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South London newspaper News Shopper rewards anti-gay letter with a prize

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  1. Webster ahve issued a (half-hearted) statement

  2. If they do endorse Mrs S. Fitzsimons daft homophobic missive then perhaps they should rename their shop “Webster’s Poison-Pen Shop”

  3. Vampyre Venom 27 Aug 2010, 2:29pm

    She’s obviously an ignorant Christian to be harping on about marriage making society ‘work,’ judgement day and giving teenagers the wrong idea, she obviously believes sexuality is a choice and for her ignorance to be awarded is disgusting, this sort of thing shouldn’t be published at all let alone awarded. The only thing that would be worse for someone like her would be an article on Satanism, which again there is nothing wrong with and people who think other wise are ignorant (I am myself bisexual and a LaVey Satanist)

  4. She is just a typical deluded (aka religious) person.

  5. dave wainwright 27 Aug 2010, 2:46pm

    they wouldn’t dare to print such material if it referred to a persons race , skin colour or religious beliefs so why are they allowed to print such divisive and negative propaganda about people on grounds of their sexual orientation ? We are not as liberated as we should like to think we are whilst this kid of hate is allowed to be published with impunity , where is the law that protects us from such hate mongering ? Why is religion always used as a weapon/ tool to attack us , this problem needs addressing .

  6. Marriage is why we have Jesus Mary and Joseph? Joseph was not the man who made teenager Mary pregnant it was Jesus who made his own mother Mary pregnant via his other persona God, Jesus and God being one and the same according to the legend…what a weird example they set for young people.
    Also while freely plagiarising the Bible and wrongly interpreting Romans, Mrs S. Fitzsimons shows how ignorant she really is. The message intended by Paul in Romans is that you should not judge others…clearly it’s gone straight over this poor lady’s low and judgemental brow.

  7. de Villiers 27 Aug 2010, 2:52pm

    > “By the way, just because a letter wins the pen, it’s in no way an endorsement from us of the author’s views.”

    If a letter wins a prize, it must be an endorsement of some sort.

  8. As the person who spotted this yesterday and rang both the News Shopper and Websters, I think you should give Websters full credit for its statement today. Websters does not choose the star letter and did not know about this one until I told them yesterday. Websters is an innocent victim of having its name associated with this bile.

    The fault is entirely with the News Shopper, which is not apologetic at all. This suggests that a) the pathetic US-owned (Gannett) freesheet thinks that any publicity is good publicity and/or b) at least someone there at least has an anti-gay agenda.

    The best coverage with useful local context (two postings so far) is here: http://853blog.wordpress.com/

  9. de Villiers 27 Aug 2010, 2:54pm

    > “In fact, it’s surprising so many people are having a go about it instead of responding to the author and what she thinks.”

    Perhaps because I feel no need to have to defend myself and my sexuality – particularly against such poor argument. It is not surprising that when unpleasant and inflammatory comments are printed, anger is directed at the publisher for promoting such material regardless of its value.

  10. The word “homosexual” never occurs in the Bible, Mrs Fitzsimons has either inserted it into her loose quotation from Romans or she is quoting a disreputable translation that totally distorts it’s meaning.
    Also the people described by Paul in Romans are married men and their wives (their women) who are engaging in sacred pagan rites at their place of worship as was the common practice of the time, the people described as taking part in same sex activities (and no doubt every other type of sexual activity as well) are not homosexuals but religious devotees fulfilling their religious duties…albeit they were as bonkers as Mrs Fitzsimons herself.

  11. @Clay
    I’m sorry, but Webster’s should not be given credit for anything. They state that “Webster’s has no influence on the content that is published, and is simply a corporate sponsor.” But if you don’t agree with the content, you withdraw your sponsorship. This is how sponsors have influence.

    Ms Fitzsimons is wrong to suppose that gays are anti-marriage. If she truly believes that “marriage is the the thing which makes society work”, then I hope she’ll support the efforts of gays not to be excluded from participating in this institution.

  12. Sister Mary clarence 27 Aug 2010, 3:15pm

    Having just phoned the pen shop sales department (as I couldn’t get hold of a complaints section), I was transferred to a manager who reiterated their press statement. She was not however able to indicate whether the company would be severing their sponsorship deal with the News Shopper.

