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Christian group halts book launch - Comments

ANTIcarrot's Avatar Comment 1 by ANTIcarrot

If you'd only withdraw a book on advice from a publisher, surely you should only cancel a public event on advice from the police.

What exactly was the nature and cause of the 'prudence' that lead to the cancellation?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 11:56:00 UTC | #269571

Bruno's Avatar Comment 2 by Bruno

I am curious to know what the Christians found so offensive or objectionable? The article didn't really explain.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 11:56:00 UTC | #269572

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 3 by Steve Zara

I am glad that this has been put up as a main article. I hope it prompts some appropriate response from Waterstones.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 11:58:00 UTC | #269573

Elles's Avatar Comment 4 by Elles

I suppose the book store certainly has the right to not sell whatever books they don't want to sell, and they certainly should have that right...

But why does the sub-headline say that he has to sell it in the streets if it's just one book store chain from what I can gather?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:04:00 UTC | #269578

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 5 by Cartomancer

At risk of beating the drum too frequently for the homophobic aspects of this...

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:05:00 UTC | #269579

overwhelmedas1wouldB's Avatar Comment 6 by overwhelmedas1wouldB

Outrageous. Most Christians seem to see nothing wrong with the most flagrant suppression of any kind of criticism or speech/expression unfavorable to their religion(which, in this case seems was very minor). The religious mentality is wicked.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:10:00 UTC | #269583

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 8 by Bonzai


I think that is dispicable. No difference from cancelling art shows for fear of Muslim violence.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #269585

Pidge's Avatar Comment 7 by Pidge

"Prudent"......why exactly?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #269584

Pidge's Avatar Comment 9 by Pidge

We should all write in and say that, actually, the Lord wants the event to go ahead.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:13:00 UTC | #269586

mr-zero's Avatar Comment 10 by mr-zero

Steven Greene is a poisonous git.
Last I heard he was under threat of bankruptcy after suing Jerry Springer the opera and loosing. Does any know what happened about that?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #269587

morgantj's Avatar Comment 11 by morgantj

Do they not realize, that actively demonstrating against the book will actually attract more attention to it? They are in effect, helping him!

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #269588

Colwyn Abernathy's Avatar Comment 12 by Colwyn Abernathy

The national director of Christian Voice, Stephen Green, said the decision was a triumph "for the Lord, not for us".

Cuz the Lord certainly can't do it himself. Doofus. Reality check: YOU'RE offended, and putting that offense on god. What has he got to say FOR HIMSELF? Not a lot, huh? As Voltaire wrote,

"In the Beginning, God created Man, and Man, being a gentleman, returned the favour."

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:15:00 UTC | #269589

mismos00's Avatar Comment 13 by mismos00

"Do they not realize, that actively demonstrating against the book will actually attract more attention to it? They are in effect, helping him! "

I think this was canceled by the publishers to drum up this stupid story and therefore, publicity. Since when do Christians care about poetry?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:20:00 UTC | #269593

dead Yeti's Avatar Comment 14 by dead Yeti

If you haven;t already sent an email to waterstones telling them what cowards they are feel free to do so on the above address

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:21:00 UTC | #269596's Avatar Comment 15 by

there is a huuuge amount of postage and discussion and plan of possibloe action here,3328,In-a-Novel-Theory-of-Mental-Disorders-Parents-Genes-Are-in-Competition,NY-Times,page4#comments

There was nowhere else for it at the time - it may be useful to avoid too much repetition.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:24:00 UTC | #269597

Goldy's Avatar Comment 16 by Goldy

I think this has some PC bullshittery that Bonzai mentioned in other threads - this tip toeing around religion really is getting rather tiresome.
Get this Green bloke to court to answer hate speech charges. Use the law - they think it is meanto to protect them, let them find out it is a double edged blade. That should also shut some Muslims up too...

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:25:00 UTC | #269599

Pidge's Avatar Comment 17 by Pidge

Its like that film with Kevin Bacon where the town bans dancing on the advice of the pastor...(!) Jones should do his poetry at an abandoned factory, do it at the car wash, do it on the streets of Cardiff until they change their minds!!!!!

