Tesco, Pride and Christian Voice

Tesco have suffered a fall in their sales over Christmas. According to Christian Voice, this is all down to their minor financial support for “Gay Pride”. Yes, seriously. Where to begin with such a crazy story?

First, Christian Voice: for anyone who’s mercifully avoided exposure to their rampant nutjobbery, I should explain that they’re the self-appointed moral guardians of the UK. I’m not aware of anyone (even conservative Christians) who takes them seriously, but they maintain a strong media presence because lazy researchers know they can always be relied on to stimulate (or possibly simulate) controversy by taking offense at something innocuous. I say “they”, but maybe “he” would be more appropriate – Stephen Green, the organisation’s founder, is to my knowledge the only person ever to have spoken for them in any capacity, and details of their membership are unclear.

This is important, because Stephen Green is an interesting person to be leading a moral crusade. As reported by the Daily Mail, a newspaper whose moral standpoint could hardly be separated from Green’s, he’s divorced and re-married, and his ex-wife accuses him of repeatedly beating her and their children. Even among the sort of vile extremists who think there’s nothing wrong with a man beating his wife, you’d think there would be a recognition that Jesus had some pretty negative ideas about divorce and remarriage.

So much for Christian Voice – what’s up with God? Apparently, He’s fine with gross corporate exploitation of His creation for obscene profits, but has an attack of the vapours if a minute fraction of those profits is used to support a “gay event”. Maybe Republicans in the US would recognise this picture, but I’m not sure if anyone else would. And I have to wonder, if He’s that bothered about gay people proclaiming their Him-given sexuality, why did He only get upset when those nice people from Tesco threw some spare change in their direction? And why go to all the trouble of convincing hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people, to go down the road to Asda? Wouldn’t a single well-directed thunderbolt in Brighton be simpler and more effective?

There’s also the question of what Stephen Green really thinks is going on, and what part of his campaign is working. There’s a really odd passage in the Christian Voice “statement” (spittle-flecked rant might be nearer the mark) where Green quotes a sensible analysis of the market, before countering with his own peculiar interpretation, brutally abusing the word “fairly” in the process:

Analysts are blaming Tesco’s ‘Big Price Drop’ idea for the store’s failure, which has led to them issuing a profit’s warning.   Natalie Berg, of consultant Planet Retail, said: “Tesco has taken its eye off the ball.  It has focused too much just on the price of food.  We now all expect high-quality food and everyone is claiming to be the cheapest – consumers are much more wary.”

However, it could fairly be said that Tesco took its eye off the ball even more when it bowed to pressure from its homosexual staff and associated itself with the ‘Gay Pride’ brand, with all its anti-Christian aggression, indecency, immorality and separatism.

But he then appears to accept that Tesco lost market share because of promotional and marketing decisions, specifically in this case their “Big Price Drop” campaign, and claims this as proof of divine intervention:

[In November] we also prayed for confusion in the Tesco boardroom.  As the ‘Big Price Drop’ was launched in September, it seems that Almighty God, who operates outside space and time, was well ahead of us, anticipating our prayers, and seeing by our actions that our prayers were serious.

Brilliant! So even though there was a perfectly rational explanation for Tesco’s relatively poor sales, and even though that was down to a decision taken months earlier, it still goes to show that Goddidit – a textbook case of an unfalsifiable theory. There’s also a lovely example of Green’s own variation on the Robertson Gambit, where he says that they prayed for Tesco’s share price to fall, and a mere two months later, after some disappointing results, it did! From a high value, in tough economic conditions! Who’d have thought it? It’s not exactly on the scale of walking on water, is it?

But if it wasn’t for that, I’d think that Green has no faith in God to do anything at all. Just look at his 6 action points at the bottom of the statement, which apart from prayer (helpfully couched in such vague terms that some sort of success can inevitably be claimed at some point) include letter-writing, petitions, boycotts and demonstrations, before a desperate recruitment/funding drive at the very end. Does Green think God stepped in and did some miraculous stuff, that his campaign of emails and petitions did it, or what? I notice that the analysts he mentions say nothing about a petition (signed by 1067 people) being responsible for Tesco’s poor results – maybe that was an oversight on their part. But he does suggest elsewhere that God was persuaded to act by his/their actions, which suggests that Green believes in nagging a rather apathetic God, and makes me wonder what His threshold is. Maybe He said “I’m not getting off my cloud for less than 5,000 signatures on that petition!”

I confidently predict that whatever direction Tesco takes from here will be claimed by Green as further support. If the supermarket giant bounces back (and let’s not forget, it’s still the UK’s largest by a country mile – God’s wrath apparently has its limits), he’ll claim that this is down to their cancellation of the support for Pride, even though in his own words, it was only ever a one-year deal. If Tesco continues to slide, it will be proclaimed as further evidence of God’s judgment for their supposedly terrible crime.

So in summary,there’s no reason to suppose that Tesco’s poor results had anything to do with God or Pride, but sadly that won’t stop Stephen Green from claiming that they did, or (in all probability) convince the media to stop paying attention to his nasty, obsessive spewings and treating them as representative of Christian opinion.

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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

One response to “Tesco, Pride and Christian Voice”

  1. carew1984 says :

    Gay pride or not. Every company big and small has had a poor year in 2011, some worse than others and most can not blame anything but the economic global economy. As a small trader we feel it and we have not done anything different. So gay pride or no gay pride tescos would have slumped, if i was tescos chief i would be happy it was not by much in comparison to many of the big players now hitting the rocks

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