John Walker's Electronic House

The Daily Mail And Stephen Green: A Torrid Romance

by on Jan.29, 2011, under The Rest

Today the Daily Mail has a sad story in which the ex-wife of Christian Voice front man, Stephen Green, explains how he mentally and physically abused his family for many years.

Stephen Green came to fame when the BBC announced they would air Stewart Lee’s Jerry Springer: The Opera. Considered by Green to be blasphemous (and by Christians who can think to be satirical), he vociferously campaigned against the broadcast, and then against the stage show itself, and succeeded in bankrupting the previously successful production. But his real victory was a strong media presence, his name being put at the top of most media outlets’ contact books for matters of Christian controversy. Despite it being abundantly clear that he was an extremist, and despite his organisation repeatedly having been demonstrated to be pretty much just Stephen Green in a mobile home, everyone from the BBC to the tabloid press would seek a quote from him if they wanted to spin a story as conflicting with an imagined version of Christian values. He was guaranteed to deliver, saying something printably outrageous. His ludicrous views would be countered by those affected by the story, and in the publication’s mind some manner of editorial balance had been achieved.

But most interesting is the Mail’s relationship with the man. Their latest story describes Green as a “monster”, a “fundamentalist.” The article goes on to note,

“Stephen was immersed in Christian Voice, which allowed him the autonomy and freedom to express his increasingly bizarre views unchallenged. As its founder and director, he was answerable to no one.”

And just who was it who was letting Green’s views go unchallenged?

Well, take for example this article about student stunt marriages that appeared in a newspaper just fifteen days ago:

“The students’ wedding was condemned by Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, an organisation that represents Christians.”

The story then goes on to quote Green at length, without editorial comment. And which paper is it who let this extremist monster go unchallenged? That would be the Daily Mail.

Two weeks ago he was a man who “represents Christians”. The same paper that today explains that his views were already becoming extreme and unrepresentative in 1992. But their relationship goes back much further.

On the 31st December 2010, the same paper sought council from Mr Green regarding a berserk take on a government site that helps divorcing couples make it easier to manage their finances.

“‘If you draw up a list of things that are important when weighing up whether or not to get divorced, you wouldn’t start with the financial consequences – you would start with your children.’ Stephen Green, of the pressure group Christian Voice, said: ‘I am worried that schemes like this reinforce the idea that divorce is just a natural progression from marriage.”

Says the divorced father of four, who is alleged to have beaten his children with brooms.

“It suggests that divorce is socially acceptable and that’s worrying because financial calculations don’t take into account the emotional cost to children and parents.”

Roll back to the 11th December, and a brilliant daft headline claims that “Stores airbrush Christ out of Christmas cards“. Stores, doing no such thing, instead don’t stock enough Christian-themed cards to sate the Mail’s fevered love of pictures of the baby Jesus. So to whom do they turn for a balanced comment on the matter? Surely not a man who has been known to be an extremist, fundamentalist for at least eighteen years?

“Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, said: ‘The situation is caused by managers subscribing to political correctness and the idea that in some way Christian cards are offensive to other religions. This is simply not true.’”

On the 26th November 2010 a rather inspired primary school had the idea to stage a wedding between two of their pupils, as part of an English comprehension exercise. This disgusted the Daily Mail, who – with impressive imagination – managed to make it a sexual matter. The story, quite brilliantly, maintains throughout that the children were officially married, which is a bold angle. So thank goodness there was someone on hand to go completely unchallenged with his views on the emotional instability of others.

“Religious groups have also expressed their fury at the idea. Stephen Green, from Christian Voice, said: ‘It seems like a really peculiar idea. There is this question about how the idea of being “married” plays in a five and six-year-old’s mind. Marriage is for grown ups and this is a worrying idea to have this wedding for kids in these days when we seem to have the increasing sexualisation of our children. I’m not sure why a teacher is encouraging children to handle these kind of emotions. You have to start thinking what is going on in that teacher’s mind? This is going far beyond teaching children to read and write. There is some sub-text here, and I would question the emotional state of the teachers concerned.’”

On the 13th of the same month, the delightful Quentin Letts was horrified that Bill Bailey had pointed out that the Pope has done little to address the widespread abuse of children in the Catholic church. Fortunately he could turn to a man whose ex-wife claims is experienced in abusing children for a witty comment.

“Stephen Green of the pressure group Christian Voice said yesterday: ‘I feel an act of Christian witness at Wyndhams coming on. Any excuse for evangelical outreach!’”

