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Paul Coletti | 17:48 UK time, Friday, 3 November 2006

We're off air now but tonight we discussed US pastor Ted Haggard's troubles, the increasing number of people in Naples electing to sleep with the fish and our special on North Korea.

Father Ted’s troubles.

Brenda, an evangelical lesbian here in the UK: “It’s for the good of the church whether its true or not. He’s cleared the decks. If this is true, and it’s a big if, then the views he has do not allow for the actions he took.”

Wayne: “It’s about hypocrisy. It’s about them presenting a way of life which is just not true. Gays are told they’ll go to hell and now we see the condemners are gay themselves. It’s time they started looking in the mirror . . .”

Ros has pressed Wayne on whether we should withhold judgement until we have all the facts; “Either he’s straight or he’s not. There’s clearly more than meets the eye.”

John: These evangelicals are in complete denial. They’re in denial about the humanity of gays . . .”

Again, Ros reminds us that these are unproven allegations . . but John reckons there is a political angle to all this.

John: “Pastor Ted has been a powerful political force. This man is connected to George Bush. He’s stepping aside to give George Bush half a chance in the elections next week.”

Brenda is unhappy with the stance of evangelicals in the US: “There seems to be an obsession with lesbian and gays. It does not make for a healthy ability to relate to people.”

John: “We had the commies as the enemy and when they went we had to find a new enemy: deviants, i.e. drugs addicts, gays, people who don’t tread the normal path.”

An e-Mail and a text have just come in:

“As a gay man, I am actually sorry for Haggard. One of the functions of anti-gay stereotypes in our society is to socialize boys and girls to be 'real men' and 'real little ladies'.”

Gabriel in Nigeria
“Ever since the church in the USA ordained a gay bishop, the anti-Christ has been born. The priest should not resign, for greater is he in him than he in the world.”

Some more e-Mails:

Helen, Virginia, USA
I am sick of the hyposcrisy of fundamentalist, evangelical Christians who oppose abortion and stem cell research but think nothing of killing innocent people in a war for oil.

Despite what did or did not go on I thought he was a disgrace anyway. He's completely hijacked the name "evangelical" and tried to grab power through politics.

And a text:

Gabriel in Nigeria
Ever since the church in the USA ordained a gay bishop, the anti-Christ has been born. The priest should not resign, for greater is he in him than he in the world.

Wayne: “This comes on the heels of the Foley scandal. They’re finally paying the price for their hypocrisy. I think the timing is a coincidence but if it’s political then I have no problem with that.”
Peter is in Boston: “I think the person who came forward did so in the context of an election. Yes, he should have resigned but as a Christian myself, but if you’re living a lie you’re not free.”

Felix is Ghana: “The pontiff should decide on it. It’s not a political matter.”

. . . and a text from Uganda:


An e-Mail just in:

Thomas, Washington
“I am a gay man who finds this hypocrisy quite sad. I hope this opens up a dialog between gays and evangelicals.”

Meka: “The position he occupies required the highest standard of moral integrity.”

Theresa in London: “I can remember somebody standing for president and standing down because of rumours about his family. They were nasty about it. Whenever something bad is said people would go back to the source then they should go back to the source.”

Another text . . . the communications are really hotting up on this issue:

Ella. Nairobi
In America anything goes. Why the fuss?

Seamus in Arizona : “He had no choice. The election is imminent and the Republicans don’t need any more bad news.”

It’s the halfway point. We’re breaking for the news. Join us in 5 . . .

Tom: “When I first heard his denial of a relationship, it was funny the way he worded it. It says on Google that one hour ago he admitted to some of the allegations. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.”

Tom, a Christian, recently openly admitted being gay to his congregation: “It wasn’t a negative and it still isn’t a negative. Some of my Christian friends said it went against their beliefs.”

Naples violence.

Stefano, a listener, is our man in Naples: “A lot of people were killed but this isn’t abnormal. They recently freed 45% of the prisoners and it appears a large majority were freed by mistake. We have to change the mind of the people in Naples. Too often the normal people make a shield between the policeman and the criminals. There are two Italys, one where there are laws and one which is like the wild West.

Life with Lil’ Kim.

Peter Simpson is a brave guy. He’s explaining how he snarfled himself into the world’s most secretive regime using a combination of guile and cunning and outright deception!

But we’re glad he did. He’s just back from the DPRK and you phoned in to ask questions. Peter’s answers were riveting . . .

“Kim is able to stem the flow of information in. The people are subjected to one voice. It’s comes across in the radio, TV the extensive public address system. They only have one train of thought.

“There are some rumours of a power struggle. There might be some dissent. Any attempt by these people to work their way up is quickly crushed.”

Dillon is in Malaysia: “Do the youth get to listen to chart-topping hits in North Korea?”

Peter: “They’re keen on football. Music is revolutionary opera and karaoke is big. Singalongs are primarily about how great North Korea is.

“The air is clear. There are very few cars. There are no mobiles. I saw about four ad billboards. That’s their token gesture to the mass branding we have in the West.

“They are aware of what’s going internationally. On day one you have to go to Man Soo Hill, I think that’s how you say it, the monument to Kim’s father. We laid flowers and bowed. That’s where I heard a tinny PA voice and saw down in the valley an amphitheatre which was packed with people wearing black clothing. This was a celebratory rally for the nuke test. This was staged.

“The majority of North Koreans look at the South and feel they are connected.

“The odd thing is that you think they’re offices or houses. The shops have no signs. The only one I went to was one at the hotel. We were promised a visit to a market where farmers are allowed to trade where apparently you can buy DVDs but not players! There is an opening up. It’s a snapshot of China in the 1980s. It’s very much in its early stages. Small, medium enterprises need to come in and kickstart the country. We need to engage.”

That’s it for tonight. Have great weekend.


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