The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre was in no doubt how to react to the news that the hated BBC was to screen an edition of Songs Of Praise from the makeshift Ethiopian Orthodox Church that has been built at a refugee camp near the French port town of Calais. How could this be allowed, and with licence fee payers’ money? The condemnation was swift and comprehensive.
What the f***'s wrong with kicking the BBC, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
“Songs of Praise from Calais migrant camp. How VERY BBC! Corporation under fire for decision to film flagship religious show in makeshift church” thundered the headline, followed by sub-headings such as “BBC accused of wading into a sensitive political issue by sending staff … At least nine people have already died trying to cross Calais to Britain … Priest filmed in camp admits he tries to enter UK illegally every night”.
As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. There was suitably judgmental scorn from Daily Mail Comment, telling “The Corporation's decision to film a special edition of Songs of Praise from a makeshift church inside the squalid migrant camp in Calais is preposterous … how depressingly predictable that the BBC got the idea of filming in Calais from the Guardian columnist and leader writer Giles Fraser – a Left-wing priest”.
Not only that, the Mail then discovered that one of those in the camp - and a sample of one is all that the Mail needs - was apparently unhappy about the broadcast: “I'll boycott BBC Songs of Praise filmed in my Calais camp church because I fear for my family's life, vows Eritrean priest … Hagos Kesete is furious at BBC’s decision to send camera crew to church … He fears relatives could face repercussions if images seen in home country”.
So the Mail got a photo of him and splashed it all over Mail Online, which can be viewed, er, in his home country. One wonders if he was told of this beforehand. But then we find that the Mail has been playing both sides of the field here (and not for the first time, it has to be pointed out): first they slag off the Beeb for featuring the Ethiopian Church, and then they do a story in which they, er, feature the Ethiopian Church.
I kid you not: “The roof is held up by prayers and duct tape, while the 'pastor' was made priest because he studied theology - but to hundreds of Calais migrants, their camp church has become a miracle of faith” tells the heartwarming headline, readers then being told “Many of the congregations are originally from Eritrea and Ethiopia and are Orthodox Christians”. It’s OK Mail readers, they’re Christians, not Scary Muslims (tm)!
Readers are then told “Despite the rudimentary materials and building practises that have been used to finish the church, the architecture involved in its creation is surprisingly impressive”, and the almost conciliatory “When the BBC’s Songs of Praise team arrives to film at the church this week it will coincidentally mark the one-month anniversary of its opening”. So the Beeb reporting it is bad, but for the Mail this is OK.
And that concludes the lesson in rank hypocrisy for today. No surprise there, then.
Once again the attitude of the Right on religion is laid bare.
It's sometimes called Cultural Christianity - the belief in not much more than you can remember from school, but that's alright because God's a Brit and he's one of the lads. If he exists, I mean, don't get all weird and bang on about it?
It's the belief that Sundays are for B&Q, but you'll claim to be a committed churchgoer if your kid's school place is at stake or if you want that nice venue for the wedding. It's not even the schmaltzy Christianity of Thora Hird or the Vicar of Dibley - it's more the smugness of being part of the Anglosphere and everyone else can do one.
It even extends to the more positive Mail piece. The 'pastor' (note the quotation marks of sneer) is only a pastor because he studied theology? Sounds like a pretty important qualification to me!
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, studied theology and the Mail doesn't like him either.
Even by Mail standards, the comments on the on-line pieces about the migrant churches are a cess-pool of hatred and bile
You've got to hand it to Dacre and his motley crew.
Every day they keep alive the Hurrah For The Blackshirts! mentality.
Which means the warning is there for everybody - at least it is if they want to look.
"A left wing priest". i thought he meant the Pope for a moment.
Love ye therefore the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. HURRAH FOR THE BLACKSHIRTS!
People in Egypt are deeply concerned by the daily images of "cultural marxist" babies laying siege to the Red Sea and, in one astonishing case this week, simply walking through.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Why is a British songs of Praise which is advertised as coming from British churches ,now coming from France? left wing BBC political correctness methinks
To be scrupulously fair, I should point out that Giles Fraser has definitely got questions of his own to answer:
Not that this detracts from the main point of the piece.
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