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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 02:46 GMT
Charity donation row: Your views
David Soul as Jerry Springer
A cancer charity has refused to accept a donation from Jerry Springer - The Opera following objections from a religious group.

The opera's cast had agreed to waive their wages for a one-off charity special last week but the charity, Maggie's Centres said Christian Voice's contact prompted it to reject the money.

The religious group says it warned the charity that accepting cash from a show full of "filth and blasphemy" would be a public relations disaster and threatened to protest.

This follows earlier controversy when a television version of Jerry Springer - The Opera was shown on BBC Two last month.

Are Christian organisations right to object to Maggie's Centres accepting a donation from Jerry Springer - The Opera? Should they intervene in this way?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion received:

This topic was suggested by Jo, UK:
Should a cancer charity turn down money from Jerry Springer - The Opera ?

I would assume staff and management at Maggie's Centre have a right to make a decision and they've made it, so why the fuss? If people are so upset and angry about this decision, why don't they put their money where their mouth is, and donate at least 5 - this way the centre will receive more than the refused sum of 3000. Stop moaning and do something yourself!

Millions of people donate money to charity. Among them no doubt are sinners of all sorts. Wife beaters, adulterers, liars, paedophiles. Are we going to start running background checks on donors now to make sure all the money's coming from good and Godly sources? And should PR really play a role in the battle to support cancer victims? Of course not.
Carolyn P, Philly, USA

I think the whole thing is outrageous. We should be encouraging people to help worthy causes. Christian Voice may have an issue with the musical - which it is not forced to watch - but that does not mean it can act God-like and dictate what charities do. Charities need all the help they can get.
Moni, Bucks

This is a PR disaster for Christian Voice. I believe many of us who were not originally aware of this group now put them in the same bracket as other religious groups around the world who use violence and blackmail to get their way. There is no place for this kind of behaviour in Christianity, nor in a civilised country such as ours. I feel sorry for Maggie's Centres being embroiled in this dispute and hope a more qualified representative from the Christian Church intervenes so the charity can benefit from this generous offer.
Roger Cope, Burton on Trent, England

the calibre of an organisation is determined by it's organisational and individual donors.
J., Edinburgh, Scotland
It is a harsh fact, but a fact nonetheless: charities have no right to donations, so alienating a section of their donor base is madness. The decision of the trustees showed vision. The disclosure of the source of the donation is no different to cases such as Bernie Ecclestone's Labour party donation - the calibre of an organisation is determined by it's organisational and individual donors. I would have wanted nothing to do with an organisation that shows contempt for my faith.
J., Edinburgh, Scotland

Religious organisations do not have the monopoly on moral behaviour, as this debacle proves. In fact, being able to pick and choose solutions to moral dilemmas so easily from a proscribed text makes it much easier to make colossal moral errors like this. I wrote to Christian Voice when I read this story. This has been a PR disaster for them, and hopefully they will now be viewed by the public as the extremists I believe them to be. They are in an unpleasantly vocal minority.
Daniel Owens, Manchester, UK

I'm disgusted by the actions of Christian Voice. This is a small but significant contribution to the sort of religious righteousness that is the cause of death and suffering all over the world. Christian Voice should not place higher priority on the fact that they are offended by a piece of entertainment than on the lives of people who could be helped by this charitable donation.
D Kinsella, Cheshire

I was prompted by this controversy to look at the Christian Voice website. Frankly I was horrified by what I read - I am left feeling there is nothing Christian about them at all. Whose 'Voice' are they claiming to speak?
Yvonne, West London

The reality of work by Churches goes unreported and attention seeking jumped up "spokespeople" are given attention
Rev Nick Wills, St Andrew's Church, Kettering, UK
I find this so frustrating. The reality of day to day faithful work by Churches of different denominations goes unreported and attention seeking jumped up "spokespeople" are given attention by a media whose stereotypes they fit. Our average unglamorous church (one of fifteen in an average unglamorous town) gave more to Charity last year than this donation. Report that! And all those using this as an excuse to bash Christians, find out the facts of local average Church life- not the sensational tabloid personality driven nonsense.
Rev Nick Wills, St Andrew's Church, Kettering, UK

Christian Voice is demonstrating a complete intolerance to all others not sharing there faith. I think it's safe to say CANCER is a lot more worrying to the public than bad language and blasphemy, but the main thing I think we need to see is at least a 3000 donation from Christian Voice.
Ben Gregory, Rugby

