Christian Voice cautions charity

by Bene Diction on February 22, 2005

Last month some executives at the BBC received death threats for the decision to air “Jerry Springer, The Opera.”

Leading the protest to the programming of this show was a group called Christian Voice.
Ticket sales of the show went up because of the controversy.

Now it appears the head of Christian Voice told a charity that the show raised money for it would not be in their best interest to receive tainted money from the performers who staged a charity performance of the show.

Maggie’s Centres, based in Scotland, was to have used the money to help establish a nationwide network of units for cancer sufferers and their families. But, a phone call from the Christian Voice group led the charity to fear a religious boycott of its fundraising activities if it accepted the cash.

It is the latest move in a continuing campaign against the musical, which has been targeted by campaigners who claim the show is blasphemous. There were days of protest outside the BBC when it was screened last month. Christian Voice gained notoriety after it circulated home addresses and telephone numbers of senior BBC figures. Some of those on the list received threatening calls warning of “bloodshed”.

The production ended it’s run in London last night, and will start a national tour in the fall.

The decision to reject the cash came after the leader of Christian Voice told the charity it should not upset religious followers. Stephen Green, the national director of Christian Voice, confirmed he had contacted the charity and informed organisers they might benefit more financially if they refused the donation.

He said: “We did have a chat with the people at Maggie’s but the decision to pull out was theirs alone. All I did was explain that if they carried on they would cause offence to Christians, who are known for being generous, and they would probably do far better to forgo the few thousand pounds they would get out of the performance.

“It is offensive and you do have very, very many people with terminal cancer who draw comfort from their Christian faith - to know that the money was coming from a production like this just wouldn’t be right. I applaud the charity for the way they have recognised this with sensitivity and feeling. By refusing to accept this tainted money, Maggie’s Centres have set an example of ethical behaviour which is rare in Britain today.”

I wonder if Christian Voice supporters would care to step up to the plate and donate 20 thousand pounds?
Considering the death threats some supporters sent to the BBC staff, would this organizations money be ‘tainted’?

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1

dh 02.22.05 at 9:51 pm

I agree no death threats are ever acceptable. After reading the reviews though, how would you suggest protesting such a clearly blasphemous, heretical and anti-Christ movie as this?

2

Bene Diction 02.22.05 at 10:30 pm

It isn’t a movie, its a stage show.
All I have read is the reviews, I haven’t seen the show, so I can’t tell you how anti anything it is.
Do you think it is appropriate for a group to tell a charity not to accept money from a charity performance (who knows, perhaps someone involved in the production has used Maggies Centres for their family)
and make it sound like they are speaking for all believers about ‘tainted’ money?
Since money itself is neutral, why is bullying a charity okay?
Has this group stepped forward and given the cancer charity more than veiled suggestions?

3

Bene Diction 02.22.05 at 10:52 pm

Another question - who/what is the source of this story? Someone from the production, a bystander, Maggies Centres, or Citizens Voice?

Another question -when the production attempts to give the money to another charity, are the advocates going to say the same thing to them? Would it surprise you if it made the news?

4

dh 02.22.05 at 11:05 pm

I have read the reviews and the reviews speak for themselves. I CAN tell you by the reviews and I don’t need to see every fine tune detail to get the point of the SHOW (not a movie nitypicky Bene). Di you read the reviews? I do think that the organization should offer funds as an offset. Most importantly, we need to focus on why such a
SHOW (nitpicky bene) should be shown in the first place. Everyone thinks protesting war is ok. Why can’t we protest this SHOW? I only asked one question and one question only, How can we protest this obviously blasphemous SHOW? (I did address the death threats in my previous post and again that is never condoned in ANY circumstance.)

