Sorry, we’re fresh out of locusts…

Small Mouse

Plagues ain’t what they used to be

Ah, Stephen Green – the gift that keeps on giving. Not content with blaming Tesco’s support for Gay Pride for some slightly disappointing sales figures, now he’s using his Christian Voice megaphone to claim that it’s also connected with an infestation of mice in the Covent Garden branch of Tesco. Strangely, though, he seems reluctant to specify exactly how these events are linked.

He mentions the “same inability to distinguish between right and wrong” as being at play in both this case, a previous case (presumably one for which he has more damning information), and the Gay Pride support, which is an interesting bit of hedging. But he also claims that the problems stem directly from the Pride funding:

It doesn’t get any better for Tesco, who have seen their ‘big price drop’ flop, sales and profits drop, the worst perfomance of the ‘big four’ over Christmas, their share price plummet, their UK operations CEO sacked, their local management in a spin, all since announcing a £30,000 gift to London Gay Pride in November 2011.

And the same inability to distinguish between right and wrong is behind their decision to support ‘gay pride’.  Philip Clarke was elevated to CEO and the recently-departed Philip Brasher to UK Chief in March 2011.  It has all goine [sic] wrong since then.  Tesco’s only hope is to put their trust in God.  Repenting of the ‘Gay Pride’ decision will be part of that.

So clearly he thinks the Pride donation is the key to this, and appears to think that it amounts to a curse from God. It’s very odd that he doesn’t say so explicitly, but that’s obviously what he’s trying to get at. He’s always asking people to pray for God to do something or other, so there’s no doubt believes in an interventionist God who could and would get involved like this, but maybe he’s worried that he could get in trouble for incitement or aiding and abetting if he admits to asking God to commit an act that would be vandalism or criminal damage if done by a mere mortal. Come on, Stephen – stop hiding your light under a bushel, and open up about your true beliefs. Your denial of God’s work won’t look good on Judgment Day.

Even though the other infestation Green mentions occurred in December 2010, three months before Philip Clarke was appointed CEO (after which, Green asserts, everything started going wrong), and a whole year before the Pride announcement, presumably God was exploiting the foreknowledge that comes from an eternal nature to punish Tesco before they did anything wrong, in order to save time. The only other possibility is that he’s cherry-picking and distorting anything he can find that fits his personal prejudices, but that’s a very cynical suggestion.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel that this latest case really shows what Green thinks it does. I mean, he knows his Bible, so he must surely realise that a small number of mice is pretty weak from God’s point of view. Look at the Plagues of Egypt – frogs, locusts, boils, blood and much more, and He ended up killing every first-born Egyptian child. A few mice don’t even register. In plague terms, it looks to me like a half-hearted slap on the wrist. Maybe God’s message is “I know there are more important things to worry about, but all these annoying bigots are in my ear about it, and technically they’re right – I never got round to redrafting those passages that came out a bit anti-gay – so here’s a minor inconvenience.”

Because the odd thing about this is that there has been no corresponding curse on Pride themselves. If just giving them a bit of money leads to an infestation of mice, the actual organisers must deserve rats, at least. Probably really big ones with the bubonic plague. And then there are all the pro-gay campaigning bodies – why haven’t they been struck by lightning or killed in freak earthquakes? Is it OK to be gay and to support gay rights, just as long as you don’t donate money towards any events? It’s the obvious conclusion, but I don’t think Green would like it.

And of course, I’m sure Green isn’t falling into the old Confirmation Bias trap – he surely isn’t just picking out any slightly negative story about Tesco and holding it up as further proof of his preconceived ideas. So he must be campaigning tirelessly about the apparently far more serious sins of companies like Borders, Woolworths and Game (if Tesco’s punishment was a below-par Christmas, what evil was responsible for these companies having consistently poor results?), and anyone who’s been caught in any form of natural disaster – if mice are God’s curse, hurricanes, floods and droughts must be much worse. Maybe he’s doing it very quietly, so no one but God can see his selfless efforts.

Or maybe not.

Photo by Beige Alert, used under Attribution License

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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.

4 responses to “Sorry, we’re fresh out of locusts…”

  1. 2012 and all that says :

    Surely Zavvi’s sin is obvious? They grew out a group of shops that mocked the Holy Mother. They dared to call their avaricious empire “Virgin”! Zavvi were paying for these sins.

    HMV sells music with explicit lyrics and proudly displays these labels on CDs as though they are a badge of honour.

    Woolworths – they bore false witness. They never sold wool

    Borders sold books by Richard Dawkins.

    Game – sells violent entertainment to children. What’s more, it names itself after a sinful profession

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      Hey, you’re good! Can I invest a huge sum of money in your stock portfolio? Don’t worry about credentials or anything like that – a post-hoc rationalisation of why certain things happened proves that you know what you’re talking about.

      Stephen Green should be knocking on your door, anyway.

  2. Kevin says :

    Confirmation bias for the win, as you say. Seeing as I’m a Christian, my wish is that some good would come out of Stephen Green’s latest, um, comments. I agree with the conclusions in your last couple of paragraphs – to try and link a company’s performance with the extent to which its corporate practices follow (Stephen Green’s interpretation of) Christian principles is just pathetic.

    • Recovering Agnostic says :

      Not sure what good could come out of it except a few more people realising that Green’s a dangerous loon. You could cut and paste most of this for any of Green’s latest acts of self-promotion – he never seems to change.

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