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Nutter News

2005: Jan-March

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29th March   Caution! Religion

From International Herald Tribune

In a criminal case testing the accepted boundaries of artistic expression in Russia, a court on Monday convicted a museum director and a curator for inciting religious hatred when they organized an exhibition of paintings and sculptures that, to many, ridiculed the Russian Orthodox Church.

The court, however, rejected the prosecutor's appeal to sentence them to prison and instead fined them the equivalent of $3,600 each, ruling that the exhibition was "openly insulting and blasphemous."

The case against the exhibition, entitled Caution! Religion , has deeply divided Russia's religious and artistic communities ever since it opened briefly in January 2003, provoking alternate charges of censorship and animosity to religious believers. The verdict Monday satisfied neither side entirely.

Yuri Samodurov, director of the museum, which is named after the Soviet dissident and human rights advocate Andrei Sakharov, said he was relieved by the punishment, though not by the court's ruling. He said he had gone to court with his prescription medicines, assuming that he would immediately be imprisoned.

Aleksandr Chuyev, a member of the lower house of Parliament who played a role in pressing prosecutors to bring criminal charges against the museum, agreed that the verdict would set a precedent, but one he considered healthy.

He said the case had established the legal foundation for prosecution of other exhibitions, as well as of pornography, films and other works that offend the faithful. The people and the authorities now understand that religion and the feelings of believers should not be touched on, They should understand that their rights end where the other person's begin.

One of the artists, Anna Mikhalchuk, who exhibits under the name Alchuk, was acquitted on Monday. She said the verdict effectively erased the separation of church and state in today's Russia. I am afraid the formulation of the court's ruling will be used as a precedent for the authorities. It practically crosses out Russia on the list of secular nations."

The works, some of which are still on the museum's Web site at , addressed spiritual and political aspects of the Orthodox Church, whose influence over politics, if not society generally, has grown since the Soviet Union collapsed 15 years ago. One sculpture depicted a church made of vodka bottles, a biting allusion to the tax exemption that the church received in the 1990s to sell alcohol.

Update: Missing

7th April 2008

Anna Mikhalchuk, a 52-year-old feminist poet and artist who works under the name Alchuk left her home in the western Berlin district of Charlottenburg on the afternoon of 21 March 2008 and has not been seen since, German police said in a statement. She has lived in Berlin since 2007, when her husband, Mikhail Ryklin, a philosopher, accepted a post at the city's Humboldt University.

Police have combed a lake and gardens near her apartment and turned up no evidence of foul play so far, but Ryklin told The New York Times he feared that she was targeted. There were religious fanatics who really hated her, said Ryklin. He said it was not easy for German police to imagine that someone could be targeted for their artistic activity, because they think, said Ryklin, It can’t happen here.


24th March   Flesh at the Opera

It is a little hard to see what is causing so much grief to the nutters

Based on an article from The Telegraph

The Bolshoi Theatre was surrounded by protesters and paramilitary police last night as it raised the curtain on a production that some Russian nutters have branded a "porno-opera".

Placard-waving activists called for a ban on Rosenthal's Children , a contemporary look at Moscow's underworld of prostitution, alcoholism and violence.

The work is the first new opera to be commissioned by the state-funded theatre in 30 years. It tells a curious tale of Soviet-made clones of classical composers including Tchaikovsky and Verdi, turned out on the city's streets in 1991 to fend for themselves. The musical geniuses busk at the city's filthiest railway stations to survive before being given poisoned vodka by a vengeful pimp. All die with the exception of young "Mozart", who winds up in intensive care.

This is simply diabolical. I can't get my head round the idea of a chorus of prostitutes on the stage of the Bolshoi, Irina Saveleva of the Duma's culture committee said. She appeared to be particularly upset by a chorus of actresses playing prostitutes singing: They want our flesh at the stations.

The Bolshoi appealed for all sides to act responsibly.

Although peppered with vulgarities that critics say have no place in the country's most famous opera venue, the furore stems as much from the choice of the author of the work's libretto, Vladimir Sorokin.
The writer's explicit works were publicly "flushed" in a large mock-up lavatory near the Bolshoi in 2002 in a protest over their content of sex and violence.

The group who protested against Sorokin three years ago, a youth movement loyal to the Kremlin called Walking Together, recently joined forces with the Duma to attack the opera and picket the theatre.

The head of the Federal Cultural Agency, Mikhail Shvydkoi, warned the Duma that it had no right of censorship in today's Russia's and that only the courts could close the opera or force its relocation.


22nd March   Nuttertown

From The Independent

The Soviet paradise where a moral majority still rules. Swearing is banned, nightclubs close at 10pm, and Valentine's Day has been replaced by a wholesome Christian festival. Andrew Osborn reports from Belgorod, a Russian town where the values of the 1950s live on

Welcome to Belgorod, a medium-sized Russian town 400 miles (650 km) south of Moscow, where austere Soviet values are still, miraculously, intact. As the nightclubs, restaurants and shopping malls of the capital embrace Western hedonism with gusto, Belgorod is trying to recreate a strictly ordered world which most Russians have forgotten existed.

In Belgorod, a public outburst of foul language is punishable by an on-the-spot fine ranging between 500 rubles (£10) and 1,500. The size of the penalty depends on which neighbour overheard the obscenity. Foul language in front of a child, naturally, carries the highest price.

At the town's nightclubs, such as the Art Studio, dancers and clubbers must - by law - limit their numbers on the dance floor to no more than two people per square metre and in any case, ordered to shut down at 10pm. Disc jockeys are constrained to abandon modern play-lists in favour of a set quota of traditional folk songs for the enlightenment and edification of punters.

St Valentine's Day, which carries obvious dangers of licentious behaviour, has long been replaced by a wholesome celebration of the town's Christian youth.

Anyone under 18 is subject to a 10pm curfew in winter (11pm in summer). The owners of discos and internet cafés are routinely fined for "harbouring" minors after those hours.

The main architect of Belgorod's social planning is Pavel Nikolaievich Bespalenko, an adviser to Yevgeny Savchenko, the region's somewhat authoritarian governor. Bespalenko, the town's regional head of youth policy, is happy to defend a way of life that, to Westerners, seems rooted in the mores of the 1950s . His eyes light up as he describes the Belgorod vision. We're working on an ideal of a young person. They are patriotic, sporty and healthy, respect the motherland and their parents and know the history of their country.

This is, says Bespalenko, all about improving people's quality of life, injecting a sense of religion and spirituality, promoting strong family values and making the populace understand that they must love and respect their country. In fact, he admits, his policies amount to a bit of good old-fashioned social engineering.

Thus, parents are held accountable for their children's conduct. The fines for breaking the curfew, swearing at school or general anti-social behaviour are heavy. In order to ensure that standards are maintained, the police keep 30 per cent of fines. The rest is ploughed into the regional budget.

Amazingly, most townspeople, even among the young, do not seem to object to Bespalenko's role in their lives. Other youngsters do mutter darkly about the music they are forced to endure. DJs are instructed to play highly artistic compositions of Russian and foreign classics, folklore, pop and bard music, and are supposed to have completed their secondary education - and be familiar with Russia's laws on culture.

Bespalenko is satisfied that the authorities' efforts to reform Belgorod are beginning to pay off. In the beginning it was tough. But now my own child tells me that kids are starting to swear less at school. Playgrounds and yards have become quieter and we've shown people that it's not fashionable or attractive to swear. There are other words you can use. People need to understand that they are responsible for their actions."

Predictably, the Orthodox Church supports the council's punitive stance on anti-social and dangerous behaviour.

After listening for so long to happy citizens and evangelical politicians, it was a relief to finally come across some voices of dissent, albeit muted. There is talk of widespread corruption, accusing the police of being too keen to enforce the ban because they get to keep 30 per cent of every fine. There are also rumours that nightclubs, when the police are looking the other way, are cranking the volume and turning a blind eye to breaches of the space regulations on the dancefloor. Are Belgorod's many rules and regulations an excuse for the unscrupulous in positions of power to make a quick buck?


22nd March

  Stage Fright

Based on an article from The Times

Pressure from Christian nutters has caused 11 regional theatres to pull out of showing Jerry Springer — The Opera , its producers said yesterday. A campaign by Christian Voice to prevent the “blasphemous” musical from being shown has forced organisers to postpone a national tour after nearly a third of theatres withdrew. Avalon, the production company, has postponed the 25-week tour, down from 36 weeks, until after the Christmas period.

Jon Thoday, head of Avalon, said that: There were 11 venues which either got cold feet because of Christian Voice or said that they couldn’t get behind the show. But other theatres, including Plymouth, our starting venue, and Ambassador Theatre Group, have been very supportive.

Regional theatres run by local councils, such as the De Montfort Hall in Leicester and the Assembly Rooms in Derby, have been especially susceptible to negative publicity, he said.

Richard Haswell, manager of De Montfort Hall, said that Leicester City Council had encouraged him to withdraw from a Christmas tour date: When the news emerged that we were in discussions about bringing the show here, there was quite a lot of controversy. After discussions with our local council, we decided that it would be better not to put it on adjacent to Christmas.

Peter Ireson, managing director of the Assembly Rooms, said that he was hoping to put on the show, despite withdrawing from its original tour date. He had received several abusive letters, but also offerings of support.
Ideally, you don’t want to upset people who are potentially your customers, but we wouldn’t let a small minority of people frighten us.

