February 13, 2009

Blackwell no place for virgins


We don’t want any of your virgins here, thank you.

Oh, the religious and anti-religious lobbies are about to get their knickers in a twist. In a great story in The Guardian, Alison Flood reveals that Blackwell, the academic publisher behind a proposed Encyclopaedia of Religion, have been accused of trying to “de-Christianise” the work. Those bastards. Editor in chief George Kurian wanted to include references to the Virgin Birth, Evangelism and Beloved Disciples (not sure why that’s a specific term; I’d always taken it for granted that Jesus loved his disciples), among other concepts, but the top brass deemed the terms “too Christian, too orthodox, too anti-secular and too anti-Muslim and not politically correct enough for being used in universities”. (Apparently not worthy of correct grammar, either. But I digress.) They also wanted to reflect a balance of inter-religious hostilities. Kurian took offence, whether to the infringement of his editorial rights or the slurs on Christianity is not entirely clear, and circulated a letter to the encyclopaedia’s contributors. One of whom promptly told the press. Tomorrow, I predict an outraged editorial in The Daily Mail calling for greater protection of the Church of England, and on Saturday the Archbishop of Canterbury will pen an opinion piece in favour of the Blackwell decision. Historical accuracy be damned when there’s so much fun to be had…