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Christian Institute: Radio 4 Easter talk by PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen is a ‘new low for BBC’

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  1. Bunk. We don’t live in Iran. There is no duty on me or anyone else to believe in or respect their asinine fairy tale in any way whatsoever, a fact that is no different for Mr Cohen.

    This assumption that everyone should and must – under possible force of law – cower and grovel before their absurdity is what offends.

    1. We don’t live in Iran. Thank Cher.

      However we do still have an official state religion. The head of state is also the head of the state religion. And officials of that state religion influence our laws through their membership of our unelected Upper House.

      1. Indeed true, and I disdain the whole vile thing. And I certainly won’t snivel to their ridiculous bronze age djinn.

        You have to wonder at their insecurity that they cannot stand to see their fairy tale mocked. Is it really such a weak and puling thing that me, one woman, or Benjamin, one man, could injure it with harsh language (although what Benjamin says is nothing of the sort)?

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  2. Bunk. We don’t live in Iran. There is no duty on me or anyone else to believe in or respect their asinine fairy tale in any way whatsoever, a fact that is no different for Mr Cohen.

    This assumption that everyone should and must – under possible force of law – cower and grovel before their absurdity is what offends.

  3. The christian institute are a hate group.

  4. Anything that pisses off the christian institute can only be a good thing.

  5. PantoHorse 6 Mar 2013, 6:43pm

    There’s something I find quite satisfying in looking at this article. Ben’s expression in that pic and a headline about CI moaning really has got quite a lovely quality about it.

    1. Do you, like me, want to cuddle him? ;-)

      1. Haha, yes Eddy!! Ben’s got a rather cheeky grin in that photo!!

        1. Benjamin Cohen 6 Mar 2013, 7:05pm

          Ha ha ha! Thankfully my boyfriend never reads PinkNews comments or he’d get jealous ;)

          1. Lucky boyfriend. I’m seriously jealous!!! Thankfully my partner doesn’t read PinkNews either!!!! ;-)

          2. PantoHorse 6 Mar 2013, 7:30pm

            He needn’t worry. Mine would be a thoroughly appropriate ‘upper body embrace’ for a maximum of three seconds, so as not to weird anybody out.

          3. casparthegood 6 Mar 2013, 9:43pm

            ….and another pleasant thought just bit the dust

      2. Shameless hussey!

        1. LOL. I know, it is a terrible trait I have, but I’m completely faithful to my hubby! Ben is great eye-candy though!!

          1. Samuel B. 7 Mar 2013, 9:52am

            I agree, it’s his cheeky left simple that makes me weak-kneed!

          2. Erm, dimple!!

  6. PantoHorse 6 Mar 2013, 6:48pm

    “Jesus loves everyone but his message to homosexual community is to turn away from their previous path.”

    She has quite clearly made that up.

    “Using the crucifixion to push a gay rights agenda is a new low, even for the BBC. It’s yet another slap in the face to every Christian who pays the licence fee.”

    I find the BBC quite anti-gay, to be honest.

    “The BBC panders to a liberal, politically correct agenda and fails to take the opportunity to explore and educate its listeners about the true meaning of Lent and Easter.”

    She accuses the BBC of bias, yet calls for a bias towards Christianity?

    Another hypocrite, no doubt dreading the day she is outed as such.

    1. And a great many Jews and Israelis consider the BBC to be anti-Israel, so it’s hardly part of some BBC left-wing agenda!

  7. THE CI hasn’t got too much to complain about. The BBC s basically on their side – e.g. the Catholic Church’s anti-gay propaganda on Christmas Day TV “news” bulletins. But is is good to see a little bit more balance now.

  8. Mr. Cohen, you are one theology graduate who has turned out super cool! Well done! I hope your talk will be streamed on PinkNews tomorrow because tonight I and my partner will be out and unable to listen to the broadcast. Please stream?

    1. Benjamin Cohen 6 Mar 2013, 7:04pm

      It will be on the BBC iPlayer if you want to listen in!

      1. Can it be podcast? I live in USA and Iplayer doesn’t work over here.

        1. Benjamin Cohen 6 Mar 2013, 7:13pm

          I’ll be putting a link on my Twitter (but don’t tell anyone)

        2. Common sense 6 Mar 2013, 8:39pm

          Iplayer works for radio outside of the UK. You should be able to listen to radio 4 programmes. I certainly can down here in Australia

        3. I listened to it live out here in San Francisco.

          1. Benjamin Cohen 6 Mar 2013, 11:57pm

            cool, what did you think?

