Advert for ex-priest's book banned by Church of Scotland in-house magazine

Advert for ex-priest's book banned by Church of Scotland in-house magazine August 9, 2011

THIS month sees the publication of a book by ex-Church of Scotland Minister Helen Percy, in which she tells of having been raped in 1995 by a church elder in a Perthshire parish.
Scandalous, Immoral And Improper: The Trial of Helen Percy has been receiving a good deal of positive pre-publication publicity in Scotland – but not in Life and Work, the Church’s in-house rag which has been accused of censorship for refusing to carry an ad for the book.
Derek Rodger, who owns Argyll Publishing, says he tried to place an ad for the book in L&W but was told it was not “entirely suitable for a church magazine” and was “giving cause for concern”, apparently because of its “racy” title.
Rodger is unconvinced that this is the real reason for the refusal:

Life And Work have taken our adverts without question for all manner of books in the past. It is difficult to think there is not some other agenda here with Helen Percy.

Percy, 42 – who remains an ordained minister, although outwith the Church of Scotland – agrees. She says senior figures within the Kirk reacted unsympathetically to her allegations and treated her not as the victim of a sexual attack but as a willing participant in an affair.
Ironically, the words used in her book’s title are not hers but the Kirk’s. It accused her of “scandalous, immoral and improper behaviour” and forced her to abandon the ministry. Percy went with the Quakers to South Africa where, in 2002, she set up a support network for child and adult survivors of rape and sexual abuse. She now works as a farm labourer and shepherd.
She told the Sunday Herald:

You cannot tell me that a cabal of Church leaders has not recognised in the ‘racy’ title of this book their own words, applied to a young woman who had been raped.
They lied. They bullied. They doctored evidence and fed the press. They know very well the true nature of the ‘scandal’ this book contains. It does not carry the Church’s imprimatur, and that is the reason why every churchgoer should read it before making their own judgment.

In her book, Percy tells how she pursued her case against the Church to the House of Lords, and was awarded £10,000 compensation, which she gave to charity. Last month, however, she admitted she had committed benefit fraud – unwittingly, she maintains – and was given 18 months’ probation.
Among those who have provided endorsements of Scandalous, Immoral And Improper is Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh. He said:

Since the biblical story of Susanna and the Elders, the matter of an attractive woman being bullied by a cabal of male religious leaders is one of the most persistent themes throughout history. Helen Percy’s book is a modern version of an old song. Read it and weep.

A spokesman for the Church of Scotland said:

Concern was raised with Argyll Publishing about the content of the advertisement, and a review copy was sought. The publisher was asked if they would like to promote another [title] but they refused. Given the provocative nature of the title of the book, it was appropriate for the magazine of the Church of Scotland to exercise editorial discretion and make further enquiries.

Proceeds from the book will go to benefit children and young people in Africa.
Hat tip: Jack Hastie

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  • cnocspeireag

    Read it and weep? No,read it and leave.

  • Broga

    Typical. If it doesn’t fit the religious agenda then censor, as far as possible, any reference to it. Reminds me of the BBC paucity (adjacent to nil) of reporting, never mind discussing, the Cloyne Report. The censorship, with a rigour that would have do justice to Stalin, of the increasingly dire Thought for the Day.
    Just occurs to me: After 2000 years of christianity, and the plethora of mosques more recently, I haven’t heard anything from our religious leaders about the current riots. Maybe the faith thing has no beneficial on behaviour. Perhaps the rioters need to be encouraged to be more prayerful.

  • AgentCormac

    Hey, Broga.
    I thought you’d be interested to learn that Ratty’s UK visit is actually up for some kind of award. No doubt the Beeb’s generous and one-sided coverage of said event played a part in its perceived success.

  • Newspaniard

    @Broga: Vis a vis the London riots: Last evening I watched an hour of the BBC’s reporting of these thugs and hooligans destroying their own nests. The (lying, bloody left wing)BBC seemed to think there was some excuse for all this criminality and kept calling these animals either “demonstrators” or “protestors”. I didn’t see any placards. I did see the BBC interviews where they tried to make the police “admit” that it was all their fault. I also saw other interviews where “community leaders” (wherever they found them from, probably the BBC canteen) blaming the government for these laughing looters. Whatever happened to the Riot Act? The trouble is that the police are too nice these days with the BBC constantly nit picking and waiting to pounce.

  • remigius

    But lets face it, Helen’s book is now getting far more publicity than it would if it had appeared in Lies and Wank.
    These Zombie worhippers aint doing themselves any favours are they!

  • remigius

    Newspaniard. Also the BBC coverage was very selective. It kicked off in Notting Hill last night, just a stones throw(!) from where I live. About 60 to 70 yoofs went mental and started looting shops and restaurants. But when I got home there was nothing about it on the (nice new) telly.

  • Newspaniard

    I just checked Wikipedia and it said that the Riot act was abolished in 1974, pity.

