Saturday, December 27, 2008

Channel 4’s ‘Alternative Christmas Message’

Cranmer has waited until now before commenting on this for one very good reason. All of those who were quick to take offence and who spouted their condemnation and poured out their invective before the broadcast on Christmas Day did Channel 4’s advertising for them and undoubtedly boosted their viewing figures. The ‘alternative’ slot has gone relatively unnoticed in the past, attracting very modest viewing figures. Who even remembers the Reverend Jesse Jackson, the wounded Afghanistan veteran or Marge Simpson? And if the characters are remembered, the substance of their message has long been lost.

So let it be with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Christians of all denominations condemned the decision to invite him as ‘sick’, ‘disgusting’, a ‘scandal’, or something akin to blasphemy. It generated angry protests from Israel and other critics of the Islamic republic. They were precisely the constituency C4 sought to offend, and great offence they took.

But why?

Channel 4 has provocation in its DNA. And this is a good thing. It is frequently the only channel to tackle some of the touchiest religio-political issues of the age, and it does so with forensic precision. Of course the Christmas Day broadcast was offensive to many, but they are quick to forget that C4 is the only channel in the UK to have investigated what is being preached in many mosques, and they dared to broadcast ‘Undercover Mosque – the Return’ just in time for Ramadan.

And what did President Ahmadinejad actually say?

"If Christ was on earth today, undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers. If Christ was on earth today, undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

"If Christ was on earth today, undoubtedly he would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as he did in his lifetime. The solution to today's problems can be found in a return to the call of the divine prophets.”

Well, if Christ were (subjunctive) on earth today, Mr President, he might talk to you of motes and beams, of not judging lest ye be judged, of considering one’s own sin before casting the first stone, of showing mercy before justice, and of loving one's neighbour as oneself, even if that neighbour is Israel.

Of course, the President is preaching his Jesus, appearing as an angel of light, deluding the masses with his unsubstantiated talk of Iran's efforts for peace and reconciliation. But we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28). Jesus Christ is not simply one of a number of prophets but the eternal Son of God, the Word of God made flesh, who died for the sins of the world and who rose again from the dead.

So it falls to Cranmer to seize the opportunity of this broadcast to draw the attention of his readers and communicants to the work of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom. Its work is supported by a majority of MPs and over 200 members of the House of Lords. Lord King of West Bromwich has written of the Iranian opposition party in Ashraf City, Iraq, whose residents are the embodiment of justice, and inspire hope for peace and democracy in Iraq and Iran. This group has long been seen as the greatest threat to the Iranian regime, with its mixture of democratic ideals and female liberation. The 4000-strong opposition group - complete with its President-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi - has prided itself on offering a ‘third option’ to the Iranian crisis, democratic change through the Iranian people and their resistance movement – a far better alternative to either war or appeasement.

However, the Iranian regime and its proxies in Iraq have now put this Iranian group in danger. Iranian influence in Iraq has increased greatly over recent years as Tehran funds, trains and supplies weaponry to terrorist militias in Basra and beyond. This support for terrorist militias is the main cause of Coalition deaths. Iranian proxies are now believed to control a number of high-ranking positions in Iraq, while infiltration into the Iraqi police and military has left the Iranian opposition in danger of Tehran’s terrorism.

Since C4 has forged good relations with the President of Iran, perhaps they might extend a further invitation to him to appear before the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom?

Let him be questioned on democracy and freedom in Iran, and let C4 make documentaries about his execution of children, about the 170 mass graves each containing a truck-full of bodies, about the atrocities committed by the mullahs’ Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), and about the stoning of women condemned to death by the testimony of two men.

Jaw-jaw is preferable to war-war. Since we are not at war with this odious regime, robust dialogue, not appeasement, is the best way of bringing democracy and freedom to Iran - a conclusion which will not only guarantee the safety of the Iranian people, but a solution which will greatly increase the likelihood for peace in Iraq and the wider Middle East.

Channel 4 may justifiably be condemned for granting this holocaust-denier a pulpit on Christmas Day, but it is utterly wrong to meet this with demands for censorship. The broadcaster now has a moral obligation to investigate further and finish the work it has begun. With direct access to the office of the President, who is now manifestly flattered and well-disposed to the organisation, the opportunity presents itself to tell the world of the barbaric injustices of this regime.

That would indeed be a worthy use of public money.

Failing that, perhaps C4 might invite the odious Nick Griffin to deliver the alternative Ramadan/Eid message next year?

Failing that, how about the utterly reasonable, eminently sensible and manifestly highly-qualified Bishop of Rochester?


Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

I like it cranmer, good to see you back with the wry wit after festive lunchen.

Tune into what you wish to watch, rather than complain about what you have not even yet seen, good message.

Maybe an Eid message from Nick Griffin would please Israel just as much as Iran can displease them.

But I would not tune into anything designed to do either.

Anymore than I would give a damn about how muslims or Israelis feel when it comes to British TV and Christmas.

I sometimes wonder what would be best, Iran killing Iranians or Nato killing Iranians and then letting them flood to Britain for asylum. We must keep things in perspective here.

27 December 2008 at 11:23  
Blogger len.allan said...

Dead christians hanging from cranes, the execution of children, satan must be well pleased with this man and all he represents!

27 December 2008 at 11:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

glad you gave nick a mention it saves me from trying to think of an epually irelavant excuse. merry Christmas from my mobile phone. x x x

27 December 2008 at 11:40  
Blogger McKenzie said...

glad you gave nick a mention it saves me from trying to think of an epually irelavant excuse. merry Christmas from my mobile phone. x x x

27 December 2008 at 11:42  
Anonymous oiznop said...

To be fair, Cranmer, President Ahmadinejad was speaking in his native Farsi, so the missing subjunctives were probably an error in the translation process.

