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Priest is heckled on radio as he says believers are often ridiculed

By on Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Fr Jamison (Photo: Mazur/

Fr Jamison (Photo: Mazur/

The director of the National Office for Vocation of England and Wales was heckled on a radio programme as he began to tell the audience that people of faith often have their views dismissed or ridiculed in the public square.

Appearing as a panellist on the Radio 4 programme Any Questions?, Fr Christopher Jamison said: “I think what concerns me is that there is a kind of new discrimination emerging which is that we are very keen to have a neutral public square which is quite right and proper in a secular democracy. One of the difficulties for people of faith is trying to get their views heard in that public square,” but members of the audience then heckled him.

When the presenter Eddie Mair asked Fr Jamison why he thought he was heckled, he replied: “Well, I was intrigued, it sort of slightly proved the point.”

Fr Jamison, who is former abbot of Worth Abbey in Sussex, was replying to the question of whether he had ever faced discrimination. After being heckled he continued: “There is a real tension here because sometimes it can appear that if you believe certain things, although your opinion will be listened to often it will be ridiculed rather quickly.”

Fr Jamison told the audience: “At the time of the Papal Visit we had a fantastic opportunity afterwards where the British Humanist Association asked to meet a group of Catholic spokespeople and it was a really amazing dialogue. We said that actually there had been too much grandstanding around the time of the Papal visit and it had been a dialogue of the deaf. And when a group of us sat down and talked about the thing more personally there was a much more real engagement of listening and trying to understand.”

  • John Wilson

     ‘We’ are not overreacting. Only the thought police are, who force superstition on the world. It’s time they were taken in hand and disciplined. The damage they cause is immense.

  • Sweetjae

    Yes, apostleship of every Christian in the sense of being followers of Christ however not every Christian has been granted the same authority as those in the Church hierarchy by Christ.

  • Sweetjae

    Same old tired accusation that has been refuted many time over. Do you still respect your own Queen because of the lewdness acts of Prince Harry? Do you not respect the your entire Police and Military force because of the rotten police men? How about the fact finding commissions inquiry that the BIGGEST sexual abuse cases by any institution is the School system, 3 per school day! Do you also lose your precious respect to all the Teachers and educators?

    Beside the fact that you seem to overlooked the great majority of the people in the Church who are doing good works, like taking care of the poor and marginalized that people in the media you so adored seemed not to even want to see nor touch, we run Orphanages, community care centers, largest providers of Hospitals, Universities, soup kitchens, rehabilitation etc etc.

    How about you miss atheist, what have you done lately for the good of mankind besides admiring yourself?

  • Sweetjae

    Resorting to Ad hominem attacks from a guy who was hurt by the Truth. You just can’t refute PapaJabba!

  • John Wilson

     I hope your orphanages are well supervised by the police. We don’t want another child rape scandal by Catholics.

    You provide soup kitchens yet refuse to address the causes of poverty. Shame on you.

    And less ad hominem attacks on others please.

  • John Wilson

     Audience hostility? Yes, righteous anger .

  • John Wilson

     Let’s not hear the words ‘Christian’ and ‘child’ together please. It recalls rape.

  • Acleron

    ‘Intellectual failure’?

    You’ve had two thousand years to provide any evidence whatsoever for any god, deity, miracle etc and failed. You have a logical argument that either goes ‘god exists therefore god exists’ or ‘I don’t understand something therefore god exists’. Theism is the more rational position? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

  • teigitur

    Missing the point rather Damo. Nothing to do with Mr Assange, or creationism v evolution, but the media not only allowing little or no redress, in addition, the fact that there is no way on earth they would have allowed a Mr Assange s head to be superimposed on the Prophet Mohammed. No way. Liberal hypocrites. 
     But Christianity is fodder for them. that is not, of couse,  always a bad thing, it has always thrived under persecution, as your country illustrates well. But they media pretend there is equal treatment when very clearly there is not.

  • JabbaPapa

    The Christ Himself pointed out that some, even if they were to see a dead man come back among the living, would still refuse to believe.

    Your rejection of some forms of evidence is not the same as an absence of evidence.

    These objections of yours have had 2000 years in which to convince everyone that Christianity is false, and yet the Truth of the Faith remains.