          2. I listened to the talk and found it both thoughtful, inspiringvand fascinating, thank you Mr Cohen.

      2. I listened to the talk and found it thoughtful and thought provoking. It added to my understanding of Jesus. Thank you. Speaking as a Catholic I must confess that the Christian Institute’s comments are incomprehensible.

  9. Meg Cowie 6 Mar 2013, 7:04pm

    I’m a Christian – I’m a taxpayer (on two seperate continents!) and I think this is an excellent analogy. Jesus Christ died for all of us, so all of us should be able to see his message.

    1. Jesus is a fictional character you know.

      Just pointing that out.

      1. wrong, he was historical figure, whether he was son of god its down to personal faith

        1. You honestly think that we have such detailed description of someone that lived 2000 years ago? Yet we don’t have any such description of people that “only” lived 300 years ago?

          Stop the dream & believe in what’s real.

          1. why dont you for a start familiarise yourself with wikipedia before proceeding to some more advance literature on the subject

          2. Kane, whether X was the son of a god or not is NOT down to “personal faith”. There simply are no such things as gods. So it follows that there are no sons of gods.

            Get real. Get rational. Chuck the fairy tales.

    2. Many thanks Meg! Solidarity!

  10. Quote: “The Gospel describes Jesus as saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” while on the cross, which Mr Cohen will say echoes the fear of abandonment experienced by gay people.”

    I would have much preferred if he’d said ‘Gay people should forsake ‘god’ as belief in it, is a sure hiding to nothing. Embrace life on earth and ignore ‘god’. There is no afterlife after all.’

  11. They want free speech when it comes to them peddling bigotry – but when it comes to open discussion – they whinge like retarded bullies.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 6 Mar 2013, 7:46pm

    The BBC liberal? Since when? But of course it’s ok to denigrate gay people on the BBC, Ms. Williams isn’t it? These bloody religious nutters get more than their fair share of coverage on the BBC, more than any other group. If they don’t like it, don’t tune in. We pay licence fees too and if any group has a gripe about that, it’s us. We’re rarely portrayed in a positive light. Just look at the equal marriage debate for starters, all biased in favour of religious bigots and homophobes.

  13. “…it is a “slap in the face” to Christians…” = BAD. “…it is a [constant, daily] “slap in the face” to LGBT community…” = GOOD. No hypocrisy at the CI.

    In other words, “let’s have a discussion: you listen to me and keep your mouth shut”

  14. I don;t give a flying crap what the pompously-named Christian Institute or the deranged Williams creature thinks.

    If I wanna say “Jesus was an ass-screwing, transexual hooker with the world’s first crystal meth habit” that’s my right to do so, even tho it is intentionally pissing off their absurd religious feelings.

    Ben Cohen has as much right to say whatever the hell he feels like saying, too.

    Blasphemy is a non-existent bit of theological bullshit, used only by drooling cretins like Andrea Williams and her drones at the CI.

    Ignore the twats!

    1. why include “transsexual” as a derogative term? That is highly offensive.

      1. ass-screwing isn’t derogatory, Helen – it’s what THEY would find offensive. Duh.

      2. I didn’t. You, for some unfathomable reason, just chose to see it that way.

    2. Well said, Sacha!

  15. to hell with the Christian Institute. I could write a book n the way they have spread misinformation about and demonised LGBT people over the last 23 years.

  16. gay christians must be fed up with both extreme evangelicals of christian institute types and extreme gay atheist telling them what to believe in

    1. Well when they come up with any evidence whatsoever that their goofy bronze-age fairy-tale is true then we might stop pillorying them for believing in it.

      That’s the key, you see – evidence. That’s how we determine what is real and what isn’t. And the asinine claims of religious people have no evidence to back them up. “You have to believe it on faith” is a non-argument. You can believe anything on faith. Faith is not a mechanism for determining what is true.

      I’m sorry, but standing up in public and fervently praising a magic man in the sky who reads minds is a patently and obviously absurd way to carry on. We don’t indulge the “I am Napoleon” fantasists, we don’t indulge the peddlers of quack medicine and we don’t indulge the alien abductee fantasists. The febrile ravings of your christianity are no less ridiculous than any of these, and you get no special indulgence just for being gay I’m afraid.

      Just grow up and leave the embarrassments mankind’s infancy behind.

