"Offensive Springer Opera Aired on BBC despite Evangelicals’ Protest"
Posted: Monday, January 10 , 2005, 13:46 (GMT)

Over the last weekend, Christian evangelicals have been outraged by the TV programme shown on BBC2 Jerry Springer the Opera which has been criticised as being exceedingly blasphemous. The massive protest launched by evangelicals prior to the screening of the programme, however, has fallen on deaf years.

Jerry Springer the Opera was shown on BBC2 on Saturday night, which is a musical written by the British composer Richard Thomas and the comedian Stewart Lee. The opera is based on Jerry Springer’s American talk show and includes strong language. There are scenes that depict Jesus engaging the Devil in a swearing match, a gay Jesus, Eve discussing sex acts and copious bad language.

Last Friday and Saturday, 500 evangelical Christians responded to a call by the national prayer group Christian Voice and protested outside BBC Television Centre in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Plymouth, Glasgow, Cardiff and Norwich.

Christian People’s Alliance (CPA) leader Alan Craig criticised BBC management for "ignoring" the thousands of people who contacted them voicing objections to the Springer opera. Therefore, Christians have no choice but to protest on the streets.

Craig commented on the show, "All normal, sensitive Christians will find the show obscene and blasphemous. Jesus is portrayed as an overweight, half-dressed, mincing and facetious homosexual."

He added, "Christians do not expect a public service broadcaster funded by the licence-fee to mock Jesus Christ like this. The actions of the BBC show that stronger control is needed and this must be brought in during the Royal Charter renewal process."

According to the Assist News Service, Rev. Isaac Newton Johnson of the Voice of Christians Evangelical Church said the screening of the opera "has sent a shock wave and anger amongst faithful Christians".

Johnson called the Springer opera "a big game plan of Satan to pollute everyone’s mind to sin against God and to attract all the world into the hell...(It is) the most salacious blasphemous play...hurting the sentiments of not only U.K. Christians but all faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ the world over which we condemned in the strongest terms..."

The Churches’ Media Council, an agency of Churches Together in Britain & Ireland, and Churches Together in England, and has close links with other ecumenical bodies in Britain and Ireland. Standing on the Council’s purpose to advance Christian faith through media, it is deeply concerned about the show.

According to the Council’s statement, it raised the question whether the broadcasting codes and BBC producer guidelines were breached. In addition, significant concerns remain about the consequences of this programme being aired. The BBC were also asked to consider broadcasting a programme in the future in which matters of taste and decency, standards, religious offence, broadcasting of controversial works, freedom of speech, complaint and peaceful protest could be sensibly aired.

The statement was signed by Peter Blackman Director of the Churches' Media Council, Revd Joel Edwards General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance, Revd David Coffey Free Churches' Moderator, Dr Jim McDonnell representing The Rt Revd Kieron Conry, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Strategic Communications Committee, and Arun Kataria representing the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester, Senior Anglican spokesman on Communications.

During the screening on Saturday’s night, the BBC received 317 calls of which 56 per cent were negative. Even before the broadcast, 47,000 letters and calls were received. The programme also prompted a record 7,361 complaints to the official regulator, Ofcom.

Eunice K. Y. Or


Rev Isaac Newton Johnson is an Indian Evangelist since 1976 working with non-Christian brothers in North India. He is international media missionary and Christian speaker. He has been invited by SungKwang Presbyterian Church, Guri, Seoul, South Korea in June-July, 2004 as Guest Speaker from India. He preached in Indian, Pakistani, Nepali and Korean brothers there. Five brothers and one sister of Indian origin accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and baptized during his ministry in South Korea. He has founded Voice of Christians Evangelical Church at Ludhiana, India in 1999 (A House Church) working among poorest of poor people, imparting education to them and sharing the good news of Lord Jesus Christ. (Pictured: Rev Isaac Newton Johnson being honored in SungKwang Presbyterian Church, Guri, Seoul, South Korea in June 2004). He needs committed prayer partners and Church ministry supporters around the world to proclaim the Gospel in India and to the end of the earth.

Rev Isaac preaches in English, Hindi, Panjabi and Urdu languages simultaneously without interpreter.

He can be contacted at: isaacnewtonjohnson@yahoo.co.in
Website: www.voiceofchristiansministries.org

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