Freedom of Expression,  Religion,  Secularism

Help Waterstone’s find its spine

This sign appeared in a Cardiff branch of Waterstone’s book shop:

Waterstone's Sign

Yes, the scheduled book signing by poet Patrick Jones was cancelled, but it appears putting it down to “unforeseen circumstances” is a mealy-mouthed, not to say bald-faced, lie.

You see, if this BBC report is anything to go by, the circumstances were only “unforeseen” to the extent that the shop weren’t sure what Stephen Green and his Christofascist outfit Christian Voice might do if they didn’t cave in to demands that the event be called off. According to Christian Voice, the book is “blasphemous”.

So Waterstone’s cancelled the event and a defiant Jones signed copies for people outside in the street instead.

From now on Borders and Foyles can have my money. Waterstone’s doesn’t deserve customers if it treats them with such contempt. It has no right to ply its trade selling books either if it isn’t prepared to stand up for the authors who write them.

It really is time that those who value liberal democracy and a free society stand up and tell these theocratic brownshirts to go fuck themselves. We should not tolerate being told what books or magazines we can read, what events we can attend, what shows or films we can watch or what we can say and do by the fundamentalist lunatics drawn from the many religions that enjoy freedom in this United Kingdom. We should stand up, stand tall and stand firm despite the implicit threat of violence and chaos that these groups browbeat and blackmail us with.

The police should be on hand to protect bookshops, libraries, theatres, galleries and lecture halls from intimidation and thuggery.

According to comments reported in Pink News, Mr Green now appears to be directly inciting violence:

“This decision urges Christians to create public disorder if we want a similar case to proceed in future,” he said.

“We are naturally reluctant to do that and it puts us in new territory.

“On the other hand, there were those at the Baltic Centre who wanted to take matters into their own hands and I have warned Anita Zabludowicz that her statue will not survive being put on public display again.

“If the CPS wanted to give the green light to blasphemous art their decision may paradoxically have the opposite effect. With the threat of destruction hanging over it, the Zabludowicz statue is now locked away by its wealthy owners and is unlikely to see the light of day again.

“The same will go for any other blasphemous works of so-called art. Put simply, Christians won’t tolerate insults to Jesus Christ.”

Why isn’t he arrested?