5

dh 02.22.05 at 11:16 pm

It seems Christianity is the only group Hollywood (to Bene whoever put this SHOW on)can ridicule. If Jerry Falwell put a comedy out regarding Hindu’s like Jerry Springer did regarding Christianity he would be sued and called a bigot (I’m not a supporter of Falwell just using him as an anology nor am I trying to be inconsiderate to Hindu’s just trying to make a point). I’m growing tired of all of the double standards of the opposing side. For years us Christians have been accused of double standards and we have taken it and have tried to change as much as we can. Now this type of art continues to come over and over again and at some point enough is enough. A double standard is a double standard anyway you slice it. :)

6

dh 02.22.05 at 11:21 pm

No one is forcing Maggie’s group to not accept the money. Maggie’s group doesn’t have to listen to the christian group. What is wrong with making suggestions. It seems from the response from Maggie’s group that they listened to the christian group. They didn’t have to they could have ignored them.

7

Richard 02.23.05 at 12:20 am

Of the folk I know who have seen this show, precisely none have thought it was blasphemous. Most of them thought it wasn’t very good, but that’s another issue.

8

Bene Diction 02.23.05 at 1:45 am

DH: I am sorry, didn’t mean to offend you, I apologize for coming across as nitpicky.
Any adult who has access to reviews can make a choice about what shows to see.

If I object to a show, I’m not going to use my ‘Christianity’ to intimidate. Threats are wrong no matter who they come from.

This isn’t about Hollywood going after Christians.
This is about a charity that was unaware of what the fuss is about - being phoned by a religious group that seems to think death threats and intimidation toward adults are part of cleaning up what the group considers smut.

Read what the spokesperson for Citizens Voice said out loud like you were saying it, normally.
Then say it with a bit of force as in… this is our agenda…

The how of protest is very important, I quite agree.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, DH, that will never add up.

9

Ian McKenzie 02.23.05 at 3:34 am

In The Salvation Army, we turn down donations if the source of the funds conflicts with our beliefs, mission and position on issues. Last year, a lottery winner in the U.S. wanted to donate a portion of his winnings to the Army. The donation was turned down, because of our stand on gambling, but I can’t imagine the Army presuming to pressure other organizations to do likewise.

If Christian Voice feels that it has a spritual obligation to protest the show, more power to them, but this is Christian Voice (and I’d be interested in knowing which Christians speak through this “voice”) pressuring another agency. And, I certainly can’t find any common beliefs between the two organizations that would have Christian Voice presume to speak for Maggie’s Centres.

That Maggie’s Centres didn’t have to bow to the pressure is true enough. However, given previous threats of bloodshed from supportors of Christian Voice, they were probably right to be circumspect.

“A double standard is a double standard” doesn’t seem like the justification for we who have been taught to walk the extra mile and turn the other cheek.

10

Richard 02.23.05 at 10:07 am

I heard an interview this morning with david Soul and a spokesman for Christian Voice. It does sound like they have used the most appalling tactics to “persuade” the chaity to refuse the donation.

11

Bene Diction 02.23.05 at 2:13 pm

Citizens Voice says in one of thier press releases Maggies Centre would have received 2 thousand pounds from the production.
They also say:
*”Certainly, with an action against the BBC and the musical’s producers for blasphemy due to start any day now, it will be a brave, or foolhardy, theatre management which will put it on.
It is my hope that Jerry Springer the Opera will achieve pariah status in the regions, and that no local theatre will even think of staging it. Our members will be watching their local theatres closely.”*

12

dh 02.23.05 at 4:54 pm

If you heard what I said I stated that threats are always wrong. I was just stating that many on the opposing side are quick to point out “double standards”. Can’t we in an objective loving way acknowledge the double standards of the other side as well? Bene I was address the fact that this show was being produced in the first place. Can’t we discuss this in the same breath as what this Christian group is say to get a balanced perspective. I know the group is wrong we discuss this agnosiam. The Christian group wouldn’t have done what they did if there were not shows like this one. Why are there shows like this one and why does Hollywood continue to promote them? I know this post was regarding the response, which was wrong, harsh adn extreme, but the show is also wrong as well (putting an adult Jesus in diapers and degrading Him in other ways I rather not mention). Also Christian Voice should donate the 2000 pounds.