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:25:00 UTC | #269600's Avatar Comment 18 by

i, and some others, have written to Waterstones and been met by.....vague, standard nothingness..
i suggested we actually do something..and a few people agreed but response is very slooooowww....i am photocopying my letter and their reply and distributing it in my local Waterstones - and giving copies to staff members - a couple of other posters here are doing similar stuff.... after all.. how are you ever going to deal with enemy if you're not prepared to actually face up and challenge them?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:28:00 UTC | #269603's Avatar Comment 20 by

161. Comment #283174 by jabber on November 13, 2008 at 8:33 am

Ok heres my effort:

Dear Mr Johnson

I was very concerned to hear about the way you were mercilessly bullied by a small group calling itself Christian Voice.

Your staff at the Cardiff store have told me that the shop had received actual threats, as opposed to a couple of harmless e-mails of complaint, as suggested by your Press Officer.

I have also been informed that such e-mails are fairly commonplace. For an event to be cancelled, you must have had good reason to suppose that your staff and customers were at risk in some way - at least, thats what you suggest in the correspondence i have seen sent ot others.

I also found it interesting how the sign on your door in Cardiff claims that the circumstances were 'unforseen' - which clearly cannot be the case, as the sign was put up in specific response to the threat you felt you might be under.

Would it not be more honest to state the reason why some of your customers wasted their time travelling to your store for the express purpose of this event - only to have wasted their money on the journey?

Would it not be more honest to notify those customers that the reason you cancelled the event was because of the actions of a 'pressure group'?

Would you say it is Waterstone's policy to cancel events willy-nilly on the reception of a few random e-mails of complaint?

Do you intend to cancel any projected booksignings by high profile authors such as JK Rowling if you receive similar e-mails from groups who believe that the promotion of witch-craft and the occult in a children's book is tantamount to blasphemy? (I gather this is a possible eventuality)

Are you going to manage this issue in a better way than sending out vague explanations of 'staff and customer safety' - perhaps by specifically explaining to those customers whose time and money was wasted, why you cancelled?

Why, if you felt violence and disruption might ensue had the event gone ahead, did you not call to have the protection of the police - that is what they are for... i take it you prosecute drunks, youths and the suchlike for disrupting your customer's browsing pleasure? I expect you would at least ask them to leave the premises on pain of calling the police?

Do you intend to reimburse those customers of yours (whose interests you state you must protect) for the loss of their money in any way - after all, it was your decision to cancel the event at short notice?

I gather that Christian Voice access your website on a regular basis, to consult your up-coming events section looking for authors of whose work they do not approve - i think it quite likely that, as you have proven to them by your reactions to this kind of approach, they will do it again - and each time the publicity will increase proportionate to the frequency of the events cancelled.

When the Co-Op bank can make a stand against Christian Voice (which advocates rape within marriage - visit the website), not on religious grounds but on the secular grounds of diversity and decency, how are you going to be able to justify your position to the majority of your customers who are not Christian fundamentalist or religious extremists of any kind?

How will you explain to your gay staff that you have capitulated to a group who specifically state that gay people are criminals who should be eradicated; to your female staff who, according to this group, have no right to say no to sex from their spouse, and seek to change the law to make it impossible for a woman to legally refuse to have intercourse with her spouse?

What do you say to them - and to your customers who are similarly 'living a corrupt and immoral life', according the people who frightened you so much?

Have you not heard of the prayer - i'm sure you must have it in your stores somewhere, which says :First, they came for the communists/ I said nothing for i was not a communist/ Then they came for the Jews/I said nothing for i was not a Jew/ ......Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak.

At what point in that scenario woud you ssee fit to speak - and on whose behalf?

ON the basis of customer comfort - you denied them their right to attend a legitimate event; in my book, that's even worse - you cannot deny a right on the altar of 'convenience', financial or otherwise.

I look forward to a non-standardised reply in answer to these quite pressing questions. I'm sure your buying public and your staff would be eager to see your position on this.

I am sure they would be equally eager to note a non-reply, too.

Wishing you a more profitbale Xmas than last year

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:30:00 UTC | #269605

Pidge's Avatar Comment 19 by Pidge

"i, and some others, have sritten to Waterstones and been met by.....vague, standard nothingness.. "

But did you say you represented the Lord?

What is the address to write to?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:30:00 UTC | #269604's Avatar Comment 21 by

13. Comment #283329 by mismos00 on November 13, 2008 at 12:20 pm

"Do they not realize, that actively demonstrating against the book will actually attract more attention to it? They are in effect, helping him! "

I think this was canceled by the publishers to drum up this stupid story and therefore, publicity. Since when do Christians care about poetry?