    Oh, and your “description” of those so-called “logical arguments” is a ludicrous strawman, having nothing to do with any kind of actual existing religius thought.

  • JabbaPapa

    What a horrible, small-minded, evil little comment that is !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    As far as I can see, the flat-out nastiest and most vicios-minded posts in this thread have been posted by John Wilson, atheist.

  • JabbaPapa

    Spoken like a true fanatic.

  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal


  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal





  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal




  • Fr Thomas Poovathinkal



  • JabbaPapa

    True — but the Lord did not deal kinly with the Satanic whe He encountered it…

  • Bob Hayes

    ‘Righteous anger’ at what John? The priest’s observation that, ‘One of the difficulties for people of faith is trying to get their views heard in that public square’?

  • Bob Hayes

    Well said Jabba!

  • Acleron

    What evidence am I rejecting? Calling some stories in a book ‘evidence’ doesn’t make it any more useful and certainly doesn’t make it evidence that can be used to argue for some deity.

    Only now that people can argue about the tenets of religions without fear of injury and death can proper argument take place. (And that only in certain countries, remember Sanal Edamuruku?). Therefore you have had 2000 years to come up with a argument and failed. Perhaps your logic will improve now that you have to argue logically, but no sign of it yet.

    And whether you can understand it or not, all your arguments come down to those two fallacies. Honest theists admit this and merely claim they believe without evidence and that is the meaning of faith.

    Actually back to honesty, I had assumed the events in the radio program were as given by the author above. And had already said the priest should have been listened to politely. 

    After being heckled he continued: ‘

    This gives the impression he was interrupted and when the heckling subsided was able to finish.

    Having now listened to the recording I find there is a couple of voices calling out, the priest hardly missed a beat and only referred to it after it was mentioned by the coordinator. I’ve heard others on that same program being booed as well as heckled. Poor behaviour, admittedly, but hardly indicative of theists being suppressed, more like the usual of theists wanting special privileges and claiming offence when they are denied.

  • JabbaPapa

    You keep on ranting about your great hero Sanal Edamuruku ; a man who is accused of inciting religious hatred, which is a crime in most Western countries, having nothing to do with blasphemy, but everything to do with deliberately provoking and insulting large numbers of people on religious grounds. As this man is infamous for, repeatedly.

    Whether or not you accept the evidence of testimony is up to you, nobody can decide in your place, but it’s just FALSE to claim that just because you reject and dislike certain sorts of reports that those reports are not evidence.

    When I was an agnostic, I certainly accepted all sorts of conflicting stories as being evidence, though it would take evidence of a far more powerful sort, that I cannot describe here, to actually convince me, rather than those conflicting reports.

    Honest theists admit this and merely claim they believe without evidence and that is the meaning of faith

    1) the word “theist” is bankrupt, because not all religions have a concept of god

    2) I most certainly would not have converted without evidence, so your generalisation is wrong

    3) No, my evidence cannot be dscrbed using words : it was for me and me alone
    The logical fallacy here is in fact yours, in your assumption that evidence of what you do not know must necessarily resemble evidence of what you do.

    “God exists” is obviously a statement, not an argument attempting to convince ; your other claim is based on the greatly discredited “God of gaps” theory of 19th century determinism.

  • whytheworldisending

    Fr Jamison is right when he says, “…. if you believe certain
    things, although your opinion will be listened to often it will be ridiculed
    rather quickly,” and I’d just like to rather quickly try ridiculing some opinions too.

