Saturday, 5 May 2007

Christians offended by other Christians

Further to this post, it appears that last Sunday's BBC radio broadcast from the Catholic Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in the predominantly gay district of Castro, San Francisco, has angered some conservative Christians.

It seems the spirit of Mary Whitehouse is alive and well in the organisation she founded - the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, now rebranded as Mediawatch UK (as Shuggy says, be very suspicious of anything with 'watch' in its title) - and the Christian Institute, a fundamentalist organisation which holds that 'the Bible is without error not only when it speaks of salvation, its own origins, values, and religious matters, but it is also without error when it speaks of history and the cosmos'. According to a report in this week's Tablet the spokesman for Mediawatch has stated: 'Having this particular service I think will cause offence to people who feel such practices are wrong and taught as such in Holy Scripture'.

So the BBC shouldn't broadcast a service by one group of Christians because it 'offends' another group of Christians. Not because it's immoral (they seem to have given up on that line of argument, thankfully), but because it might upset somebody who holds a different set of beliefs. If you follow that line, then the BBC shouldn't broadcast any religious service, in case it causes 'offence' to the millions of atheists and agnostics who believe that such practices are wrongheaded.

The boot's on the other foot in another report in this week's Tablet, which claims that lesbian and gay Catholics attending regular Masses designated for them at a church in central London have found the actions of protestors 'intimidatory and offensive'. Apparently members of the group Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice have been disrupting prayers and sprinkling holy water to 'cleanse' the church of 'defilement'.

Reluctant as I am to arbitrate in this dispute between two groups of believers, I know which of these activities I'd find more 'offensive', not to say unchristian.

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