Another Meek Christian Voice Heard From
Interesting developments. And people sometimes ask me, whether plaintively or (more often) crossly, why I insist on trying to argue with metaphysical beliefs, which is a futile and even meaningless thing to do. Well, this sort of thing is one reason. Because ‘metaphysical’ beliefs seem to be the kind that prompt people to feel outraged, ‘offended,’ attacked, insulted, disrespected, challenged in the very core of their identity. I think that’s not a mere coincidence, I think it’s kind of the whole point. When people can’t point to evidence in reply to critics and skeptics of their beliefs, what can they do instead? They can of course do nothing, or they can shake their heads over the benighted ways of the heathen and then go on with their lives. But they can also get very worked up. They can find the home phone numbers of BBC executives on the ‘Christian Voice’ website and use them to make threatening and abusive phone calls. And then other believers can express a certain amount of approbation .
And although I don’t have strong feelings about blasphemy myself – Catholics are used to being scoffed at, and learn to be robust about it – I am glad that many Christians did make their feelings known about the transmission. I don’t say I like to see Roly Keating, the controller of BBC2, having to flee with his wife and family from his home, lest he be subjected to threats or unpleasantness. But it is gratifying when the BBC panjandrums have their cages rattled a little.
There is a penalty to be paid if you insult Islam; you may, like Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, end up with your own mocking words pinned bloodily to your chest. But there is no penalty for insulting Christianity – Christians will meekly accept it all (which, inconveniently, is just what the New Testament commands). When Sikh militants successfully got Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s play Behzti closed at the Birmingham Rep last month, it was certainly an encouragement to offended Christians whose anger against the desecration of their taboos has been simmering away over the years…There is still a big debate to be had on how a society combines freedom of speech with respect for the values of others. An artist has to push boundaries, and offend sometimes; but the artist also has to recognise that there will be consequences of his actions.
Yeah, like getting stabbed in the chest and then having Mary Kenny gloating over the fact. Now that’s what I call respect for the values of others!