Friday, 23 October 2009


The couple at the centre of the storm

Hotel owners Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were charged with a criminal offense under public order legislation in the UK this week. Their crime was to enter into a religious discussion with a Muslim guest at the hotel who reported to the police that she had been ‘offended’ by remarks made to her concerning Muhammad the founding ‘prophet’ of Islam. The couple, both committed Christians who run the Bounty House Hotel near Aintree racecourse are due to appear in court in early December and could face a fine of up to £8,000 as well as a criminal record if found guilty. No reasonable person could stand by belittling or insulting anyone because of their religious affiliation, but sharing the Gospel to somebody of another faith is a different matter entirely. The Gospel faithfully preached always gives offence if rightly understood ,as it cuts across not only ‘religion’ and cultural norms but it even topples the worldly ego and every conceit of the human heart. In recent times Muslim sensibilities were offended by the publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad in an unflattering light which resulted in worldwide protests of an often violent nature resulting in several deaths. We also remember back in 1969 the ‘fatah’ issued against Salman Rushdie over his book ‘The Satanic Verses’ which questioned the reliability of the Koran and the character of the ‘Prophet’

Christianity has long been fair game for satirists and critics from the hugely popular Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ to the recent Dan Brown anti-Christian tirade ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Despite these and countless other provocations no one to my knowledge has been harmed or threatened by Christians, certainly there have been rebuttals and heated debates but no mob rule reactions or acts of violence. I suppose living in a Western democracy we have become accustomed to freedom of speech and the entitlement to individual expression. How ironic then that these freedoms borne out of our Judeo-Christian heritage should now be used to stifle the free sharing of the Gospel. The case of the Liverpool couple is an important landmark for all lovers of freedom and religious liberty and we should support these two believers whose only crime was to share the message of Jesus with a lady from the Muslim faith.
Gerard O'Shea


Tony said...

I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

So it seems that these four rabbis had a series of theological
arguments, and three were always in accord against the fourth.
One day, the odd rabbi out, after the usual "3 to 1, majority
rules" statement that signified that he had lost again, decided
to appeal to a higher authority.

"Oh, God!" he cried. "I know in my heart that I am right and
they are wrong! Please give me a sign to prove it to them!"

It was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as the rabbi finished his
prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It
rumbled once and dissolved. "A sign from God! See, I'm right, I
knew it!" But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm
clouds form on hot days.

So the rabbi prayed again: "Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to
show that I am right and they are wrong. So please, God, a
bigger sign!" This time four storm clouds appeared, rushed
toward each other to form one big cloud, and a bolt of lightning
slammed into a tree on a nearby hill.

"I told you I was right!" cried the rabbi, but his friends insisted
that nothing had happened that could not be explained by
natural causes.

The rabbi was getting ready to ask for a *very big* sign, but just
as he said, "Oh God...," the sky turned pitch black, the earth
shook, and a deep, booming voice intoned, "HEEEEEEEE'S

The rabbi put his hands on his hips, turned to the other three,
and said, "Well?"

"So," shrugged one of the other rabbis, "now it's 3 to 2."

Rachel said...

This is a bridge too far as far as I'm concerned. As far as I know there is zero liberty in many Muslim states to gather for worship as a Christian, never mind to witness.And still we respect the faiths of those who come to live in our land and allow them freedom to express that faith as they wish. I agree with freedom of religious practise for all, as long as it includes the right of a Christian to share his or her faith.

Sam said...

Why are you so suprised?

Tim said...

Get used to it James. When a Christian church can’t put up posters to advertise an event because the library isn’t allowed to promote anything to do with religion but, on the other hand, it can provide information and leaflets on Islam and local mosques we know we’re going downhill and very fast.

Anonymous said...

“Turn the other cheek,” seems an appropriate response. Make light of it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead of showing this women the love of God, and "treating others as you would like them to treat you" they really did offend this women. It happens all to often by people who claim to be His followers. Bring on the those who "do" rather than those who "do" little but use Jesus ang God as a cover for arm chair self rightousness.

Bogisha said...

These people did what christians commonly do, insult our Prophet insult our way of life including the way we choose to dress. We are citizens of our country, yet as a minority we are ridiculed and despised because we are different. I am glad the law of our country defends us, long may it be so

Dew of Hermon said...

Hi Bogisha,
I appreciate your feedback to this story as a Muslim and I understand that there are those who treat members of your religion with prejudice and bigotry. As a Christian I would condemn discrimination against a member of any religion but I would equally reserve the right to openly debate the nature of any religious faith as I would expect mine also to be subjected to similar scrutiny. I would have a difference of opinion with you as to how I regard your prophet Mohammed as you probably would differ with my understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. But because we disagree does not make you my enemy, just different and the joy of a democracy is that we can live and work together and if we’ve a mind to, may try and convince the other of the merits of our ‘faith’. In the case of the hoteliers from Liverpool I think they were doing nothing more than sharing their ‘faith’ with a lady from your ‘faith’, and if this was the extent of their conversation I cannot see any problem. Thanks again for your comment and I hop you will continue to visit ‘the Dew’ and share your insights,

Bogisha said...

To openly debate is one thing, to pick on a women on her own is another thing.

Dew of Hermon said...

I dont know if the lady in question was being picked on ! This is what Christians do (as Muslims do, I presume) they share their faith.

Bogisha said...

You just dont get it, do you? Tunnel vision, you see it from one side only, this is what causes division. This lady felt picked on enough to go to the Police. You "christians" say one thing and do the other. Your prophet claimed this many times. I think he said it is what you do and how you treat other people that matters most.

Dew of Hermon said...

We are encouraged in Sripture to live peacably with all men in as much as it depends on us. However many would find the Gospel message of the Lord Jesus offensive as He exclusively claims to be the way to God (John's gospel, chapter 14, verse 6). While I respect anyone elses right to disagree, I also reserve the right to be free to share the good news of this gospel with whoever I please.This is the truth as presented in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Its a simple matter of being free to speak, free to listen and free to decide for oneself. I cant make my position any clearer than that,Bogisha.

Bogisha said...

These people were not sharing any faith they were attacking anothers faith, belief and customs. If this is the way they choose to share their faith shame on them. You choose the same attitude, you knowing very little about what happened support these people. How strange, and it is why now there is a law to protect people from people like you. Leila Sa'eeda

Anonymous said...

"Its all over now baby blue"