Monday, August 28, 2006

Crown Office: Celtic goalkeeper cautioned for inciting crowd - not blessing himself

The Scottish Crown Office has clarified why the Celtic Goalkeeper was cautioned (see my earlier posting). In the words of the BBC, the Crown Office have confirmed that:

Boruc was cautioned for inciting an Old Firm crowd rather than for blessing himself... (and they said) the "very limited" action had been taken against the player for gesticulating at the Rangers support. He had also blessed himself in the incident during the Ibrox match. But the Crown Office stressed it would not take action against individuals for "acts of religious observance". "We would equally make clear that the police and prosecutors cannot ignore conduct which appears to be inciting disorder"

I am delighted that this has been clarified. The Observer report yesterday ("Storm as goalkeeper pays Sign of the Cross penalty") and Iain Dale's posting on it were extremely misleading.

Iain Dale, in particular, was at his most hyper-ventilatory on this matter. He used the posting title: "Fined for being a Christian". Breathe slowly into a paperbag ten times and you'll be fine, Iain.


  1. I'd be interested in your angle on something.

    There is a narrative, in some quarters, that Christianity is under a state of persecution at the moment. Stories like this are quoted, usually wrongly. Or if a council decides to spend less on christmas lights one year...

    But from where I sit, Christianity is not persecuted, but privileged. It is more or less compulsory in my childrens' schools, for example. All other beliefs are (slightly) persecuted by this arrangement.

    So who's right? Can both be true at once?

  2. Thank you for asking that interesting question, Joe.

    Generally I am uncomfortable with the Church of England being established. I would rather see the Church of England stand on its own two feet. I was uncomfortable when blasphemy against Jesus was a crime but blasphemy against other religious figures was not(I think that has been corrected or partially corrected now?) It should be a crime to blaspheme none or all religious figures.

    So I agree with the thrust of your question. Christians are very fortunate in this country (unlike in some others). The Christian message is so strong and simple (i.e. the message of Jesus' words from the Gospels) that any clearing away of "clutter" to reveal that simple truth and light (sorry - this is sounding like a sermon!) is welcome. The faith, which is from God, is simple. The religion, which is man-made, is hugely complicated, sometimes mucky and controversial.

    I quite understand why this goalkeeper was prosecuted and as you suggested he should have been criticised for dragging a faith gesture into a mucky game of tit-for-tat with the crowd (it took the police ten minutes to restore order after he had done it apparently).

    The Chistmas lights thing is interesting. I am a fan of all things Christmassy but Christmas lights per se, or tinsel or cards or trees, are absolutely nothing to do with the Christmas message. So I wouldn't get too wound up about them myself. The whole Christmas commercial/TV/presents thing veers towards the Pagan winter festival (eat drink and store up fat for the cold period) rather than re-living the simple message of Christ's birth.

    As for schools, a lot of this depends on particular schools. I have learnt more about other faiths from my nine year old daughter than from anywhere else. That is because her RE lessons cover finding out about all faiths and traditions. I am delighted by this.

    I respect other faiths greatly. I also respect atheists and agnostics. I am concerned when people use churches for weddings etc without thoughts as to their own beliefs (or lack of them). I prefer it when couples give thought to the matter and decide that they are without faith and therefore would like a registry office/hotel non-faith ceremony.

  3. I have calmed down now. Breathing much more sllllooowwwlllyyyy

  4. I am delighted to hear it, Iain!