Back on the 20th August 2010, a story headlined, Gay vicar, 65, to ‘marry’ Nigerian male model half his age (ignoring the bit where he’s no longer a vicar, but hey-ho), detailed how the former vicar plans to marry his partner, 25 year old Nigerian, Bobby. For such a story, who better for the Mail to approach for a comment than a man who has also disobeyed the strict rules of his fundamentalist religion by divorcing and remarrying, indeed to an African 25 years his junior!

“However, the service will not be a blessing, which is forbidden by the Anglican hierarchy for homosexual couples. But Stephen Green, director of campaign group Christian Voice, yesterday described Mr Coward’s marriage ‘an abomination before God’. Mr Green added: ‘Mr Coward is just an emotionally disturbed man trying to inflict his predilections on the rest of the Church. I fail to recognise him as a Christian because he doesn’t keep the commandments of Lord Jesus.’”

He appears again on the 23rd June, to point out how atheists should all be forced to pray and go to church.

“But Christian Voice director Stephen Green said he was appalled to hear of the ban. He added: ‘This is just another example of Christian traditions and values being eroded.’”

In August 2009 the Mail needed expert comment on a scientific matter, regarding “The monkeys that prove babies can be born to THREE parents… and may be the key to halting genetic illness“. Well, you’d want a man who ran a company putting roofs on houses then.

“Stephen Green, director of pressure group Christian Voice, said he had concerns that scientists were going ‘too far, too fast’ and ‘playing God’… When the child finds out they have two mummies, how will they feel?

Oh, and by the way, January 2009 saw the Mail utterly outraged that the Advertising Standards Agency had prevented a Christian advert from presenting complete lies about the cervical cancer vaccine. The completely unscientific claims from a Christian organisation suggested that the HPV vaccine caused infertility. But not directly! Because teenagers were receiving this measure to prevent one of the most deadly, and yet most easily prevented forms of cancer, they’d rush off to have lots of sex and thus contract STIs that then lead to infertility.

“It is simple common sense to realise that with the HPV vaccine, girls will think they are covered against everything, especially if they are on the pill as well, so promiscuity will rise and there will be even more gonorrhoea and chlamydia cases and even more infertility.”

So which Christian organisation was it the Mail allowed to dominate the story, without seeking any expert opinion to balance or challenge the detailed views? Why, it was Christian Voice!

That’s just the last two years. The paper has been seeking comment from Green on every matter they can think of ever since his prominence in 2005. But today it’s all entirely forgotten.

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37 Comments for this entry

  • James G

    So, who want to start the sweepstake predicting when the Mail will next call upon Stephen Green for a statement. I’m taking next Tuesday.

  • Alex Bakke

    I’d wager that he claims it’s an attack on Christianity.

  • Daniel Rivas

    I wonder— does this leave a space for resident horrendous rent-a-gob? Does that pay well? I’m sure I’ve got a King James somewhere around here.

  • Dan Ellis

    Bear shits in wood, dailymail is run by hypocrites.

    Despite my sarcasm this is a brilliant article and it is vitally important that we continue to attempt to hold the dailymail to account for its sickeningly bad journalism.

    Ps I give it till Thursday till they return to him for a ‘comment’

  • Sandra

    So the spokesperson they’ve been using for the ‘Christian Voice’ seems to be an extremist not living up to his own professed beliefs? Well done Daily Mail for running with the story that shot him down in flames. Isn’t that ‘balanced’? I doubt they’ll go back to him again for more sound-bites.
    Putting aside Stephen Green’s offensive and disturbing behaviour as revealed in yesterday’s article, I have to say I did agree with most of his comments quoted here, aside from the HPV one which did seem to go a tad too far with his lateral thinking.

  • Paul

    Nice article. I knew he was a common source for the media, but I wasn’t aware how much the Mail relied on his… expert… opinions.

    I’m an atheist myself, but even I’m offended that the Mail portray this man – an extremist, abusive bigot who supports Uganda’s execution of homosexuals – as representative of the normal British Christian.

  • Jambe

    Sounds like a lovely paper.

    It seems like Green should have been pursued by proper authorities rather than lauded as a herald of Christianity. But then Christianity is and always has been what you make of it, hasn’t it?

    … couldn’t resist.

  • Daniel Rivas

    “I did agree with most of his comments quoted here, aside from the HPV one which did seem to go a tad too far with his lateral thinking.”

    What? Really? Evil gays, scientists, divorce; children shouldn’t play at getting married because it makes Jesus cry. That sort of thing?