Thoday said that he wanted to continue because he believed in freedom of expression: It has become a crusade now. Perhaps that is the wrong word: it is more of a holy war.

Christian Voice, a small lobby group run by Stephen Green, has announced that it will target theatres aggressively. The producers think there will be a UK tour, but we will see how it pans out. We will be picketing theatres. The group held demonstrations outside the musical’s London venue before its scheduled closure on February 19. It also conducted an e-mail campaign over a BBC broadcast of the show that led to a record 50,000 complaints.


18th March

  Christian Congress for Shameful Values

Perhaps they should observe the traditional value of honesty and not claim to speak for the majority without at least recognising that surveys do not back up their claim about the public attitude to censorship of sex.

A truly shameful bunch of nutters as from their own declaration on The CCTV

The CCTV believes in the tradition of British tolerance, in non-extreme but robust debate about traditional family values and is opposed to policies of censorship .

The CCTV is a non-party political, non-denominational, non-censorious alliance of Christians whose aims are to:

  • raise the debate on standards of taste and decency in the UK media to the top of the agenda

  • defend free speech for Christians to express the profound belief in the absolute truth of Biblical principles

  • challenge media executives to justify publishing clearly offensive, profane and Christian-phobic material

  • challenge the media to give equal weight and coverage to the Christian Faith and its representatives

  • challenge the persistent ridicule and mockery of the Christian Faith and traditional family values

  • challenge the media to balance its output by selecting Christian speakers who represent the growing Christian congregations in churches across the land

BUT... a statement about their policy towards 9 Songs rather suggests that their opposition to censorship is somewhat less than the biblical truth.

As a media organisation ourselves, the Melon Farmers share many of the CCTV's aims

  • The Melon Farmers also aim to raise the debate on censorship

  • The Melon Farmers also defend free speech for Christians

  • The Melon Farmers feel justified in posting all material

  • The Melon Farmers provide significant coverage to the Christian Faith.

  • The Melon Farmers accord all due respect to the Christian Faith

  • The Melon Farmers welcome Christian speakers

9 Songs is a new film due for release in cinemas on 11 March 2005. The film, by British Director, Michael Winterbottom, goes further than any other British film to date containing explicit scenes of two actors actually having sex, rather than simulating sex.

Most people in this nation, who respect the value of traditional Christian standards, would have expected sale of this type of pornography to be limited to licensed sex shops, or at the very least for the film to have been drastically cut from its original version. Yet the BBFC has passed 9 Songs without a single cut, so that any 18 year old can see the film at any cinema.

Before the film was shown nationally in cinemas, representatives of the CCTV were invited to join critics to see a pre-screening of‘ 9 Songs . Naturally, they were horrified that the BBFC could approve this film with so little regard for its effect on young people and the standards in our society. The CCTV believes that in classifying 9 Songs as an 18 the BBFC has also breached its own Classification Guidelines. The Guidelines clearly state that “sex works containing clear images of real sex are confined to the ‘R18’ category”. R18 is the ‘blue movies’ category which can only be shown in specially licensed cinemas or supplied in licensed sex shops.

Channel 4 sought the CCTV’s views on 9 Songs and subsequently broadcast the following CCTV statement on Channel 4 News:
There’s no artistic justification for the graphic sex scenes in this tawdry film, which are demeaning and degrading for the voyeur as well as the performer. 9 Songs is a rank piece of soulless pornography.


17th March

  Fashionable Censorship

From the BBC

France's Catholic Church has won a court injunction to ban an advertisement based on Leonardo da Vinci's Christ's Last Supper. The display was ruled a gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people's innermost beliefs , a judge said. The French judge in the case ordered that all posters on display should be taken down within three days. The association which represented the church was also awarded costs.

The church objected to an almost all-female version of the fresco, including a female Christ, used by designers Marithe et Francois Girbaud.

The authorities in the Italian city of Milan banned the poster last month. Italy's advertising watchdog said the ad's use of Christian symbols including a dove and a chalice recalled the foundations of the faith and would offend the sensitivity of part of the population.

The Catholic Church used a similar argument against the advert, which also shows two of the apostles embracing a bare-chested man in jeans. When you trivialise the founding acts of a religion, when you touch on sacred things, you create an unbearable moral violence which is a danger to our children, said lawyer Thierry Massis.

But lawyers for the fashion house said banning the image would amount to censorship. The work is a photograph based on a painting, not on the Bible, said lawyer Bernard Cahen.
There is nothing in it that is offensive to the Catholic religion. It is a way of showing the place of women in society today, which is a reflection of our changing values.

The designers are said to be planning an appeal, saying they did not intend to offend anyone with the campaign.


15th March

  Political Nutters

Shaun has noted that The Christian Institute are a registered charity and should not be getting involved in political activities. He has therefore written to the institute to suggest that they should resign their charitable status. In addition he has written to the Charity Commission asking them to investigate the political activities of the Christian Institute. Perhaps we should all chip in with this effort

Based on an article from The Guardian

The BBC is facing legal action over its decision to air Jerry Springer: the Opera , after Christian nutters followed up on their promise to seek a judicial review. The Christian Institute wrote to the corporation's lawyers warning that it planned to launch a legal action.

The Christian Institute is seeking a judicial review on two grounds, claiming firstly that the BBC has broken its royal charter, which requires it to uphold standards of taste and decency and abide by the Broadcasting Standards Commission broadcasting codes. Although the BSC no longer exists, Ofcom has yet to replace its rules with a new code of conduct. Secondly, the institute claims the BBC has broken article nine of the Human Rights Act.

The BBC has a duty to uphold the convention on human rights as a public authority. Part of what we're saying is there may be offensive things going on in West End theatres but we're not paying for them , said the director of the Christian Institute, Colin Hart.

Hart said the evangelical organisation - which is based in Newcastle and claims 14,000 members - had decided not to go through official BBC channels and register a complaint because it did not have faith in the system. The BBC took some time to send us a response after we gave notice of legal action. They denied everything absolutely and argued Ofcom was a more suitable place to deal with the process.

The next BBC programme complaints committee meeting is on Thursday, March 17, but a BBC spokeswoman was unable to confirm if Jerry Springer: the Opera was on the agenda. However, she confirmed the corporation had received legal papers from the Christian Institute.

Around 50,000 complaints were eventually made to the BBC about the Jerry Springer broadcast, which went out on BBC2 on January 10, to an audience of just under 2 million.

For the moment, the Christian Institute only has to cover its legal costs. If the court agrees the BBC has a case to answer then the organisation's members will be called on to raise money to fund the action.

The BBC received the legal papers over a week ago. It is understood they were lodged at the high court on March 3.


13th March

  Christian Congress for Traditional Values

Perhaps they should observe the traditional value of honesty and not claim to speak for the majority without at least recognising that surveys do not back up their claim about the public attitude to censorship of sex.

From The CCTV

9 Songs is a new film due for release in cinemas on 11 March 2005. The film, by British Director, Michael Winterbottom, goes further than any other British film to date containing explicit scenes of two actors actually having sex, rather than simulating sex.

Most people in this nation, who respect the value of traditional Christian standards, would have expected sale of this type of pornography to be limited to licensed sex shops, or at the very least for the film to have been drastically cut from its original version. Yet the BBFC has passed 9 Songs without a single cut, so that any 18 year old can see the film at any cinema.

Michael Winterbottom justifies the film on the basis of artistic merit and the fact that films should, as far as possible, depict reality. However, the Christian Congress for Traditional Values rejects the argument that art must express itself in coarse, sordid imagery in order to engage and challenge its audience. The CCTV criticises Michael Winterbottom for not having the creative talent to produce really vivid, graphic cinema which is convincing rather than crude.

Before the film was shown nationally in cinemas, representatives of the CCTV were invited to join critics to see a pre-screening of‘ 9 Songs . Naturally, they were horrified that the BBFC could approve this film with so little regard for its effect on young people and the standards in our society. The CCTV believes that in classifying 9 Songs as an 18 the BBFC has also breached its own Classification Guidelines. The Guidelines clearly state that “sex works containing clear images of real sex are confined to the ‘R18’ category”. R18 is the ‘blue movies’ category which can only be shown in specially licensed cinemas or supplied in licensed sex shops.

Channel 4 sought the CCTV’s views on 9 Songs and subsequently broadcast the following CCTV statement on Channel 4 News: There’s no artistic justification for the graphic sex scenes in this tawdry film, which are demeaning and degrading for the voyeur as well as the performer. 9 Songs is a rank piece of soulless pornography.

Ann Widdecome, who also spoke on Channel 4 News, said of the film,
we now live in an era, pretty well, of moral anarchy. There is precious little moral discernment … Those who practice the arts appear to think that what they have got to do to fulfil their artistic integrity is simply to push the boundaries further and further and further back.


10th March

  New Zealand Standards: Crazed Censors & Puerile Nutters

If they work hard for the next few years perhaps these nutters can be promoted from puerile to laughable... But they have a long way to go yet.

From Stuff

A computer game,  Playboy: The Mansion , that gives players the chance to run Hugh Hefner's Playboy mansion and have sex with a bevy of bunnies has upset a New Zealand nutter group.