    outside marriage causes horrible and life threatening sexually transmitted
    diseases, including cancer. It also leads to the deaths of hundreds of
    thousands of unborn babies, and the blighting of the mental health lives of
    mothers who undergo abortion, with adverse knock on effects for their future
    children. It destroys hope of genuine romance and a happy family life by
    removing the sense of mutual trust between the man and woman that comes from
    the exclusivity of the physical union in marriage, and it blunts the bonding
    that naturally makes permanent the intense attraction between spouses which is
    a prerequisite – before sex – if couples are right for one another. (It puts
    the cart before the horse.) It makes separation and family breakdown more
    likely and so puts children through unnecessary trauma and heartache,
    increasing rates of mental and emotional health problems, alienation and
    teenage suicides. The resulting social disorder spawns criminality, corruption
    and a lack of respect for values of decency and common humanity so that many
    people don’t feel safe on the streets or in their own homes. And that is just
    heterosexual promiscuity. For decades the rich and decadent were allowed to
    advertise products they knew killed people and caused incalculable suffering -
    all in the name of money. They were even permitted to market these products to
    children in order to get them hooked as consumers and addicted at an early age.
    They were called cigarettes. Eventually ordinary people realized what was going
    on, but the promoters began advertising “Low tar” brands and special
    filters in order to CARRY ON PROMOTING DEATH instead of JUST STOPPING THE
    PRACTICE. Now today ordinary people are being told that THIRTY FOUR MILLION
    DEATHS is a price worth paying for promoting sodomy, and not only that. They
    are being told by the rich and decadent (now represented by their stooges in a
    Government which appears to be interested only in power and seems to be in the
    pockets of the rich) that we are COMPELLED, by some unnatural law, to teach our
    children this grotesque rubbish, or at least allow those we see as a danger to
    our children, to gain access to them in order to pervert their understanding
    and their innocence. That of course is tyranny of a kind foreseen in 1978 by
    the eminent Lord Hailsham who said, “(Elective dictatorship).. will
    certainly do its best either to corrupt or destroy religion.” [The Dilemma
    of Democracy, p10]

    of course implies comedy, but this is no laughing matter. Like all suffering
    born of human foolishness, it is an ongoing tragedy. Such however are the
    beliefs of the atheists who reject the Word of God. I can’t bring myself to
    ridicule them, because quite clearly they deserve our pity. They do not however
    deserve our vote.

  • whytheworldisending

    To clear up some confusion. “Many will come using my name. Refuse to join them.” Rapists, murderers, thieves, liars, drug-dealers, sex-traffickers, adulterers, war-mongers, fornicators, tyrants such as Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and so on. These are all atheists – by definition. Yes its a circular argument, but it is nonetheless true. The children of God are known by their good works. The children of the Evil One are evil-doers. That’s just the way it is.  If you don’t serve God, you will serve whatever you mistakenly think suits what you mistakenly think are your interests. 

  • Meena

    “The Christ Himself pointed out that some, even if they were to see a dead man come back among the living, would still refuse to believe.”
    If the historical Jesus said that, he was dead right.

    Everything that we “see” is, 100%, something happening in our brains. Signals which have travelled along the optic nerve to the brain are usually the cause – but the experience of “seeing” is generated in the brain by electro-chemical activity (caused by these signals).

    In principle (and, today in increasingly large measure “in actual fact”) we can “see” anything if the appropriate electro-chemistry takes place in the brain.

    Such “visions” can be everyday things that we experience, viz. dreams. Others can be stimulated by drugs or/and electrical means.
    Others again occur in certain people who have abnormal electro-chemistry taking place in their brains. These give rise to “apparitions” and other “visions” experienced during times when they are awake. This has in the past given rise to much religious superstition.

  • Meena

    “Many will come using my name. Refuse to join them”
    The people you mention did not come in the name of Jesus.

    But of course others have done so. And I certainly “Refuse to join them”.

  • Meena

    Quote Father Jameson:  “I think what concerns me is that there is a kind of new discrimination emerging which is that we are very keen to have a neutral public square which is quite right and proper in a secular democracy. One of the difficulties for people of faith is trying to get their views heard in that public square”

    I would broadly agree with that.  The word “discrimination”, I believe, is a rather loaded one – but in its broadest meaning it is justified. Discrimination is often a very evil thing, but it can, as here, be fully justified. Fr Jameson correctly goes on to say that this  ” is quite right and proper in a secular democracy”. 

    Secular institutions have no right, in our secular democracy, to spread or to encourage non-secular beliefs in supernatural/religious tales or stories which have no basis in fact. Since there are many such conflicting beliefs and stories, it can only lead to fragmentation and conflict in our society.

    Progress has been made, but we still have quite a way to go to eradicate the remaining bits and pieces of religious matter “encouraged” by the secular state.

  • Meena

    Your long posting is well-stocked with unsubstantiated claims and vapid prose.
    But to take just one of these claims: “Sex outside marriage causes……..” and you list several “nasties”. 