No,mismos00 - Waterstone's cancelled, not the publisher. waterstones told me that they had received -e-mails, and the staff at the store said there had been threats. And i very much doubt that Green and Co would have any truck with the publishers to enhance the sales of the book

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:35:00 UTC | #269609

Goldy's Avatar Comment 22 by Goldy

Good on yer, Jabber :-)

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:35:00 UTC | #269610

Freethinker15's Avatar Comment 23 by Freethinker15

I've already fired of my email of complaint and got a response. The manager said that they choose to cancel out of fear for the safety of their customers and staff. Are the police incompetent in Cardiff?

here's the email address i used:

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:41:00 UTC | #269616's Avatar Comment 24 by

of course, i recievd a standardised reply from someone called Kirsty Hardy (just visualise!) i re-sent it and asked for the courtesy of a reply from the person to whom my message was addressed.....i have received nothing, i expect they've marked my addy as 'junk' and switched their filter on...that is why i have decided i have no choice but to act and inform staff and customers the reason why Waterstones submit to these people... and if they ask me to leave and call the police i shall demand the same priveleges and treatment that they gave to mr Green - i might even demand that if they remove the Bible, then i'll leave? i don't know..may end up being a damp squib..but at least its something.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:42:00 UTC | #269617

Pidge's Avatar Comment 26 by Pidge

Freethinker 15 - interesting. I wonder whether threats of a religious nature are recorded by the Police and form part of their stats? It would be interesting to find out.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #269623's Avatar Comment 25 by


after Waterstones we now have the theatre - Xtian Voice are mobilising, everyone and they need to be watched and countered as oftyen as possible - and they think a faith in nothing is more offensive than a positive attempt to censor,encourage hate....are they not legally inciting hatred, and isnt this hatrred religious hatred because of their attitude to other faiths and the faith less?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #269622

Degsy's Avatar Comment 27 by Degsy

All publicity is good publicity. A collection of poems from the brother of Nicky Wire? Sounds very interesting. I shall have to check Patrick Jones' book out. I must thank the Christian Voice for this information. No disrespect to Patrick, but I doubt I would have heard about this otherwise. That said, Waterstone's should be ashamed of themselves.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:48:00 UTC | #269628's Avatar Comment 28 by

4. Comment #283314 by Elles on November 13, 2008 at 12:04 pm

No - he didnt HAVE to SELL in the street - he chose to do that as a protest. Custiomers would buy the book from Waterstones and he sat and signed them in the street when asked. The signing was nothing to do with the store...and the book is still on sale there (£7.99) The store is trying to say that it took the action it did, not becasue they had been threatened, but just as a precaution so that customers could shop in comfort - the reality is that Green informed them what was likley to happen and says that as soon as Waterstones heard they were on their way, they cancelled the event due to 'unforseen circumstances'. What i am attempting to do is to force them to say what these unforseen circumstances were, publicly.... and.. anyway read my letter to them, its clearer

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:53:00 UTC | #269636

Pidge's Avatar Comment 29 by Pidge

Book signings are way more interesting when there is a fight going on - have they not seen Borat?

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:56:00 UTC | #269641

Freethinker15's Avatar Comment 30 by Freethinker15

hmm I better reproduce the email just in case because he didn't actually refer to harm, but to disorder.

Here is my email:

I have recently found out that you have chosen not to go ahead with the launch of Patrick Jones' new book of poetry 'Darkness Is Where The Stars Are' as a result of threats of disruption by Christian voice. I am incredibly saddened to hear that a book store, which I frequent often and hold much respect for, would capitulate so easily to extremists. I have brought a lot of books from you store in the past, and I will now have to shop elsewhere.

If you are worried for the safety of your staff, then call the police.

I hope you re-consider.

and Waterstone's reply:

Thank you for your email regarding Darkness is Where the Stars are.

Waterstone's does not act as a censor and will not, and should not, dictate what customers may read. We will only remove a title from sale on the advice of the publisher. This is the case for Patrick Jones' book, and it remains available from Waterstone's. Any comments or complaints regarding the content of the book should be directed to the author or the distributor of the book, the Welsh Books Council.

Regarding the cancellation of the event arranged for this book, Waterstone's simply took steps to prevent a disorderly event in the interests of our customers and staff.

Managing Director

Thu, 13 Nov 2008 12:58:00 UTC | #269647