Following Waterstone’s capitulation to fundamentalist Christian Stephen Green, who had vowed to protest a poetry reading at their store in Cardiff, two Welsh Assembly members (AM) and the Hay Festival founder have said they will host readings:
Lib-Dem AM Peter Black and Cardiff South Labour AM Lorraine Barrett now plan to host Mr Jones’ reading of book of poems, Darkness Is Where The Stars Are, in an Assembly Government committee room on December 11.
Hay Festival founder Peter Florence has also invited Mr Jones – brother of Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire – to read his work at next year’s festival.
But Christian Voice leader Stephen Green from Pen-y-Bont, near Carmarthen, said the organisation would protest wherever the reading was hosted.
His right to protest was never the issue here, and I would hope that as long as he uses peaceful means, rather than those he advocated in the defeat of the action against the Baltic Centre in Gateshead, he’s allowed to do so. I suspect his condemnation of the Lib Dems (of which one of the AMs is a member) isn’t something the party will lose much sleep over.
It’s an eerily similar campaign to those opposed to gay marriage in California – to ban what you don’t like even though it doesn’t affect you. Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t have one. Don’t like this poetry – don’t buy the book. Multiple Gods have withstood scrutiny, lampooning and insults for millennia – doesn’t seem to have affected them (ahem they don’t exist) or their religions much.
He (Stephen Green) added there would “no doubt” be a protest at the Assembly that day over the poetry he described as “packed with hatred for Christianity”.
No doubt the same way that ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’ was hateful of Christianity (I’ve seen it – it wasn’t). People like Green are dangerous – by crying wolf, and claiming hate wherever there’s a representation of their religion they simply don’t approve of, they make it much more difficult for genuinely anti-religious hate speech to get flagged up.