    However the “outside marriage” claim is false. If it were true then married couples would expect to be free of all these unpleasant things.

    As for the cigarettes (and some might add [WOULD add, actually] sugar, alcohol, cream cakes, chocolate….etc), well remember that we all have to die of something. And you have a loving God and Heaven to go to as well (why aren’t you smoking heavily?).

  • JabbaPapa

    eradicate the remaining bits and pieces of religious matter

    You do realise that that’s almost word-perfect Nazi doctrine, don’t you ?

    Heavens forbid we should ever see another major Western Nation poisoned by a majority sharing such hateful views as these !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    It’s not OUR fault that you have espoused points of view devoid of morals, Faith, or spirituality — and shouting at us will not improve your lot.

  • JabbaPapa

    Chomskyite linguistics is a dead end.

    You’re proposing nothing more valuable than the glorification of a self-centered solipsism, centered on nothingness, signifying nothing, and devoid of any sort of philosophy or meaning. Yours is the ideology of a hoodied anarcho-fascist destroyer.

    Your presentation is also factually, and therefore scientifically, inaccurate — because in fact, outside reality DOES exist and we ARE able to perceive it, be aware of it, and know the truth of what we perceive.

    Concerning your “visions”, these things that you discuss are very far from the Kingdom of God, and have nothing whatsoever to do with the miracles of God, both natural and supernatural.

    Still, I should be grateful I suppose for this outright admission of yours that you are so heavily indoctrinated into these atheistic beliefs that there is nothing that anyone could ever possibly say or do that could affect this indoctrination — which simply means that your presence here can only involve 0% desire for honest debate, 100% desire to engage in anti-religious trolling.

    Glad that’s sorted out then

  • JabbaPapa

    And I certainly “Refuse to join them”.

    If only that were true !!!

    Alas, you plague us with your hostility and worldly pride on a daily basis ….

    Enough !!

    If you truly refuse to join the Catholics, then just do as you say, and go away for ever !!!

  • Acleron

    Your presentation is also factually, and therefore scientifically, inaccurate — because in fact, outside reality DOES exist and we ARE able to perceive it’

    Notice, as usual, no argument is given in support, just the unevidenced assertion. 

     Meena is correct. We can trace those signals from EM radiation and the chemical signals that they induce. We also know the system requires tremendous processing. What we see is not the image arriving on the retina. We also know that there are very easy ways of interfering with the process. This is the reason that shamans and stage magicians can fool us and why scientists spend considerable efforts to prevent subjective bias. Perhaps a better acquaintance with facts would benefit you.

  • JabbaPapa

    in fact, outside reality DOES exist and we ARE able to perceive it’

    Notice, as usual, no argument is given in support, just the unevidenced assertion. 

    So now you are reduced to requiring evidence for the existence of reality itself ???

    Science is based on the observation of reality — deny the pertinence of such observations, and you just turn science into sludge.

    Your unwanted ranting about optics is motivated by taking just *one* word completely out of its self-evidently obvious context.

  • Acleron

    1) You have no proof that the reality you perceive actually exists. We assume it does, one of the few beliefs that are common to nearly all. Beliefs are not facts, if you make the statement as a fact, back it up. In fact our perception of reality, as far as we can understand it, is woefully inadequate. We have no in-built idea of the very small or the very large. We possess purely the types of senses and interpretations that were suitable for survival on African plains.

    2) You supplied no evidence or explanation of why Meena was wrong about the scientific basis for our interpretation of our sense inputs. In fact Meena was quite correct.

    And I answered the whole of the sentence I quoted, so your last is just yet another false accusation from you.

  • Meena

    You would have done well in the Kremlin producing forgeries and false propaganda and carrying out the air-brushing of photographs.

    I DID NOT SAY that religious matter should be eradicated. 

    I said that any pieces of religious matter “encouraged” by the secular state should be eradicated.
    For example I have no objection to Catholic schools, or of the teaching of that religion’s particular faith in those schools – or of any other religion doing the same thing. But I think it quite wrong for the secular state to “encourage” the spreading of various religions by providing the vast majority of the money needed to run these religious schools. 

