Friday, 12 December 2008

Religious nutjobs get their knickers in an twist over Patrick Jones' poetry

It's an insipid irony when a group of fanatics exercise their right to free speech by impinging on someone else’s rights. But that is exactly what has been happening in Wales lately. A lunatic fringe of fundamentalist Christians, who call themselves Christian Voice (note: if you belong to a religious group with a grandiose name, you’re officially a fanatic), have been harassing poet Patrick Jones (pictured) at his readings because they judge his work to be blasphemous.

Just today, over 200 of these nutjobs showed up outside Jones’ reading at the Welsh Assembly, trying to shout him down with prayers and hymns. To add to the irony, Jones had been invited to give this reading by a couple of Welsh legislators, who clearly value the right to free speech, after an earlier event at a local bookshop was cancelled when the store’s pusillanimous manager yielded to the campaign of intimidation waged by this reactionary mob of sanctimonious zealots.

After the event today, Jones commented on his own website. Here’s some of what he said:

It was a great day for democracy yesterday. It has reinforced my faith in humanity. I would like to publicly thank Peter Black and Lorraine Barratt and thanks to all who came to the readings at The Senedd and Borders. I have had support from Buddhist ministers, local vicars, intelligent Christians and people without belief in a deity. Thank you to Borders for their brave stance against the bigots. It is interesting that many AM's (all conservative and some labour and plaid) have taken the side of Stephen Green and Christian Voice in trying to halt the reading so these so called democrats would rather applaud hate filled diatribes against homosexuality, blame the gay mardi gras for the New Orleans floods, deny children the chance to be educated about sexuality and wish to get rid of the marital rape law. That is what we voted for in the Welsh Assembly!!!. However, it is still a great victory for debate, reason, poetry, freedom of speech, responsibility of speech and peace and amidst threats of disruption, hate filled emails, abusive phone calls, religious hatred and vitriol the readings will go ahead and love will outlast bigotry. Thank you. Create dangerously. Peace."

Patrick Jones

All this fuss has been about Jones' book Darkness Is Where the Stars Are from Cinnamon Press. In solidarity with the author, I shall be ordering a copy immediately. Apparently the publishers, to show support for their author, have lowered this price of the book.... so you should order it, too.

Read more of the story:


Zachariah Wells said...

Goddamn, what does a fellah have to do to be censured by religious wackos. I wrote a poem likening religion to a moth's impulse towards self-immolation. Where's my fatwa, damnit?

Paul Vermeersch said...

I guess Canadian religious wackos are just lazier. Must be the weather. If you moved to Calgary and wrote poems that criticized the oil and beef industries, and giant belt buckles, you might get some attention.

Zachariah Wells said...

I would, but there are some sacrifices I'm just not prepared to make, Pauly.