    0844 445 7345 if anyone else wants to give them a ring.

  13. Looks like marriage is such a great example to all the people of Lewisham. With all its domestic violence 4000+ incidents in Lewisham last year with 80% of those committed against women and with 90% of all incidents witnessed by children.

    What a good example the heterosexual married and co habiting people of Lewisham are setting for us all!

  14. Yet again some religious nut seems to think it perfectly acceptable to discriminate and clearly the paper in question fully endorses such views. They would never have published such an item if this was aimed at race but instead think the LGBT community are just an easy target to get away with pushing themselves into the bigger media limelight. Utterly disgusting!

    News Shopper should be forced to accept what they did and apologise. Advertisers to the paper should also be considering supporting such a paper which supports such discriminatory behaviour.

    The UK has come along way to allow such religious drivel from nutters like this to try and take the question of equailty back the decades they truly wish.

    I hope Mrs Fitzsimons gets what she truly deserves in response to the evil crap she spews!

  15. How ludicrously unprofessional. Making a homophobic letter the letter of the week? What were they thinking? And hopefully I can write this next section in a way that makes sense: the writer of the letter is deluded, wrong and stupid. What on earth are they doing, as an organisation one would assume with at least a small degree of integrity, printing the woman’s address?? That’s tantamount to printing the address of an animal vivisectionist whilst patting them on the back.

    So no one wins here. A stupid woman gets to look like a repulsive bigot, and normal people are subjected to her ridiculous nonsense; she will presumably now receive hate mail which will reinforce her views, and a local tat rag gets publicity so gains a sense of self importance which it no doubt will hoist upon its ‘readers’ (ie: those who read the headline before chucking it in the recycling).

    Ayeeesh. It’s not even as if you can boycott the paper.

  16. Here’s an email I’ve sent to the Shopper . . .
    “Dear Kelly

    I am emailing regarding the Star Letter in the Lewisham / Greenwich edition of the News Shopper.

    As an openly gay man, having lived in London for over 20 years and experienced homophobia in a variety of forms, including faith based homophobia whilst working for a South London Council, I am horrified to find that the ‘Shopper’ is giving prizes for discrimination.

    It was not long ago that those of a Christian faith used the bible as a tool and means to discriminate against black people and mixed racial marriages. Are we now to assume that the views of the editorial team of the ‘Shopper’, who give prizes for homophobic discrimination, will also ensure equality by printing letters from the BNP, National Front and other organisations that promote hate and discrimination – or individuals ‘exercising their right through their faith and belief’?

    I would like to see the Shopper leading on campaigns to end discrimination of all types, rather than allowing it to be raised through their media.

    regards

    Robert J Brown”

  17. @Cait
    I agree with you completely. To publish her address was incredibly irresponsible – what were they thinking? And on what basis did they make this their “star letter”? Indeed, why did they select this letter to publish at all? It is not as though the letter expressed anti-gay views with any particular merit or skill. The whole thing is frankly baffling.

  18. R J -you must be seething, and to write such a lucid and controlled letter does you great justice.
    I was thinking along the same lines as you but my language would have been far more colourful!
    Congratulations, Robert.

  19. Hmm… freedom of speech and thought is big here isn’t it? She does not advocate any action against gays here, just a warning that we will answer to her god for our lustful activities. She is entitled to her views and to express them. I don’t believe in her god, so can happily ignore her opinion – and the paper in which it is published. Get a grip, girlfriends!

  20. John Marc Carr 27 Aug 2010, 4:02pm

    I live in the USA, where we (gays) are fighting of our rights to be married. We have to deal with this type of disgraceful people who call themselves..”Christians”. No wonder Anne Rice denouces her Christianity!! If I have to go Heaven when I pass on, please I don’t want to go if there are people like this there!!!

  21. This newspaper have clearly taken advantage of a mentally ill person in order to sell/promote the paper. It’s outrageous. If challenged neither she, nor the paper, would provide a stitch of evidence to prove the existence of the invisible sky fairy she refers to. Taking advantage of vulnerable people who suffer from delusions for profit just isn’t on. The paper should be ashamed.

