Christian Voice vs Poetry

 Stephen Green accuses poet of blapshemy



14th November
2008
  

Darkness is Where the Nutters Are...

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Book signing cancelled after pressure from Christian Voice

Darkness is where the stars are book A poet has been forced to launch his new collection in the street after a bookstore cancelled the event because of a campaign by Christian nutters.

Darkness is Where the Stars Are is a collection of 30 to 40 poems from the Welsh publishers, Cinnamon Press.

Patrick Jones was due to sign copies at Waterstone's in Cardiff but the shop cancelled the event at the last moment.

The company said it was not a censor but felt it was prudent to cancel the event because of its duty to customers. The book remains on sale in Waterstones.

Jones said he was not going to be beaten down by religious activists, and signed copies for a small group of people in the street: I'm really proud of this book and I'm really sickened. There shouldn't be censorship of this sort - it doesn't set out to be offensive. He said he had not singled out Christianity in his poems, but was questioning beliefs in society.

Christian Voice said the book was obscene and blasphemous and called on the chain to remove copies from stores.

The national director of Christian Voice, Stephen Green, said the decision was a triumph for the Lord, not for us. The Lord had not even showed me what we should do at Waterstone's, only that it should be Christlike. Just the knowledge that we were on our way has put the fear of God into the opposition.

 

16th November
2008
  

Update: Green with Envy...


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Atheist poet invited to read at the Welsh Assembly

Darkness is where the stars are book The decision by Peter Black Welsh Assembly Member to invite the poet Patrick Jones to read his poetry in the National Assembly has been condemned by nutters.

Christian Voice described the event, due to be held on 11th December, as a disgrace to the Assembly itself.

But Peter Black, who is the LibDem's culture spokesman, has now invited Jones, an atheist, to read his poems, which call for an end to Christian worship, in Committee Room 24 of the Assembly at 12 noon on Thursday 11th December.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said:

'This is a creepy event at which Jesus-hating AM's can swoon over poems packed with hatred for Christianity and which speak of Mary Magdalene and the poet having sex with the Lord Jesus Christ. They will also hear Jones' unfettered hatred of Christianity, which he has somehow managed to convince himself is indistinguishable from Islam.

'What they will not hear is Jones insult the prophet Mohammed. He dare not do that at all, let alone in the sexual way he insults Jesus Christ, whom he sees as a soft target.

'Christians in Wales must not take this lying down. We need to stand up for our Lord against this attack on His honour and on the Church itself by Peter Black. He has gone out of his way to show contempt for Christians in Wales . As he is the LibDem Culture Spokesman, that means insulting Jesus Christ is now official LibDem policy. The LibDems have thus become a political party Christians can no longer in conscience vote for or take any part in.'

 

20th November
2008
  

Update: Christian Voice vs Atheist Poet...

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Nutters get aggressive against poetry readings

Darkness is where the stars are book Patrick Jones, the poet who has wound up the nutters of Christian Voice with his atheist poetry has updated the current situation:

Three Welsh AM.s are now trying to get the reading cancelled at the Welsh Assembly due to blasphemy and profanity in the poems and that the UK is a Christian country and believe in freedom of speech ...but - and I promise I have not sent an email or invited them or anything!!! I think it goes to show the knee jerk reactions that abound.

Also Borders have stepped in and we will be launching the book on Dec 11th at the Cardiff store with a further reading in London's Borders - which I hope will show the way that it should have been handled and that the issue was not how Christian Voice heard of the book but their reaction and their destruction of free speech. The venues I am reading at (and I could be reading any poem - even Rowan Williams!) are being bombarded and threatened with calls and emails from CV members and some are quite upset and anxious about this.

Update: Naming the Guilty

21st November. Based on article from freethinker.co.uk

Trish Law, the independent AM for Blaenau Gwent has written to the Assembly's Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas to complain about the planned reading of Jones' poems in the Assembly :

I uphold freedom of speech [...BUT...] I cannot condone the reading of blasphemous, obscene and perverted poems in the National Assembly. We are still a Christian country, yet one that acknowledges and readily accepts other religious beliefs and values. So while we would not tolerate other religions and religious leaders being insulted through verse or deed neither should we expect Christ and Christianity to be subjected to a tirade of anti-Christian rhetoric and profanity.

I implore you to put a stop to this reading on December 11 in the name of decency and humanity.

The line of attack from Conservative Jonathan Morgan is not the same but the upshot of his argument is: the reading - hosted by two AMs, Lorraine Barrett and Peter Black - should not happen:

Patrick Jones seems to think that the freedom of speech is a convenient shield to be used when under attack for being offensive. In exercising that freedom, and in respecting it, we should do so responsibly. [...BUT...] I do not believe that AMs should be wading into the debate by hosting a reading. It is a mistake and opens up the institution to the accusation that it is siding with one opinion without giving the other the same chance of expression.

 

26th November
2008
  

Update: Poetic Justice...

Nutters don't get their way in stopping atheist poetry readings

Darkness is where the stars are book Welsh Assembly officials said that they could not stop a reading by a writer whose poetry has angered Christian nutters.

Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black asked Jones to read from his book, Darkness Is Where The Stars Are , to make sure the poet was not “gagged”.

Independent AM Trish Law wrote to Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas to ask him to stop the event on December 11, saying: I am disgusted that, two weeks before Christmas Day, it is proposed to proceed with the reading of blasphemous poems which are an insult to Jesus Christ and to all his followers. She was bitterly disappointed her plea had been turned down.

Assembly Commission chief executive Claire Clancy said: Neither officials nor the Assembly Commission make judgments on the nature or purpose of these events, except to ensure they would not give rise to any legal problems.

Assembly buildings are public buildings, and secular in character. It is our responsibility to ensure that events sponsored by any Assembly Members are always allowed to take place without fear of disruption or intimidation, while respecting the right to peaceful protest.

 

11th December
2008
  

Update: An Assembly of Nutters...

Christian Voice to picket poetry readings

Darkness is where the stars are book The nutters campaign group Christian Voice is planning to hijack a controversial poetry reading in the National Assembly.

Patrick Jones, brother of Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire, is reading from his new book in an Assembly committee room at noon.

He was invited to do so by AMs Peter Black and Lorraine Barrett after a Cardiff bookstore, Waterstone's, cancelled a scheduled reading last month.

Another Cardiff bookshop, Borders, has also invited Mr Jones to read.

But in a notice to members, which has also been posted on other Christian websites, Christian Voice leader Stephen Green said: Well, Borders are inviting Patrick Jones to read his blasphemous poetry at 8pm on Thursday at their Cardiff store.

That is on top of Jones doing a reading in the Assembly T Hywel building the same day at noon, at the invitation of Peter Black AM and militant atheist Lorraine Barrett, against the rules of the Assembly itself, which prohibit material likely to cause offence.

We are holding a Christian witness outside T Hywel from 11.30am and we shall hold another outside Borders [he gives the full address] at 7.30pm.

Religious hatred laws

Based on article from dailypost.co.uk

Tory Assembly leader and nutter Nick Bourne has objected to a controversial poetry reading in the Senedd which he claimed could be illegal under religious hatred laws.

Bourne, on behalf of Tory AMs, wrote to presiding officer Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas to complain that the poet was being given a platform for his poetry: Clearly, the group don't agree with censorship of people's views and free expression. ..BUT... we feel that it is inappropriate for anyone to be given a platform to attack Christianity or any other religion in our National Assembly.

Bourne pointed to section 29 of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 which makes threatening behaviour on religious grounds unlawful.

But Assembly Commission chief executive Claire Clancy said that something more than expression of ridicule, insult or abuse was required under the Act.

She said: I am well aware by now that the works of Patrick Jones contain elements which very many people regard as obscene and insulting. But as far as I am aware there is nothing in them which could be construed as “threatening” to Christians or other religious groups.

 

12th December
2008
  

Update: Adverse to Verse...

Christian Voice protest at Welsh Assembly poetry readings

Christian Voice at the Welsh AssemblyAround 250 nutter activists have protested outside the Welsh assembly building about a poetry reading. Protesters sang hymns and some held placards

Patrick Jones was invited by two assembly members to read from his collection Darkness Is Where The Stars Are , which has already led to claims it is obscene and blasphemous.

Stephen Green, director of Christian Voice, said: This turnout shows the strength of feeling of people.   We're seeing the Christian faith attacked on all sides. Now it's under attack in a seat of government in the UK.

Protesters sang hymns and some held placards before the ticket-only event inside the Senedd building.

Nick Bourne, leader of the Welsh Conservatives was at the demonstration, and was asked if he was showing his support. He replied: Yes, essentially. Our group opposed this {reading] at the home of Welsh democracy, promoting something which is anti-Christian and we would say that if it was any recognised religion.

Jones was asked by Labour AM Lorraine Barrett and Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black, who said he wanted to make sure the poet was not gagged. I think this is a good day for democracy. We've head both sides - Patrick has had his poetry reading and it's also important for people to be able to make their views known.

One of the poems that has offended Christians, called Hymn, includes a reference to Mary Magdalene having sex with Jesus.

 

15th December
2008
  

Offsite: Democracy not fundamentalism...

Welsh Assembly Member explains importance of opposing Christian Voice

Welsh Assembly buildingThursday was a good day for democracy in Wales. Patrick Jones came to the Welsh Assembly to read from his controversial book of poems, 'Darkness Is Where The Stars Are', whilst 250 Christians sang and prayed outside.

As one of the sponsors of this reading I felt that I had a moral duty to arrange it. Patrick Jones may have sought debate with Christian Voice and others over poems that they consider to be blasphemous and obscene but that does not justify them seeking to shout him down or forcing the cancellation of the launch of his book in Waterstones.

This was never about the poems. I did not set out to upset anybody of any religion. However, I could not stand by and allow a small minority to trample over basic rights to freedom of speech and expression. The National Assembly for Wales is the home of Welsh democracy, it has responsibilities for culture and literature, so it is the ideal place to stage a reading.

...Read full article

 


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