Christian Voice (UK)
|Type||Christian lobby group|
Christian Voice (CV) is a Christian advocacy group based in the United Kingdom. Its stated objective is "to uphold Christianity as the Faith of the United Kingdom, to be a voice for Biblical values in law and public policy, and to defend and support traditional family life." It is independent of religious, denominational, or political parties.
CV is led by Stephen Green, with Lord Ashbourne as its patron. Green is the group's spokesperson, producing scores of press releases from 2005 to 2010. According to Green, Christian Voice had in excess of 600 members in 2005.
The group has been criticised for its positions. The Rev. Dr. David Peel, leader of the United Reformed Church called Christian Voice "a disgrace" and described their "claim to represent Christians" in the UK as "absurd".
The leader of Christian Voice is Stephen Green, a former Chairman of the Conservative Family Campaign, who attends an Assemblies of God Church. In the early 1990s, Green was a prominent campaigner against homosexuality through the Conservative Family Campaign, and wrote a book called The Sexual Dead-End.
In January 2011, Green's former wife, Caroline Green, accused him of repeatedly physically assaulting her and their children, including one incident where he allegedly beat her with a weapon until she bled, and another in which their son allegedly required hospital treatment after having been beaten with a piece of wood. The couple subsequently divorced. Stating that the article was "highly defamatory" and calling it a "catalogue of smears and distortions stitched together," Green denied some of the allegations. On his blog he wrote:
I sincerely tried to lead my marriage and household in a loving and responsible way, and one which was faithful to the Lord.
Christian Voice has called for British law to be based on the Bible. It opposes abortion, homosexuality, no-fault divorce and compulsory sex education. Additionally it supports the death penalty and does not recognise the concept of marital rape. The group has also published a paper attacking Islam as untrue, and the portrayal of it as a religion of peace as false.
Green has expressed support for the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2009) and its associated penalty of death, stating "The Bible calls for the ultimate penalty for sodomy... A Parliamentarian in Uganda is trying to protect his nation's children. The House of Commons of the United Kingdom is trying to corrupt ours."
Laws on marital rape
The group wants to overturn the law on marital rape, stating that the promises given by a man and woman to each other during the marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer establish a binding consent to sexual intercourse.
Protests and campaigns
The group has been involved in campaigns against the Gay Police Association (GPA). Christian Voice is opposed to police officers participating in gay pride marches, and in 2003 wrote to the Chief Constable of each force which it alleged allowed its officers to march in uniform at Pride events. The organisation published the replies on its website and, in the accompanying 16-page document Homosexuality and the Police, described homosexuality as "characterised by disease, degradation, death and denial" and Gay Pride as "intimidating".
Since July 2005, a group of people led by Stephen Green has held protests against London's Pride Parade. Similar protests have been held in Brighton, Leeds, Belfast and Cardiff.
On 2 September 2006, Green was arrested while handing out pamphlets urging homosexuals to "turn from their sins" at the Cardiff Mardi Gras. The police considered the leaflets hateful. The Crown Prosecution Service decided to withdraw their prosecution of Green on the grounds of insufficient evidence; the police stated that this did not "challenge the legality" of his arrest. Green's solicitor indicated he would seek damages in civil court for "abuse of police powers."
Christian Voice was behind much of the controversy in the UK surrounding Jerry Springer: The Opera and a transmission of a performance by the BBC in 2005. The group stated that the production was blasphemous in its depiction of Jesus, Mary and God as guests on the Jerry Springer Show. Green said of the production,
Jerry Springer the Opera portrayed Jesus Christ as a nappy-wearing sexual deviant, who said he was 'a little bit gay'. It called Mary a rape victim, said the birth of Jesus was because 'the condom split', ridiculed His wounds on the cross and the sacrament of Holy Communion, had God as an ineffectual old man who needed guidance from Jerry Springer and finished up with Springer as a counterfeit saviour of mankind who told Jesus to "Grow up for Christ's sake and put some f***ing clothes on."
The group maintained a presence outside the Cambridge Theatre in London where it ran. It then mounted protests outside every theatre on the ill-fated 2006 run of the show, attributing the financial disaster of the tour to divine intervention rather than its own actions. In 2009, it mounted protests outside the St Andrews University production.
Christian Voice started a campaign for people to complain to the BBC and published the home addresses and telephone numbers of two BBC executives on their web site, Jana Bennett (Director of Television) and Roly Keating (Controller of BBC Two). Mr. Keating subsequently received death threats.
