South Wales Echo caves in to Christian bigots – petition the paper to retract its shameful apology

South Wales Echo caves in to Christian bigots – petition the paper to retract its shameful apology July 31, 2008

OUR jellyfish prize this week for spineless grovelling must to go to the South Wales Echo, which has buckled under pressure from a bunch of vindictive bigots over a piece it published by Dan O’Neill.
Cynical Dragon reported yesterday that the paper has issued this apology to the handful of Christian Voice wankers who picketed its offices, and to others who may have been offended by O’Neill’s column:

It has come to our attention that in an article on Wednesday, July 16, headlined ‘If God considers gays and abomination why did he create them?’, our columnist Dan O’Neill offended a number of Christians. We would like to apologise for any offence caused to those people who believe the article insulted the Christian faith, Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible.

This is nothing short of a disgrace, and the Freethinker has set up a petition calling on the paper to retract its apology and reinstate O’Neill’s column, which it has pulled from its website. You can sign the petition here.
According to a press release issued by Christian Voice’s Stephen “Birdshit” Green:

O’Neill firstly declares that the Bible is not the word of God. It was written by ‘a wild-eyed Bronze Age nomad’. Then, in a remarkable display of ignorance of the social mores of the Holy Land in the 1st Century, he remarks that Jesus Christ could be accused of homosexuality because the Apostles were all male.
Not content with that, he says it is ‘suspicious’ that Jesus ‘picks up small boys and girls and puts his hands upon them.’

Stephen 'Birdshit' Green - he's the tall misery-guts on the right - with the bunch of delusional crackpots who picketed the Echo offices
Stephen 'Birdshit' Green - he's the tall misery-guts on the right - with the bunch of delusional crackpots who picketed the Echo offices
Let’s be clear. O’Neill did not equate homosexuality with paedophilia, as some have suggested.
This is what O’Neill actually wrote:

How would this fanatical Hammerer of Homosexuals, [Green] leader of a bunch of annoying bigots have interpreted events in Palestine a couple of thousand years ago?
This Jesus feller swans around all day with a dozen other blokes. No women. Mark that, no women. And he wanders off into the mountains now and again to spend quality time with his, uh, favourites (Mark.9:2). He picks up small boys and girls and puts his hands upon them (Mark 10:16) And he was seen in a garden when one of his mates came up and kissed him (Matthew,26:48). Suspicious, eh?

As Mediawatchwatch points out:

He was speculating on what Stephen Green would have thought of Jesus … Green took what was a personal attack on him, and turned it into a “blasphemy” issue. Once again, we see that Stephen Green is always foremost in the mind of Stephen Green.

Meanwhile, over at the PTT blog, Andy Armitage unearthed this defence of O’Neill, who apparently upset some readers with remarks he made about the National Eisteddfod. The paper’s then editor wrote:

A light-hearted columnist like Dan SHOULD be able to poke fun at something like the Eisteddfod. Just like he should any other subject be it Christianity, Islam, politics, sex, the colour of your socks. As long as he is acting within the law he, and every other writer, should be allowed the freedom to write and to provoke discussion.

So why the fuck has the paper suddenly developed cold feet over this particular issue?
Says Cynical Dragon:

This is absolutely disgusting. Why is a reputable paper like the Echo apologising to a fanatical group of hate-filled morons? Why do they bother employing a provocative writer like Dan O’Neill if they cave into extremists so readily?

What are the South Wales Echo apologising for exactly? The main Christian disagreement with the article was that Jesus may have been gay. This is of course upsetting to Christians but why should anyone apologise for making the suggestion. Do the South Wales Echo support the idea that the suggestion the Jesus was gay is blasphemous because homosexuality is a sin? Are they siding with Christian Voice and their ilk?

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  • ziggy

    But wouldn’t it be nice if the complainants could essay an answer to the question, why – without having to – create beings who are not good enough for their creator? It’s a valid question.

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  • The problem Ziggy, is that this is not about diplomatic debate or a correction of facts. It is a professional self-victimizing, fame-hungry bully getting out of the house and fulfilling a need. This apology from the Echo will give Green that high, that is normally so elusive to him, for a very short while before the wretch seeks out the next barely-significant blasphemer to be ‘witnessed’.
    He is a very, very unhappy man.