Ethics? Money culled from investments in all sorts of unchristian activities is donated to charity all the time. We should ensure that Christian Voice leaders never receive medical treatment on the NHS. I don't want my taxes spent on these evil people, and they won't want help when they don't know where the money's come from.
Steve B, Edinburgh

Charities should have moral standards, and not just accept money from any source.
Paul Rowlands, United Kingdom

I was amazed to read this story. This group, who deem themselves Christians, are denying a charity the chance to receive some much needed money....who do they think they are? Okay, so some people don't like Jerry Springer - The Opera....that's fine, it's their prerogative, but the bottom line is that they are letting their single-minded self-righteous views impact on people who really need help. The cast of The Opera had kindly given up their own money, and Christian Voice has virtually persecuted them for it. Not only does it make them seem very petty and very stupid, it also paints them in a worse light than anyone involved with The Opera.
Ally, Hertfordshire, England

As a Christian I am deeply offended by Christian Voice. Who do Christian Voice think they are to dictate to a charity who they should accept donations from?! - and then threaten them with intimidating tactics - very Christian of them! Christian Voice is not the moral police and we do not live in a 'Big Brother' state - yet! The cast displayed a very Christian gesture - particularly considering how low some stage wages are even today. Before Christian Voice make further comment they should remember that Christianity comes in many forms. As my priest once said to me 'you don't have to go to church to commune with God'.
Kate, Surrey, UK

I have seen members of my family go through the emotional and physical trauma of cancer treatment. I have also suffered from cancer myself. I am absolutely sickened that a so-called 'Christian' group would even think to prevent a donation to an organisation which provides a life-line for other people like me. People have the choice whether to go and see the stage show, just as they had the choice whether to watch it on TV. Unfortunately people do not have the choice whether to suffer from cancer or not. To take away funding from people in desperate need is about as unchristian as you can get, and I think it illustrates just how far these fundamentalist groups have strayed from the real meaning of Christianity.
Nicola, Essex

These protesters are too busy shouting "Blasphemy!" to actually help anybody else
Chris Johnys, Welwyn, Herts, UK
I am absolutely astounded that Christian Voice feel they are doing Jesus' work by preventing money from reaching a cancer charity. Do they think that it is a Christian act to prevent those in need from receiving much-needed funds? Have they offered to make up the amount of the donation themselves? No... These protesters are too busy shouting "Blasphemy!" to actually help anybody else or act like Christ in any way. Is this the example they want to set to the world?
Chris Johnys, Welwyn, Herts, UK

It would be nice if the religious 'fundamentalists' and 'fanatics' of this world would all shut up or put up. Christian Voice obviously have their own agenda, and I hope that the British people will stoutly resist any interference from such groups in what is a matter for the whole nation.
D. Fear, Heidelberg, Germany

Sad little zealots.
Tam, borders

Uhh..does the phrase "What would Jesus do?" come to mind? Love the Sinner, loathe the sin.
D. Erickson, San Antonio, Texas

I fear the mob handed threats of 'Christian Voice' are just the thin end of the wedge if the government passes legislation to protect religions making their prejudices untouchable
Kevin Gardner, Birmingham UK

My wife is currently suffering from cancer, but as a devout Christian I'd rather the money used for research to help her was clean rather than from this despicable garbage!
Matt, Texas, USA

I am puzzled by the morality of 'Christian Voice'. Are they saying that their beliefs are more important that human compassion? Where do they get these bizarre beliefs from? As an atheist this sort of thing confirms my view that religious belief is harmful and wrong. Furthermore I understand that Jerry Springer - The Opera has a strong moral message - nothing less than the reconciliation of good and evil. Surely waging campaigns against human compassion is the ultimate blasphemy.
Tim Edwards, Cardiff

Preventing people from saving lives is disgusting, what have Christian Voice done recently to help cancer patients?
James, Bristol UK

This is the most shameful and un-Christian behaviour we have seen in a long time. Have Christian Voice ever actually read the Bible? Jesus mixed with tax collectors and prostitutes and taught love, forgiveness and compassion, all qualities that seem to be very sadly lacking in Christian Voice. It is attitudes like this that have led to the decline in Christianity in the United Kingdom. How out of touch can they possibly be?
Rich, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Christian Voice did not "dictate" to anyone. It offered advice, and Maggie's Centres accepted and acted on it.
J Chap, Southampton, UK