On 8 January 2007, submissions were made on behalf of Stephen Green at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court to pursue private prosecutions for blasphemy against the Director General of the BBC Mark Thompson and the show's producer, Jonathan Thoday. A summons was refused on 30 January 2007 due to lack of prima facie evidence that a crime had been committed, and the provisions of the 1968 Theatres Act, which enshrines the right of free expression in theatrical works. An appeal to the High Court was dismissed on 5 December 2007. On 5 March 2008 the House of Lords rejected the call to hear an appeal of the High Courts decision because "it did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance".
CV placed an advertisement in the New Statesman asserting that HPV vaccines would make young people sterile. In January 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the advertisement breached advertising regulations on accuracy. Christian Voice had predicted the ruling and responded "requiring the substantiation of a future prediction in an opinion piece is preposterous and an infringement of freedom of speech."
In November 2008, following the failed private prosecution by Emily Mapfuwa over the display of a foot-high statue of Jesus with a phallus in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Stephen Green urged Christians to "create public disorder if [they] wish such a case to proceed in future", and stated that the artwork in question would "not survive being put on public display again."
On 8 January 2009, Christian Voice complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the Atheist Bus Campaign's adverts on 800 buses across England, Scotland and Wales. CV objected to the slogan, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." On 21 January, the ASA ruled that the adverts were not in breach of its rules as the advert "was an expression of the advertiser’s opinion" and was incapable of substantiation. They also claimed that although the advert was contrary to many people's beliefs, it would not generate "serious or widespread offence".
In December 2010, when the BBC aired The Nativity, described by the Church of England as a "gritty interpretation," Stephen Green objected to – in his eyes – the portrayal of Mary as a whore. He was documented in the press condemning the presentation saying "They wouldn’t mock the birth of Muhammad, or anything to do with his life story. They wouldn’t ridicule Hinduism or Sikhism, but Christianity is their big target."
In February 2005, Christian Voice was reported to have caused the cancer charity, Maggie's Centres, to decline a £3,000 donation from the proceeds of a special performance of Jerry Springer: The Opera. The charity had been due to receive £10 per ticket for an afternoon gala but declined the donation after CV had threatened to picket their centres, which offer palliative care to cancer sufferers and their families.
In June 2005, Christian Voice's bankers, the Co-operative Bank, instructed the group to close its account because the group's stance on homosexuality was in conflict with the bank's ethical policies of diversity. The Gay Times awarded an ethical corporate stance award to the Co-operative Bank in response to this move. In response to this, Christian Voice encouraged a boycott of the bank.
It is a matter of some regret that ... the BBC should choose to undermine the reputation of Question Time by giving a platform to a small, self-selecting group distinguished by its claim to be a prophetic voice in this country ... Christian Voice has the right to express its extreme views, but it is as representative of Christian opinion in Britain as the Monster Raving Loony Party would be of mainstream political parties – and far less entertaining.
In 11 March 2008 Stephen Green was interviewed by openly gay celebrity Ian "H" Watkins for the BBC Wales programme Week In Week Out where he told Watkins his lifestyle was ‘sinful’, and made him no better than serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Green then appeared on the BBC Wales programme Dragon's Eye on 13 November 2008, after a campaign by CV caused the book chain Waterstone's to cancel a book-signing by Welsh poet, Patrick Jones, described as "obscene and blasphemous" by Green. Jones instead read from his book at the Welsh Assembly Philip Hensher, a commentator for The Independent newspaper, describes Green as a comic character, and Christian Voice as an extremist group. In The Guardian he has been described by George Monbiot as a "ranting homophobe".
In May 2008, Green was featured in the British Channel 4 current affairs documentary series Dispatches - In God's Name as a leader in the fundamentalist movement in the United Kingdom. This prompted the Rev. Joel Edwards, head of the Evangelical Alliance, to write a public letter discounting Green's impact on Christianity, and calling him an extremist.
- Youngs, Ian (26 January 2006). "Springer tour faces new protests". BBC.
- Membership of Christian Voice at the Wayback Machine (archived July 19, 2011)[dead link] See also About Us[dead link] on Christian Voice website: "We attempt, with God's grace, to analyse current events in the light of scripture, proclaim God's word to those in public life and provide the information Christians need in order to pray with the mind of God and witness in these dark days." Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- Time to repent for Britain in sin at the Wayback Machine (archived July 19, 2011)[dead link]. Christian Voice website.
- Tomkins, Stephen (28 February 2005). "A voice in the wilderness". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "BBC faces question time over Christian Voice". Ekklesia website. 29 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-11.
