News

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Oh, just another prat in a silly hat sent by Jesus Christ

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Oh, just another prat in a silly hat sent by Jesus Christ

EARLIER today crowds at Canterbury Cathedral were treated to the comical sight of the new Archbishop, Justin Welby, banging three times on the door with a bloody big stick.

knock-knock

A voice from the interior – that of a young member of the congregation, Evangeline Kanagasooriam, 17 –  asked the archbishop “Who are you and why do you request entry?” and “Why have you been sent to us?”

Welby, the new spiritual leader of the world’s 77-million Anglicans, replied:

I am sent as archbishop to serve you, to proclaim the love of Christ and with you to worship and love him with heart and soul, mind and strength.

Today’s shenanigans, which saw Welby’s episcopal derriere lowered onto TWO thrones, follow a storm of protests over a Comic Relief sketch featuring Rowan Atkinson impersonating the Archbishop of Canterbury on March 15. His performance attracted more than 2,000 complaints.

Rowan Atkins does exceedingly good clerical piss-takes (Photo: BBC/Comic Relief)

Rowan Atkins does exceedingly good clerical piss-takes (Photo: BBC/Comic Relief)

Before the 9pm watershed  the Mr Bean star posed as a fictional version of the religious leader during a three-minute sketch on BBC One, in which he made a number of jokes, including comparing boy band One Direction to Jesus’ disciples; saying prayer “doesn’t work” and advising viewers that Jesus said “love your neighbours”, but not “shag your neighbours”.

The BBC received over 2,200 complaints about the routine, with a quarter objecting to the religious context. The corporation has already removed the video from catch up service iPlayer, and it has vanished from YouTube,

In total, the BBC got more than 3,000 complaints about the Comic Relief charity fund-raising night of programming, which drew a peak audience of 12.2m people and raised over £75 million for good causes.

Other complaints related to a sketch involving the popular BBC One series Call the Midwife, which referred to a “vajazzle”.

A BBC spokeswoman said that Comic Relief is a night of live television that it is:

Known for pushing at the boundaries of comedy alongside heartfelt appeal films.

She added:

It is made for a varied and wide-ranging audience so getting the language, tone and content of the evening is extremely important to us. This year the programme was watched by a peak audience of 12.2m and we raised a record total of over £75m, but to any viewers we may have offended, we apologise.

Ofcom has also received more than 400 complaints about Comic Relief, covering both the Rowan Atkinson and Call the Midwife skits, along with other issues.

The regulator has not indicated as yet whether it will launch an investigation.

In his first sermon, Welby said:

There is every possible reason for optimism about the future of Christian faith in our world and in this country.

But the Beeb’s’s religious affairs correspondent, Robert Pigott, says the new archbishop is inheriting a Church which has seen congregation numbers decline dramatically in recent decades, and which is struggling to promote a Christian message to an increasingly sceptical and secular society.

It will be seen as his job to unite a Church deeply riven by disputes about women bishops, and, more dangerously, sexuality.

For the first time in history, a woman – the Venerable Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Canterbury – carried out one of the two enthronements when she installed the archbishop on the diocesan throne in the cathedral, symbolising his appointment as bishop of Canterbury.

He was then sworn in as the Archbishop of Canterbury by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Robert Willis, on the marble chair of St Augustine.

Apart from the Royals and Prime Minister David Cameron, representatives of the world’s major religions were among those present at the circus, which featured hymns, African dancers, Punjabi music and improvised organ music.

Other personal touches included the archbishop’s colourful vestments which were originally designed and made for the late Bishop of Peterborough, the Most Rev Ian Cundy, who was his tutor at Cranmer Hall, Durham, where he trained in preparation for ordination.

Ahead of his enthronement, the archbishop told the BBC that while he supported the Church of England’s formal opposition to same-sex relationships, he was

Challenged as to how we respond to it.

In a nutshell, clueless. But not entirely. He acknowledged that some gay couples have loving, stable and monogamous relationships.

But:

The Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold to the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman. At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia.

Hat tip: John M White (Rowan Atkins report)

41 Responses to “Knock, knock. Who’s there? Oh, just another prat in a silly hat sent by Jesus Christ”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    I knew I’s seen the bloke banging on the door before!
    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.joystiq.com/media/2006/11/punch_puppet.jpg

  2. AgentCormac says:

    I knew I’d seen the bloke banging on the door somewhere before!
    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.joystiq.com/media/2006/11/punch_puppet.jpg

    Scary. Both of them!

