Catholicism on trial: Hitchens & Fry attack church’s record on gay rights

The Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world: that was the overwhelming verdict after a heated debate this week. Stephen Fry and author/journalist Christopher Hitchens opposed the motion, while Ann Widdecombe and Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, supported it. Adrian Tippetts gives his view of the debate.

During the two-hour showdown, organised by Intelligence Squared at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, Hitchens and Fry mercilessly and articulately lambasted the church for its record of homophobia, child abuse and anti-semitism, as well as its stance on contraception.

Christopher Hitchens wasted no time in living up to his reputation as a bulldog debater: “On the institutionalisation of rape and torture, the maltreatment of children in their care, [the current pope] Joseph Ratzinger said: ‘It is a very serious crisis which demands us in the need for applying to the victims, the most loving pastoral care.’ Well, I’m sorry, they have already had that.”

Full article on Pink News


Yesterday, first-hand, I saw Twitter achieve two apparent results for civility. In the morning, I posted a tweet drawing attention to an online report of a tube official seemingly humiliating an elderly passenger who had his arm caught in a door. A little while later I RTd (‘re-tweeted’: passed on) Charlie Broker’s strongly-worded thoughts on Jan Moir’s unpleasant article of dailymailia. The latter was then picked up by Stephen Fry, and by the end of the day it had gained such widespread awareness that both stories had made the evening news. The tube official was investigated under pressure from Boris Johnson and received a suspension, and Moir issued a statement saying she was a victim of an orchestrated campaign.

Moir’s interpretation was wrong, and betrays a misguided notion about the nature of Twitter and similar forms of networking. There is no orchestration – just the rapid spread of information. Tweets (posts) are passed on, word gets around, and when a Twitter giant like Stephen Fry mentions it, a million people hear and many pass it on themselves. The response to Moir’s article came from areas much further than the Twittersphere, and although the accusation made was one of homophobia, her critics were not defined by sexuality. Ads were withdrawn from her online article, a strong critical voice was heard, and the Daily Mail became mortal for half a day. If the Mail exists to motivate the small-minded complaining communities of outraged middle England, for once it had a clear voice of outrage hurled back at it.

I hope that the tube official was fairly investigated and deserves his suspension. And that the complaints lodged against Moir have a worthwhile effect. As vast numbers shun print and turn to the net for their news, yesterday sounded an interesting note: an infamous newspaper held to account by a sharp, informed, conscientious public. It may even be a first. I did not know Gately, but there was time when he feared the press ‘outing’ him. If his passing has caused this familiar form of mawkish, snide journalism to be held to account, then perhaps we could see that as a tribute to him. And to the astonishing impact of Twitter, and the shared decency of its users.


Twitter storm brewing

A storm of complaints has brewed online thanks to the activities of the handsomely shaped Charlie Brooker, Stephen Fry and our very own Mr Brown. Over 800 people contacted the Press Complaints Commission about the rather foot-in-mouth article published by Jan Moir of the Daily Mail.

The article comparing Stephen Gately’s death to “nothing more than an unfortunate mishap on a holiday weekend, like a broken teacup in the rented cottage” alarmed more than a few people. Continuing, it seemed to express that the death was likely to be suspicious, despite the coroner’s report stating otherwise, because of Gateley’s sexuality.

In a later rebuke Moir Said “Some people, particularly in the gay community, have been upset by my article about the sad death of Boyzone member Stephen Gately. This was never my intention,”

“In what is clearly a heavily orchestrated internet campaign I think it is mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones,” Moir added.

The PCC have said it will only launch an investigation if it receives a complaint from Gately’s family. The Mail have changed the articles headline from “Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death” to “A strange, lonely and troubling death…”.

Charlie Brooker has called for people to be sensible on the matter “Unchecked hysteria helps nobody. Let’s all have a lovely peaceful evening, no matter how annoyed” after Moir’s address started appearing online.

The article on the Guardian site has seen a lot of traffic. Read it here

Moir has issued an apology and you can read it here – Independednt minds

New Look Main Site – Coming Soon

We are glad to announce that we will soon be incorporating the main site and blog together into a fantastic new format. The traffic here is now so high that any free favors we got are now over. Thanks to the guys a POW for all their work to date, they have been fantastic and should you need hosting for your company or help with your “social network” they will be more than happy to help.

So we shall be updating the site to a newer, more interesting magazine format with plenty of extra content and updates to deal with the 1million+ people who now visit every month.

As a result we will need to find some way to generate monies to cover the spiraling costs. We shall of course do this in the most discreet way we possibly can. There will be some advertising appearing on the site but we will make it as gentle as possible and will not in anyway affect your browsing experience.

There will be no nasty popups, hard selling or pushing of erectile disfunction solutions and no surveys showed at you. We will not require you to do any more than visit us, tell us how lovely we are, watch videos of Coops snorting his own eyebrow hair and of course the ever declining sanity of Mr Brown.


Abeo, Phillis and the Enigma crew.