Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, said the BBC programme, The Mystery of Mary Magdalene , presented by Melvyn Bragg would be hugely offensive to devout Christians because it amounted to the sexualisation of Christ .
He said it was all the more upsetting because it is being screened at midday on Good Friday, the moment the Bible says Jesus was put on the cross.
Lord Bragg, who describes himself as no longer a believer , argues that Mary's close relationship with Jesus was effectively airbrushed out of the accepted Biblical account by misogynist Romans. He points to a series of ancient writings
known as the Gnostic Gospels which were not included in the agreed list of books which became the New Testament. They include references to Mary being kissed on the mouth by Jesus, being his favourite and even, as one passage suggests, his wife.
Nazir-Ali accused the BBC of deliberately causing offense to Christians. He said:
This is going out at 12 o'clock on Good Friday which is exactly the time that Christians are thinking about Christ on the cross, this highly provocative stuff that really encourages a sexualisation of Christ with references to him being kissed on the
mouth by Mary Magdalene and it refers to her being his wife.
I am concerned about the misuses of very obscure Gnostic gospels to impugne the integrity of the Bible.
It is highly provocative in terms of its content for Christians on Good Friday and it attempts to sexualize Christ in the most offensive way.
The campaign group Christian Concern has emailed its supporters urging them to complain to the BBC. Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said:
Noon Good Friday is the precise time Christians are remembering Jesus' crucifixion. To air a programme which questions the purity of Christ is at best insensitive and at worst offensive.
Who is making such bewildering decisions in the BBC's religious programming department?
No doubt Andrea Williams is well aware that the head of BBC religious programming is actually a muslim.
Half-Hearted Implementation of Leveson Recommendations is Missed Opportunity for Fair and Equal Representation of Women in the Media
Equality Now, Eaves, Object and the End Violence Against Women Coalition welcome the decision by the government to implement at least the majority of Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations -- particularly in relation to permitting third-party complaints.
However, we consider the currently proposed plan of implementation to be a missed opportunity.
Holly Dustin of the End Violence Against Women Coalition said:
The much-compromised plan does not provide any guidance about women's equality in the new code; it does not propose that any representative of the equality sector might be part of the new body, and it has made no attempt to bring consistency between the
broadcast watershed and print media in terms of sexually explicit material.
Mary Whitehouse was not only a censorious zealot and a thorn in the side of the BBC but she was also a pioneer who pre-empted the Internet age and became a master of image-making, an audience heard today at The Independent Bath Literature Festival.
Ben Thomspon, whose book, Ban This Filth! , focuses on Whitehouse's fervent letter writing career, said her legacy had been reappraised in recent times to reveal a ruthless, fame-grabbing and sometimes flirtatious woman who was ahead of her time.
She was not the humble housewife who was reluctantly forced to take a stance against so-called obscenities and moral outrages on British television, he added, but someone who cleverly spun her own image. She had given up teaching by the early 60s and
was working as a freelance journalist, sometimes writing anonymously, before she launched her prominent 'Clean Up TV campaign in the 1964.
She was an absolute fame-hound. She would never do anything without a press briefing. She loved to go onto David Frost [TV show] and he was a key figure in her story. He introduced her as a showbiz figure, said Mr Thompson.
A Scottish women's campaign group has called for consumers and shopkeepers to boycott Pussy energy drink after a few
complaints about its supposedly sexist billboard campaign.
Posters promoting the product, Pussy, in large letters above the sexually suggestive slogan:
The drink's pure. It's your mind that's the problem.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 90 complaints from members of the public who claim it is sexually demeaning to women and unsuitable for children.
Jan Macleod, co-ordinator of the Glasgow-based Women's Support Project, said the adverts had damaged the group's attempts to changes attitudes towards women and sex. She spouted:
The people behind these adverts know what they are doing. It's up to people not to buy this drink. The public does have a sense of humour about sex, but is it necessary to have a drink called Pussy and a slogan which reinforces they are talking about
If consumers stopped and said to shopkeepers they didn't like it being stocked, they would be helping to make a difference. Parents should be even saying to their children 'do you need to drink that'.
