December 11, 2008

Right-wing Christians protest ‘blasphemous’ Welsh poet

by David Masters

Around 250 conservative Christians demonstrated outside the Welsh Assembly today in protest against a poetry reading in the building.

The protesters gathered in Cardiff Bay as poet Patrick Jones prepared to read some of his work to Assembly Members (AMs).

Jones was invited to give the reading by 2 AMs, and the reading went ahead despite a significant number of objections from other AMs.

Nick Bourne, Conservative leader in the Assembly, said that Mr Jones’s work borders on breaking laws on inciting religious hatred.

Book shop Waterstone’s in Cardiff cancelled Mr Jones’s book signing in their store after complaints from lobby group Christian Voice.

Jones signed 30-40 copies in the street outside the store instead.

One of Jones’s poems, titled Hymn, refers to Mary Magdalene having sexual intercourse with Jesus.

Christian Voice leader Stephen Green condemned the reading of this poetry in the Welsh Assembly as ‘blasphemous’.

Mr Jones was invited to the Welsh Assembly by Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black who asked him to read from his latest work, ‘Darkness Is Where The Stars Are’.

Mr Black thought it important that Jones’s poetry be read in public to ensure that he does not end up being ‘gagged’ because of a lobby group representing a minority of Christians had taken offence.

Jones said he was proud of the number of Christians who turned up to protest against the reading, although he doubts that many of them have read any of his poetry.

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