13

Tractor Girl 02.23.05 at 5:50 pm

Having seen this story on the BBC news Website, I followed the links to the Christian Voice website. Whilst, I respect there right to express their opinions I have to say I am worried by both their tactics and some of the content of their website, which appears to pander to the right (to say the least) politically, as well as religiously.

I’m not saying Christians should let anything and everything go,but I’m really not sure their current tactics can be described as mirroring the life of Christ.

Also I’m worried was it against the principles of the charity to accept the money, or was it an economic decision based on threats from Christian Voice? If it was the first hats of to the charity in question if not well, it’s a dangerous development.

14

Bene Diction 02.23.05 at 6:15 pm

Yes DH, we do agree on a couple of things.
Did you have an opportunity to read the group mission statement?
Because others use a double standard, does that mean anyone with Christian in their title gets to?
DH you have a right to feel what you feel, and you have the right in a democracy to state your beliefs and to act on them.
All I have read is the reviews and this groups mission statements and tactics.
I don’t expect others to honour God. But I know I’m commanded to.
Does missing the mark in any level of life grieve me?
Yes.

I’m speaking to us, the church - about a ‘group’ saying they represent us. I’m saying how they do so is not following how Jesus asked us to live.
People were threatened.
A charity was ‘warned.’
The BBC and production company are being sued.
We agree those decisions do not honour Jesus Christ either.

How do you think we should approach an industry that promotes values that are against your faith?

15

dh 02.23.05 at 6:41 pm

I asked the original question. Do you have any answers? I would hope you would see that the industry promotes values that are against All Christians of Faith. There seems to be ridicule and mocking among certain groups against Christians and this is never acceptable as well as the vice versa as well. If I did do a movie ridiculing other world religions (which I would never do because Jesus wouldn’t do it) then there would be more attention to that, more law suits compared to those promoting this show. Why is this the case? What makes so called Christians attracted to movies like this? I think this is exactly what Jesus said with regard to “hand and eyes in relation to the Body of Christ”. I think we can recommend to charities not to accept funds by stating in a clear, non-threatening way the reasons logically. To threaten them, attack them or hurt them in any way, that is totally wrong. When I say double standard, I’m saying that both double standards are wrong. It always appears that everyone points out Christianity’s double standards (which is wrong)without looking at their own (which is wrong as well). That’s all. We talk about how Christianity is soo messed up and fail to address how culture is messed up. That’s all.

16

Richard 02.23.05 at 8:01 pm

I think we (Christians) do talk about how culture is messed up. Alot. And it is right that we do, because that’s our witness. But I feel more aggrieved about Christians acting in ways that do not honour Christ than I do by non-Christians acting the same way. As BD says, “I don’t expect others to honour God.”
As for the entertainment industry mocking Christianity more than they do other faiths - obviously it can go too far, and different people “draw the line” in different places, but there’s a sense in which it is perfectly understandable. Christianity is the religion of the powerful in the West, and one function of entertainment is to poke the powerful. In any case, mockery of Christianity is not at all the same as mocking Christ. I hate to bring it up, but there was an outcry about Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” and I still hear it described as blasphemous (by people who have never seen it).
But i suspect that the difference between us on this issue isn’t as great as it might seem. Let’s have a pint sometime!

17

dh 02.23.05 at 8:35 pm

I have seen Life of Brian and it is blasphemous. I don’t drink but I would be glad to have a Cola with you :). “In any case, mockery of Christianity is not at all the same as mocking Christ.” I disagree because indirectly you are attacking Christ (indirectly in the sense that Christ is the foundation). I don’t think it is understandable to draw the line at different places. Just because we are seen by SOME people as “powerful”, whatever that is, doesn’t give them the right to ridicule. I wouldn’t do it to them. I guess in a sense you are right “consider it all joy when you face trials and tribulations….” The “…” is just as good but for the sake of time I didn’t write it. :) What do you think Richard? Thanks for “a little” balance in your post albeit foundationally. I’m taking a deep breath on this issue, I’m ok. :)

18

Joel Thomas 02.23.05 at 10:53 pm

Well, as long as we all agree that “blessed are the cheesemakers.”
:-)

19

dh 02.23.05 at 10:55 pm

Are you saying you and I are full of cheese? :)

20

Joel Thomas 02.23.05 at 11:03 pm

dh,

I’ve been accused of being full of lots of things. Cheese would seem to be one of the more pleasant things to be full of.