  • Dozer

    You’d probably like the Daily Mail Song then.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI

  • Sandra

    For Daniel:
    “What? Really? Evil gays, scientists, divorce; children shouldn’t play at getting married because it makes Jesus cry. That sort of thing?”

    Missed another out I disagreed with- the forcing people to go to church and pray… pointless- you can’t make people believe in something/someone they don’t.

    I agree with his other comments (listed by John Walker- I haven’t read each and every article the quotes are taken from) though I wouldn’t use the word ‘abomination’ in reference to homosexuals marrying. But there’s no getting away from the fact the Bible says the act of same sex sex is detestable to God.

    I didn’t see any reference to scientists in John Walker’s article. I agree with what he said about divorce- if you’re worried about the effect on your finances more than the effect on your children- you have your priorities in a twist. I’d agree it’s too easy to divorce these days, and I’d go further- it’s too easy to get married. I think couples who are thinking of getting married should go on some sort of course to see if they’re compatible and are singing, dare I say, from the same hymn sheet… might save a lot of heartache and regret in the long run.

    And yes, I agree with him re the teacher ‘marrying’ two infants. Why do it? It could be very confusing to children that age who are very trusting and might read more into it than the teacher anticipated. I just find the whole idea unnecessary and OTT.

    Again, my point in leaving a comment was to applaud the Mail for running the ex wife’s story, knowing it would bring under question the trust they’d placed in this ‘eccentric’ man who may have started off a genuine Christian with genuine beliefs, but who obviously got carried away and lost touch with reality… in my opinion.

  • mister k

    The Daily Mail is just hilarious in its hypocrisy. The lack of acknowledgment is wonderful. I made the mistake of watching Andrew Marr the other day, who had the bad Hitchens and some columnist from the Mail. The bad hitchens waves a story about the govt spending 100,000 pounds on looking after chinese immigrants in the fishing industry, claiming it was all true. Actually, it was, of course, utterly misleading http://atomicspin.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/my-hovercraft-is-full-of-pc-gone-mad-scares/

  • Xercies

    @Sandra

    Actually the Bible says no such thing about homosexuals.

    Also I wouldn’t say pretend marrying two infants is over the top. Its role playing pure and simple, in fact kids do it without there teachers guiding them to do it. The game mothers and fathers come to mind here, so yeah it I guess was just a form of roleplaying to teach the kids something about marriage.

  • Vagabond

    Not a Christian, so my knowledge of the bible is limited, but Leviticus 20:13 seems pretty unambiguous to me…

    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Leviticus-20-13/
    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

  • Nick Mailer

    It amuses me that Christians will complain that society doesn’t privilege and explain marriage early enough, and then when it does, they complain.

  • Stewart Ware

    Actually the Mail is behaving like any successful newspaper should: build them up and then knock them down. There’s nothing like it for the sales figures.

  • Daniel Rivas

    The bible does make mention of homosexuality, but it also spouts forth a lot of nonsense about sending one’s daughter into slavery and so forth— the usual (but no less effective) line of attack against the homophobic is that modern Christians don’t tend to pay much attention to *those* verses.

  • Xercies

    That bit is in the Old Testament which well has a lot of other things that doesn’t get used in a modern christian society because well a lot of christians would be sinners and would have to stone themselves.

    In the New testament where most christians get there gospel its not mentioned at all and you would have to basically twist a few words to get to that idea. Which i think means people’s prejudices are just being confirmed because they read the bible and in one sentence it says being an effeminate man won’t get you into heaven so it must mean gays so there religion must hate gays. Instead of actually people who reading the bible and suddenly hating gays

  • Colthor

    Needs the “Staring Eyes” tag.

  • Evert

    Sandra, the Bible says a lot of things are detestable in the eyes on God. Cursing ones parents carries the same sentence in Leviticus (death). You cannot have missed that – it is only three verses before Lev 20:13. Leviticus also famously decrees we should not eat pork, wear polycotton or shave. All these are so well known about I would be amazed if any Christian was not aware of them.

    Rather than looking at Leviticus and the old testement – try the new testment. Namely Luke 6:42 “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    Also Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

    and of course John 8:7:
    “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    Personally, as a christian, I would very much like it if people like Stephen Green just admitted they hated homosexuals rather then try to use the Bible to justify themselves.

    Also about the school children, they were children, not infants. Perhaps it is the overly pedantic nature of my work, but imo infants are not children. And in my experience children don’t appreciate being infantilised. I see nothing wrong with the exercise (other than thinking the execution was a bit OTT), the claim that it sexualises children is patently absurd. Also, vague mutterings that children might read too much into it without elaboration is not a cogent arguement.