Well if it winds up the nutters then the drink must surely be worth a try.
One of the first things we discussed as a group, back in September 2011, was the displaying of Lads Mags in the branch of Tesco next door to our school. This branch of the shop is frequented by almost all of the students at Camden, for
many on a daily basis, and it was stocking Lads Mags in plain sight, on an eye-level shelf and right next to where many pupils queued to get their lunch.
We talked to some of the other students around school about how they felt about this and we became worried that seeing the degrading images of women on the front of these magazines daily might start to have a negative effect on some of the
girls, especially the younger ones, and lead them to have increased body confidence issues or to believe that the best way to attract boys' attentions was to objectify themselves. As feminists, many of us were, ourselves, also uncomfortable with
these images being a part of our daily lives. We then decided to run our first campaign, our aim being to get the magazines moved to a higher shelf or for the images on the fronts to be covered up.
We initially tried speaking to some of the staff at the shop but this attempt was, to begin with, fruitless. We then made a short film, or a docufemtry as we called it, in which we interviewed pupils and teachers from the school and
members of the local community, illustrating our shared concern with where and how these magazines were being displayed. Real success only came, however, after we received media coverage; our campaign was first featured in an article in the
Guardian about new feminist grassroots groups and members of our club were subsequently interviewed by a local paper.
After this our demands were met and our expectations exceeded -- Lads Mags were removed from the shop entirely!
Extremist muslim websites are abuzz against Muslim members of the British parliament who voted in favour of gay marriage legislation and
there are fears that the Muslim parliamentarians could face serious intimidation after extremist clerics issued fatwas against the MPs declaring them to be apostates .
On February 5, 2013, the House of Commons voted by 400 votes to 175 to legalise gay marriage in Britain. Muslim MPs Sadiq Khan, the Labour high-flyer, Rushanara Ali, Sajid Javid, Shabana Mahmood and Anas Sarwar voted for gay marriage. Rehman
Chishti voted against the move while Yasmin Qureshi and Khalid Mahmood MP abstained from voting, fearing opposition from their constituents.
At least three Pakistani clerics have said that these MPs needed to repent and renew their faith, which means that they stand expelled from the Islam for supporting same sex marriages. They have also said that their Islamic marriages stand
annulled and they needed to read Kalma again to become Muslims.
The News understands that police forces in Britain have taken notice of the fatwas and the threats against the MPs. Also, the MPs have privately said that they fear for their lives after the delivery of fatwas on them by clerics.
Book covers can have a Proustian effect, taking you back to the moment when you first opened the covers, or triumphantly turned the final page. Yes, it's what's inside that counts, but how much nice when the inner delights are matched by a
sympathetic showing on the outside?
No wonder there have been so many howls of outrage over two books in the last fortnight. First was the 50th anniversary edition of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar , all powder compact and perfect pout. Attractive, true, but it said nothing
about the despair within. Then there's a new copy of Anne of Green Gables that has a dust jacket that's all wrong. A busty blonde teenager is plonked on the front, looking absolutely nothing like how the flame-haired, freckle-faced
heroine is described within.
Can watching a couple of Rihanna videos really turn a girl into a knicker-dropping strumpet? We're experiencing a sexual counterrevolution that encompasses a backlash against women's sexual freedom. By Laurie Penny
Feminists are set to gather in Birmingham in a bid to stop shops from putting saucy magazines in the view of children.
Shelve It! is a drive calling on newsagents, supermarkets and petrol stations to position lads' magazines at least 1.75m off the floor. The campaign, by Birmingham-based Women's Networking Hub, includes a website rating retailers on how and if
they sell adult mags.
Campaign co-ordinator Shahida Choudhry claims the magazines have a harmful effect. She said she had become ashamed of Birmingham:
We only have to walk into our local store for a pint of milk to witness the dehumanization and sexualisation of girls and women -- in full view among the men's health and lifestyle magazine titles.
The enhanced, plucked, botoxed, tweezed, and altered images in lads' mags are selling superficial warped ideals of women and girls, invading and shaping how we view ourselves.