  • Broga

    AgentCormac: I thought this must be a send up. THEY MEAN IT. I think some of the victims of his paedo priests should be invited to the ceremony as “victimised guests.”

  • Broga

    Newspaniard: I heard much the same and I also heard quite a bit of radio. A shopkeeper came up with an appropriate description for the looters: “feral rats.” I think the police are scared to lay hands on them and you can hardly blame them. I was also unimpressed by the vapid Home Secretary, Theresa May. Shopkeepers wanted the army brought in and the police to have water canon. Theresa May’s answer, “In Britain we prefer to police by the traditional means of the consent of the community.” Now they want to “consult” with community leaders, whoever they are, and “get the local community to work with us.”
    These deprived thugs seem well able to afford smart phones, designer clothes and computers. I don’t think the claim that “they will be made to pay for their criminality” cuts much ice. What are they going to do with these scum: fine them and they are on Social Security and can’t pay, if they go to court they will receive legal aid, and already we are hearing they cannot find enough cells for them.
    The best description, entertaining and often witty and based on his practice as a prison doctor, of the under class is by Theodore Dalrymple. It is called Life at the Bottom. Available on Kindle and perhaps in print.

  • barriejohn

    AgentCormac: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    Judging this year’s entries was a panel, chaired by Paul O’Neil from Guinness World Records.
    I smell a Ratzinger!

  • barriejohn

    More news from Scotland:
    Look up John Mason’s online biography and you will read this:
    In August 2010 John was selected as the SNP candidate for the new Glasgow Shettleston constituency. From summer 2010 to March 2011 he worked as a volunteer for Glasgow City Mission and Parkhead Citizen’s Advice Bureau…
    Outwith politics, John’s other interests include involvement in Easterhouse Baptist Church, walking and camping, and watching Clyde FC.

    Well, there’s a surprise!

  • Broga

    barriejohn: There are lots of Ratziagents. They are like the “sleepers” Russia recruited e.g. Kim Philby, and placed inside the UK government machine. I suspect the Ratziagents operate much the same way. No overt declaration of being a Ratziphile but pushing and nudging in favour of Ratzi. Think of the BBC as one example. But they also infect politics, education, local government, the media and far beyond.
    Your suspicions are plausible.

  • AgentCormac

    You only have to look at the little weasel to know he’s a god-bothering loon. It just oozes out of every pore.

  • barriejohn

    I thought exactly the same thing, AgentCormac, but I don’t like to post too many comments!
    I know from my own experience as an evangelical that they only go into politics and teaching, etc, for one reason, as Broga has said above.

  • AgentCormac

    barriejohn & broga
    Speaking of these bastards quietly adopting subversive roles, have you seen this story about evangelists in Yorkshire being allowed into a primary school (yes, a primary school!), where they made kids ‘repent their sins’ on a piece of paper and then eat it?
    Apparently one child was so traumatised he can’t sleep and keeps drawing pictures of the devil.
    Of course the question has to be, who let these morons anywhere near children in the first place? I for one would be wanting their names and then their resignations.

  • barriejohn

    That doesn’t surprise me at all, AgentCormac. Counties, which in my day was called Counties Evangelistic Work, has the aim of having a full-time evangelist operating in each county of the UK, mainly focusing on children’s evangelism (which used to feature the “gospel tent” of course) and schools’ “outreach”. They mainly operate in the South of England, and are responsible for school assemblies and RI teaching in many places, as many teachers run a mile from anything to do with religion! Have a look at their site, with particular regard for their innocuous-sounding Life Expo (link at bottom of page), which is a mobile exhibition which visits schools as part of the quest to proselytize amongst the younger generation. How headteachers cannot see what is going on I have no idea – although some of them are obviously “saved” themselves!

  • barriejohn

    PS You won’t find the words “Plymouth Brethren” anywhere on that site either, as they know that people would run a mile if they saw that. The official line is that they only take the title “Christian” because that is what they are called in the Bible, so they do not answer to any man-made names. They steadfastly maintain that they are not another denomination, but they certainly act like one. Everything about them is underhand and devious!

  • JohnMWhite

    What is it about Christian communities that makes them absolutely hell-bent on playing to the worst of their own stereotypes? You would think that in 2011 clerics would be, if not kinder and more understanding, at least intelligent enough to understand the PR disaster this sort of move would be. Why do they absolutely insist on treating women like shit and trying to bury anything that remotely suggests some of them are fallible, not particularly nice human beings?
    And regarding the motion in the Scottish Parliament – Mason can fuck off. This is not about engaging in a debate – there is nothing to debate. No church is going to be forced to hold a gay wedding. His right to be a total bigot is protected, as much as it annoys me that any institution getting tax breaks is allowed to discriminate. He’s trying to play the persecuted victim in a circumstance that is not even remotely occurring. Utterly pathetic.