  • Acleron

    I can quite see why you have to lie about the charges against Edamuruku but after being shown the actual section of the law and the actual law, don’t you feel it is pointless trying to deny they are blasphemy charges? I actually know little about all the work Edamuruku so he is hardly a hero of mine, but I can see hypocrisy a mile off and you are full of it.

    As in the thread above this we know people can be fooled quite easily and we can and are examining the mechanisms for this. That is precisely why as evidence, personal testimony comes way down on the scale. When there is a concerted effort at indoctrination, especially against people vulnerable to these arguments such as children and those who are deeply unhappy, personal testimony can be and is safely ignored. There is no logical fallacy in ignoring very poor evidence, otherwise we, as scientists, would have to accept say homeopathy. There are just as many people who use homeopathy as are catholics, they in fact have more documented personal testimony and they often fervently believe it is true. We can find no good evidence for their belief, similarly, we can find no good evidence for yours.

    Although I made no argument, in fact all gods are pretty much discredited in the form they were presented a hundred years ago. But the god of the gaps argument still crops up. The Humani Generis of Pius  XII retreats in the face of evolution to the Maginot Line that Adam existed and was the father of humanity. presumably he made the mistaken assumption that this was a position that couldn’t be disproved, well it has been, there was no Adam. Looks like the gaps are getting closer. But perhaps you were referring to the argument from ignorance?

  • Meena

    You can keep faith in your reply. But my views are neither devoid of moral content nor of spirituality, and you are insolent to make this claim. 

    Nor am I shouting. I typed one word in capitals (for emphasis – I don’t know how to produce italics, which I would prefer) – and you typed one word in capitals in your reply (although you DO know how to use italics).

  • Acleron

    Rapists, murderers, thieves, liars, drug-dealers, sex-traffickers, adulterers, war-mongers, fornicators, tyrants such as Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and so on. These are all atheists – by definition.”

    Out of all those categories and people Pol Pot and Stalin would be considered atheists, Hitler certainly was not an atheist, the rest are just ridiculous. Since when does committing a monstrous crime make you an unbeliever. They may not be accepted into your religion but amazingly not all theists are catholics and not all accepted and revered catholics are guilt free of many of those crimes.

  • Meena

    because in fact, outside reality DOES exist and we ARE able to perceive it, be aware of it, and know the truth of what we perceive. ”
    Philosophy has been said to be merely “footnotes to Plato” – but WHAT a pity you were not around in the times of Plato and Socrates. You could so easily have sorted out their problems.

    But you could still earn an “immortal” name for yourself if you could verify the “because in fact…” above.

  • Meena

    Thank you for doing my work Acleron in responding to this 
    tiresome bore.

  • Meena

    I regret that you are so badly misinformed.
    There are no “beliefs”, non-theist or otherwise, here in the sense used in the phrase “religious beliefs”.
    These are the findings of neuroscience. 

  • Meena

    It seems to me that I am doing exactly what Jesus asked. He appears to have been a very good and moral person.

    The modern Church is radically different from what Jesus intended. Surely you can agree to this.
    Yet, as Jesus said, they come using his name. And, sure enough, they do. He (Jesus) asked us not to join them.

  • JabbaPapa

    So in other words you *don’t* realise that what your peddling is uncomfortably close to Nazi doctrine and propaganda…

    Guess what — YOU don’t get to decide in this sort of dictatorial manner where public funding should or should not go, just in the same way that YOUR personal beliefs are not the default that everybody has to accept.

    Where great numbers of people among the general public have certain religious beliefs, then it is a *right* of their religious freedom that the educatioon of their children can be given in a religiously appropriate manner, including for those of them not necessarily having the necessary private income to send their children into private schooling.

    Your views are totalitarian, they are intolerant, they are not just atheistic but frankly anti-religious, and they seek nothing other than the “eradication” of religion from the public sphere — I’m guessing that you don’t habitually wear a swastika armband and that you don’t gas Jews in your back yard nor are you financing the presene of a death squad at the Vatican, but that’s still 80% or thereabouts identical to the Nazi ideology concerning religion.

  • JabbaPapa

    “moral content” is not morality ; I’ve no idea what you imagine that spirituality might be, but every single one of your posts so far has demonstrated its direct antithesis ; YOU complaining about “insolence” is something that really takes the biscuit ; block capitals are not the only way to shout, as you have amply demonstrated in your obnoxious postings.