- Hardy, Frances (28 January 2011). "'In public he rails against immorality as the voice of Christian Britain but in private he is a wife beater, says his former partner'". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Christian Voice, Blogspot
- Green, Stephen (November 2003). "The woman in adultery". CV website. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- Peek, Laura; Doran, James (26 February 2005). "Radical Christians to target abortion clinics". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- Kirby, Terry (29 September 2006). "Christian Voice director escapes prosecution over anti-gay literature". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Co-op bank bars Christian group". BBC News. 24 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Press release: Blair 'divorced from reality'". Christian Voice website. 2 September 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- Green, Stephen (November 2003). "Infertility will rise with compulsory sex education". CV website. Retrieved 2010-10-07.[dead link]: "Government and the teen sex industry are betraying young people in this country. They should get prepared for a new rise in teenage pregnancies and infertility as a result of today's decision. As for individual young people, the message is stark in today's climate, where 10% have had STIs which lead to infertility and chronic conditions. If you want to have children, and if you don't want an unpleasant wedding present, stay a virgin, and marry a virgin."
- "Britain in Sin". "[The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994] also introduced an offence of "marital rape," drafted by the Law Commission, unknown in the Law of God, and in conflict with the marriage service of the Book of Common Prayer, where the promises given by a man and woman to each other establish a binding consent to sexual intercourse"
- "What is Islam?". CV website. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]: "Politicians, the police and Islamic leaders have portrayed it as a religion of peace in which terrorism is an aberration. Multi-faith diehards insist that it is one of many paths to salvation, or that the Allah of Islam and the God of Christianity are one and the same. Is any of this true? Part of the Christian Voice response has been to publish a briefing paper entitled 'Understanding Islam,'...".
- Writer, Staff. "Christian leader supports death penalty for gays". PinkNews.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "Abortion: Our Own Holocaust". Christian Voice. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "Britain in sin". Christian Voice. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- "Homosexuality and the police". CV website. 2003. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- "Anti-gay leaflets charge dropped". BBC News. 28 September 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- (30:55) Video of the debate
- Evangelical militants go on tour - to stop Springer bandwagon, The Times, 24 February 2005[dead link]
- "Press release: Christian Voice director faces bankruptcy". CV website. 26 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- Monday 20 April 2009 (20 April 2009). "Christian activists target Springer in St Andrews | Herald Scotland". Theherald.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-06.[dead link]
- Wilks, Andrew; Perthen, Amanda (9 January 2005). "BBC boss in hiding". London: The Mail on Sunday. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Press release: Jerry Springer The Opera – blasphemy case begins". CV website. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- "Press release: Summons refused in Springer blasphemy case". CV website. 30 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- "Springer opera court fight fails". BBC News. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Springer case dismissed by Lords". BBC News. 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 implementation". Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 2008-05-23.[dead link]
- Ruth Geller. "Goodbye to Blasphemy in Britain". Institute for Humanist Studies. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ASA bans 'misleading' Christian Voice advertisement, Sarah Townsend, 2 February 2009, Third Sector Online
- ASA outlaws prediction and opinion at the Wayback Machine (archived July 19, 2011)[dead link]. Christian Voice, 27 December 2008.
- Christians warn of backlash over Jesus statue case, Northumberland Gazette, 12 November 2008[dead link]
- CPS Wrecks Baltic Centre Case[dead link], press release, Christian Voice, 10 November 2008
- "No God campaign draws complaint". British Broadcasting Corporation. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Atheist bus ad campaign is not in breach of the Advertising Code". ASA. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-01-21.[dead link]
- "Atheist ads 'not breaking code'". BBC. 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
- "Fury over BBC's Nativity insult". Daily Express. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- Blackstock, Colin (24 February 2005). "Militant Christians block donation to cancer charity". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- "Co-op asks Christian Voice to quit". London: The Guardian. 24 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
- Gay Times, February 2006. See Awards Co-operative Financial Services (retrieved 29 November 2007)
- [dead link]
- "Week In Week Out: The Only Gay In The Village". BBC Wales. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Gay singer tells of 'nightmare'". BBC News. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "Christian group halts book launch". British Broadcasting Corporation. 12 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- Headyheady, Gwent Gazette, 18 December 2008
- Hensher (12 Jan 2009). "The religious find a friend in the law". Independent (London).
- Monbiot, George (3 Oct 2006). "I'm pleased the case against this ranting homophobe was dropped". Guardian (London).
- Rev Joel Edwards responds to Dispatches episode: 'In God's Name', Christianity Today, 28 May 2008: "Dispatches has a reputation for being selective and sensationalist, so perhaps I shouldn't have been shocked. But as someone at the heart of the Christian community, I simply didn't recognise the claims it made - echoed in the Sunday Telegraph - about a growing band of Christian fundamentalists trying to impose their will on society. Stephen Green, a key example given of this fundamentalist movement, is an extremist. The vast majority of Christians who watched last night would, like me, have recoiled in horror at some of the statements he made."
- "Evangelical leader unhappy with focus on 'eccentric fringe'". Ekklesia. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2013.