  22. @gladiolys
    I think you have a point, and as a civil libertarian myself I think we should, as you put it, “get a grip”.

  23. Mrs Fitzsimons is entitled to free speech and has had it. But with that freedom comes the responsibility to be accountable for what she says.

    Freedom of speech does not give you a get out of jail free card.

  24. Thanks JohnnyH.
    Tully: I’d stop short of calling people of faith “mentally ill”. You may believe she is deluded to follow an invisible god. She will maintain she has faith. Delusions are not the sole descriptor of mental illness.

  25. Helen:
    In what way do you suggest she be held responsible/accountable for what she says? Surely she believes she will answer to her god? She has committed no crime. Freedom of speech, in this case, does not condemn her to jail either.

  26. I noticed a similar letter in a free newspaper that I picked up in Catford – must have been around 1996. Spent ages drafting a letter, which was published in full, but the following week there was another anti-gay missive.

    News Shopper may simply be breeding controversy in order to draw attention to itself – and encourage advertising. Couldn’t the Press Complaints Commission get involved if the comment is made in an article? Perhaps this is why the vehicle is a letter.

  27. @19 gladiolys wrote:
    “Hmm… freedom of speech and thought is big here isn’t it? She does not advocate any action against gays here,…”
    Actually she does demand the newspaper to stop advertising lesbian gay and bisexual clubs…an action if taken on board could have consequences for local LGBT folk.

  28. Pavlos; Do you really think a newspaper in this economic climate will turn down any advertising? If they do, someone else will pick it up. Newspapers can publish what they choose… again, freedom of speech. Look at the stuff in The Telegraph and The Daily Mail etc. for the truly vile… and that is why WE have Pink News.

  29. @ gladiolys

    No crime. But she has put herself on trial in the court of public opinion.

  30. Bette Davis 27 Aug 2010, 5:18pm

    Find the bitch and burn her

  31. She would deny LGBT folk freedom to advertise their clubs in print gladiolys, the main gist of her letter was to gag the gays.

    In my imaginative opinion Mrs Fitzsimons sounds like another Iris Robinson style hypocrite, quite likely getting more than a bit of the local butcher and son’s prime sausages and trying to create a smokescreen for secret extramarital activities… I wouldn’t mind betting.

  32. Pavlos, what a stupid comment you have produced! Ddoes it reflect your mental state?

  33. @33
    Do you have anything to say that’s on topic Huk?…Do you?
    Have you even heard of Iris Robinson?

  34. Helen: Are you sure there is such a thing? If so, does it deny freedom of speech? Are you really Harriet Harman?

    Pavlos: She would “gag the gays” (tee hee)? Joking aside, just because she does not get the concept of freedom of speech, does not mean we have to abandon it.

  35. @34
    Yes I have but after such morrons it is difficult to speak! Learn and read books, booby!

  36. So she spews the Jesus, Mary and Joseph nonsense to justify what marriage is. Hmmm. the fact that the supposed Mary didn’t have a baby by her own husband but instead, opted to commit heaven sanctioned adultery with her future son, then this silly bitch must accept the perversion of incest. I don’t care if so called “christians” are offended by that, but that’s what it is. Who are they to impose their beliefs on others and to dictate who is entitled to certain rights?

  37. @36
    Looks like you’re having difficulty writing as well as speaking Huk…try learning how to spell and maybe create legible sentences. Really you’re doing quite well…for a chimp!

  38. Gladiolys, of course homophobes are entitled to air their opinion. But it is highly irresponsible of a newspaper to give out prizes for it. And if they do, we have the right to criticise them and call for action from their sponsors.

  39. @gladiolys, well done,well put! all this rabid talk about this sad,delusional religious fanatic! er,haven’t we,as lgbt folk spent decades fighting for the right to have our voices heard? similarly this woman must also enjoy the right to freedom of speech,however barking mad she may be!

  40. Thanks Paul.
    Alex: It’s a newspaper. It can be as controversial as it likes. Maybe it is the best letter because it will create the most feedback? Local newspaper letters about the state of car parks and graffiti in playgrounds become tedious, so maybe, just maybe, this letter was by some criteria deserving of it’s prize? It has got the attention of everybody here.