  • JabbaPapa

    Neurolinguistics have exactly NOTHING to do with what I was talking about.

    Perception of outside reality exists.

    You are ignorantly confusing the means of that process with its object.

  • JabbaPapa

    So you actually ARE expecting that one should need to prove the existence of reality itself ?????

    Un-freaking-believable !!!!

    NEWSFLASH : drunken pub conversations when you were 16 or whatever after having just seen The Matrix for the first time do not constitute a solid grounding in Philosophy, whether Ancient, Madiaeval,or Modern.

    Reality is the prerequisite of EVERYTHING.

    Facts, obviously, do NOT need to be demonstrated — Reality exists ; Perception exists ; Perception of Reality exists.

  • JabbaPapa

    I can’t help it if you misunderstand nearly everything that you read in here.

    Waffling on about how this or that sensory perception works says exactly nothing about the fact that Perception is intrinsically ordered to the cognition of Reality.

    You’ve basically just come up with some irrelevant quibbling, providing nothing of substance to deny the FACTS.

    There is not a single major Philosopher or Scientist (or, frankly, taxi driver, little old lady, hotel receptionist, annoying next-door neighbour, corrupt politician, etc) who would even for an instant consider with any seriousness whatsoever that reality itself might be non-existent.

    It’s a purely adolescent mind game, whose only real purpose is to help establish the structures of a properly functional analytical strategy by means of proposing an absurdity to that analytic as a method of testing it.

    But — seeing as you’re bringing up neuroscience — neurolinguistically there is NO discernable difference whatsoever between a “belief” and a “fact” ; such things have no formal differentiation whatsoever in terms of how they are stored in one’s memory nor accessed by one’s cognition and thought.

    Strictly speaking, it’s true that there is no such thing as a “fact” — but everything that we have in our minds that we cling to as being true, is a belief.

    Facts, viz. Aristotle’s Rhetorics, are simply beliefs that happen to be universally accepted.

    Our only real contact with Reality, psycholinguistically speaking, is via Perception — exactly CONTRARY by the way to your ignorant and ill-educated suggestion otherwise.

    Our belief systems are constructed partly from both species and local genetic information, partly from intra-uterine development (including the learning of the basic patterns of one’s mother tongue from listening to them inside the womb), and from accumulated perceptions of outside reality, and some more abstract teachings provided by education, until they finally coalesce into  a fully-formed belief-sytem, coherent with all of these various sources, and coherent especially with our perception of outside reality, which forms the very BASIS of every single individual mind.

    Weare grounded in Reality, as are our Perceptions.

    Atheism is NECESSARILY a belief, because the basic functioning of human cognition would not permit otherwise. This is also Plato 101 BTW.

  • JabbaPapa

    Don’t like me ?

    I’m sure there are many other websites out there where I do not contribute, and where you could avoid me entirely.

  • JabbaPapa

    Here is how you lot are creating this lie about Sanal Edamaruku supposedly facing “blasphemy” charges :

    Lie :”Sanal Edamaruku, the founder president of Rationalist International, is facing a blasphemy charge ”

    Truth : “Three complaints have been reportedly filed against the Edamaruku for inciting religious hatred

    Through direct misrepresentation and flsehood. He is NOT facing blasphemy charges, he is facing three accusations of inciting religious hatred.

    The “God of gaps” 19th century thing died at the same time as Relativity and quantum mechanics destroyed clockwork determinism as a viable model for reality.

    Notwithstanding those like yourself who fail to realise it’s gone way past its sell-by date

    Edamuruku … is hardly a hero of mine, but I can see hypocrisy a mile off and you are full of it

    >b-word< — and you certainly can't see sarcasm when it’s lobbed at you

    I am unsurprised by your inability to comprehend Humani Generis, given the repeated demonstrations that you have provided in the past of your failures to comprehend anything at all of Philosophy and Religion.

    There is NOTHING at all in that Encyclical to contradict the work of Science — it condemns the notion that “evolution explains everything”.

    Mostly, it condemns the utterly false notion of those such as yourself who fantasise Religion and Science as being “contrary” and “opposite”.

    This is a prejudiced belief of your own, probably indoctrinated into you as a child, and not corresponding to any sort of truth.