  3. AgentCormac says:

    Sorry. Not sure how the last comment ended up getting posted twice. Anyway, thought the new Arch-Enemy’s comments about the world were a bit weird.

    “The present challenges of environment and economy, of human development and global poverty, can only be faced with extraordinary Christ-liberated courage.”

    Yeah, right. But then it got even weirder.

    “Courage is released in a society that is under the authority of God, so that we may become the fully human community of which we all dream.”

    Bizarrely, I dream of a society where the concept of god doesn’t exist at all. I’m guessing that in a century or two my dream will have won out.

  4. Stonyground says:

    The sketch in question can be seen here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZicYjtmVLQ

    This subject has already been covered by Peter Hearty, I reproduce the comment that I made over there.

    So what was it that was so offensive about this I wonder? Are there some old fuddy-duddies who actually think that younger people need to be protected from words like arse* and shag? If so, they must have been living on another planet for quite some time. Was it perhaps the suggestion that prayer doesn’t work? Apart from the fact that prayer not working has been established by scientific experiment, and can also be disproven just by applying a few statistics, it is also been the case that ABofCs do tend to have a rather sceptical view of Christianity that is on a rather higher intellectual plane than that of the sheep. Still, we can be encouraged by the fact that the last few remaining Christians can be sent into a panicky tailspin over something as mild and inoffensive as this.

    *There is and interesting inconsistency regarding radio edits of pop songs when it comes to this word. It was edited out of the song Misfit by Amy Studt but left in the song National Express by The Divine Comedy. The Americanism ‘Ass’ was edited out of Get the Party Started when Pink sang it but was left in when the song was covered by Shirly Bassey.

  5. Stonyground says:

    That link seems to be broken so I’ll try again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZFDU1Kpu84

    In any case, if you go to YouTube and search, the clip is still available.

    Rowan Atkinson was the ABofC in one episode of series one of The Black Adder.

  6. Stephen Mynett says:

    Stonyground, my guess would be the prayer bit and the fact he parodied a religious bigwig. There seems to be a crew of religionists ready to pounce anytime they can make even the slightest case for persecution, blasphemy or anything sexual.

    I remember the days when an exposed breast on the TV was considered hard porn, Mary Whitehouse and her crew always seemed to know when these things were on despite there being no listings with a mention of it. The religoes like to sculk about in groups waiting to be offended.

  7. Angela_K says:

    We know how this complaint business works: A few Christian nutters are offended so they email and ‘phone their like minded mates to complain as well; hence 2000 complaints.

    One the same day a load of deluded fools are mentally masturbating over their new Archbigot of Canterbury, results from the Planck satellite show the Cosmic Background Radiation in greater detail and refine the age of the Universe by adding 50 million years.

  8. Matt Westwood says:

    By the way, note where your comic relief toys were made. On my Dino Roar there was a label that said “Made in China”.

    How sure are we that it was not made in a labour camp for political dissidents (which includes rape victims with the temerity to speak out against their attackers)?

  9. Matt Westwood says:

    “*There is and interesting inconsistency regarding radio edits of pop songs when it comes to this word. It was edited out of the song Misfit by Amy Studt but left in the song National Express by The Divine Comedy. The Americanism ‘Ass’ was edited out of Get the Party Started when Pink sang it but was left in when the song was covered by Shirly Bassey.”

    Rude words are acceptable when sung my a male but not by a female. That explains that.

  10. Marky Mark says:

    (that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman.)
    …soooo, there are no divorce there, especially since the creator of the entire universe says so and will be sure to prevent divorce by making all couples love eachother all their lives.
    No abuse, no adultery…god will make sure of it.

  11. Marky Mark says:

    (and refine the age of the Universe by adding 50 million years.)
    …C’mon, it is only 9,000. Where do you get your info from? Apparently not from the holy babel

  12. Stonyground says:

    “(that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman.)
    …soooo, there are no divorce there, especially since the creator of the entire universe says so and will be sure to prevent divorce by making all couples love eachother all their lives.
    No abuse, no adultery…god will make sure of it.”

    According to the Bible, marriage is a lifelong union of one man and up to seven hundred women. Divorce is both forbidden and allowed.

  13. Broga says:

    Some of his pronouncements are so incomprehensible that they make those of his predecessor seem like models of clarity. The trick i.e. JW’s trick is to say something incomprehensible but in a “holy” tone and hope that his audience will assume that there is some profound meaning in there somewhere.

