Being that I am in a particularly good mood these days, I found it hard to be angry at the program I’ve just endured on Channel 4, about the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the UK – and it’s increasing influence on British government policy (which I will record the re-play of on Wednesday 20th May on More4, attempt to upload to Google video and embed here – but I can’t promise the copyright police won’t get upset, cry for their mummy and reject it – so you might want to search ThePirateBay.org for it instead).
The lack of my usual anger towards the people and views expressed in the program is not entirely down to the fact that I’m on cloud nine in love with Miss Lucy – although it helps. In this case, it was simply that those of us who’ve been watching the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the US, have been waiting for someone to notice that it is just as bad here in the UK – and this program should certainly have raised the hackles of anyone previously oblivious to this unfortunate fact.
Dispatches, for those who don’t know, is one of the few documentary series left on British television which prides itself on high standards of real journalism into serious subjects. The filmmaker in this case was no exception – giving all the people shown in the program more than enough space to back peddle away from some of the things they said on camera, which could have been perhaps said without knowing their microphone was still live. Unfortunately none of them backed down even when given the opportunity.
Day-to-day Christians who you might work with or socialise amongst are harmless enough; accidentally mislead, but ultimately set their ways on the strangest of subjects, yet nice enough people in every other regard. The screaming lunatics in ‘In God’s Name’ were the other kind of Christian; the shout at the world kind who end every sentence with impressive sounding religious in-speak, about the coming of the lord and hallelujah in His name, et cetera.
Everything they do is done “in Jesus’ name”. Their presumption to know the mind of the same God who also made their enemy is particularly alarming. Their enemy, by the way, is you – yes you. You and your shameless effrontery to actually listen to the views of people like me. You’re going to burn in someone else’s imaginary hell, you bastard!
Of course this mind numbing ignorance is easily justified in their minds as yet another example of His mysterious way, although quite where the magisterial ways in hating someone because they happen to be sexually compatible with someone of their same sex lies, is – you might notice, never fully explored. There is just as little interest; no such caveat in their non-logic to explain the statistical matter of fact that same sex marriages are rarely broken up by nought but death and that they are more often than not entered into by people who have been monogamous to each other most of their adult life.
The hatred towards other religious people in the program runs much deeper than I would have thought legal to broadcast in this day and age – but I am somewhat resigned and – dare I say it – almost cold to the sad fact, that because some of the things which were said about Muslims were uttered by white, Christian and therefore “natural to these lands” folk of “good character”, they’ll get away without any of it being investigated by the same police who’s human conscience is so low as to allow themselves to beat up and even murder rationally minded people, just because they’re deluded into believing they live in a free country; where such anarchistic behaviour as singing “give peace a chance” outside an American weapons factory is punishable by imprisonment. But, that’s the pigs for you.
Suffice to say, that if the views being expressed on other religions were uttered from the lips of poor Muslim people, from the housing estates of Bradford, they’d be in Guantanamo Bay before you could say ‘The BNP have won seats in every local council election for the past 5 years’ – but I digress.
My ability to remain calm was broken only by the main thrust of the last third of the film. The gist of which being that, apparently, we’re all going to burn in hell because some scientists have seen a light at the end of the tunnel, in curing some of the most devastating of illnesses – like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Our certain* doom is not simply assured because it is God’s will that children should be allowed to die of hereditary ailments, but because their unborn brother or sister, who would most certainly also have the same sickness, has to be born into a short life of pain and suffering too. Being male and therefore utterly incapable of truly understanding the bond between a woman and her foetus, I’m usually agnostic on the subject of abortion – but I am increasingly alarmed at the lack of understanding being shown on all sides of the debate, in the vast difference between Russian athletes who deliberately become pregnant so as to glean a legal hormone training performance advantage and the victims of violent and repeated rape.
The very fact that God’s chosen ones can no more differentiate between the two than see it in the sacred heart of Jesus to leave politics out of the relationship between a doctor and patient is, to my mind, the only reason normal Christians** should need to completely detach themselves from any involvement in an organisation which actively campaigns on other people’s suffering and has the shit-eating balls to call it the work of gentle Jesus meek and mild.
*Not actually certain at all
Edit: Since writing the above, the program has been shown again and I have captured it and uploaded it to Google.