are having trouble making up enough anti-gypsy and anti-asylum seeker stories to fill their pages, our press page contains a wide range of outraged and reactionary stories that you can seize on to.
This service is open to Sun journalists as well, if that is, they can get over the moral duplicity of complaining about the filth on TV in their editorials whilst simultaneously exploiting images of topless females on their pages every day to sell more papers.
They are not the only collection of barking mad fundie killjoys to be spoofed, either. Take a peek at Anti-Christian Voice, which closely parodies the site of Stephen Green, the lone loon who campaigns against Jerry Springer, the Opera.
Both these links were discovered via MediaWatch Watch a laudable site which keeps its eye on those organisations who try to restrict freedom of expression because their imaginary friend is upset about it.
Roz Kaveney remembered to watch Jerry Springer - The Opera and made a few pertinant observations in her LiveJournal. First she notes the despicable behaviour of the alleged Christians protesting about the show:
My reaction to 'Jerry Springer the Musical' was what I thought instantly when very tired. However, I am now angry because of the death threats against television executives and the proposed blasphemy prosecution. One of the reasons for my anger is that the Evangelical Christians are lying again - they claimed 8000 swear words by counting every individual chorus members' every individual curse, for one thing. For another, they claimed that Jesus was represented as a coprophiliac baby fetishist, whereas the truth is that the same actor plays both parts, and the nappy for the one becomes the loin cloth for the other. There is no more identity between the characters claimed than there is when the actor who plays the bisexual multiple adulterer turns up as God the Father. This is known as bearing false witness against your neighbour - when it results in death threats after posting peoples' home addresses alongside lies, it becomes incitement.
The site should be prosecuted, but it won't be.
Then follows an intersting analysis of the show, and how it could be read as a positive religious statement:
There is a more interesting reading which shows us the dysfunctional people who go on the Springer show and suggests that the characters of Christian mythology are not as unlike them as all that. And it does not say so entirely in a ' there is something of God in all of us' idealistic way - it is saying that, viewed objectively, the power struggles of God and Satan, and the treatment of Adam and Eve, and even the decision of Jesus to leave his mother to her fate because of the overpowering demands of his mission, are as dysfunctional as adultery, fetishism and other pastimes.
She concludes with an interesting observation about idolatry.
One of the reasons why I am not a Christian is that it seems to me that to worship any sort of God human minds are capable of creating is to commit idolatry - we are not big enough or clever enough to know what sort of being inhabits the spiritual realm.
United Kingdom: A group of god-botherers with a history of wasting police time have threatened to bring a blasphemy case against the BBC for showing Jerry Springer: The Opera. The show parodies the well known American TV programme by featuring Biblical characters in the roles of the various losers who go on Jerry Springer—Mary is a single mother who feels that the father of her child has abandoned her, for example. But, this is too much for the extremists at Christian Voice, who seem to believe in a deity so pathetic that it cannot stand being a part of popular culture, and is too feeble to do anything about it.
Christian Voice national director Stephen Green said:If Jerry Springer - The Opera isn't blasphemous then nothing in Britain is sacred.
He said the show wasmuch worsethan he expected when he saw it and said it portrayed Jesus as acoprophiliac sexual deviant. A coprophiliac is someone sexually aroused by faeces.
[Jesus] proclaims he is a bit gay, he has this shouting match with the devil - it's just foul-mouthed tirades against the devil and against his blessed mother,Mr Green said.
The damage that must have done to impressionable young people is incalculable.
No mention was made of the amount of damage done to young people by sexually abusive Christian priests.
Before the show was broadcast, Christian Voice orchestrated a campaign to complain about it. They also published the private phone numbers of BBC employees on their website, resulting in threating calls, and held tiny demonstrations outside BBC buildings.
The organisation recently tried to bring a blasphemy charge against a production of Corpus Christi in St. Andrews, but Fife Constabulary decided not to waste their time with the case. Now, they plan to bring a private prosecution instead:
He said his group would meet lawyers this week to begin legal action, adding he did not ask the police to undertake a blasphemy investigation becausewe don't have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the police to take any action.
Group to act over Springer opera—BBC News, 10th January 2005; Jesus was a poof! Pthrrrrpppp!!!!!—Pagan Prattle, 10th December 2004. There is a Jerry Springer - the Opera web site, but I'm not going to link to it because they have deliberately broken it. Use Google.