    I think he already does the patronising bit, allied to the “I’m a humble but very important person” quite well. I think he is in as big a muddle as was Rowan Williams and with about as much idea of clearing it up. His comments on same sex relationships were classic. He sat on a very sharp and painful fence.

  14. Daz says:

    A voice from the interior – that of a young member of the congregation, Evangeline Kanagasooriam, 17 – asked the archbishop…

    “…Sir, or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    That I scarce was sure I heard you…”

  15. [...] [Source of the picture: The Freethinker] [...]

  16. barriejohn says:

    Daz: He came rapping, did he? It’s not that Lee Nelson again, is it?

    Here ah am am a-knockin’
    The church it is a-rockin’
    Movin’ an’ a-shakin
    The spirit is a-quakin’

  17. barriejohn says:

    Marky Mark: You’re a heretic. The world was created 6,000 years ago, as any fule kno – especially a Christian fool. You get this figure by adding up the ages of all the descendants of Adam!

    Angela: I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently. I now find that I’m 50 million years older than I thought I was, so that explains it!

  18. Canada Dave says:

    “Courage is released in a society that is under the authority of God, so that we may become the fully human community of which we all dream.”

    Meanwhile we live with a bronze age mythological “nightmare” that has the governments ear and part of it’s purse strings.

    Why can’t these smarmy little men keep there superstitious cult in the buildings it was meant for. Religion looks disgusting out in the daylight and is best kept in the shadows rubbing it’s rosary beads and cross while crouched in the corner of a crumbling abbey.

  19. JohnMWhite says:

    The BBC’s response truly troubles me. Its removal was very swift, and yet the sketch was very tame. While they might pretend if they ever deign to explain their decision, I don’t believe for a second it was the use of shag or arse that was the issue; the BBC has long had a soft watershed of 8pm which even allows the occasional ‘shit’ to get through, certainly has no problem with violence and abusive language being used in Eastenders, and they’ve aired Titanic at 6pm knowing we’ll be seeing Kate Winslet’s breasts and hearing Leonardo di Caprio say “fuck” before 9.

    So that leaves the “prayer doesn’t work” joke. If that’s enough to get a respected and talented comedian’s segment erased like unpersons at the Ministry of Truth, the BBC is utterly beholden to a tiny group of petulant religious bullies.

  20. Robster says:

    That stick thing the ol’ bloke a door has, is that the same stick they nailed the baby jesus to? Should be as they could kill two deities at once.

  21. Lidia says:

    “…with a quarter objecting to the religious context.”

    What were the other 3/4 objecting to?

  22. JohnMWhite says:

    @Lidia – presumably the use of the word ‘shag’. I don’t believe them, though, I think for the most part they are just trying to obscure their own anger at their Deeply Held Beliefs™ being lightly mocked and rallied round to find some technicality to impinge Atkinson and the BBC with. I used to play that game when I was a Deep Believer. It felt so good to be ‘persecuted’.

  23. barriejohn says:

    I sincerely hope that this scurrilous and ungodly sketch was not broadcast before the watershed*:

    http://youtu.be/pRwfwYGTPd8

    (* Which the internet has now rendered obsolete anyway!)

    PS Wholeheartedly agree with the comment re soap operas too. What total hypocrisy!

  24. Broga says:

    The party is now over so now the fun begins. JW has made some ambivalent comments about same sex relationships giving the impression that what he himself really thinks i.e. that they are as valid as any others, but dare not say openly. And he still has the feral African clergy hounding him. He has claimed to be good at “reconciling” differences. Not this one JW, not this one, as it is mission impossible.

    The comment about courage under God and becoming fully human, as quoted by Canada Dave, is the kind of sombre nonsense to which clergy are reduced. What JW will get is a continuing, and increasingly hopeless, attempt by the BBC to create a world where the population are believers. As for TfTD JW doesn’t listen to it nor do the plebs who do not tune in to Radio 4.

  25. Angela_K says:

    barriejohn, sorry to hear you are still unwell, your Ken still troubling you?

    If you think about the age of the Universe from a particle Physics perspective, we are all 13.82 [and bit] Billion years old.

  26. Broga says:

    @Angela_K: And we are clinging to a speck of rock circling a star amongst billions of other stars. But, and this is the “good news”, the God who created all this and did not cause humans to appear for billions of years loves us. Why did God wait so long? And, when you look at the destruction wrought on the planet and the slaughter to which we seem addicted, what is so special about the mis named homo sapiens. And why is this Lord of the Universe so obssessed with what we do with each other in bed – or out of it?