It is absolutely absurd that this minor squabble has obstructed a charitable donation - and the protesters need to realise that promoting their views of the product is in essence promoting the product itself. I was oblivious to the opera's existence until the row began a few months back, which led me to watch the opera itself, and be thoroughly entertained.
Anthony, Manchester

Ethics play a part in their income
Julian Skidmore, Manchester, UK
Many people are arguing that a cancer charity should have no ethics with regard to who they accept money from. Really? What if the money came from the BNP? Or if the money came from tobacco companies? Since a charity is based on ethical concerns - ethics play a part in their income.
Julian Skidmore, Manchester, UK

The treatment and cure of cancer should come first.
Alfie Noakes, North of England, UK

"Jerry Springer - The Opera" is highly offensive to many people. Just because it's all for charity doesn't mean that something that is wrong suddenly becomes right. The opera's cast are willing to waive their wages for Maggie's Centres. If so, they could put on a special charity performance of something inoffensive and give the money from that to charity.
Graham, Southampton

I think this decision has caused more of a 'public relations disaster' than just accepting the cash. Now not only do they look like idiots, but they have yet again promoted the very thing they are against. Christian Voice do not speak for me!
Matt, Derby

To object to help save lives is downright un-Christian.
Roy Porter, Woodford Green Essex

As a Christian I'm fed up with these foaming at the mouth fundamentalists, why don't they become known for feeding the homeless or caring for the poor instead of harassing charities. Will Christian Voice now do the ethical thing and donate 3000 to Maggie's Centres?
Kevin Moore, Coventry, UK

Why should everybody start getting precious about their beliefs or non-beliefs? The cast of the show has the right to make the donation. The religious group has the right to voice its protest. The charity should note the protest, have the resolve to rise above it and accept the donation. End result - everybody's had their say, end of subject.
Paul B, Oxford, UK

Has Christian Voice forgotten the story of the Good Samaritan?
Phil, Herts, UK
Has Christian Voice forgotten the story of the Good Samaritan? He was not a Christian and yet is one of the most preached fables of the bible. Stopping giving to charity, whatever its background is despicable. Surely they should encourage turning what they see as 'bad money' into good.
Phil, Herts, UK

This is another case of religious fanatics putting their beliefs before the lives of others. Shame on them all.
Neil, Darlington, England

Not content with trying to brow beat the BBC into censorship it now appears that Christian Voice has now resorted to blackmailing a Cancer Charity in a vain attempt to impose its narrow view on the rest of us. How very "moral" and "Christian". So much for love and forgiveness.
Jason Mead, Bristol

Unbelievable! Since when does cancer respect religious beliefs anyway? The idea of this group protesting outside the charity's offices had they accepted the money is sickening. Christian Voice should be ashamed.
Rebecca, UK

Who made the decision not to accept the 'tainted' money? If it was decided by the beneficiaries and/or staff of the charity I can fully agree that they should stand by the decision, an over zealous board of directors - I think not.
Mark, London, UK

These people are hardly being very "Christian" are they? The only obscene thing about this is their behaviour.
Andrew Malden, Milton Keynes

The charity needs money so surely it doesn't matter who it is from
Laura, Cheshire, UK
I think this is ridiculous!! The charity needs money so surely it doesn't matter who it is from!! I think it is pathetic to reject money!!
Laura, Cheshire, UK

I am utterly disgusted that the interference by Christian Voice has led to Maggie's Centres declining a possible 3000 donation from ticket sales from the performance of the Jerry Springer Opera. Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, should be ashamed of his apparent glee when stating he was "pleased" to play a part in the actions that led the donation to be declined.
James Thresher, London, UK

Are Christian Voice willing to match the amount the actors were going to contribute? If not they should be told to mind their own business. The charity will lose the money and a religious group gets free media coverage.
Steven Harbron, Southend, UK

These groups can't be properly Christian. No real Christian like that would either issue such threats against a charity or make them refuse donations. What has happened is just disgusting.
James Hadfield, Mansfield, UK

I am appalled that a cancer charity should lose much-needed funds because of an objection from a religious group. What right does this group have to dictate who should donate money? Would they also presume to insist that non-believers do not benefit from the charity's help? What arrogance - and shame on the charity for being swayed by this sort of bigotry.
Linda, UK

Row over Springer opera donation
23 Feb 05 |  Entertainment

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