Immediate 18.00 hrs Monday 8th January 2007
A criminal action for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, and producer Jonathan Thoday has begun in respect of Jerry Springer the Opera.
Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, laid information before Horseferry Road Magistrates this morning, Monday 8th January 2007. It is two years to the day since the broadcast of the musical on BBC2 and six months to the day from when it finished its tour in Brighton last year.
Counsel Mark Mullins and instructing solicitor Michael Phillips made oral submissions to District Judge Caroline Tubbs to support the application for a summons to be issued in a private prosecution of the two executives. All the tests which had to be applied before a private prosecution can begin appeared satisfied, and Mr Mullins explained to the judge the complexity and necessity to gather evidence which had led to an interval of two years between the BBC2 broadcast and the initiation of proceedings.
The District Judge reserved her decision for later this week.
Stephen Green said afterwards: 'I saw the BBC Songs of Praise School Choirs singing on BBC2's sister channel last night. As one primary school choir was singing so beautifully, I wondered what kind of society they are growing up into, in this day and age.
'Will it be one with no respect for the Almighty or for other people? One with no sense of right or wrong? One with no limits? One with no acknowledgment of the sacred?
'There is a ancient law against blasphemy in this land because the law believes it should not occur. It is as simple as that. If artistic people do not where or how to stop as they push against the boundaries of decency, then the law must step in and tell them.
'In this present case, it appears prime facie that a most odious and wicked blasphemy was perpetrated against Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly, justice must be done. No-one, be they ever so influential or wealthy, can be above the law.
'I noticed in Court that the learned District Judge sat under the Queen's Coat of Arms. The wording along the bottom is 'Dieu et mon droit.' The French means 'God and my right.' It is a reminder that the judge's decision is made under the sovereignty of God Himself in the interests of His justice alone.
'We await the decision of the Judge and ask for prayer so that: "Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." Indeed the very first petition of the Lord's prayer is: "Hallowed be Thy name."
'The holiness of God's name is at the root of this case. There is a long way to go yet, but the first step was taken today.