    Finally, sorry if I come across as a bit snappy. I have a night of cataloguing using a new system ahead of me which has put me in a bit of a mood. :)

  • Vagabond

    @Evert – The thing is, none of the quotes you list give you leave to ignore the law entirely. I can’t go around murdering people because “hey, everyone has at least got a parking ticket once in their life, so who are they to tell me not to do worse”.

    At some point, God considered homosexuals an abomination to be put to death. Did he change his mind at some point? or can I just selectively decide which parts of the bible are valid? In which case why is any of it valid?

    @Xercies – The old testament is clearly important to some Christians. In looking for the Leviticus verse I came across an interpretation by a gay christian group who insist it means that “two gay men who have sex in a woman’s bed should be put to death”. This strikes me as dissembling and self delusion to an incredible level, but the old testament is obviously important enough to them that they can’t just say “old and no longer relevant” and chuck it out.

  • Evert

    Right, my cataloguing has gone better than expected so I so I’m a little less on edge.

    Vagabond, if we look at John 8:7 again (‘Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.’) and go back a few verses to put the whole thing in context:

    The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in the middle they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and in the Law Moses has ordered us to stone women of this kind. What have you got to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for an accusation to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he straightened up and said, ‘Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her.’

    (John 8:3-7)

    Granted, he is not talking about homosexuality, but adultery. However both “sins” carry the same sentence in Leviticus (Lev 20:10). It seems reasonable to me to say that they are equal in the eyes of God.

    You may disagree, but I think that is ample justification.

  • Evert

    I should also add that Matthew 19:8 also suggests that Jesus did not agree with the laws of Moses.

    I should also add, I am not a fundamentalist or literalist; I do not see the Bible as the inerrant word of God.

  • Vagabond

    Fair point, reading the whole of John 8 makes that clearer. That said, the bit in John 8:11, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” sounds like he thinks it is still a sin, he just isn’t going to beat you to death with rocks for it.

  • Evert

    That is certainly a valid reading of it. I like to think that it is a benediction rather than a command. Along the lines of “Bon voyage,” “break a leg” or “have a good flight.”

  • Xercies

    “or can I just selectively decide which parts of the bible are valid?”

    Don’t most Christians do that anyway? From what I can tell.

  • Xercies

    Also as an addendum isn’t the New Testament meant to kind of rewrite a lot of the Old Testaments rules, from what I gather that’s what Christians use it as since well otherwise we would have stoning still and the like. And If so I think that’s just further proof that a lot of these people just have former prejudices and are using the religion to justify it.

  • Mags

    Just like to say that there are 2 sides to every story and I understand that his ex wife, the source of the Daily Mail article has a criminal record in the form of a police caution for assault against Stephen Green therefore i think this is the usual unbelievable rubbish from the mail and a vindictive woman trying to smear a man who stands boldy for what he believes in.

  • D Ford

    Husband and I are supporters of Christian Voice and the Daily Mail article came as a shock.
    There is no smoke with out fire but why did the ex wife wait so long before going public with this account of their marriage? It is not difficult to make a previous marriage partner seem like a monster with a little embelishment / exageration and there is almost ALWAYS fault on both sides.
    We have had a communication fron S.Green and it would appear that he is gracious enough to restrain himself from putting his side. If, as we trust he is genuine in his love for the Lord Jesus then he will have peace about his situation, knowing that genuine repentance brings forgiveness and healing from Jesus.
    The Mail article is full of bitterness, ultimately, if not dealt with, this will only serve to destroy the author.

  • Ben

    Sandra – As Evert has pointed out, God also considers eating pork and shellfish, wearing clothes made of more than one material, and idolatry to be abominations. Yet most Christians do all these things.

    Also the wedding thing? Are you serious? Do you also think that children who play cops and robbers, or cowboys and indans, believe that they actually are cops, robbers, cowboys or indians?

  • John Walker

    Mags and D Ford’s comments demonstrate something extremely frightening about the cultish nature of fundamentalism.

    I agree that there is room for caution in this story, although not because we’ve “only heard one side of the story.” A robbed bank doesn’t often get told it will be ignored until we’ve heard the robbers’ side of the story. But caution should be exercised because this is in the Daily Mail, which frequently entirely makes up interviews and credits them to real-world people who never said any such thing. The most recently famous example being this one: http://nosleeptilbrooklands.blogspot.com/2011/01/true-story-of-daily-mail-lies-guest.html

    However, when faced with a description of trauma and abuse, it takes a severely broken mind to make the leap from, “We don’t know both sides” to “She’s probably in the wrong.” In fact, it’s disgusting.