  41. I think the letter is in breach on the press complaints code under section 12- discrimination. Here is the link to make a complaint. You need to include the date of publication, which was 25/8/10 and a copy of the letter- you can take the jpg from this article.

    News Shopper should not be allowed to get away with this- it is sickening.

    http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/makingacomplaint.html

  42. Well said Alex. I don’t care about the opinions of some fanatic – they are welcome to think what they like and express themselves, as they do most saturdays, in the street, ranting and screaming with a bible or placard in their hands, being ignored, laughed at.
    She has a right to say what she likes, not no right for it to be taken seriously.

    But for a newspaper which claims to be the pillar of the community, to decide there is a valid debate to be had about LGBT people, now, in 2010, is pretty sick, cowardly. It’s not just that the opinions are beneath wrong and devoid of logic; rewarding this screed is a cheap attempt to provoke, by appealing to and rewarding ignorance and bigotry.

    Some on here repetitively interject with dreary comments about freedom of speech. Well of course she should haver her free speech – so long as she can be accountable for what she says. According to the Gospel of St Matthew, Jesus reportedly warned his followers to expect mockery, or worse, as others would find their beliefs to be ridiculous if not hateful. That is true for serious ultra fanatical follwers like this; and moreover, it is a moral obligation to say what we think, for the sake of those who take inspiration from such screeds and beat people up in the streets, on buses and in schools, and who are not here to have their say.

  43. Adrian: How well you exercise your “dreary comments about freedom of speech”. But once again: the letter writer is accountable to whom, and how?

    Paul put it well when he said “haven’t we, as lgbt folk, spent decades fighting for the right to have our voices heard?” Who are we to deny others that freedom? As you correctly point out, the newspaper represents the local community… and that includes Mrs Fitzsimons.

  44. Gladiolys – it can’t “be as controversial as it likes.” It’s not allowed to incite violence against people. It’s not allowed to libel people.

    I don’t understand your desperation to defend the newspaper. Maybe by some criteria it’s deserving of it’s prize? Yes – but my point is that any such criteria would be short-sighted and bigoted since it would place “not being tedious” above “not hating people for being gay.” A letter denying the holocaust would have broken local news-tedium – do you suppose they’d print that and award it their “star letter?”

    As I said before – I’m not denying this stupid woman the right to her bigoted opinion or the newspaper’s right to support it. I’m countering it with MY OWN right to criticise her for her stupidity, to criticise the newspaper for their promotion of homophobia and to call on the sponsors of the award to withdraw their sponsorship.

    The whole point of our decades of fighting to get our voices heard is that we didn’t stand back and let homophobes spew their drivel unchallenged. We fought back against it, and that fight continues.

  45. Roger Pym (Rev) 27 Aug 2010, 10:29pm

    What an extremely ignorant woman. Obviously a loving Christian. We live in the 21st century!

  46. Phillis Dorris 27 Aug 2010, 10:30pm

    Most forms of ignorance can easily tweak your anger – but this kind of makes me smile a little

  47. @gladiolys one:

    You apparently believe that speech has no consequence. I disagree.

    Letters like Fitzsimons’ are not harmless expressions of opinion. They reinforce and enlarge the bigotry of those who sympathize with her. Worse, they grant a sense of permission to those who may want to act on their hatred, up to and including violence and murder.

    It’s not what Fitzsimons says, it’s what follows the saying.

    Yes, she’s a deluded and ignorant little housewife (perhaps), and yes, she’s allowed her opinion. But publication of it grants it a loudspeaker and the appearance of legitimacy, after which some of those in agreement are inclined to act.

    Do you believe that gay bashing materializes from thin air? I don’t. I think that words–Fitzsimons’ words–propel it. Tell me that I’m wrong.

  48. pavlos and Soren456 are right
    she is pathetic – like the paper for choosing such bile as ‘star letter’ plus people make society work and that includes LBG, singles, divorced etc which she ignores

  49. But no one’s saying that Ms Fitzsimons’ views are right or that we approve them (at least I hope not). Some of you seem to be saying that people must be held “accountable” (in some vague and unspecified manner) for voicing an opinion. What *exactly* do you mean by “held accountable”?