Oh, how I love the “Life of Brian.” It is hard to take myself too seriously as a pastor having seen that movie.

21

dh 02.23.05 at 11:11 pm

I wasn’t accussing you of this. I just didn’t understand the joke. Ohhh, that quote it is from the Life of Brian. I finally got it. Man I’m slow. :)

22

Richard 02.23.05 at 11:50 pm

I’m genuinely surprised that you find “Life of Brian” blasphemous, dh.

But I’m not surprised Joel likes it! :-)

23

the_methotaku 02.24.05 at 12:03 am

I’ve not seen the show (is it even on in the US?), but what this looks like is:

a. Someone producing a musical that makes money precisely because it’s offensive (and not just because it portray’s Jesus as gay- though that’s a whole ‘nother topic).

b. A group of Christians acting like gangsters in order to stop A.

Two wrongs, no right, but B is worse because Christians should behave better then that.

24

dh 02.24.05 at 3:10 pm

Thank you for the balance methotaku. If the original post would have been stated this way it sure would have saved a lot of energy. :)

25

dh 02.24.05 at 3:20 pm

Richard, maybe I’m a little too serious. Maybe it is how it is done that makes it for me. I have seen “The Holy Grail” and do not think that is blasphemous. There they ridicule the “King’s English” of the KJV which is very funny. “and God took the holy hand grenade and said it was good” (in a high pitched, english, whinny, vibrato tone). Very funny. :) Where as Christians as an entire group should we draw the line? As you can see I am a little more balanced than was presented earlier. What do you guys think? :)

26

Richard 02.24.05 at 8:05 pm

I don’t think you can draw a line in any theoretical sense — it always has to come down to specifics. For me, The Passion came closer to blasphemy than Brian. But wherever the line is drawn, it seems to me the proper Christian response is to turn the other cheek.

27

Bene Diction 02.24.05 at 8:38 pm

DH: I am genuinely sorry if I frustrated you. I’m not prepared to join a herd mentality and tell you what to think and feel.
I’ve enjoyed this discussion very much.
As far as I know the show is now closed in London, will tour a bit in Britian and attempt to get the funds to play New York.

My attitude is rather simplistic.
Jesus is okay, He’s fine. He accomplished the will of the Father,is King of King and Lord of Lords and doesn’t need us ‘defending’ Him in a broken world in some bizarrely named ‘culture war’. He is sitting at the right hand of His Father, He has sent the Holy Spirit to help us be his followers. It is finished.
And my responsibility is to be in relationship with Him, to walk in a way that that is backwards to my nature, in a relationship that calls me to death to things like the tactics I see used by Christian Voice.

You know what I find hard?
Not that a show offends.
I don’t find it hard to love actors and production crews out to make a living. I find it harder to love those who say they speak for Christ-followers and behave otherwise. I believe I can speak to disciples first, hopefully in love, aware I fail often.

That’s why I like so much what Ian said. The Salvation Army goes out and does. They do what we so often don’t, feed the hungry, care for the sick, take care of needs, love the homeless, are gracious to us sinners. They are faithful. Their actions are a clarion call to me, a believer, that God is love, and His love is big enough, deep enough, wide enough, high enough to trust.

Citizens Voice behavior make me cringe.
I agree with Richard.
Turning the other cheek isn’t passive.