The game was released in New Zealand this week with an R16 certificate. However, Society for the Promotion of Community Standards spokesman David Lane said the game should be R18.

The game enables participants to play the part of Hefner at a party. The objective is to make deals and achieve success by getting on with the guests and the bunnies. Triumph with women is recognised by implied sexual intercourse. I believe it will breed a new generation of child molesters , Lane said. It's absolutely sicko. [The nutters in New Zealand seem to have lost any tenuous thread connecting them to reality]

Chief censor Bill Hastings said the game was slow going and only mildly titillating. However, in his decision he said the game demeaned and dehumanised women and presented them as objects of sexual fantasy.


7th March

  Silencing Pop Videos

It must be international nutters day today

From Al Bawaba

Students at Alexandria University in Egypt have organized a silent protest, a first of its kind, on campus protesting the new wave of inappropriate music videos and cinema channels that contain too much nudity and consider it inappropriate for viewers around the Arab world. Most of the protesters, who belonged to religious groups, held banners that feature statements against most clips and slogans of music channels.

According to the London based Elaph, some students, who did not belong to any religious party, stressed that they took part in the protest due to the fact that they feel the new wave of music videos is demeaning and feel it will lead to destruction of Arab values.

One student expressed that when a music video features a girl singing and dancing in a bikini what other than sex could it insinuate? He added that the main aim of such music videos is to excite its audience sexually and feature no other meaning.

Some music channels have banned Najla and Egyptian dancer/singer Bosi Samir and accused them of having erotic and seductive video clips. The music channel Melody Hits has banned their video clips from being televised on the channel. The two singers are being furious by the news, they believe that their clips are legitimate and there is nothing wrong with them.

Najla’s song Bahh which means "empty or nothing" was taken off the air after it was televised for ten days. The second shock came to the singer, when she got turned away from entering Egypt. She stayed in the airport for more than ten hours trying out everything she can, yet she wasn’t able to enter the country.

Bosi’s song Bahibo Howa "I Love Him" has been taken off the air just a day after it was broadcast. It came as shocking news to the singer.

Both singers think since they are belly dancers to start with, then their body movements in the songs are ok. They are combining both of their roles as dancers and singers in one. The satellite channel Melody Hits said the decision came not from censorship. The fans of the channel wrote and called the channel for the songs to be taken off the air. Since the channel is number one in many Arab countries; therefore, the pressure was high.


7th March

  Morally Repugnant Claims of Morally Evil Charities

From The Sun

There will be no red noses in three Catholic schools in south Wales on Friday because church leaders claim money raised by Comic Relief will be used to fund abortions. Pupils will be encouraged instead to raise money for a Catholic international aid charity.

The move follows the decision last week by the head of a primary school in Birmingham to ban red nose collections, branding them an "insidious attempt" to provide cash for organisations involved in "a moral evil".

In Wales, three large schools in the diocese of Menevia, which has had a policy of not supporting Comic Relief for 15 years, will be affected: St Joseph's in Port Talbot, Bishop Vaughan in Swansea and St John Lloyd in Llanelli.

We have advised the schools not to raise money for Comic Relief this year simply because in the past money raised has gone to agencies supporting abortion, said Father Michael Burke, spokesman for the diocese. He said the organisation had not been able to satisfy itself that no money raised would go towards abortion, which is against the ethos of the Catholic church. We have asked that no money raised should support abortions but they could not give us that assurance. If people want to raise money we would suggest they send any money to organisations such as Cafod [the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development] instead.

A spokesman for Comic Relief said: In 2000 we opened dialogue with the Catholic bishops of England and Wales to help communicate the facts. They issued a statement confirming that after careful examination of our records, they were satisfied with Comic Relief's assurance that we do not fund and have never funded abortion services or the promotion of abortions.

Over the last 17 years, the Comic Relief has collected more than £250m from eight red nose days.


7th March

  CopyCat Blame in the Head's Office

Of course the Melon Farmers blame the head teachers for failing to teach that we have to take responsibility for our own actions, and not to blame others for our own failings.

From The Sun

Swearing soccer stars should be banned from prime-time TV because they set a bad example to pupils, Martin Ward said yesterday.

Ward, deputy boss of the Secondary Heads’ Association, said copycat behaviour by pupils had soared since the arrival of live televised games. Ward called for the introduction of a 9pm watershed for the broadcast of games — blaming rising staffroom disorder on players who curse, fight, cheat and spit.

He told the union’s conference in Brighton that violence, verbal abuse, foul language, cheating and defiance of authority occur sometimes in school classrooms. They occur much more frequently in professional football, often without the player even being cautioned. This is shown on prime-time television, making the job of schools more difficult.

Ward said TV producers had a moral duty to turn their cameras away when players misbehave. He added:
We often see such disgraceful episodes week after week, complete with action replays. Such incidents should not be shown until after the 9pm watershed and preferably not at all.


6th March

  Kissing Tolerance Goodbye

From The Times

A passionate clinch in a Bollywood film starring a Pakistani actress threatens to cast a new chill on cultural relations between India and its nuclear rival.

Meera, the first Pakistani to star in an Indian film after the detente between the two countries, faces censure by the Ministry of Culture for a kissing scene with an Indian actor. The film Nazar is the first to be funded by Bollywood and Pakistan’s “Lollywood” film industry. The film has not yet been released.

A culture ministry official said Meera was involved in some “vulgar” scenes and that her actions were against Islamic ethics and moral values. He said she could face a “heavy fine”. A newspaper report said the Government was also considering barring Pakistani actors from Indian films.

Kissing is not allowed in Pakistani films, but there are no restrictions on romantic scenes, dancing and singing. The Government’s move came after some right-wing conservative newspapers stirred the controversy over Meera’s role and protested against Pakistani actors appearing in Indian films.

Meera told a private Pakistani TV channel that the allegation of “vulgarity” was baseless. “I have worked hard and I am proud of my performance in the film.”

Video shops across Pakistan are packed with the latest Indian films although they are banned from being shown at movie theatres.


5th March

  More Sins, Arrogance & Intolerance

Its a good job that nutters like this don't wield any power otherwise we would have a world full of war and bloodshed over mere trivia

From The Telegraph , Calcutta

The Vatican ambassador to India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, has objected to the use of Christian imagery in the film Sins as well as its storyline.

On reports that the film is based on a “true” incident in Kerala, he said, My information is that the film is far from truth. Though I have not watched the movie, the holy cross does not authorise any individual to commit crimes against women.

The Vatican ambassador arrived in the capital to inaugurate the 17th plenary of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India that started today. Nearly 107 bishops from all over the country have gathered to draw up an action plan on safeguarding the family against the evil influences of materialism, individualism and the rampant growth of single parent and same sex families in the West.

Quintana also expressed his strong opposition to the use of the holy cross as earrings by women and defilement of other religious symbols. It has come to our knowledge that the holy cross has now been so commercialised that girls in European countries are using them as earrings. We are also aware of efforts to print pictures of gods and goddesses on men’s underwear. We strongly deplore such practice , the ambassador told The Telegraph.


4th March

  Nutters Suck

Based on an article from E online

Simulated vampire sex is not bad for the kiddies--and that means Angel won't have to atone for its sins, according to the US Federal Communications Commission.

FCC TV regulators resoundingly rejected a complaint lodged by the Parents Television Council (PTC) that argued that a love scene in the Buffy spinoff, Angel , violated federal indecency rules by showing a vampire biting her partner's neck.

The nutter organisation was "shocked" that Warner's Washington affiliate, WBDC-TV, aired the bloodsucker romp in the 9 p.m. time slot on Nov. 19, 2003 and called on the regulatory agency to slap big fines on the station.

The subject of the PTC ire was a flashback in an episode titled "Destiny" in which our titular undead hero with a soul (David Boreanaz) got hot and heavy with a female character. Angel's hips were seen "moving back and forth," even though both characters had their clothes on. The Nutters were also all aflutter over another scene in which a woman morphed into a vampire and sank her teeth into the neck of her female companion.

But, in a decision handed down Friday, federal regulators declared that the vampire frolicking was not sufficiently graphic or explicit to render the program "patently offensive" by today's community standards. The PTC predicatbly felt the vampire ruling really sucked.

"In some ways the ruling is not surprising because the FCC only finds anything indecent only if it's way over the top," spokeswoman Laura Mahaney said. "The problem with the FCC is that they aren't going to find graphic sex indecent [unless] it's near pornographic."

In recent weeks, the FCC has denied nearly 40 indecency complaints by the activist group. The PTC had targeted more than two dozen programs airing between 2001 and 2004, including Emmy-winning shows like Friends, The Simpsons, Will & Grace and Arrested Development, for scenes involving graphic sexual and execretory references, including the use of slang to describe a penis. But the agency ruled that the content of such programs--while offensive to some--was not explicit or sustained enough to be considered "patently offensive."

In December, MediaWeek obtained an in-house FCC report that estimated that the Parents Television Council was responsible for 99.8 percent of all indecency complaints that were investigated by the agency. Such statistics prompted critics to accuse outgoing FCC boss Michael Powell of allowing a special-interest group to drive the agency's agenda, allegations that he denied.

Just last week, several PBS affiliates decided to broadcast an edited version of the documentary A Company of Soldier s, bleeping out some strong language by troops that, said critics of the decision, white-washes the realities of war. And in November, 66 ABC affiliates covering about one-third of the nation's TV viewers, refused to air an unedited Saving Private Ryan on Veterans Day, fearing the graphic violence and language would open them up for FCC fines.