  • ziggy

    Dear Stuart W,
    I know. However, there are several other issues in the present story, not all of which are discussed in detail in the article as it stands. Among them is this one, which has always fascinated me.
    It’s rather like that other rhetorical question which never gets dealt with, viz. why do the Xians villify, persecute, murder the Jews for having (allegedly) done the essential work without which their Saviour could not have become their Saviour?
    If there were any sanity or logic to all of this, they should be thanking, praising, glorifying, rewarding the Jews to high heaven.
    I just wanted to take the present opportunity to point these things out.

  • The above reply reminds me of something my former colleague said a couple of years back. A filmmaker could really ‘put the cat amongst the pigeons’ by making a movie in which Judas is the hero for that very reason. No crucifiction – no saving of Mankind or resurrection (or sacred cow for tedious fundies).

  • Michael Cohen

    I seem to remember some of this crowd appearing in the television program that put the “bird-Shit” in Stephan Greens name. What a poor excuse for a motley crew

  • I signed the petition. My comment:
    “Why is it that you kowtow to Christian homophobes so quickly but don’t seem to care if countless LGBT people are offended? Oh, wait. I already know the answer. ‘Business as usual.’ “

  • tony ewing

    I’ll keep it brief – Stephen Green – what a tosser.

  • Marge

    I would love to get anyone’s reaction to a Google entry titled “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up.” Thanks. Marge

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  • frymaster

    Actually I think it’s a masterful apology:
    “our columnist Dan O’Neill offended a number of Christians.” – true if some of them wrote in
    “We would like to apologise for any offence caused to those people” – fair enough, I don’t think offence was intended
    At the end of the day, it says “some people were offended, we did mean for that to happen, and it is regretted” – it does _not_ say anywhere that they do not stand by their original article
    Unless you think Christians (or anyone else) _deserves_ to be offended, surely that’s fair enough.

  • theholyllama

    @ Frymaster. The issue isn’t that Christians especially deserve to be offended, it’s that they don’t especially deserve not to be offended, however much they think they do.
    And if the paper was just saying ‘no offence meant, sorry’, why have they pulled the ‘offending’ article from their website?

  • Etum

    I would have signed the petition if it didn’t require me to fill in my email.

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    Why are christians so quick to take offense at any supposed slight and so quick to point out anyone else’s faults? Didn’t their bastard god say something about removing the beam from your eye before pointing out the mote in your neighbors?

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  • As usual, the theists stop at nothing to stifle free speech. Could it be that rational thinking and free speech are fatal to theists?
    One would think with all their prating about morals and truth, they would be different, but it seems that we have to evaluate them by what they do, not by what the say. That’s a pretty good policy for politicians, theists, and atheists.

  • Tom Hennessy

    Quote:‘If God considers gays and abomination why did he create them?’
    Answer: Actually the word abomination is another way of saying a **genetic mutation**. The phrase genetic mutation didn’t exist in those days. The REASON there are homosexuals is because man decided to kill and eat animals. The RESULT of homosexuality and other diseases are not CAUSED BY but as result OF mans’ OWN refusal to follow orders.The ONLY treatment at one time for disorganized hormones was iron reduction therapy. The iron from the meat we eat / sin causes homosexuality. Believe it or not.

  • Barry Duke

    Tom, you are either joking, or are barking mad. First off, homosexuality is not a disease. Second, how would you explain the fact that many vegetarians/vegan couples have gay offspring who themselves aren’t meat eaters?
    Time for you to get back to your medication, methinks.

  • Tom Hennessy

    Quote: First off, homosexuality is not a disease.
    Answer: Genetic mutation .. JUST like cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy. They have shown there is a correlation between left handedness and and cleft palate.
    “Canadian Scientists Find More Homosexuals Left-Handed”
    “A new study by physician researchers from Hasbro Children’s
    Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston has identified an
    increased prevalence in left-handedness in children with a
    congenital disorder known as hemifacial microsomia (HFM).”
    That is a LISP.
    “Non-syndromic cleft lip and palate: Could stress be a causal factor?”
    THAT means OXIDATION / rust.
    “Our findings are the first to suggest that laterality of clefts does have a differential effect on brain structure and related behavior,”
    THAT means kinda .. mental.
    Rust / oxidation causes genetic mutation CLOSELY resembling homosexuality.