The invitation by Welsh Assembly Members Peter Black and Lorraine Barrett to Patrick Jones to insult Jesus Christ and promote his latest book in the Assembly’s T Hywel building breaks the Assembly’s own rules, Christian Voice has discovered.
An act of Christian witness is planned to coincide with the event.
Black and Barrett invited Jones to read his ugly, indecent and blasphemous poetry after Waterstone’s cancelled a promotion evening at their Cardiff store.
But the Assembly document, ‘Guidance on use of rooms in T Hywel‘ says that:
- Assembly rooms may not be used for the display of material that may or is likely to cause offence.
- Meetings must be connected with the duties of the Assembly Member or NAW business.
- Meetings must not be used for the promotion of any product.
- Rooms cannot be used for events unrelated to the work of the NAW, for example, for conferences which would otherwise be held in a hotel or conference centre.
It is plain that the Jones event would contravene all four of those points:
- The reading will cause offence, indeed the prospect of it already has, even within the Assembly itself. There is an online petition which I intend to email to you which has attracted over 1500 signatures. You may have had correspondence from constituents and others.
- The event is not related to the Assembly duties of either Member. They have taken it upon themselves to hold the event in order to insult Christ in the name of ‘Freedom of Speech’.
- The event is for the promotion of a product, namely the book ‘Darkness is where the Stars are’ which is published and on sale by Cinnamon Press. The book was launched last month in a series of poetry readings, even though the main event, in Waterstone’s, was cancelled.
- The event would and could otherwise easily be held at another venue.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said today:
“This is now coming down to whether the Assembly can enforce its own rules, and to what sanctions are available, against whom, in the event it can not.
“I note that it is the job of the Commission as the successor to the House Committee to enforce the guidance. However, Peter Black and Lorraine Barrett themselves make up half of the Commission, leading to a conflict of interest in the matter.
“The Chief Executive and Clerk to the Assembly, Claire Clancy, has so far failed to stand by the stark clarity of the Guidance.
“I call on Dafydd Lord Elis-Thomas to stop the event in order to avoid the embarrassment of the Assembly as a whole causing offence and breaking its own rules.”
A public act of Christian witness to be held in front of T Hywel from 11.30am on the morning of the 11th. Should the event be cancelled, we shall have something to praise the Lord Jesus Christ for! On the other hand, should the Assembly choose to insult Him, we shall praise His holy name and pray to Him for mercy. And in any event, exactly two weeks before Christmas, whatever the attitude of the National Assembly of Wales to the King of kings and Lord of lords, this is an opportunity to celebrate our Saviour’s birth!
NOTES: The poems aren’t actually much good, they hardly rhyme, they rarely scan or have rhythm, but they possibly have enough profanity and references to female genitalia to get the literati excited. One of them, to which Christians are taking the greatest exception, includes the blasphemous assertion of sex between the poet and someone Jones calls ‘mary magdelene’ (sic), and Jesus.
Other lines include: ‘All I preach is deicide’, ‘today I have become a born-again atheist’ and ‘god does not die because he was never alive.’
One poem describes God as ‘the first absent dad’ who ‘lorded it upstairs’ while Jesus was on earth.
Another strikes at the fundamental right to hold a religious view and have freedom of worship, as Jones expresses his desire for ‘prayers to be abandoned … synagogues closed, churches morphed into pound shops’ and concludes ‘then they shall all be f***ing saved.’
So Patrick wants prayers to end and for churches to be closed. He, Peter Black and Lorraine Barrett are happy to abuse freedom of speech to attack freedom of religious assembly. That cannot be right either in the National Assembly.