The FCC issued a widely expected decision Monday saying that while the film contains numerous expletives and other potentially offensive language, it does not violate indecency standards
in light of the overall context in which this material is presented.


2nd March

  Welcome Nutters

Based on an article from First Coast News

Welcome NuttersThey came without song or chants. Instead their hands grasped firmly to a message, one they want to make quite clear. Pornography and sex shops in general are bad for the community, says Rick Young, who's leading up the nutters at a new store in Nassau County, Florida. Certainly we hope that this business will decide to move else where, close it's doors and move out. Move out of our county quite frankly,

Not going to happen, says the stores owner, who put up a sign welcoming the protesters. The spirit of the sign was to welcome the protesters, and let's face it protesters are good press for us,   says George Cebeck, the stores owner.

Clearly the controversy didn't scare all the customers away, People vote with their feet. If their was nobody coming into the store we wouldn't be here , says Cebeck.


27th February   The Voice of Intimidation

From The Times

The British tour of Jerry Springer — The Opera could be cancelled because of threats from militant Christians. Regional theatres last night told producers that they feared being targeted by an extreme evangelical group if they staged the show. It is endangering the UK tour, a spokesman for the show said. The venues are worried about being picketed by Christian Voice. Derby Assembly Rooms, a council-run theatre, is among those reconsidering whether to stage the show.

Stephen Green, shaneful leader of Christian Voice, told The Times that he planned to target theatres aggressively.

The cancer charity Maggie’s Centres  has turned down a £3,000 donation from the show after Christian Voice threatened to picket its premises if it accepted “tainted” money from the “filthy and blasphemous” musical. [I guess they don't want any money from any Melon Farmers either then]

Christian Voice gained notoriety after it circulated the home addresses and telephone numbers of senior BBC figures when Jerry Springer — The Opera was screened on BBC Two last month. Some people on the list received calls threatening them with “bloodshed”.

The cancer charity Maggie’s Centres said that contact from Christian Voice had prompted it to decline a donation from a charity performance of the show. It was to have used the money to help to establish a nationwide network of units for cancer patients and their families.

It said in a statement: As a result of contact from Christian Voice, Maggie’s has taken the decision not to accept the proceeds from a special performance of J erry Springer — The Opera .

 Green said that the charity had made a decision to “honour the Christian faith” [Christian Voice seem to be making it into a faith not worth honouring] . They were in grave risk of alienating Christian donors, their staff and cancer patients, he said. He admitted that Christian Voice had threatened to picket charity offices for accepting proceeds from “filth and blasphemy”, but said: By refusing to accept this tainted money, Maggie’s Centres have set an example of ethical behaviour which is rare in Britain today.

Christian Voice have also  plans to target pregnant women and medical staff at abortion clinics as it steps up its campaign against what it calls a tidal wave of filth, The Times has learnt. An MP will make a written statement to the House of Commons next week calling on the Home Secretary to investigate the activities of Christian Voice. They are adopting the tactics of American fundamentalist Christians, the group pickets buildings and posts the home addresses and phone numbers of its targets on the internet.

Green told The Times last night that his next target is abortion clinics. The taking of innocent blood brings judgment on our land and cries to Heaven for vengeance. The presence of abortion centres in our towns is iniquitous. They should be shut down. It would not take much: just a few prayer vigils outside clinics.”

John Cryer, the Labour MP for Hornchurch, is composing a written statement to the House calling for Charles Clarke to investigate Christian Voice. They will be targeting women who are already in a vulnerable state, nervous and afraid with all sorts of problems, and making their lives even worse, he said. During questions on Commons business last week, Mr Cryer described members of Christian Voice as fundamentalist thugs for “strong-arming” the small cancer charity Maggie’s Centres into refusing a donation from Jerry Springer.

Abortion clinics said last night that they feared a rise in US-style anti-abortion tactics and are being especially vigilant. Marie Stopes said that small groups of protesters already picket some of its clinics, blocking pregnant women as they attempt to enter and thrusting leaflets into their hands. They stand outside with posters and rosary beads. Members of staff sometimes have to escort the women into the clinics.

Mainstream Christian groups distanced themselves from Christian Voice, which also lobbies against homosexuality and is preparing to launch a campaign against sex education in schools. Green, the author of a virulently anti-gay book called The Sexual Dead End, said:
Homosexuality is a pathology, an emotional or psychological disorder. It is a very sad thing but it is something you can get over.


27th February   Pious Police Brutality

I lived in Malaysia for a few months at a smart hotel. The religious police were called by a reception desk worker when a (Non Muslim) European checked in with a local Muslim girl. The police showed all the tolerance that you might expect from such a pious stalwarts of society. They invited the man to leave the country and invited the girl to attend a two year mandatory 're-education' course. 

Based on an article from the BBC

New allegations have surfaced about the conduct of Malaysia's religious police during a raid on a top Kuala Lumpur nightclub last month.

More than 100 plainclothes officers from the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) detained young Muslims at the Zouk nightclub. Female detainees complained of sexual harassment by officers and the incident has led to a heated debate about the department's future.

Eyewitnesses have now told the BBC that officers assaulted and severely beat members of the club's staff. The sources also said that non-Muslim patrons, including tourists, who were outside the officers' jurisdiction, also reported being threatened with violence.

Up to 150 of them came in, one witness said. They didn't identify themselves, they didn't show any ID cards. They just forced their way in and started pushing people around.

In the days after the raid it emerged that dozens of young women were held for up to 10 hours without access to a toilet, long after male detainees had been released. A number of women said religious officers ordered them to pose in their nightclub outfits while others were asked lewd questions about their genitalia.

JAWI would neither confirm nor deny the allegations. The incident prompted Malaysia's cabinet to discuss the future of the religious police. Cabinet minister and former law minister Rais Yatim said after the meeting that he believed crime should be a matter for the police and morality for the family.

However, his colleague Abdullah Mohamed Zin, Minister for Islamic affairs, defended the officers and maintained that the raid was carried out according to procedures.


24th February   Polish Bollox

Back in 2003 the following news item cropped up

From Hysterics Art

The following sentence is hereby pronounced on behalf of the Republic of Poland on the 18th of June 2003 against Ms Dorota Alicja Nieznalska charged with offending religious sensitivities of numerous individuals by offending an object of religious worship, namely placing male genitals in the central piece of a metal cross in 2003 in Gdansk at the Passion exhibition held at Wyspa Progress art gallery.
The defendant was found guilty of the charges included on the indictment and sentenced to community service for 20 hours per month for 6 months. The Defendant was also fined the complete cost of the court trial.

Thanks to Alan for following up on this story

Dorota's appeal was heard in May 2004 , and a report has appeared on the Spam page, unfortunately in Polish only! Using the stilted Poltran Polish-English translation program, I managed to work out that the case has been sent back to the court of first instance for retrial, which has been confirmed by an e-mail from Lukasz Guzek, the webmaster. I don't know whether in Polish law this gives the prosecution the opportunity to do the decent thing and not try again.

The current situation is that Dorota is undergoing the feared retrial. People were certainly getting steamed up by the situations and there was a near riot as nutters clashed with a few people supporting Dorota. The big problem is the absence of up-to-date info in English. Hopefully someone can translate enough to see how the case turned out.


23rd February   Preaching the Anti-Gospel

The Papal contention that the negative West encourages the sentiment: One must live life as if God does not exist is overly pessimistic. However it would surely be a more civilised and tolerant society if the influence of those claiming to speak for God didn't exist.

From The Telegraph

The Pope urged the world’s media yesterday to promote “justice and solidarity” and the “moral good”, observing that journalists and communicators are “in need of Christ’s redemption". 

The Pope said that the media, including the Internet, offered a precious aid for spreading the Gospel and religious values , but this was not an easy mission in an age such as ours, which is convinced that the time of certainties is irretrievably past. He added: Modern technologies increase to a remarkable extent the speed, quality and accessibility of communication, but do not favour that delicate exchange which takes place between mind and mind and heart and heart.

The Pope’s remarks were contained in an apostolic letter entitled The Rapid Development: to those responsible for Communication.

The Pope also published a new book yesterday strongly attacking the "negative" society of the West, calling it a godless "anti-Gospel and new totalitarianism" masquerading as democracy.

Entitled Memory and Identity: Conversations Between Millenniums , John Paul II's fifth book, printed first in Italian, blames the moral permisiveness of the West for undermining society with divorce, free love, abortion, euthanasia, and genetic manipulation.

But its main focus is the risk democracies pose to the law of God. La Repubblica, the Italian daily which was shown advance excerpts, wrote yesterday: The nihilism of the West is disturbing to the Pope. His claim is that democratic parliaments are the carriers.

Driven by "powerful economic forces," the Pope claims, the "anti-Gospel" is spreading the idea that one must live life as if God does not exist.

By contrast, Eastern Europe, the Polish Pope said, had reached a spiritual maturity for which certain important values are less devalued than in the West.
The main threat which central Europe finds itself facing is that of falling without criticism under the influence of the negative culture so widespread in the West.