    I think we should get this is perspective. We’re not exactly talking here of the Washington Post or The Times – we are talking about (*coughs*) “News Shopper”, not the most venerable or well known paper in the world. May I suggest that anyone whose opinions are determined by the letters section of “News Shopper” is probably beyond help anyway.

  50. Gladiolys, If you make an extraordinary claim based on no evidence, prove it or face the consequences. You and I both agree Fitzsimmons should be free to express her opinions. However, you clearly think that she should say whatever she likes and be immune from criticism, ridicule, mockery and scrutiny. To repeat, it s a moral obligation to do so, a simple fact that anyone who does not suffer from stockholm syndrome will get their head round.

    ‘the newspaper represents the local community’ (including the LGBT community!) – and it also has a responsibility to encourage discourse based on evidence, logic. and a responsibility to represnet the LGBT people there too. The fact that people hold a certain belief, does not mean it should be taken seriously, let alone made ‘letter of the week’. Evidence is not subject to popular vote. The editors abdicate any responsibility and professionalism by pretending there is debate to be had about homosexuality, when in fact there is no debate to be had, in Lewisham or anywhere else.

    We don’t take evolution deniers, or holocaust deniers seriously. We don’t take racists seriously. Maybe you do, I don’t know, but rational people don’t. So, why should we take homophobic fanatics seriously? Obviously ‘News Shopper’ thinks that promoting ignorance, bigotry, nonsense and the exclusion of gay people is perfectly fine – it’s the very pinnacle of thought in Lewisham this week. It’s time their sponsors knew about this and the contempt they hold for LGBT people and the community in general.

  51. Soren456 is correct, (comment 48). The publication of this letter gives her rabid views validity to those of a similar outlook and could encourage violence against LGBT people. Also,this little local rag, although itself fairly insignificant, is part of a large U.S. owned company, (Gannett Company Inc.). Does anybody know anything about this company? Christian fundamentalists are endemic in the US media and have huge influence over how news is presented. Are the god-botherers influencing this publication too? This could be a much wider matter than a misguided London housewife.

  52. PumpkinPie 28 Aug 2010, 1:55am

    The people going on about this woman’s freedom of speech seem to be missing the point entirely. Nobody cares about her, she’s a bloody loon.

    It’s the newspaper editors we’re angry with. They’re the ones who are cynically abusing the LGBT community in order to line their own pockets. That’s disgraceful and vile. This isn’t about censorship, it’s about newspaper editors taking responsibility for their actions.

    Like others have said, if these editors are so big on journalistic integrity, I’d like to see them print a similar letter dealing with racial minorities. And make it the star letter, of course. Somehow, I doubt people would consider them reasonable and innocent after that. (At least, I hope they wouldn’t…)

  53. She’s clearly disturbed as she lives her life according to what ghosts tell her to do.

  54. Sister Mary clarence 28 Aug 2010, 7:27am

    I think this is getting a bit off track as well. It is one thing for the woman to write the letter and however much we may detest her take on life, it is her view and she is entitled to it (and I suppose to express it).

    However it is altogether another thing for the ‘newspaper’ to determine that it is the best letter they have had all week. I would be facinated to know on what basis they consider it to be the star letter – insightful, witty, informative, whacked out? I’m not aware that the paper has a long history of homophobic diatribes, so it odd they should have embraced this one so.

  55. Adrian: The paper has not incited violence or libelled any person, so it can be as controversial as it likes..

    You say: “We don’t take evolution deniers, or holocaust deniers seriously. We don’t take racists seriously. Maybe you do, I don’t know, but rational people don’t. So, why should we take homophobic fanatics seriously?” I could not agree more, which is why I said in my first post: ” I don’t believe in her god, so can happily ignore her opinion – and the paper in which it is published.” You make my point for me. Thank you.

    As for the newspaper itself… if the Daily Mail can carry the bilge of Jan Moir and not be held to any account by the PCC, then it follows the same will be true for the News Shopper.

    I would also suggest that many queer bashings – and I have been on the end of a couple myself (that’s what you get growing up in an Army AND Navy town in the 70s) – are not motivated by a letter in a local newspaper. Most violence is a learned pattern of behaviour over a period of time. Lgbt people are seen as an easy target for people who have learned this behaviour – and those targets include anyone who is seen as “weak”, including the elderly, the disabled, even women. Hunters only ever take on prey they think is weak (please be clear – I am not saying any of us or those groups are weak, just that those inclined to violence may perceive them to be). So yes, Soren 456, you are wrong.

