Attleborough Baptist church in Nuneaton has been accused of committing a “hate crime” for its poster featuring the fires of hell and saying “if you think there’s no God, you’d better be right.” I’d like to start by saying so called “hate crimes,” nasty as they are, are nothing like as bad as love crimes. Burning in hell is a prospect devoutly to be wished rather than hearing those dread words pronounced, “if you don’t stop picking your nose in public, I’ll get Vince Cable to come and kiss you.”
But the poster is tasteless, a typical example of Protestant aesthetics: crude, blatant, literalistic. A sensitive twenty-year-old called Robert Gladwin had his feelings hurt by the sight of the poster and so (as should be done more often when examples of bad art are discovered) complained to the police. I wish someone would get the cops to go and set fire to the whole Saatchi collection, the complete repertoire of Damien Hirst, the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and… and…But why stop there? The sensitive Mr Gladwin offered us a lecture in theology: “Christianity is inclusive and loving.” Quite right, Bob. And sentimental, touchy-feely, nice, cosy, celebrating diversity, togetherness and cups of coffee in the church hall after the schmaltzy singalong and aisle-dancing which passes for morning service in so many places.
The plain truth is that Jesus Christ is totally inappropriate and unacceptable in our enlightened, progressive and very nice 21st century. I think Prince Charles should come out from under his prestige biscuits, windmills and his flowerpot and compare Jesus unfavourably with Adolf Hitler. ‘Cos it was Jesus – betraying a conspicuous lack of inclusivity and lovingness – who said:
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand and the goats on the left. Then shall he say to unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Jesus’ saying is… but what word is there to describe such products of a diseased mind?
How about “judgemental”?