22nd February   Church Guilty of the Sin of Intolerance

From the BBC

Roman Catholic organisations in India have demanded the withdrawal of a film that depicts a priest having an affair with a girl half his age. Catholics are planning a protest in Mumbai (Bombay) on Wednesday. The president of one of Mumbai's main Catholic organisations, Dolphy D'Souza, says the portrayal of an ordained priest as a man of loose moral character has hurt the religious sentiments of India's Catholic community. Christians make up about two per cent of India's population of more than a billion people.

Indian television channels refused to be dragged into the controversy and are now refusing to run the promotional material for the film, Sins, ahead of its release on Friday.

The director of the film, Vinod Pande, says the movie is not offensive and has refused to withdraw it. Pande said that if the critics were to see the film they would not protest against it and would not insist on its withdrawal.

The BBC's Zubair Ahmed in Mumbai says that the film shows a priest in steamy scenes with a girl half his age. She apparently goes to him for help but he falls in love with her. The film has already been cleared by the Censor Board with an 'A' (adults only) certificate.


22nd February   Nutters Harangue Video Chain

Based on an article from Mich News

Nutter groups, Concerned Women for America (CWA) and Citizens for Community Values (CCV) are urging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to begin investigation into Movie Gallery Video Store's distribution of hard-core pornography before the retailer buys the approximately 1,900 family video stores owned by Hollywood Video.

Movie Gallery is another mainstream corporation apparently fearing no threat of being prosecuted for violating federal obscenity laws, said Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel. Worse yet, they're trying to expand their outlets and increase profits from hard-core porn by acquiring Hollywood Video.

The nutters took out adverts that ran in a recent issues of the Washington Post, USA Today and the [Portland] Oregonian calling for the DOJ to investigate whether or not Movie Gallery's products and practices violate federal laws prohibiting distribution of obscene material.

In hundreds of their stores, Movie Gallery features back rooms stocked with hard-core pornography. Joe Malugen, Movie Gallery's co-founder and CEO, has received letters as recently as November 2004 from law enforcement officials concerning prosecution for possible violations of state obscenity laws.


15th February   Paying the Penalty for Paying for Sex to Try and Make Others Pay for Paying for Sex

Based on an article from The Guardian

An anti-prostitution nutter known for videotaping prostitutes and their customers and giving the footage to police and TV shows has been accused of setting up some encounters so he could sell the tapes to the media.

Brian Bates, who is known as the "Video Vigilante",  was arrested and spent a night in jail before he was released Wednesday. An arrest warrant lists criminal complaints of pandering and aiding in prostitution. Bates denied the accusations. The way they were listed - they're calling me a pimp , he said. Bates has been spying on prostitutes since 1996. He said he began videotaping prostitutes and their customers after becoming frustrated with prostitution in his neighborhood.

Capt. Jeffrey Becker said Bates paid the prostitutes. Initially he started paying $40 each time. He later came back and said he would give $60 for good footage. Police said Bates was making the tapes to sell to media outlets. He has a Web site that displays some of his video footage and is a regular guest on Maury Povich's television talk show.

District Attorney Wes Lane's office will decide on the exact charges this week. Conviction on a felony charge of pandering could carry up to 20 years in prison.  In July 2002, Bates provided footage of two white police officers hitting an unarmed black suspect repeatedly with nightsticks. Bates had alerted police that the man and a prostitute were having sex in a van in church parking lot. The incident sparked racial tensions and allegations of police brutality.


9th February   Cheapest Form of Nutter

Based on an article from the BBC

MTV has been criticised for "incessant sleaze" by television indecency nutters in the US.
The Parents Television Council (PTC), which looks out for violence and sex on TV, said the cable music channel offered the "cheapest form" of programming. The group is at the forefront of a vociferous campaign to sanitise American television.

But a spokeswoman for MTV said it was "unfair and inaccurate" to single out MTV for criticism.
The PTC monitored MTV's output for 171 hours from 20 March to 27 March 2004, during the channel's Spring Break coverage.

In its report, MTV Smut Peddlers: Targeting Kids with Sex, Drugs and Alcohol , the PTC said it witnessed 3,056 flashes of nudity [presumably naked ankles or the like] or sexual situations and 2,881 verbal references to sex.

Brent Bozell, PTC president and conservative nutter said: MTV is blatantly selling raunchy sex to kids. Compared to broadcast television programmes aimed at adults, MTV's programming contains substantially more sex, foul language and violence - and MTV's shows are aimed at children as young as 12. There's no question that TV influences the attitudes and perceptions of young viewers, and MTV is deliberately marketing its raunch to millions of innocent children.

MTV spokeswoman Jeannie Kedas said the network follows the same standards as broadcasters and reflects the culture and what its viewers are interested in. It's unfair and inaccurate to paint MTV with that brush of irresponsibility. We think it's underestimating young people's intellect and level of sophistication.

Kedas also highlighted the fact MTV won an award in 2004 for the Fight for Your Rights series that focused on issues such as sexual health and tolerance.


8th February   Tolerating Intimidation

Based on an article from New Kerala

A pop singer dubbed the "Muslim Madonna" is facing the wrath of religious fundamentalists after releasing a sexy video for her first British single. Deeyah, 27, has become the target of violent threats from members of the Muslim community offended by her glamorous image. Her video is reportedly being shown on Indian channels.

The singer, of mixed Pakistani, Afghan and Persian descent, has received intimidating phone calls, aggressive emails and verbal threats from Asian youths warning her to "tone down and cover up".

But Deeyah has vowed to defy them all in her attempts to carve out a pop career. She said:
It is not going to make me go away. This is such a liberal, multicultural country and I never thought my background could become such an issue to some people. It does scare me but it also angers me and encourages me not to give up, and my parents encourage me. I do not flaunt my religious background, I never sing about it and compared to other pop stars I am not particularly risqué.


31st January   An Act Of Divine Repugnance

I don't think it is much of an advert for religion when followers believe that 220,000 innocent (and mostly Muslim) people 'deserved' to die. Truly repugnant.

Based on an article from The Telegraph

Moroccan nutters protested at the weekend by rallying behind claims that the country faced an Asian-style tsunami as punishment for immorality. Thousands of nutters took to the streets in support of the newspaper Attajdid, which called last month's disaster "an act of divine retribution" for South-East Asia's sex-tourism industry.

The paper also outraged moderates by implying that Morocco risked the same fate because of a growth of prostitution and sex tourism in the kingdom, a phenomenon it described as a "calamity". Demonstrators rushed to the defence of the newspaper, which is believed to be close to the Islamic-oriented Justice and Development Party, after it was savaged in the pro-government media.

The article was an insult not only to the victims of the tsunami but to all human beings and proved that fundamentalism is the natural father of terrorism , said the Association for Combating Hatred and Racism. Moroccans should be vigilant about an ideology that under the cover of morality conceals inquisition and hatred , it added.

Attajdid has since published another justification of its stance. It said: We believe, as all Muslims always have, that earthquakes and disasters depend on the will of God. We are surprised that people who think in this way have their right to free expression scorned .


30th  January   Bible Store Bashed

From the cnews

A man whose religious conversion prompted him to turn his adult novelty shop into a Christian bookstore is giving up because of poor sales. When you've done all you can do, you turn it over into God's hands, said Mike Braithwaite, who recently put the store and two surrounding hectares up for sale for $55,000 US.

Braithwaite had a conversion in 2002 after he was booked on charges of distributing obscene materials at his Love World store. He decided to burn all the leather gear, rubber playthings and other naughty merchandise and convert his business into a Bible bookstore named Mike's Place. The obscenity charges were dropped.

But Braithwaite said many people from this religious community in eastern Kentucky will not shop in a place that was once an adult novelty store.

Rev. John Ditty, pastor of Harlan Baptist Church, said Mike's Place may be the victim of department stores that can sell Bibles at lower prices.

Braithwaite said he is glad he changed, even if he loses the store.


29th  January   Church is Married to Intolerance

As always, those that preach tolerance turn out to be the most intolerant. Surely this intolerance must be an equally "evil act" to those that he rants on about.

From the

In a letter to churches in the Alberta region of Canada, Calgary's Catholic Bishop, Frederick Henry, said the government must work to halt behaviour that he felt could "harm" modern society: Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the state must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good. An evil act remains an evil act whether it is performed in public or in private.

The comments come as Canada moves ever closer to legalising same-sex marriage. Ceremonies are already legal in many states and the government is looking into allowing countrywide legislation through parliament in the coming months.

Earlier this month, the Pope called on Catholics across the world to oppose same-sex marriage detailing it as his priority for 2005. Previously, he has used other senior church members to condemn the issue, most notably in countries where lesbian and gay unions are being debated.


28th  January   24 Nutters

There seems to be not a single anti-censorship nutter in the story of life to date. At a time when censorial stereotypes are on the increase we feel that it is the responsibility of religious bodies to challenge these insidious views, not help to reinforce them. We have contacted  various religious bodies with a view to ascertaining whether they plan to introduce or develop any positive anti-censorship characters in the up 'n' coming series of life.

From the Muslim Council of Great Britain .

British Muslims to Refer 24 to OFCOM for Possible Breach of ITC Programme Code

A delegation from the Muslim Council of Britain’s media committee met yesterday evening with senior Executives from Sky Television to discuss their concerns about Sky One’s decision to broadcast the fourth series of the American drama 24 which begins on Sunday 30th January 2005.