    2. “…extreme gay atheist telling them what to believe in”

      We don’t tell you what to believe [unlike the religious] but rather what you believe is nonsense.

      You are obviously a Gay christian so what’s it like kissing the hand of your torturer?

      1. angela_k darling, which bit in my post made you to assume that i must be christian, you seems to be very touchy when criticized

        1. Perhaps if you used punctuation it would improve the clarity of your post. You are a religious apologist, that is evident from your previous posts.

          1. what’s with the people blaming grammar for their flimsy replys. anyway you say apologist i say non extremist thinking

    3. BlokeToys 8 Mar 2013, 8:55pm

      I’m a gay Atheist, and I don’t tell others what to believe in. I just want them to keep their beliefs to themselves and stop trying to dictate to the rest of society, like little despots.

      This all comes down to the same thing, one religious group wanting complete control of others. It’s a dictatorial mentality, where these people seem to believe that they are superior to others and have the right to control people. They are no better than any nationalistic despot, religious dictator, or extremist organization. They all feed off of the same thing; victimizing and controlling others to make themselves feel more superior.

      Once again, people can believe whatever they want to believe. But when that belief is slammed in my face by someone who wants to use it to make me their slave, I will use every weapon in my armoury to show them exactly what I think of them and their poxy little cult.

  17. Cohen makes an excellent point actually that’s far from being blasphemous. I always thought that the established Church has become the kind of establishment that that fine young man who many years ago claimed to be the son of God was up against. They claim to speak in his name but it’s quite the opposite: they are what he was fighting.

  18. Scott Amundsen 6 Mar 2013, 11:15pm

    “Jesus loves everyone but his message to homosexual community is to turn away from their previous path.”


    Okay I want Book, Chapter, and Verse on that one. Jesus never said a THING about homosexuality and in fact healed the sick “servant” of a Roman Centurion (the word here in the Greek is “pais” and meant a slave used for sexual purposes; the anxiety of the Centurion clearly indicates that he was in love with the young man). He NEVER SAID ANYTHING along the lines of “turn away from your previous path” to the Centurion; in fact the Bible says Jesus healed the man’s lover and praised him for his faith.

    It’s in there in black and white and wishing it away won’t make it go away.

  19. ...Paddyswurds 6 Mar 2013, 11:41pm

    I just listened to the program on IPlayer here

    1. Thanks for the link, was also able to hear it here in Philippines

  20. Ben, that was very interesting listening to your experience of growing-up in the Jewish religion and your fear of abandonment which many of us would identify with. You described very well how young gay people can face rejection from their families and communities due to the influence of religious doctrine. For young gay people in non-religious families I would say that the fear of abandonment is as strong. Rejection by non-religious parents is very possibly due to the influence of underlying religious principles on society in general. As children, many of those parents would have attended churches and grown-up with their beliefs shaped by traditional religious teaching and expectations, even though they became inactive believers as adults. It is appalling that this influence of orthodox religion in society has probably been the root cause of many suicides by gay people.

  21. But the Christian groups think that their hate filled bile they broadcast isn’t a slap in the face to gay license payers?

    the hypocrisy is unreal.

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  23. Bill Cameron 7 Mar 2013, 8:41am

    I’m ignoring the ever-ignorant Christian Institute’s screeching – it is not worth bothering about.

    However, I did listen to Lent talk by Benjamin Cohen yesterday evening and found it very interesting. I thought it was pretty good, on balance.

    Actually I don’t think his gayness was the central theme of his discourse, much more central was his experiences as a Jewish child growing up in an Orthodox environment, but going to a Christian school. When he brought his growing awareness of his own sexuality into the mix I think he made it even more interesting. I am no expert on either Judaism or Christianity, so I learned quite a lot about both from listening to it. It was pretty balanced I think.

    Worth searching for on the iPlayer if you didn’t hear it.

  24. Robert Canning 7 Mar 2013, 9:42am

    A spokesperson for the Christian Institute described the talk as “a slap in the face” for Christians. Now what is it that Christians are meant to do when slapped in the face?

  25. David Nottingham 7 Mar 2013, 10:19am

    The BBC has a slogan which fully reflects what the corporation believes it has a responsibility to do – “Nation shall speak peace unto Nation” Ben shall be doing exactly that – a message of peace – by revealing what he believes is the plight of a minority group that Jesus also died on the cross for. Simples. And anyway, the right-wing Christians get more than their fair share of air time on the BBC. Anne Atkins still gets to wibble on about nonesense on Radio 4’s “thought for the Day”!

