ROME, February 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Did anyone else notice something odd about that article in the Telegraph? The one about the goings on in Cornwall, at a guesthouse owned by the beleaguered Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the Christian couple who were recently fined £3,600 for refusing to allow two homosexual men to share a bed in their establishment.
Was it me, or did the interviewer, Judith Woods, spend half her column space, over 1,500 words, insulting and ridiculing her subject? And between the sneering and nudge-nudge-wink-winking, was there just the faintest hint of a threat behind it all?
Am I getting (more) cynical? Is it me, or was this article produced for the sole purpose of making believing Christians look like crazies? “Nutters” according to the immortal word of Tony Blair?
You tell me:
Miss Woods shares her impressions: “t’s hard to escape the uncomfortable feeling that this elderly couple – narrow-minded, eccentric, singularly lacking in business nous in their batty rejection of modern mores, gay and straight – have been miscast as both persecuted and persecutors and will come off badly whatever happens.”
Hazelmary Bull, apparently, is “bloodyminded.” Um… well, OK. Maybe an apt description for someone who is willing to forge ahead in the face of, apparently literally, howling shrieking mobs, and with a sick husband in hospital.
It is intimated that the Bulls simply should have known better. One does not challenge the New Order of Things: “Despite being fully aware of new anti-discriminatory legislation, they have continued to enforce their bizarre Fifties house rules, because the Lord is on their side even if, as now transpires, the law isn’t.”
At this point, I had to stop and go back and check whether this was classified under “Comment,” or maybe “Culture” or “Lifestyle” where one might be more disposed to grant some editorial latitude. No, it’s firmly labeled “News.”
I didn’t really learn much more about the situation of the Bulls, but I certainly came away knowing a great deal about Judith Woods.
She feels very up-to-date and with-it and thinks that old-fashioned slow-pokes should stay out of the hotel business: “I must confess to being generally suspicious of devout people who enter in the service industries, as it so often signals humourlessness and intransigence. And while times change, they do not.”
Though she is a “churchgoer” she has an odd phobia about Christian symbolism: “[T]he early Christian fish symbol is the giveaway online and just inside the hallway the words Lord Jesus Christ are spelt out in a mosaic at the reception desk. It would make me run a mile, and I’m a churchgoer.” I hate to think how she would react to Rome, with crucifixes in very police station and post office and a picture of the Virgin Mary, quite literally, on every street corner.
And she certainly seems to like the progress made in the world of sexual behaviour since the dreaded 1950s, as we’ve seen.
Mrs. Bull expresses her objection that the Tourist Board had recently asked them to hide the bibles displayed in the rooms of the guesthouse. Miss Woods, as though turning and winking to the camera, gives us, “Ah yes, the Bibles. Some touchy types get a little affronted when they stroll into the family room and see Jeremiah 9:4: ‘Beware of your friends, do not trust your brothers…’ Still, it makes a nice change from JK Rowling.”
Sorry Miss Woods, not quite following. Since you seem to be writing this piece as though we are all having a bit of a laugh together at this woman’s expense, I’m just trying to follow the joke. Did you say this directly to Mrs. Bull? Or is this just a little aside for the benefit of your appreciative audience?
She notes a framed quote from W.B. Yeats: “Often, often, often / Goes the Christ / In the Stranger’s Guise,” and snarls, “The irony of the sentiment is evidently lost on the Bulls.”
Please, Miss Woods, stop holding back. Tell us what you really think.
Now, I realize that the Telegraph, Britain’s ostensibly “conservative” newspaper, is as much a part of the mainstream media as the Guardian and the Independent, two papers where one would expect an interviewer to go into an interview with devout Christians with knives out. But the Telegraph is supposed … or was supposed to present something for the more right-ward leaning of Britain’s solidly leftist political monoculture. Isn’t it?
At the end of all this, one might be forgiven for wondering if this string of insults was the fault of the writer, who clearly has rarely encountered actual Christian believers in her trendy, up-with-the-times, church-going lifestyle. Was it the editors letting it pass out of negligence?
Or perhaps the author and the editors are sending out a little message: the Daily Telegraph is on the side of Christians, of course, they just have to be the right kind of Christian.
In effect, the message from the Telegraph article, ostensibly about the hate campaign launched by homosexuals against Mr. and Mrs. Bull, is a warning to other Christians who really believe their beliefs. Step out of line, attempt in any way to actually live according to those beliefs, and you will deserve everything you get.