We are greatly concerned by the unremittingly hostile and unbalanced portrayal of Muslims in this series of 24 based upon a preview of the first five episodes that we have seen. There is not a single positive Muslim character in the storyline to date. At a time when negative stereotypes of Muslims are on the increase we feel that Sky – as a major UK broadcaster – has a responsibility to challenge these insidious views, not help to reinforce them. We have urged Sky to urgently make contact with Fox Television – the producers of the 24 series – with a view to ascertaining whether they plan to introduce or develop any positive Muslim characters in the series which we understand is still being filmed. Meanwhile, we will be referring the series to OFCOM for investigation, as we believe that the episodes we have already seen are in clear infringement of the ITC Programme Code about the representation of minorities, said Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Rule 1.8 of the ITC Programme Code states:

Consideration should be given to the treatment of vulnerable minorities bearing in mind the likely effects of both misrepresentation and under-representation.

Additionally, rule 1.8(i) states:

No programme should be transmitted which is intended to stir up racial hatred, or taking into account the circumstances, is likely to do so.

Rule1.8(iii) applies the same to minority religious faiths.

The MCB received assurances from Sky that they would undertake a pro-active review of the 24 episodes as and when they receive them from Fox Television, with a view to ensuring that its broadcast of the 24 series complies with domestic broadcasting regulations, which may entail editorial changes. The MCB will be actively monitoring episodes broadcast on Sky to ensure that the Muslim community is not unfairly stereotyped.


26th  January   Lets Boycott Christians

From Peterborough Today

Christian bosses of a packaging firm have refused to do business with a lingerie shop because it sells sex toys.

For three years Laura Barnett has had bags and gift boxes used in her shop Es-sensuals, in Francis Street, Spalding, made by Eastern Packaging, based in Peterborough. During that time, her shop has had a room at the back where shoppers can buy sex toys of the type that can be bought on the high street.

However, the manager of Eastern Packaging, Graham Rodger, sent a letter to Barnett which said: Whilst what goods you sell is your matter, as Christians, believers in the Lord Jesus, we no longer wish to be associated with your shop.

The move will cost Es-sensuals £1,500, because the printing casts used to make the gift wrappings and bags cannot be transferred easily to other printers, Barnett said. She continued: Since when has religion had anything to do with sex? I am a Christian myself and thought the English stiff upper lip of 40 to 50 years ago was gone, but obviously not. I was gobsmacked when I received the letter and originally thought it was a joke."

Barnett said: We have had the toys in the back room for the past three years and have never had any problems before. Access to the room is only permitted to people who are 18 and over and the items we sell there are not obscene. I have clients that come here who are regular church-goers and understand it is just a bit of fun, which keeps their relationships happy and healthy. It is proven that exploring and expressing sexuality in a relationship helps keep people together, which is what Christianity is about, isn't it?

However, Rodger said the company, which is based in Welbeck Way, Woodston, was sticking by his decision to sever ties with the shop.
We do not agree with the corrupt items that are being sold at the shop. We have known for a little while that the owners have moved into other fields of merchandise, which contradict our Christian beliefs and are against the teachings of the Bible. We have decided that it is against our consciences and no longer wish to be associated with it.

Neither do the Melon Farmers want to be associated with Christian nutter businesses


23rd January   Muslim Nutters Advertise Intolerance

Based on an article from The Times

Advertising posters featuring partial nudity are being defaced by Muslim nutters who are offended by displays of flesh. The advertising watchdog has confirmed that increasing numbers of posters are being torn down or painted over in predominantly Islamic areas.

A website giving advice on how to vandalise billboards and listing potential targets has been set up by a group calling themselves Muslims Against Advertising (MAAD).  MAAD, based in Birmingham, gives an index of defaced adverts in the city, including Levi’s, Wonderbra, PaddyPower, a radio station and a strip club. It says on its website that it believes in direct action and has paint and isn’t afraid to use it. There is no longer any need to cringe as you walk past a sleazy poster, we’ll improve it.”

Advertisements for perfume, hair dye, bras and television programmes are among those that have been attacked. Photographs of semi-dressed women are the most frequently targeted, with the offending body parts painted over or ripped off. A poster advertising the Channel 4 programme Desperate Housewives is the most recent target; the images of two scantily-clad actresses have been torn from an East London billboard but three fully-dressed characters were left intact.


22nd January   Citing the European Convention of Nutters Rights

Based on an article from the BBC

The Christian Institute, a nutter organisation based in Newcastle that claims 14,000 members, wrote to the corporation's lawyers last night with a threatening ultimatum. The BBC will face legal action over the decision to broadcast the Jerry Springer - the Opera unless it apologises for offending the nutters.

It said unless it received an apology, plus an undertaking not to broadcast the expletive-strewn opera again, that it would seek a judicial review within seven days.

Paul Conrathe of solicitors Ormerods said barristers Richard Gordon and Paul Bowen have already been retained and will apply to the high court for a judicial review next Thursday if their demands have not been met. We think there is a good case here. We think they have acted illegally and have violated the royal charter .

Conrathe said he would also be using the Human Rights Act to argue his case that the BBC's decision to broadcast the programme, which has been branded blasphemous, was a breach of article nine, which states that everyone has a right to manifest their religious beliefs. He says article nine "circumscribes" article 10, which states that everyone has a right to freedom of expression.

The institute said the broadcast was deeply offensive to Christians and was a clear breach of the BBC's royal charter. The charter requires the BBC not to broadcast material that offends against good taste or decency or is offensive to public feeling . The organisation also believes the BBC has discriminated against Christians by singling out the Christian faith for the kind of abuse that no other faith would receive.


17th January   Discriminatory Religions Check for Discrimination

From Middle East Online

Egyptian television dramas will soon be subject to review by a panel of religious censors, sparking outcry by authors who say the move is a threat to their creative freedom and livelihoods.

Information Minister Mamduh al-Beltagi told reporters that he wanted to ensure better quality Egyptian television series, which have been overtaken in popularity by Syrian productions in recent years.

He said that under the new rules, only shows that are "responsible" and "respect the values and traditions of Egyptian society" will be allowed to hit the airwaves. The media cannot be transformed into instruments to distil poison under the pretext of artistic licence . Certain programs will now be presented to the clerics of Al-Azhar, the world's highest Sunni Islam authority, and the small but powerful Christian church before being broadcast, Beltagi said.

The minister has already axed a television miniseries called A Girl from Shubra , a tale of the relationship between a Christian woman and a Muslim man during the Egyptian struggle for independence in the 1940s. The ban sparked a deluge of criticism from writers but Beltagi defended the move saying the program "deals with relations between Christians and Muslims in a way that undermines national unity".

The Coptic Christian church opposes marriage between Christians and Muslims, which often results in conversions of the spouse to Islam, while marriage between a Muslim woman and a Christian man is formally banned under sharia law.

In December, the wife of a Coptic priest who wanted to divorce and convert to Islam set off a storm within the church, which initially said she had been kidnapped and forced to convert. The allegation caused a deep rift between the religious communities, sparking deadly clashes. The Coptic church bans divorce and many Christian women circumvent the rule by announcing their conversion to Islam in order to be excommunicated from the church and obtain a legal separation before a civil court.

The new restrictions on public television come in marked contrast to the liberal standards on satellite channels seen in Egypt and have sent a jolt through the writers' community, most of whom sell their productions to public television. This is a state of emergency slapped on dramatic creativity , said writer Magdi Tayeb, in a reference to the state of emergency in force in the country since the assassination of president Anwar Sadat by Islamists in 1981.

Successful series writer Osama Okasha expressed his "deep regrets" about the minister's decision. Okasha said A Girl From Shubra denounced
negative forces such as religious intolerance and racism and opposed the normalization of relations with Israel.


14th January   Sick of Intolerance

Any non religious controversial film/play/TV etc causes a bit of reaction in the press and people have a good debate . The Daily Mail are sure to represent the censorial argument but they can at least accept defeat with a shrug and put it down to the sign of the times. As soon as religion gets involved, suddenly the threats and violence ensue. I rather suspect that if there is a heaven then it will surely be mostly populated by non religious people who genuinely live with their fellow man with the necessary civilisation and respect.

From the BBC

A British writer forced into hiding after violent protests by Sikhs led to the cancellation of her play has broken her silence and defended her work. Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti has received death threats over her play Behzti, depicting rape and murder in a Sikh temple.
Bhatti said parts of the show had been taken out of context, and added: I wholeheartedly stand by my work. I was very saddened by the decision to stop the play but accepted that the theatre had no alternative when people's safety could not be assured.

She added: As a writer I lead a quiet life, so nothing could have prepared me for the furore and intense media interest of the past few weeks. I've been physically threatened and verbally abused by people who don't know me. My family has been harassed and I've had to leave my home. I have been deeply angered by the upset caused to my family and I ask people to see sense and leave them alone.

Bhatti said she had not intended to offend, and that she felt the play was "respectful" to Sikhism.
I am proud to come from this remarkable people and do not fear the disdain of some, because I know my work is rooted in honesty and passion. Unfortunately the contents of Behzti seem to have been taken out of context by many.

She said that since the play's cancellation she had received messages of support from other artists, fellow Sikhs and many other people across the world. More than 1,000 actors, writers and directors, including Prunella Scales, poet laureate Andrew Motion and Willy Russell, signed a petition condemning the violent response to Behzti.