    My main point here is that we, as a group, are in danger of becoming new zealots, like born again non-smokers. It seems we have not yet learned that to ignore someone can be far more effective than going into some overblown hissy fit because we don’y like what they say. OPr who allows them to say it. If we are going to react – and I’m not saying we should not – then it should be in a calm, measured, appropriate way.

    Johnny H: I agree with you.

  56. Mrs Fitzsimons own vicariously sleazy take on Bible scripture is so smutty sounding and dirty, she should consider that News Shopper is a family newspaper and clean up her grubby act.

  57. @Pavlos
    nice one

  58. On the contrary, gladiolys: The reason why Jan Moir and other bigots like her are likely to think twice before they decide to collectively attack the dignity of LGBT of people, is precisely because people showed a tsunami of indignation on comments pages, on websites, on the blogosphere.

    For someone who extolls the stupidity of walking away, and letting bigots get away with such injuries to truth, it surprises me you spend so much time calling for others not to express their free speech on here (your remark about libel is irrelevant).

    An English lesson for you – a ‘zealot’ is a bigot, a fanatic. It is not zealotry or bigotry to hold someone to criticise, or ridicule, or scrutinise someone’s views or actions. As you are a military man, I suggest you read nathaniel Frank’s excellent ‘unfriendly fire’ about the american ban on gays in the military. It was also because nobody fought back, or campaigned, or countered the antigay nonsense from the religious right that the ban still exists now. It’s actually immoral not stay silent. If people think they can get away with it, they will. Silence breeds ignorance.

    Light comes from heat – true in science, true in argument. Unlike you, I’m not going to walk away and ignore bigotry and unreason. It’s high time people like this realised that we too can be insulted, and that we are not going to put up it. The morons who wrote that rag, and elevate bigotry in this way should damn well be held to account. To repeat, nobody is stopping anyone’s free speech – print what you like, but be sure to face the consequences.

    Ignore them in your name, but leave me out of it. I’m going to take them on. Thanks

  59. Quite a clever spoof, surely? Joe Orton lives~ and poor Mr Fitzsimmons must be dying of embarrassment.

    Even if she is in earnest, derision seems the most effective weapon.

  60. Newspaper gives out a prize for a “Fundamentalist Evangelical Rant”

    . . . what do we conclude

    1.The newspaper is representing the voice of its local
    community, i.e Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians ?

    2. The newspaper has an editorial sympathetic to Evangelical
    Fundamentalist Christian concerns ?

    3.The newspaper is not affraid to flaunt its homophobia ?

  61. @ gladiolys

    It may well be freedom of speech but ask yourself this:

    Would a letter in the same light be published about the oppression of women, or against people on race or even disablity?

    Answer: no it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be published let alone be acceptable for a “Star Letter”.

    So why is it so acceptable when it’s against the LGBT community?

    Fine to ignore such things but why the double standards on who can be picked on in society.

  62. The reason why Mrs Fitzsimmons wrote in the first place, was in response to a hysterical, explicit article about cottaging by Mark Chandler on 9 August – in his innuendo-laced report on a website called Cruising Gays, he reports chat between website members and lists 19 cruising spots. She is absolutely right to ask – why does a family newspaper report such graphic detail?

    Note, in Chandler’s article, only 7 of the cruising spots listed are public toilets. The other 12 listed are out of the way places like woods, parks and walkways. Why does the public need this information, in such detail?

    http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/8320474.LEWISHAM___GREENWICH__Website_lifts_lid_on_top_places_for_gay_sex/?ref=mr

  63. Hardly an “hysterical” article. I was rather impressed by how objective and non-judgemental Chandler’s article was. Surely it’s up to the paper whether they want to be a ‘family’ newspaper or not. Why does the public need this info? Why does it “need” to know any local stoires? Curiosity? fun? Why not, after all? If you don’t want this information yourself, then don’t buy the paper (and shun the website). Simple.

