The Yorkshire Post
Saturday 30th July 2011
Christian outcry at nightclub named Religion
The Religion nightclub in Wakefield has caused anger with nights including Resurrection and Salvation. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Published on Saturday 30 July 2011 09:06
A NIGHTCLUB has been criticised by Christian leaders after it was controversially named Religion, with club nights called Resurrection and Salvation.
The Wakefield club also sells cocktails with names including Angel Wings.
The club Religion opened its doors just a week ago but residents and local clergy have already shown their outrage at the decision to introduce themed nights called Monday Mass and Friday Salvation.
Critics claim that there would be a widespread outcry if Muslim worship terms had been used to promote drinking and dancing.
Angered residents say that the owners of the club are being disrespectful and insensitive to the Church and the Bishop of Wakefield, Stephen Platten, has deemed the club’s themes “inappropriate”.
He said he was not against people enjoying themselves but he said he did think it was insensitive, adding: “There’s a whole host of topics they could have chosen.
“Some of the names of the events are insensitive and inappropriate.
“Religion is about taking life seriously. Would people have been amused if they’d called it health, which is an equally serious topic, and named some of the rooms A&E and gynaecology?”
Bishop Platten added: “If any other aspect of people’s lives was taken and trivialised in this way I think people would be upset.
“In particular, in this case, it affects Christian people.”
The Dean of Wakefield, Jonathan Greener, added yesterday: “I think it’s being rather insensitive to Christians.
“The names it has chosen refer to ideas and activities that hold deep meaning for Christian people, and the way the new club is using them could be seen to be sending them up.
“On the other hand, it could be argued that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if people want to experience the real thing, they are always most welcome at the cathedral.”
Wakefield city centre police inspector Richard Close said no offences had been committed.
He said: “Parliament passed legislation under section 17 of the Public Order Act aimed at outlawing crime where the offender is motivated by hostility or hatred towards the victims race or religious beliefs.
“In my opinion and experience the management of the premises are neither showing hatred or hostility, they are without doubt utilising words from the Bible to further their business interest, which in the eyes of some may be distasteful.”
The company which owns the club, Leisure 99, said the name of the club nights were not linked to any particular faith.
In a statement, a company spokesman said: “The definition of the word religion is a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion, which is what partygoers in the city are doing.
“We chose the term Resurrection for a Friday night, because the night-time economy’s suffering and we’re hoping to revive and revitalise it, as its definition suggests.
“The same is true of Salvation, and the word Mass was chosen because it’s a massive Monday night of massive music.”
Wakefield poet Louis Kasatkin, who helps forges links between the arts and the church, said it was easy to imagine the reaction if the club’s operators had used Muslim terms of worship.
“But they appear to think using Christian theme terminology is okay.
“My own view is that it is tantamount to breaching the law on religious hatred,” he added.
Other political activists asserted the rights of free speech on both sides.
Sean Gabb, director of the Libertarian Alliance, claimed that the owners of the club might be living under police protection had they been promoting club nights called Jihad or Ramadan.
Dr Gabb suggested that Christians who are offended by what is offered should find out who is providing goods and services to the club, and publicly refuse to do business with them.
However, he said the name of a club should not be a matter for the criminal law.
The right of these people to commit blasphemy,” he said, “rests on the same grounds as a Christian’s right to profess his faith.”