Now a one-day conference is set to be held on February 26, and will be attended by dozens of feminist nasties, including UK Feminista, Object and the Young Foundation.
Note that despite sounding like a government group, this whole project is financed by CARE
(Christian Action Research and Education): a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives, according
The stated goal of the group is:
To raise awareness of the impact of the sale of sexual services on those involved and to develop proposals for government action to tackle individuals who create demand for sexual services as well as those who control prostitutes; to protect
prostituted women by helping them to exit prostitution and to prevent girls from entering prostitution.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade is launching an inquiry to assess the current UK legal settlement surrounding prostitution, and to identify how legislation to tackle demand could safeguard those in
danger of sexual exploitation and abuse.
The group have launched an online Call for Evidence, a misnomer as they are just asking for opinions and feelings, no evidence at all. They have also created an online survey which reveals the intentions of the group in a series of leading
questions with an assumption that those surveyed will support a ban on buying sex.
This is not the way to make a serious inquiry or hold a consultation. The online questionnaire
is not long. Skip if you want to from the introductory palaver to where the questions begin. You may answer anonymously. You may answer as an individual. You may be anywhere in the world.
The deadline for responses is Monday 4 February 2013 at 16:00 .
A priest has criticised comedians like Jimmy Carr for ridiculing Christianity, blaming the lack of respect for the faith on the vandalism of a nativity crib scene. Father Michael Daley, Parish Priest of Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Church, is
angry at the theft of Joseph's figure in the crib:
It's been in that public street for the last 30 years, people see it as a symbol of Christmas - the people who come to mass are saddened by it, but it's just indicative of the times, where there is a lack of respect for the religious symbols.
Referring to Jimmy Carr on The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Daley commented:
He made a comment about people going off to midnight mass to worship an invisible man. He's a comedian but there doesn't seem to be any sensitivity to people's beliefs nowadays, it's offensive.
He might think it's amusing to vilify the Christian faith but it permeates into the consciousness of people, there's nothing wrong with free speech but sometimes it goes too far.
I'm not saying he has anything to do with the crib scene but it creates a consciousness, you are bordering on free speech but Christians seems to fair game at the moment.
Sick comic facing axe: Jack Whitehall could be dropped as presenter at TV awards as Channel 4 repeats vile quiz
Comedian Jack Whitehall is facing the axe as the presenter of a prize at the National Television Awards following the growing controversy over his lewd behaviour on a Channel 4 panel game.
The star has been booked for the ITV show to be broadcast later this month, but it has emerged that a key figure on the programme believes he should not now appear on the awards show.
Channel 4 yesterday ignored the protests of viewers and said the Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012 which featured vile jokes about the Queen and Susan Boyle will be repeated unedited on the main channel tonight at 11:35pm.
Last night co-executive producer of the National Television Awards, George Mitchell, said he would be having a summit conference on Monday about whether Whitehall should still present a prize at the awards. He said he would like to offer
him the chance to bow out gracefully and give him the chance to withdraw . But he admitted other bosses on the show may not agree with him.
But unfortunately for the Daily Mail, the supposed axe of Jack Whitehall's awards presentation seems to be bollox. See
K im Turberville, creator and executive producer of the NTA, told The Independent:
Contrary to spurious reports earlier today, I would like to confirm that there has been no crisis summit over Jack Whitehall's invitation to present an award at this year's National Television Awards.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming him on January 23 for our live show.
The Independent also pointed out that a poll of readers found that 95% of readers don't think participants on the panel show took the joke too far anyway.
The Daily Mail also dragged up a rather low key sound bite from Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch UK said:
This programme should have always been broadcast in the late night 11.35pm slot. Putting it out at primetime was totally inappropriate.
Children are far more likely to be watching at 9pm, especially when you consider it was the Christmas holiday.
The Daily Mail added that another show has sparked a little 'outrage' too:
It emerged also that another festive Channel 4 show, The 50 Funniest Moments of 2012 , also triggered complaints after it included footage of a male far-Right Greek politician punching a woman in the face and strong swearing just after
the watershed. Some 40 viewers contacted Ofcom about the programme, most of them angry at the suggestion that a woman being punched in the face was funny.