Church and State: December 2004 Archives

December 12, 2004

Transmission

Yesterday's Today was a balanced affair in which two Roman Catholic high heedyins, Rocco Buttiglione (the bigot who wasn't allowed to become the European Commissioner overseeing anti-discrimination law) and Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O'Connor got to moan about how Christians are excluded from political and social life (like Tony Blair, perhaps). Roz Kaveney was listening to this programme, and to this morning's edition of Sunday, and was not impressed:

Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was clearly embarrassed to be in this company, but not so much so as to disavow it. And was very much taking the line that Christians are being persecuted by not automatically having the political power to impose their views on everyone.

This is very much the position of the Evangelical woman who wrote the report arguing that Christians faced persecution in a secular society and was talking on the Sunday Programme this morning. Apparently the occasional mockery of people who have faith is economic discrimination because there are jobs they feel unable to apply for. Part of the point here is that, given the way Christian groups exclude others from employment whenever they have the power to do so, and have managed to keep that right enshrined in law, this is pretty rich. The other is that, frankly, those of us who grew up queer, and live as queer in a society that her sort of Christian still has some power in, know a lot more about the experience of persecution than she can begin to imagine.

What she was offering is a softer version of the standard US Christian claim that Christians are being persecuted if they are not allowed to preach their message. Oddly, this tends to be about other people's sex lives, not about economic justice, a subject on which the Jesus of the Gospels had a lot to say.

December 10, 2004

Jesus was a poof! Pthrrrrpppp!!!!!

Scotland: An organisation of alleged Christians is upset about a play they have refused to see, and which played the Edinburgh Fringe to critical acclaim about five years ago.

Corpus Christi by American playwright Terence McNally, depicts Jesus and his disciples as gay men in a Texas town and is being performed at the Crawford Arts Centre in St. Andrews. The protestors, who haven't read the play either, insist that Jesus uses naughty words: I don't like Christ portrayed as a filthy, swearing, pervert. The play's director Zsuzsi Lyndsay, did not notice any of this, and had the strange belief that it contained a message that Christianity was for everyone, not just ignorant bigots:

She said: What we were trying to do is to reiterate the fact that Jesus is for everyone, not just for people who are straight but for homosexuals as well.

I have the deepest respect for their beliefs, I'd have even more respect for them though if they came to see the show and saw what they were picketing against.

I'm afraid that Jesus is not portrayed as a drunken, foul-mouthed messiah and if you read the play you would know that.

He doesn't say one bad word throughout the play.

One Born-Again Christian who saw the play, was much more sensible.

On leaving the opening night, she said: I consider myself a born again Christian and a lot of stuff which happened in that play, I could see as being offensive.

But we live in a world where stuff like this happens and you've to take these things with a pinch of salt.

You know what's going to happen in the play and I enjoyed it.

One member of extremists 'Christian' Voice did see enough of the play to give him an excuse to waste police time. The anonymous fundie has file a complain of blasphemy against Fife Constabulary, who are now obliged to investage rather than, say, catching rapists and murderers. The last public prosecution for blasphemy in Scotland was in 1843.

In the meantime, if you want to go and see the play, you're out of luck—its entire run has sold out.

Fury over 'gay Jesus' productionBBC News, 10th December 2004.

December 2, 2004

Conservative Correctness Agenda in Public Schools

United States: The loony fundies are rampant in Texas again. This time they're throwing a hissy fit over textbooks and, surprisingly enough, winning the fight to force their narrow minded, bigotted beliefs on the rest of the country.

Christian Conservatives on the Texas state Board of Education are rewriting textbooks to bring them in line with their neo-conservative social agenda. These are the same kinds of people who have been insisting for years that the liberals are driving their agenda in schools... but that seems to have been a case of Freudian Projection all along.

Where a textbook says something that doesn't agree with their warped take on reality, these people simply change the textbook. Here are some examples of changes proposed and changes in the past:
  • References to marriage must be defined as a lifelong union between a husband and a wife (not between two people, because that would imply that gays and lesbians married in Massachusetts, Canada or many parts of Western Europe actually exist).
  • References to partners become husbands and wives.
  • Adolescence brings about an attraction to the opposite sex" not attraction to others (even though adolescence plainly does bring about attraction to others of the same sex for gay youths, it isn't part of the universe that these conservatives accept, therefore it must be written out of the book.)
  • The last ice age took place in the distant past not millions of years ago (because the earth is only 6000 years old).
Unfortunately, because textbook publishers don't want to create separate editions of their books for the red states versus the blue states, large red states like Texas often end up getting their way, and religious and conservative convictions become hardwired into textbooks to promote a Conservative Correctness agenda in our public schools.

Revision Marches to Social Agenda - Los Angeles Times, 22th November 2004 (via Morons.org).

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from December 2004.

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