At a time when the power of words is under the closest scrutiny, please know that your words have kept my spirit strong. Bhatti said.
As for the threats and hate mail - these have stirred only tolerance and courage within me. My faith remains strong and I pray that these days pass peacefully, that my life will normalise and that I can get back to working.


14th January   Early Day Emotion

Typical of nutters to think they can somehow claim to implicitly speak for 70% of the population. Anyway since Sunday morning, Christianity is so undermined that he can surely no longer claim his figure of 70%.

Jeffrey Donaldson,  Ulster Unionist MP for Lagan Valley has submitted an Early Day Motion to the House of Commons:

That this House regards with dismay the decision by the BBC to broadcast Jerry Springer—The Opera on BBC2, causing widespread offence to Christians and those of other faiths by its mocking portrayal of Jesus Christ, Holy Communion and some of the central tenets of the Christian faith; condemns the show's juvenile and offensive use of repeated profanity in an attempt at humour; further notes that it is particularly serious that the show should have been transmitted by the publicly-funded national broadcaster and questions whether it places the Corporation in breach of its Charter; laments the arrogant dismissal of Christian concerns by the content of programmes aired by the BBC; and calls on the Government publicly to rebuke the corporation for its attack on the religion adhered to by over 70 per cent. of the UK population and for its lowest common denominator approach to ethics in its attempts to chase ratings.


14th January   Heralding Sanity

From the Christian Today

The Christian Herald newspaper has condemned many Christians as being too hasty in rushing to criticise the BBC 2 television airing of Jerry Springer – The Opera .

The newspaper described the way in which Christians went about making their opposition to the show well known as a "classic mistake". It reported that by shouting blasphemy devoid of cohesive argument will only serve to reinforce stereotypes.

The Herald’s editorial stated: Arguments have raged, sharpened on usual agendas and discrepancies. That Christians should only come to stand against the show, three years after it first debuted in the West End, is because our license fees fund the BBC. The corporation has maintained that, within context, the piece is thought-provoking and satirical. Sadly, far too few campaigners actually viewed the piece – the classic mistake for would-be apologists debating morality in the arts.

The outcry against BBC’s decision to show the Jerry Springer Opera was an unprecedented protest, which saw Christians burning their television licences, and exaggerated fact counting of expletives in the show in attempts to completely condemn the show.

Another UK-based Christian new service provider, Ekklesia, also commented within their editorial that,
In one sweep our loud accusations seem ill-informed, unbalanced and, at worst, vacuous to the onlooker. Jonathan Bartley, director of Ekklesia, despairs that Christians have missed a 'golden opportunity for moral and ethical debate' by not giving 'meaningful explanation' to their accusers.

With faith being amputated from much of the arts, shouting ‘blasphemy’ devoid of cohesive argument will only serve to reinforce stereotypes, discouraging artisans from further exploring faith. Unless we treat others as we’d like to be treated, we have no grounds to complain when reactionary secularists attempt Christian censorship without proper reasoning.


13th January   Resigned to Nutterdom

From the BBC

A BBC Radio 3 producer has resigned in protest at the corporation's broadcast of Jerry Springer - The Opera , saying it offended his Christian beliefs. Antony Pitts quit after watching the show, saying: The blasphemy was far, far worse than even the most detailed news reports had led me to believe.

In his resignation letter, he listed what he had found blasphemous in the broadcast. These examples included the ridiculing of the figure of Jesus on the cross, dressed to imply sexual perversion and the repeated mockery of the wounds (stigmata) of Jesus, linked to acts of crudeness.

Pitts wrote: One of the arguments used before the broadcast was that the stage show had not been attacked for blasphemy. My answer, after watching the show, is that anyone likely to pursue a case for blasphemy would not have remained in the theatre long enough to witness it.

BBC director general Mark Thompson met Pitts on Monday to discuss the issue, but was unable to persuade him to stay at the BBC.

From The Times

Michael Grade, the BBC Chairman, sought a personal assurance from his Director-General that Jerry Springer — The Opera would not breach broadcasting rules governing blasphemy.

Grade said that it would be a “pretty serious matter” for Mark Thompson, the Director-General, if regulators found that the BBC had behaved irresponsibly by screening the musical. But Grade suggested that it was no more offensive than Rodin’s The Kiss had been to 19th-century tastes or the “bonking” in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective.

Solicitors for the Christian Voice group wrote to Grade, claiming that broadcasting the show would constitute a criminal offence of blasphemy .

BBC governors and Ofcom, the regulator, are expected to undertake separate investigations into complaints about the programme, broadcast on BBC Two last weekend. But Grade said that the governors must not intervene to prevent contentious programmes being broadcast. They had to rely on BBC management making the correct editorial decisions.

He said: This may be tested in court. The question is, did Mark Thompson operate in line with the best advice or was it a negligent decision where advice (against proceeding) was ignored? That would be a pretty serious matter.

Grade will sit on the Governors’ Programme Complaints Committee panel which may ultimately adjudicate on the programme.

Jerry Springer The Opera will close at the Cambridge Theatre next month to tour Britain after 609 performances in the West End.


11th January   Nutters Find their Voice

BBC2's broadcast of Jerry Springer: the Opera met with large scale protest from nutters.  This has been attributed to a group called Christian Voice. Its director, Stephen Green, tells the Guardian about his crusade to stop this 'tidal wave of filth'

From The Guardian

Britain is a nation deep in sin , says Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice. Nobody can deny that the last 50 years of legislation have turned us away from the laws of God. We say that God knows best and if we go away from God we're going to bring judgment upon ourselves. What kind of judgment?
Read Deuteronomy 28 - that tells you.

Deuteronomy 28 says many things. Verse 17, for example, says that if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees, your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed - not something that would compel many 21st- century sinners to adhere to the straight and narrow. Verse 20 is more to the point: if you fail to obey God's commands and decrees, it says, The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.

Green argues that this prophecy is coming to pass in Britain. If you start moving away from righteousness, evil flourishes. You can see that in the alienation of our societies, in terms of family breakdown and crime levels, drug taking, profligacy and perversion. He says that Christian Voice was established a decade ago to "pray for national repentance". His website is blunter: The enemies of God are all having their say ... It's time to hear the Christian Voice.

The group may have been little known had it not been for the campaign it mounted against the BBC's decision to screen Jerry Springer - The Opera . Hundreds of Christian protesters rallied outside the BBC before and during the broadcast. We got 1,500 people out even though we don't have huge numbers of members. How many members do they have? We're bigger than David's band [600], but not as big as Biblical armies [1,000,000], says Green, gnomically.

Christian Voice's protest outside BBC TV Centre was less contentious than Green's decision to publish personal details of BBC staff he believed responsible for the broadcast. Green's email to Christian Voice subscribers reportedly said: We make no apologies for giving their home addresses and in as many cases as we can, their phone numbers ... We know normal protests are channelled in such a way as to be ignored. One result of this was that BBC staff and their families were threatened with violence and there were reports, later denied by the corporation, that BBC2 controller Roly Keating had gone into hiding.

Yesterday Green was repentant. I have certain God-given gifts and it is a privilege to use them because we love our Lord and care for our fellow man. But it was naive of us to expect when we posted the home addresses of the BBC staff that the site wouldn't only be visited by Christians. We regret that there have been threats. It brings no honour on the name of Jesus Christ.

But he insists that Christian Voice is very much needed now. In past times the nation looked to political leaders for moral guidance. Not now. Our society is corrupt from the top down. Think of the Blair and Brown nonsense, or the Blunkett affair.

The group claims to be independent of any religious denomination or political party, and not formally linked to other Christian groups that have also opposed the Springer broadcast, such as the Evangelical Alliance. That said, its political agenda is more akin to Bush's Republican right than that of any major British party. Indeed, the group's website publishes a speech by John Ashcroft that the then attorney general designate gave in 1999, pointing out that America is unique among nations in having a godly and eternal rather than a civic and temporal character. Clearly, Christian Voice wants Britain to be more like the America envisioned by Bush and his acolytes.

The website also complains that Britain has abolished the death penalty but legalised the murder of children in the womb, enacted no-fault divorce on demand and forced mothers out to work, legalised trading on the Lord's day and instituted a national lottery, legalised pornography and homosexual acts and taught evil to our children in school, and given away the Queen's sovereignty - owed to Almighty God alone - to the EU.

We reap the whirlwind: six million unborn children have died in just 35 years, 40% of births are now illegitimate, 56% of marriages end in divorce, 29% of men are economically inactive and over a million children are in day care. There are two and a half times as many murders as 50 years ago, 45 times as much violent crime, 18 times as many rapes are reported, and crime rates generally have increased tenfold. TV, radio, and the arts are awash with blasphemy, violence and perversion, while virtue is derided.

The spur for Christian Voice's establishment was Edwina Currie's 1994 amendment to reduce the age of consent for gay sex to 16, the same as for heterosexual sex. Members of Christian Voice who pay the £20 annual subscription can receive email alerts to enable prayer and action to be targeted swiftly on events as they arise - which explains the turnout on Saturday night.

Subscribers are asked to sign the following statement: We believe the Holy Bible to be the inspired, infallible, written Word of God to whose precepts, given for the good of nations and individuals, all man's laws must submit. We believe all government to be under the authority of God and that its purpose is the maintenance of freedom and justice solely in accordance with Biblical principles. To uphold Christianity as the Faith of the United Kingdom.