  26. I completely support your message Ben, wasnt it the Christian institute that was complaining about free speach, well it works both ways. We should do more of relating the bible to gay people.

  27. “She added: “The BBC panders to a liberal, politically correct agenda and fails to take the opportunity to explore and educate its listeners about the true meaning of Lent and Easter.””

    If religious people want to learn things, surely the go to their respective institutions?

  28. Jock S. Trap 7 Mar 2013, 11:23am

    I’m getting that somehow we’re now to fall for Religious meaning victim!

    Of course we also have the religious who clearly think we’re not to think for ourselves, talk for ourselves and not being brain dead to the world by only accepting religious texts.

    Benjamin Cohen is right. For the Religious Extremists to use this to focus yet again on hatred it typical…

    …oh, and lets talk about “new low for the BBC”…. Christmas Day 2012, condemning the LGBT community and marriage on a day that is supposed to represent good will to all. That was religion at it’s worst as well as the BBC.

    Religion…. what crap they talk!

  29. So… when are the Christian Institute going to lose their charitable status? I thought that was reserved for organisations that put all of their resources into providing a public benefit. If political campaigns are a “public benefit”, then shouldn’t Greenpeace, the Taxpayers Alliance and other pressure groups be given charitable status too?

  30. Some criticism was inevitable, but calling this talk ‘a new low’ is hysterical overkill. Mind you, that has been the Christian Institute’s calling card for years. Doubtless they’ll be whinging about this on and off for weeks whilst completely ignoring the Cardinal O’Brien scandal.

  31. Well, have just listened to Ben’s broadcast, and am delighted that its labyrinthine reasoning will really confound many religious people. Ben skilfully puts the cat amongst the pigeons.

    I have to say though that I was disappointed to learn that Ben has been a long-time “believer”!

    But, I too was once a believer. There’s hope for everyone. We CAN all thrust fairy tales aside and simply embrace a high moral code that does not involve things supernatural.

    1. Benjamin Cohen 7 Mar 2013, 4:50pm

      Erm, I never actually said what I believe at all. I have a theology degree but I don’t really believe in the personal God any more. If I’m honest I’d like to but I can’t. I certainly don’t believe in the Torah as anything other than a man made work literature. I keep Jewish laws that I want to because I want to not because I have to and I like traditions like Friday night dinner and eating special foods…

  32. Guglielmo Marinaro 7 Mar 2013, 2:23pm

    “Jesus loves everyone but his message to homosexual community is to turn away from their previous path.”

    Jesus and Andrea Williams are two different people. She appears to have confused one with the other.

  33. Quick expunge the bit where the disciple that Jesus loved rested on His bossom cos Christians are offened by it. Not saying that Jesus was gay but He did die for Gays and Yes He could not help the Love that He loved us with and gave His life for us. that is serious love. for those are not christians here is the deal, it used to be against the Law – homosexuality, Jesus came to change all of that AND PAID the price for it so you and i dont . that my friends is Love.

  34. As a Christian who would agree with the New Testament that homosexual practice is wrong I could still listen to Mr Cohen’s broadcast and appreciate his honesty in sharing his experiences. Regarding his comment on the reaction of ‘religious’ parents to the news that their son/ daughter is gay, maybe he needs to be more understanding of others deeply felt views? And some Christian friends of mine have accepted their son’s homosexuality (and his partner) despite their initial shock and misgivings.

    1. Dave North 8 Mar 2013, 12:36pm

      “….. agree with the New Testament that homosexual practice is wrong ”

      Where in the new testament does it say this.

      Please point this out.

      1. Dave North 8 Mar 2013, 12:40pm

        I refer you to

        It is NOT a cut and dried situation.

  35. BlokeToys 8 Mar 2013, 8:46pm

    When are we going to grow some balls as a society and start calling this what it is? It’s religious extremism, no better than the Taliban. They might not be physically attacking people, but they are using their “influence” to bully organizations and trying to force others into being just as bigoted as they are.

    It’s time we stopped pussy footing around this and started to hold these people to account.

    No cult should be given an unfair voice against others in the national media. They simply shouldn’t be given a stage to preach from when their speech is ignorance and intolerance.

    What would be the response if this were an Islamic religious faction making these kinds of statements about white Christians? There would be utter outrage! Why do we accept this bullshit from the right-wing Christian crazies?

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