27 December 2008 at 12:20  
Blogger John M Ward said...

Well done, Your Grace. I too have not commented on this (and indeed I avoided the broadcast itself) for the reason you gave.

I am also pleased that again you extol the virtues of my local Bishop (Rochester) who is indeed a tremendous fellow with his head screwed on the right way.

Another valid point — and one I sometimes make when when talking about any such regime — is what Len Allan wrote, which is that they are pleasing the devil by their actions and methodologies. They are always working for him, when (like the great deceiver himself would do) they are claiming to be with God (Al-lah).

I have occasionally written on this very topic, though usually it is something that comes up in conversation rather than in a written medium. Either way, the message needs to be got out there: would God really want us to behave in the ways that some Imans and others try to direct? That is so often very obviously the law (and/or agenda) of men, not the Word of God.

Ah-my-dinner-jacket (which is how to remember his name!) is one such; and having him exposed to our nation via Channel 4 will likely do him far more harm than good, so it'll probably turn out to have been a Good Thing in practice(!)

27 December 2008 at 12:20  
Blogger Mark Brentano said...

You are, as usual, a voice of reason amid a Babel of nonsense. C4 - and all companies who rely on viewers or listeners - are indeed trying to irritate and annoy. Would you do us all a great favour and give the alternative message next year yourself? If it pleases your Grace, that is. Happy 2009.


Mark Brentano

27 December 2008 at 15:47  
Anonymous Noel said...

You are aware that the PMOI (British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom) - which you speak so fondly of - are in fact little more than a cult with no popular support in Iran. Their decision to support Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War led to a total end to any legitimacy which they may have had in their homeland. The consequences of these actions are irreparable.

They are not a viable alternative to the current regime. Quite the opposite in fact, their very existence helps harden support for Ahmadinejad's cause.

I also suggest you read more about what goes on at Camp Ashraf - which is a military base, plain and simple. It is idiotic to suggest otherwise.

Before espousing their ideals in future it might be wise to have more of an understanding of their militant left wing history.

But feel free to enlighten me with the list of the MPs and Lords who you so confidently state support them. To my knowledge every parliamentarian bar Lord Corbett and Lord King have tried utmost to distance themselves from this vile and illegitimate cult.

27 December 2008 at 18:04  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

Iran is corrupt, inefficient and practices censorship. It has a government in which the separation of religion from state is not only not practiced, it is expressly forbidden.
Nothing this man says can be considered of value. He, and his country, are backwards, corrupt and socially inferior.
Iran makes Naples and Sicily look enlightened.

27 December 2008 at 18:51  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"Nothing this man says can be considered of value. He, and his country, are backwards, corrupt and socially inferior."

This is the ethno-centrism of "tolerance" and "openess". It is practiced by Aryan liberals.

Beside's that, good post Cranner's. And well done to comparing Ahmadinejad's social activist "Christ" with Satan; raised a chuckle in me.

27 December 2008 at 22:24  
Blogger it's either banned or compulsory said...

In a healthy democracy I see no difficulty in giving a platform to such a man. Especially as his own words condemn him.
Was he not similarly in a row at a US University some months back ? The argument was not about what he might say but whether he should be invited in the first place. I believe that academic freedom won in that instance.

28 December 2008 at 05:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes definitely! C4 should make a documentary and ask questions about murdering children and women, not 500, or 700 or 1000, but in tens of thousands.

by whom?

by British & American Forces, in Iraq & Afghanistan. And lets not forget those bloody old folks who are near death now (like donald rumsfield) who supplied Weapons of Mass Destruction to Iraq, to fight against Iran. So infact, it was the West who let those chemical weapons to be used against innocent civilians - be it Irani.

Before calling someone else evil, look to your own past and present. The West, have been busy throughout the history in plunder and pillage of the world, be it Africa or India.

Your generations have to pay for that..and will pay for that!

We will never forget!

28 December 2008 at 10:45  
Blogger len.allan said...

Violence begets violence , begets violence, begets violence, begets violence,
where does the circle stop?
Jesus Christ!

28 December 2008 at 12:42  
Blogger len.allan said...

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God"

Matthew 5:9

28 December 2008 at 14:41  
Anonymous USpace said...

Yes, Iran's terrorist monkey-in-chief should be questioned endlessly, including his ideology, get him to debate Islam.

Hopefully this episode will just open up even more eyes to the insanity and motives of 'radical' Islam.

God bless you, stay safe! I hope you had a nice Christmas, and have a very Happy New Year too. Have fun!
we all have our special ones
drink responsibly

world economy depends
on massive celebrations

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
outlaw Christmas

don't upset atheists
makes them question their faith

absurd thought -
God of the Universe hates
Christmas celebrations

leads to Muslim Apostates
who then get death threats

for the holidays
we must get together
- before they are over

ancient feelings
days will get longer again
All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
Help Halt Terrorism Today!


28 December 2008 at 22:28  
Blogger moomintroll said...

I for one or felt that this broadcast was useful, in that it show up what a complete fanatic and numbskull this man is. All he could do was mouth pious platitudes together with nonsense about the coming of a golden age which fits in with his unquestioning belief in the daft cult of the hidden Imam.

I would not call myself a great fan of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, but I felt that his and th at e Queen's Christmas messages had far more value in bringing home the truth that there will be no golden age or larger than life heroes, instead in the hard times to come it is up to all of us to do whatever we can.

30 December 2008 at 11:35  

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