    The new Archbishop could tackle some fascinating issues. He isn’t likely to as he as no idea of what to conclude. Instead he chooses to ramble on with the usual inconsequentialities. (Is there such a word or did I just invent it?)

  27. Michael Levy says:

    “£75 million for good causes” – I wonder what the BBC regards as “good causes” which benefit from this vast sum of money???

  28. chrsbol says:

    O.T. but thought I’d share this. A friend of mine remarked last night “Now there are two popes, will the canteen in the vatican be renamed Frankie and Benny’s”?

  29. Ian says:

    Come on Marky Mark and BJ the answer to the age of the Earth is here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology

    Created the evening before Sunday 23rd October 4004BC. I thought every one knew that. After all an Archbishop of the Church of Ireland wouldn’t tell porkies, would he?

  30. Broga says:

    @Ian: I may have misremembered but I think Ken said he believes that the biblical calculation provides the correct date.

  31. barriejohn says:

    Ian: That’s just what I said. The Archbish added all the years in the genealogies from Adam until he got to historical times, when he could use actual figures rather than fictional ones, and arrived at 4,004 bc for the day of Creation. Add that to the 2,000 years since the so-called Birth of Christ and you get the figure of 6,000 years for the age of the earth. Some Reference Bibles still have these figures printed in the margin as if they actually mean something!

  32. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    barriejohn
    Posted March 22, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    Bad news:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2013/03/prime-minister-still-desperately-trying-to-placate-religious-bodies

    “This government does care about faith. It does care about the institutions of faith, and it does want you to stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation.”

    Well,that’s my vote lost.

  33. Broga says:

    Cameron is such a phony. Where does he find this aggressive secularism? It’s a chimerae invented to provide a target or a bogus threat to scare the gullible. I think he regards “aggressive secularists” as those who challenge religious belief. It’s called free speech but he doesn’t have much time for that.

    Cameron would prefer secularists to say nothing. He could spend his time more usefully trying to combat FGM, the activities of witch doctors trying to drive out devils and the ghastly treatment of animals to provide halal meat. Instead we have this nonsense so that he can crawl on his belly to propitiate religious leaders. He needs to be reminded of the large and growing numbers of secularists in the constituencies. I wouldn’t vote for Cameron and his posh boys.

  34. barriejohn says:

    What people choose to believe or not to believe is no business of the government.

  35. remigius says:

    Ian, Broga, barriejohn etc. Before we get Ken on here spouting his nonsense couldn’t we just agree that Bishop Ussher got the date right – but with a margin of error of +/- 14 billion years :)

  36. JohnMWhite says:

    Cameron is against aggressive secularisation but is happy to kick the poor in the teeth with aggressive austerity. Not exactly the picture of Christian charity himself, is he?

    Of course, as others have said, the whole notion of aggressive secularisation is made up balderdash. This is just red meat thrown to the rabid religious so they have some enemy to chew on and hopefully forgive Cameron for daring to suggest gay people be treated like human beings. It’s like the entire political ruling class think we don’t compare notes and can’t remember things from five minutes ago.

  37. Marky Mark says:

    (Come on Marky Mark and BJ the answer to the age of the Earth is here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology)
    …Now you’re the heretic…guess I just barley escaped being burned at the stake!
    As we can see there is not enough time for the silly evolution theories, besides, if we evolved from Apes…why are there still Monkeys running around the jungle? Shouldn’t they all be human too?

  38. remigius says:

    Broga – ‘Cameron is such a phony.’

    I disagree. When Cameron took office the newspapers were full of stories about MPs fiddling their expenses. He promised to put a stop to it and make sure it didn’t happen in future.

    And true to his word he is now bringing in legislation to limit the freedom of the press.

  39. Broga says:

    @Graham Martin-Royle and barriejohn: I read a comment in an article by Jim Al-Khalili (president of the Humanist Association) in the New Statesman this week and which relates to Cameron’s sycophancy towards the religious leaders. The comment is: “Our society is no longer predominently religious. Atheists ARE the mainstream.”

    This is the inevitable trend, the force is with us and politicians and the BBC would do well to accept that. Maybe Cameron will invite some secular representatives to one of his bun fights? And what about a weekly appearance by a secularist on TfTD? That might encourage the new Archbishop to start listening. Like many others he seems to find the current efforts not worth a few minutes of his time.