Friday, 14 November 2008

Waterstones vs Christian Voice

To whomever it may concern,

I am writing to voice my disgust at your company's inability to stand up against Christian Voice. There is no concievable reason to cancel a simple poetry reading, even if a small group of right wing Christian lobyists do complain. Do you plan to react like this to every single lobyist group that pipes up? If not, why now, for this particular group?

It is obvious that this was religiously motivated; the poet wrote about religion and sex in ways that this particular group disliked. So, a few emails were sent - in this day and age, this is nothing new. Arm-chair lobyists now have desk-chairs instead. This does not make the cancellation appropriate.

Will you cancel a poetry reading, featuring the hollocaust, if the hollocaust deniers write in to complain? Will you cancel a poetry reading by a black poet, if racists write in to complain? How about if a female poet takes the stand and you receive complaints from Muslims?

Christian Voice has already caused too much havoc for you to bow down to them over such a small, yet important thing. Freedom of speech should not be regulated by the religious, it should not be regulated by anyone. This poet was causing no problems - so what if his words offended a few? Art in all it's forms is there to create debate. Cancelling this reading stifled any such thing.

And to blame the cancellation on a fear of 'disruption'? That simply lends fuel to their fire. Let them turn up, let them protest. In the long run, they are more likely to be arrested than to cause any actual harm. And on the upside - plenty of free advertising for your store. Instead, you have simply handed them a 'victory' on a platter.

I am afraid to say that this reaction has ensured that I will not be purchasing from your stores again. Your company's actions have severely disappointed me, and until I see something towards a proper appology and perhaps another poetry reading evening, where Patrick Jones is actually able to read his work, I will not be returning.


Hannah King

In response to this article: Writer shocked as Christian group forces cancellation of poetry event

Read the poems that so offended Christian Voice here: Patrick Jones


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Nice letter, lets hope that waterstones gets more than a few hundred like this.

Hannah King said...

Fingers crossed and all that.