R. Brent Bozell, take a seat. The Guardian’s Stuart Jefferies catches up with Christian Voice.
Britain is a nation deep in sin,” says Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice. “Nobody can deny that the last 50 years of legislation have turned us away from the laws of God. We say that God knows best and if we go away from God we’re going to bring judgment upon ourselves.”
“If you start moving away from righteousness, evil flourishes. You can see that in the alienation of our societies, in terms of family breakdown and crime levels, drug taking, profligacy and perversion.” He says that Christian Voice was established a decade ago to “pray for national repentance”. His website is blunter: “The enemies of God are all having their say … It’s time to hear the Christian Voice.”
The group may have been little known had it not been for the campaign it mounted against the BBC’s decision to screen Jerry Springer – The Opera on Saturday night. Hundreds of Christian protesters rallied outside the BBC before and during the broadcast. “We got 1,500 people out even though we don’t have huge numbers of members.” How many members do they have? “We’re bigger than David’s band, but not as big as Biblical armies,” says Green, gnomically.
Christian Voice’s protest outside BBC TV Centre was less contentious than Green’s decision to publish personal details of BBC staff he believed responsible for the broadcast. Green’s email to Christian Voice subscribers reportedly said: “We make no apologies for giving their home addresses and in as many cases as we can, their phone numbers … We know normal protests are channelled in such a way as to be ignored.” One result of this was that BBC staff and their families were threatened with vio lence and there were reports, later denied by the corporation, that BBC2 controller Roly Keating had gone into hiding.
Yesterday Green was repentant. “I have certain God-given gifts and it is a privilege to use them because we love our Lord and care for our fellow man. But it was naive of us to expect when we posted the home addresses of the BBC staff that the site wouldn’t only be visited by Christians. We regret that there have been threats. It brings no honour on the name of Jesus Christ.” Shouldn’t he have thought of this before? “I make mistakes because I’m fallible.”
Green, 53, established Christian Voice in 1994. “Since November 2003, the Lord has enabled me to go full time.” And before that? “I was in the building business and thank God I am not. The language I heard on the building site was better than what I heard on Jerry Springer – The Opera.”
Did the show really upset him? “Yes. I read critics beforehand, but it hardly prepared me for the enormity of it when I saw it. The profanities were much worse than I had thought, and they were worse because the singing was so lovely.” I tell him that BBC director general Mark Thompson said: “I am a practising Christian but there is nothing in this which I believe to be blasphemous.” “If he doesn’t find a coprophiliac, nappy-wearing Jesus blasphemous, I don’t know what faith he is following. Apart from that they offered no coherent alternative morality in place of what they were attacking – except perversity.”
Green says his lawyers are still to advise him on whether the group should bring a private blasphemy prosecution against the BBC. Why doesn’t he just ignore a show that, as he says, is morally vacuous? “That’s what Christians have been doing for the last 50 years. There will really be a tidal wave of filth if we don’t bear Christian witness against these things. So we will.”
Please note that Green’s protest were an unfortunate setback in the career revivial of “Springer” star David Soul, still enjoying inexplicable success in the United Kingdom on the level of a Patrick Duffy or Sid Griffin.