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Sunday 25 September 2011

Peace Be Not With You (Again)

Christianity is, in case anyone not reading the outpourings of the Daily Mail or Maily Telegraph has not been paying attention, under attack. Quite apart from the supposed BBC diktat that has swept away the use of BC and AD – except, of course, it hasn’t – there is the continuing case of GP Richard Scott suggesting that his patients “turn to Jesus”. And now there is Jamie Murray.

Who he? Murray runs a cafe in Blackpool, and is a practicing Christian. And he’s a client of the Christian Institute, whose narrative of their flock being under attack from, well, everywhere chimes with the agenda of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. It’s a change from Andrea Williams and the Christian Legal Centre, but the idea is monotonously similar.

Murray’s cafe has Bible passages displayed on a screen. Someone visiting that cafe wasn’t happy with some of the words they saw, so made a complaint. The Police visited Murray and explained the law to him. And there events might have rested, had it not been for the Christian Institute, who have decided that the Police have a case to answer.

Lancashire Constabulary have pointed out that they haven’t received a complaint about their officers’ behaviour, and that Murray wasn’t arrested, although this cuts no ice with the why-oh-why brigade at the Mail. Because this is about gays. And we know what the Mail agenda is on gays: they are A Bad Thing. So gays complaining about the Bible is doubly bad.

Meanwhile, Richard Scott’s troubles, it has emerged, come from his suggesting that Christianity may offer something to a patient that his own (undisclosed) religion may not. There had been, as I noted at the time, a complaint, and Dr Scott was given the chance of accepting a GMC reprimand. He refused, and so now matters have progressed to a full hearing.

But in this case, the Telegraph, which had previously championed Scott, appears to be hedging its bets. That won’t please the Christian Legal Centre, but it may signify the understanding within one part of the Fourth Estate that it is not a case of Christianity being under attack, but someone letting their faith get the better of them and crossing a professional line.

So maybe a turning point has been reached: it’s a pity that the Mail will carry on with its agenda of “Christianity under attack”, at least until Dacre gets kicked upstairs.

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