The Shofar is the ancient trumpet which called the people of God to prayer, repentance, sacrifice and war.

Friday 7th January 2005: 8:00am

Jerry Springer the Opera: Street Protests at BBC  

The BBC's determination to screen Jerry Springer the Opera tomorrow on BBC2 in the face of 15,000 complaints to date will lead to street protests this afternoon at BBC premises in London, Birmingham and Manchester.  The organisation Christian Voice has called for prayer vigils from 2pm to 5pm at the BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane, at the Mailbox in Birmingham, and in Manchester's Oxford Road. Protests will be widened tomorrow.

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, a UK-wide prayer group, said today: "The blasphemy of Jerry Springer the Opera lies in denigrating Almighty God and the only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  God is good, and Jesus lived a life without sin.  He is not called to account by anyone.  God is not mocked, and I fear for the United Kingdom when we allow such a blasphemous mockery to be screened on national television. 

"The BBC have no respect for God, and they hold the views of ordinary people in contempt.  We demand respect for the Christian Faith and we are not prepared to allow these attacks on the Christian Faith to go on any longer.  If this show portrayed Mohammed or Vishnu as homosexual, ridiculous and ineffectual, it would never have seen the light of day.  The BBC would not dare put on a programme rubbishing the Sikh religion, and yet they think that in this Christian country, they can insult Christianity and offend Christians with impunity.

"There is a human rights dimension as well, in that Christians have a right not to be insulted in our religious beliefs.  We are looking for our faith to be respected, our rights to be upheld and for parity of esteem. 

"We call on Director-General Mark Thompson to recognise that 'Jerry Springer the Opera' is deliberately offensive to Almighty God and to Christians and cancel the showing of it.  Free speech is not an unqualified right, it brings responsibilities, and the causing of gratuitous offence is not the hallmark of a civilised society.  Let the BBC return to its original Charter, and seek to do good, not evil."

Christian Voice has taken the lead in fighting blasphemy in the UK .  Only last month they led protests in St Andrews against the staging of the 'gay Jesus' play ' Corpus Christi '.  Early last year the group forced an apology from Trinity Mirror Group after a blasphemous article in the Sunday Mirror led to demonstrations in Canada Square and at the homes of directors including Edinburgh-based Sir Angus Grossart and Sir Victor Blank in Hampstead.  Two years ago, God used Christian Voice to wreck an attempt by Peter Tatchell and the National Secular Society to read the 'Gay News' poem on the steps of St Martin in the Fields church in London. "We are well up for this," said Stephen Green today.