  64. I’m not condoning anti social behaviour in public toilets – I wish people wouldn’t, I don’t want to see it any more than the next person, and if people get caught, too bad. Still, reporting webchat in lurid graphic detail – and listing every single sex spot is sensationalist. PS It’s a freebie, you can’t buy it. It gets shoved through your letterbox whether you ask for it or not.

  65. Ah, sorry, didn’t know it was a freebie. (Personally, I can’t think of a less pleasant place for sex than a public toilet, but that’s just me – I’m a hopeless romantic.)

  66. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with you on that!

    To be honest, I am willing to change my mind on the matter, if the letters page gives others the chance to make a coherent response.
    We’ll see.

    On their website, one of their owners claims that ‘everyone looks forward to opening their copy of the News Shopper’. An extrordinary statement in itself; but after reading such star letters, if I were a vulnerable kid threatened with being kicked out of home, I guess i would spit at such a claim.

  67. @gladiolys somewhere above:

    You misstate what I said, and then pronounce me wrong. Slick, but hardly a genuine response to my point.

    Which is this: Words have power. Their power results from how they are received and, in the case of hate speech, by the sense of permission they grant those inclined to physical action. If words had no inciting power, we’d have no category called “hate Speech.”

    Gay-bashing does not materialize from thin air. It is a phenomenon of words heard and permission taken from them.

    Mrs. Fitzsimons wrote a foolish letter in which she repeated common anti-gay rhetoric. Will this letter provoke gay-bashing, the point you suggest I made? That’s not what I said, but to respond: I doubt it, yet who knows?

    The real point, which you ignore, is that Mrs. Fitzsimons has tossed her words into the larger pot of similar words, from which attitude and permission are constantly drawn by those who take hurtful action, political and physical both, against us.

    Mrs. Fitzsimons is free to speak and write. But that’s only half the equation. Every one here is aware of the complete equation, which works out to reveal the power of words to hurt. That’s my point.

  68. Good for Mrs Fitzsimons!! I am fed up with all these queers demanding that the rest of us swallow their version of “morality”.

  69. Well that’s so right Jon.
    I don’t know why God doesn’t just make all young vulnerable virgin girls pregnant with himself and leave them all on their own to try and find themselves kindhearted older men who’ll look after them through the pregnancy and then help raise these cuckoo kids that aren’t even theirs.
    That’s the kind of Biblical morality we need to promote and ram home to society.

  70. The twitter activity is interesting (I even joined twitter in order to join in!). They are now saying the matter is closed so I responded with some anger to the effect that I looked forward to their awarding a star letter prize to an attack on blacks or Jews….

  71. The letter could have been penned by an atheist in a sort of false flag operation. Such is the degree of intolerance and lack of compassion it demonstrates.

  72. Jon’s another homophobe
    atheists don’t need to resort to tricks to make christians look bad

  73. Sister Mary Clarance 30 Aug 2010, 12:08am

    Jon, if someone has been asking you to swallow anything it is entirely between you and them

  74. Heh, just another begrudged “old ways” person running her mouth off where every sentence is god this and Jesus that. I guess in this day and age actual logic and reason is for the cretins? That seems to be the attitude of these people. I guess logic is a bit out of the reach of those whose minds have already been warped since they were young.

  75. Typical South East London! Which is why after 15 miserable years I have finally got my act together and am leaving (Lewisham Council take note).

  76. Chris Jones 2 Sep 2010, 12:46pm

    This whole matter is very concerning. The letter in responce to the original article is miss informed, homophobic and nasty but more worrying to me is Why The News Shoppper wrote and printed the article in the first place. Im concerned it was a very pointed homophobic attack giving details where Queer Bashers could go and beat up gays. The one thing that was not mentioned in the article is the fact that a huge proportion of guys cottaging are Married supposedly “Straight” guys. This would of shone a whole different light on the situation. I have spoken directly to The News Shopper but they simply defend themselves saying it was a very popular article with a lot of feed back. I have also contacted Newsquest in Weybridge who own The News Shopper and am awaiting their Responce. Im pleased Websters have withdrawn their sponcership of the Star Letter page. Chris Jones

  77. Dear Mr Orange

    Oranges are not the only Fruit
    There are apples as well
    . . . Get used to it

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