28

dh 02.24.05 at 8:54 pm

The Passion blasphemey? That seems strange to me. You got to be kidding me. Are you for real? To Bene, what is the “weapon of our warfare” all about? Paul talks about this with regard to the pulling down of strongholds. I love all people but I feel we can say the truth in love. We can say in love that Jerry Springer is wrong. We can say in love Citizens Voice is wrong with the death threats. Can’t we EQUALLY say both is wrong. I feel that the reason this culture is so out-of-wack is because Christians are not willing to state what is wrong. Can’t we show the way? Many non-believers are searching for the moral high ground and maybe just maybe that can be a step in the right direction. Hypocricy? it’s always wrong and in my opinion sin is sin wherever it comes from. Part of the Word of God is the convicting of sin. Heck, before I accepted Christ I was convicted of sin and it was part of my conversion purpose. Can’t God use the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in us for this purpose? (I know this has been taken to the extreme in the past, I’m talking foundationally and in a less harsh way than previously used). Both Jerry Springer’s actions and Citizen’s Voice’s actions makes me cringe.

29

Bene Diction 02.24.05 at 9:17 pm

Part of the Word of God is the convicting of sin.
Of course.
I can’t convict you DH, that is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. As God’s child I am permitted to run freely to the throne of mercy were the sea around it is as glass, and petition my Father on your behalf, my behalf, the folks of Citizen’s Voice and the folks of a show.
My job is to wear the armour. Gifts. I’m not righteous. I can’t save myself, I’m not truthful, I’m not peaceful. Faith? I have little to none sometimes.
He is the Word.
That sword I’m to take up…it cuts both ways.
Thanks DH, you got me reading Ephesians today.:^)

30

dh 02.24.05 at 9:39 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed it. I feel rather than just “wear” the armour we are called to “use” it as well. Otherwise, we just stand there and are not moving forward. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can speak the Truth, be made righteous (sanctification that is another story :)), can speak the Truth and can be at peace and peaceful. By your Faith in Jesus and the power of the cross and His resurection you were able to “Save yourself”. “Abraham’s Faith was accounted to him as righteuosness. Bt speaking the Word with the power of the Holy Spirit God can use us as part of this “plan” and part of that is very convicting to non-believers. Heck, it was to me before I accepted Christ.

31

Richard 02.25.05 at 12:20 am

>>“The Passion blasphemey? That seems strange to me. You got to be kidding me. Are you for real?”

Very much so. but then again, i find the charge of blasphemy against Brian rather strange. We’re a strange lot! :)

If you’re interested in what I thought about The Passion, I have blogged about it before.

32

Joel Thomas 02.25.05 at 3:25 am

I didn’t consider “The Passion” basphemous but I think it presented a rather distorted view of Christ. It seemed to be me to place a premium on his physical suffering at the expense of his spiritual suffering.

33

Rhys 02.25.05 at 1:36 pm

Mark Thomas, recently quoted in Third Way (the whole article of Thomas’ is online, but beware - it’s genuinely offensive…)

If the Church of England was once “the Tory party at prayer”, Christian Voice is the UK Independence Party with a tambourine.

34

dh 02.25.05 at 3:18 pm

Richard after reading it it seems, other than about three things, that it wasn’t blasphemous you may have disagreed with particular scenes. Jesus was sacrificed for our sins. To me other than the crow, and the demon part it was right on. The suffering portrayed seemed accurate historically. I do think it focused too much on the suffering but if it is historically accurate and Biblically then I have no problem with it. On Brian maybe i’m too serious when it comes to sarcasm. I think you and I can meet in the middle on this one. :)

35

Richard 02.25.05 at 4:52 pm

I did say that I found TPOTC “closer to blasphemy” than TLOB - I’d hesitate to say it was actually blasphemous. But I did think it was a dreadful film at all sorts of levels. And the crow scene was a fatal undermining of the gospel message to me. And I’m not at all convinced that historical accuracy was either intended or portrayed.

But you’re right dh - this isn’t something I feel strong enough to lose friends over. ;)

36

dh 02.25.05 at 7:00 pm

So what would be an acurate portrayal of Christs pre-crusificsion, crusuficsion and resurection? Didn’t he die on the cross? Doesn’t the bible give exact descriptions of this? Don’t we have Roman history and Josephus to assist in this as well? Also, it makes sense that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice being fully God and fully man to fulfill scripture. I have limited knowledge on this history part and am only operating from what I know from 1 class in high school and 2 classes in college. Could you give me a little insight? :)

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