    Most frightening to me is this comment from D Ford:

    “it would appear that he is gracious enough to restrain himself from putting his side.”

    What does this even mean? Were it not true, he’d clearly defend himself. He’s not exactly a man afraid to give his opinion. But in not defending himself, he’s proving himself gracious? He’s restraining himself? Utterly deluded, dangerous, and downright disgraceful madness.

    And to ask why the wife “took so long” is such a grotesque and spiteful thing to say. As if she’s been biding her time, waiting for… what exactly? I strongly suggest that anyone of such an opinion spend some time volunteering with victims of spousal abuse, and then see if you can still say such wretched things.

    But then, someone willing to support an organisation that makes claims such as “there’s no such thing as marital rape,” probably doesn’t bring any surprises with such a reaction.

  • Evert

    Mags:
    “[Caroline Green] has a criminal record in the form of a police caution for assault against Stephen Green “
    Mags, do you have any proof that Caroline Green has a caution for assault? I’ve done a quick google search and found nothing. Given his profile, it is curious that such a detail would not be somewhere. Needless to say that if she is correct (and for a variety of reasons I do believe her), I would say there are mitigating factors.
    Also, as John points out, it is a stretch to go from that factoid to dismissing her whole account out of hand.
    (Also a minor nitpick, as far as I am aware, a police caution is not on a person’s criminal record)

    D Ford:
    “[W]hy did the ex wife wait so long before going public with this account of their marriage?”
    Do you also wonder this when adults formally come out and accuse their childhood abusers? It is well noted that people who are abused are frequently reluctant to publically admit they have been abused. And talking to the Daily Mail is a whole ‘nother level beyond that. It is not that surprising.
    “ It is not difficult to make a previous marriage partner seem like a monster with a little embelishment / exageration and there is almost ALWAYS fault on both sides.”
    This is part of the reason why people can take a long time to come out about abuse. It is attitudes like that that play into what is known as “rape culture.” This idea that victims are somehow to blame for their abuse is abhorrent and disgusting, made even worse by the fact that it is painfully obvious how wrong it is.
    “We have had a communication fron S.Green and it would appear that he is gracious enough to restrain himself from putting his side.”
    Absolute rot. He is worried enough that he is not fanning the flames and hoping it dies down.*

    *with that in mind, and considering the long relationship the Mail has with Stephen Green that has been detailed in this post – anyone fancy a sweepstake on the next time he is quoted approvingly by them in an article about homosexuality, et al?

  • Evert

    “this post” being John’s excellent blog post obv

    :)

  • Daniel Rivas

    “Just like to say that there are 2 sides to every story and I understand that his ex wife, the source of the Daily Mail article has a criminal record in the form of a police caution for assault against Stephen Green”

    Ah, the “Assange defence”. Does she work for the CIA, too?

  • Mags

    John Walker – Just like to say that your “However, when faced with a description of trauma and abuse, it takes a severely broken mind to make the leap from,” is intolerant. You know nothing of me or what my mind is like, in fact I came through a marriage where i was abused in the way that this woman says she was. Unlike her I never talk about it publicly as after 30 years it is too painful. Which is why I can’t understand how she could go into such detail about her “abusive” marriage in public with a newspaper. i have told my story but only in relation to helping others in that situation and not in a vengeful way. My ex husband was not a christian.

  • John Walker

    Mags – by your stated logic, now that you’ve said this in public, I should be suspicious of your claims too, and make grotesque suggestions like it was probably your fault that your partner abused you. In this context, do you see how awful your attitude toward this woman is? Simply because you don’t want to accept that a man you admired may in fact be a truly terrible person, you’re willing to assume the worst in someone for whom you should be best positioned to sympathise.

    Even in this reply you throw quotation marks around “abusive”, implying that you don’t believe her. Have you experienced that? People who just assumed you were lying when you reported your abuse? If not, can you imagine how hideous it must be? My goodness, your behaviour in these comments demonstrates not a molecule of love.

  • me

    …And we believe that everything Stephen Green’s wife says in the newspaper because….? I guess it’s so much more comforting to believe that a Christian can go off the rails…or make mistakes. We atheists can feel so much better about ourselves!!! I’d like to hear the man’s comments before I pre-judge. All seems pretty one-sided, black and white – life generally isn’t so clear cut.
    Btw Xercies it mentions homosexuality and lesbianism in Romans 1, which is in the New Testament…

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