Libertarian Alliance in Yorkshire Post

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.”

5 responses to “Libertarian Alliance in Yorkshire Post

  1. The building housing the club looks like a former bank. Given that money is still holding on at being the new religion, maybe the name is appropriate after all. And maybe the club will eventually go the way of both the religion of the Bible, and way the religion of money is rapidly heading;down the pan. Give it a few years and it’ll be gone. Personally I’d like to see it re-opened as a pagan shrine To Druantia. And if anyone dares open a bank of the same name I’ll ave the law on- em pretty sharpish!

  2. This joint will probably attract the type of person who demands “respect” for no particular reason, yet is not prepared to respect the sensitivity of those who find this marketing stunt offensive.

  3. There was a club called Mission in my home town back in the 90s. Used a symbol on its sign that was a sort of cross. Got a bit of controversy locally, but no real hassle. Went bust over 5 years ago, its empty now I think.

    I think the main issue here is people see the unfairness. A club can be marketed using Christian terms but not ‘other’ ones. I’m not a Christian, but I don’t think its right. Either everyone can have the p1ss taken out of them for believing in sky fairies, or no-one can.

  4. There’s something fishy going on here.

    (1) Why did the Christians hit first, when we are known, indeed derided and lampooned, for Turning the Other Cheek? Christians are not known in the UK for taking the initiative in semantic debates about civilisation-destruction.

    (2) If Islam is a religion (which is to be the subject of a future discussion somewhere) why didn’t the Muslims object first, or indeed at all? Is not Islam a religion? (See above…) Not only does the place use the world “religion”, but it’s a “Night Club”, a den of vice and underdressed girls being “pulled” by men. I do not know – I have never been in a “Night Club” except once, in Moscow in 1993, where that was all that was going on apart from the bardrinks being all USD$15 each: and some of the “girls” were supplied as “the floor show” by the club, so I assume that’s what “clubs” are for? (Is that why the bouncers let girls in for no money? This I am told…) No?

    (3) Having said that, Sean is correct that a private owner ought to be able to call his business whatever he likes.

  5. It’ll all blow over. I don’t remember too many Muslims, if any, kicking up a fuss at all the bingo halls being called Mecca. Or, come to think of it,I don’t recall too many Christians complaining at the lack of respect shown to other people of ‘faith'(Muslims) by it.