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


Friday 12th November 2010 16.00hrs

Comedian Bill Bailey is currently staging a one-man show, Dandelion Mind, at Wyndham's Theatre in London 's West End . Much of the evening, according to journalist Quentin Letts, involves attacking Christianity. A particularly distasteful skit insults Jesus Christ by ridiculing the moment when a dramatically convinced Thomas put his hand in the Lord's side.

Mr Letts has penned a scathing review, in which he calls for evangelicals to turn up to heckle Bailey with hymns, and accuses the panel show contributor of cowardice. Christianity is a safe, soft target, but Bailey would never have the guts to insult Mohammed, says the Mail's columnist. The same applies to homosexuality. Bill Bailey would never insult the gays. Certainly not in a theatre owned by Cameron MacKintosh,. 'Not exactly the bravest of Berties - a distinctly predictable performance,' Quentin Letts concludes.

Bill Bailey himself, in an article in timesonline, says he takes on multi-nationals, as if that is radical cutting-edge comedy, instead of just another soft target. He won't lose any points among the politically-correct by mocking the theory of intelligent design either. Now if he took on the laughable idea of evolution, or took a sideswipe at abortion or feminism or sexual immorality, now that would be daring, but also a suicidal career move.

Photo by Brian Marks

Bailey criticises those like Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross who mock the weak. 'You have got to aim a bit higher than that,' he says. It could be argued they don't come much higher than Jesus Christ, but again, he is not likely to lose either his life of his livelihood picking on Christ or Christianity as he might if he took on Islam or homosexuality. That would be aiming a bit too high for Bailey. 'You have to pick your targets,' says the comedian. He certainly knows how to pick them to stay alive and wealthy.

Stephen Green has responded by suggesting Bill Bailey might have as much a case of ignorance as cowardice. The National Director of Christian Voice said today:

'Quentin Letts is to be commended for sticking up for righteousness in the face of Bill Bailey's onslaught, although his call for us to be booking seats may go unheeded as that would involve parting with money which would support the spiritually-challenged Bailey.

'It could well be in the back of Bailey's mind that Muslim anger could result in a burnt-out venue if he were to insult Allah or Mohammed or Islam, but that might not be the whole story.

'Secularist minds, particularly those filled with dandelion floss, have a challenge getting up-to-speed with the threat that Islam poses in the longer term to their cherished sacred cows. They don't know a great deal about it and they don't really care.

'They are stuck in a nineteenth-century time-warp where the church is deserving of a secularist onslaught because it is a strong part of the Establishment regaling the political sphere with prophetic denunciations of wickedness, arguing for Godly laws. They don't notice that it hasn't done that for sixty-five years.

'In the alternative, Christian virtues are not yet totally dead in our land. Irritating Christians (very rarely Muslims) pop up from time to time objecting to Jerry Springer the Opera, or calling for chastity and fidelity in sexual relations, or saying people should work for a living, or that human life is sacred, or that God created the world. Such ideas, and such people, are obviously dangerous to secularism and they and their beliefs must be ridiculed.

'Secularists hate Jesus with a passion, knowing he was truly the Son of God, the righteous one who had power to lay down his life and power to take it up again.

'They really fear a world where Jesus as the Almighty Christ and Redeemer takes up the sceptre and reigns in righteousness.

'They object to Jesus because his very existence insults their values and their lifestyle. They get what we Christians call 'conviction of sin'. And they don't like it one bit.

'Secularists have a profound ignorance of Islam, whereas Christianity is all around them. Some went to Catholic schools, or to church or Sunday school, or they watched a Remembrance Day service once. Christianity is part of their social conditioning in a way Islam is not.

'When he attacks Jesus Christ and all the Lord stands for, Bailey is railing against something he dimly understands and perceives as important and challenging to his world-view. He doesn't understand Islam at all, and it is not important to him (yet). He has a smattering of Christianity, enough to convince his audience of his sagacity, but only enough to make a Christian pity him.

'Bailey's act is a tiny bit like Sir Ian McKellen ripping Leviticus pages out of the Bible on stage. That was an act of respect to Holy Scripture, not disrespect. The poor man valued the Bible enough to want it to say nothing against him and his perversion.

'In the same way, Bailey accords respect to Jesus Christ even as he attempts to disrespect him. There is a sense in which Bill Bailey's attacks on the person of Jesus Christ are a compliment - in the Oscar Wilde sense that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

'But all the same, I feel a Christian witness at Wyndham's Theatre coming on. Any excuse for an evangelistic outreach!'