Green, 53, established Christian Voice in 1994. Since November 2003, the Lord has enabled me to go full time.

Did the show really upset him? Yes. I read critics beforehand, but it hardly prepared me for the enormity of it when I saw it. The profanities were much worse than I had thought, and they were worse because the singing was so lovely.

Green says his lawyers are still to advise him on whether the group should bring a private blasphemy prosecution against the BBC. Why doesn't he just ignore a show that, as he says, is morally vacuous?
That's what Christians have been doing for the last 50 years. There will really be a tidal wave of filth if we don't bear Christian witness against these things. So we will.


9th January   Christian Voice Speaks Only Bullying & Physical Violence

Whenever death threats, physical violence & harrassment crop in the news it is always highly likely that these originate from supposedly religious people. Hardly seems a good advert for religion.

From The Independent

The BBC placed a guard on the homes of some senior staff and took legal action to shut down a Christian website that published the addresses and phone numbers of its executives, as the row escalated over last night's broadcast of Jerry Springer - The Opera .

The BBC action followed threats of "physical violence" and even "bloodshed" against staff, including Roly Keating, the head of BBC2, and their families. Personal details had been made available both on the website and in an email distributed by Christian Voice, one of the groups that has led the extraordinary backlash against the corporation for refusing to pull the broadcast. The protesters claimed its content was blasphemous.

The email from Christian Voice's national director, Stephen Green, to subscribers - obtained by The Independent on Sunday - stated: We make no apologies for giving their home addresses and in as many cases as we can, their phone numbers ... We know normal protests are channelled in such a way as to be ignored.

The strength of the protests had taken the BBC by surprise. Last night, many in the arts and broadcasting feared a rise in aggressive campaigning to curb artistic freedom in Britain.

They point to the controversy over the play Behzti (Dishonour) in Birmingham, which closed after Sikh protests led to violence, and the BBC's decision to pull the comedy series Popetown last year, as evidence of organised lobbying across religions. A government Bill outlawing incitement to religious hatred is also thought to be adding fuel to the campaigns.

The writer Philip Pullman told the IoS: I do worry that we are entering a time of greater excitability, greater intolerance. We are now expecting people to feel aggrieved and inciting them to do so, and providing them with an excuse by getting plays put off. A screen adaptation of Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials is among the casualties, with references to God and religion removed.

Last night's broadcast of Jerry Springer - The Opera went ahead despite more than 30,000 complaints, a record number - many as the result of coordinated campaigns. A 250-strong demonstration and prayer vigil took place outside the corporation's TV centre in west London before the programme. On Friday protesters had tried to storm the BBC building.

Christian Voice claims the production ridicules Christianity. They [the BBC] hold ordinary people and almighty God in utter contempt, said Mr Green, 53, the founder and national director of the group, set up more than a decade ago.

There is no suggestion that Christian Voice's members made calls to the BBC executives, but corporation insiders believe the group must have been aware of the consequences of publishing them.

A BBC spokesman said: We can confirm that lawyers acting for the BBC requested that the site was removed to prevent the publication of the private addresses and phone numbers of our staff.

Green said he "absolutely" condemned any threats. But he added that protests would continue, possibly outside the homes of BBC staff, and he is threatening legal action for blasphemy.

In Jerry Springer, a parody of the trash-talk-show host's TV series, Jesus is portrayed wearing a nappy and admits to being "a bit gay". The show aroused few murmurs of protest when it opened at the National Theatre in 2003.

The NT's director, Nicholas Hytner, said: I am assuming that the people who thought they'd be offended didn't buy tickets. I got a surprisingly small postbag. Try as I might I can't see what the fuss is about.

The religious backlash is worrying many. The comedian Linda Smith, the president of the British Humanist Association, said: These people seem to have their tails up at the moment. It's partly after seeing the success Sikhs have had in Birmingham and looking to America and the stranglehold that the religious right have on policy there. Joan Bakewell, who chairs the National Campaign for the Arts, said: We are on the edge of people feeling that if they are offended by something, it should be outlawed. This is damaging because all sorts of things could be offensive.

But a spokeswoman for the Evangelical Alliance said it should have been pulled, arguing that the programme breached BBC guidelines.

The Conservative deputy leader Michael Ancram also criticised the broadcast. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions, he said:
You can choose to go to the theatre ... Public service television, I believe, has another duty and that is to exercise a degree of caution which is not there for the theatre to exercise.


8th January   50,000 Nutters

Based on an article from the The Telegraph

Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, joined the row over Jerry Springer: The Opera yesterday, saying that as a practising Christian he did not find it blasphemous.

His intervention coincided with protests outside the BBC by Christians furious at the decision to screen a television version of the musical in spite of nearly 50,000 complaints.

A crowd of more than 120 waved placards that read "Blasphemy Broadcasting Corporation", "Stop BBC Blasphemy" and "Christians Against Blasphemy" outside the Television Centre, in west London.

In scenes somewhat reminiscent of the bizarre daytime television show on which the musical is based, they also chanted "Jerry Off", while some burned their television licences.

The BBC's version of the award-winning West End musical is due to be shown at 10pm on BBC2 tonight.

But critics claim it is not something that licence fee payers' money should be spent on; as well as being littered with more than 400 swear words, it features Jesus in a nappy admitting he is "a bit gay".

Bishop Michael Reid, of the Peniel Church in Brentwood, Essex, who organised yesterday's protest, described the musical as "filth". This programme is blasphemous and violates the very principles of decency, which is part of the BBC code," he said. "We are outraged that the BBC should use licence fee payers' money to put on a show that is highly offensive to Christians. It would not put programmes on that were insulting to Mohammed, Buddha or the Hindu gods but it thinks Christians are easy picking. A person chooses to go into a theatre and that is their choice. But the BBC is a national broadcaster.

However, Mr Thompson, a Roman Catholic, defended the decision to broadcast it. It is going out at 10pm, one hour after the watershed, on BBC2 and not on BBC1," he told Radio Bristol. "An hour-long programme is going out before it putting [the musical] into context, and we will be making it very clear to people that it does include a great deal of strong language. I am a practising Christian but there is nothing in this which I believe to be blasphemous."

Solicitors for the lobby group, Christian Voice, have written to Michael Grade, the BBC chairman, claiming that broadcasting the show would constitute a criminal offence of blasphemy.

They said that if the musical was aired they would launch proceedings for a judicial review against the BBC on Monday under Article Nine of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to respect for religious feelings.

Earlier David Soul, who plays the title role in the stage and television version, applauded the BBC for bringing the musical to a wider audience. The actor, a former star of Starsky and Hutch , said he was also a Christian and acknowledged that many people would be offended. They have the right not to watch. But there are hundreds of thousands of people who won't have had a chance to see this in the West End. And they have the right to enjoy the kind of quality entertainment that Jerry Springer is. Believe me, this show would never have got to where it is today if it was simply about blasphemy.

Terry Sanderson, of the National Secular Society, said a "bigger principle" than blasphemy was at stake.

Following the successful campaign by Roman Catholics to convince the BBC to drop its satirical cartoon PopeTown , and the Sikhs who forced the Birmingham Rep to abandon the play Behzti , Sanderson said there was a danger that religious groups were becoming too powerful. It is very important we do not allow these groups to dominate our cultural life, he said.

Last night the BBC said it had received 40,000 complaints but also "some" supportive calls and e-mails. In addition the media regulator Ofcom said it had received 7,361 complaints, eclipsing the record of 1,554 over Martin Scorsese's film The Last Temptation of Christ in 1995.


5th January   Punch Up over Play on TV

Based on an article from the BBC

Nutters have urged the BBC to drop a broadcast of hit stage musical Jerry Springer - The Opera. The musical has been described as the most expletive-laden programme ever on British television.

The BBC said it contains language and content which won't be to some tastes" but it must cater for all audiences.

But nutters Mediawatch-UK said: Licence fee payers do not expect the BBC to be pushing back boundaries of taste and decency in this way. In a letter sent to BBC chairman Michael Grade on Tuesday, Mediawatch-UK director John Beyer argued the show would breach BBC guidelines. The continuous stream of obscene and profane language, as well as the debauched behaviour that characterised Mr Springer's TV shows, is unacceptable and will alienate a large number of viewers, he wrote.

The show, filmed at the Cambridge Theatre, London, will be aired uncut by BBC Two at 2200 GMT on Saturday. The corporation is billing the broadcast as a boundary-breaking show will appeal to all - except the faint-hearted! . Warnings about the language will be given and it will be broadcast "well after the watershed", it added.

The BBC has also denied reports in the Daily Mail that the two-hour show contains 8,000 expletives, which would equal more than one swear-word each second.


1st January   Nutters about Potter

Based on an article from The Sun

Church nutters have criticised the BBC for showing Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on Christmas Day.

Some nutters are worried that the witchcraft shown in the film gives children the wrong impression - especially on Christmas Day.

One spokesman explained, The BBC has picked the least suitable time to show it. Harry Potter portrays witchcraft and black magic in a fictional way but it is capitalising on the supernatural.

However, a spokesperson for the BBC told The Sun ,
Harry Potter is one of the most popular family movies in recent years.

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