Sep 18, 2009

Refresh FM Manchester: how I was stopped from presenting because I was gay

On Monday, my six-year tenure as a voluntary radio presenter and producer with Refresh FM came to an end. It was not my decision. In this blog post, I will do my best to explain why I was dropped from presenting.

I cannot fully represent the views of Refresh FM in this piece, nor can I represent the views of my co-presenter and my producer. I can only explain things as I see them, and I'll write about other people's opinions and motives as fairly as I can.

I was not stopped from being a radio presenter because I was turning up drunk. I was not stopped from being a radio presenter because I was saying offensive things on air. I wish it was that clear cut, because Ofcom have clear guidelines on that.

I was stopped from being a radio presenter because I am homosexual.

To understand where I am now, you need to know how this all began.

Brief history

Refresh FM is an RSL, which basically means it broadcasts for 28 days a year on a limited frequency to south and central Manchester. It is run by Victoria Park Fellowship (previously known as Victoria Park Christian Fellowship), a fairly active independent evangelical church in Manchester. You can google the links. The congregation finance and volunteer their time to run the station, along with an increasing number of 'outsiders' from other churches (like me).

I have never been a member of that church, but I would identify myself as a Christian. I joined Refresh when it began in 2003. I don't think any of them knew I was gay then: we would work together fairly intensely for one month a year, and we were much more concerned about questions of broadcast quality, guest booking, programme timing and playlist compiling than questions of sexuality.

The programme I presented was Theatre Of Noise, a light-hearted magazine-style evening show which was roughly half music and half talk (scripted and unscripted funny bits - and at least, I hope it was funny!). The show was not popular with more traditional Christians because we did silly things like destroy CDs with power tools, but it certainly stood as an odd-shaped jewel in Refresh's crown and attracted listeners they wouldn't normally get. We took it seriously and my co-presenter and I worked hard to improve the programme from year to year. Believe me, planning and presenting 20 two-hour shows in one month is a lot of hard work.

Overwhelmingly positive

The fact that Refresh FM found out I was gay was almost incidental. Almost, but not quite. Although my relationship with Refresh was overwhelmingly positive for all six years (until Monday), they sensed I was slightly distant when I was in the studio. They were perceptive: I was indeed troubled. I had wanted to tell them about my sexuality, as anyone who has been "in" for any length of time will understand. It's not about waving a gay flag: it's about being honest and totally yourself. I wanted to be honest with Refresh.

So I told them of my unease that they didn't seem to know I was gay, and I realised, as an evangelical organisation, this might be a problem for them.

I didn't realise how much of a problem.

Refresh FM convened a meeting with me on Monday. I was told early on in the meeting that I couldn't present any more. (They did say I might be able to take up other responsibilities with the station, but this seemed like a hollow offer at the time.) The reasons I was given, if I remember rightly, were (in no particular order):

1) a presenter for Refresh is a mouthpiece for the mission of Victoria Park Fellowship. I accept this; it's a natural position for a church to take. Church radio stations hold a tension between being missional and being great radio. But being a "practising homosexual" is living in a state of active sin and is inconsistent with the mission of the church;

2) if a gay person presented shows, the church would find it difficult to raise money for the station from their inevitably offended congregation;

3) they don't want to upset the Muslims in the area, although this reason was not expounded upon. I'm not sure how much they actually believe this.

Devastating

I should point out that my friendship with Refresh FM was one of trust and love, and it enlightened my life considerably. I am profoundly grateful for the experience Refresh has given me. It wasn't a shock to discover they held a traditional view of homosexuality, but their recalcitrance of their stance on Monday was devastating and hurtful.

They seem to like me, but they just can't get past the "gay thing".

I do not want to get into Biblical arguments on homosexuality here; I don't want the comments below to be filled with YouTube-style diatribe. I believe God loves me because I'm gay and that She / He has no problem with gay relationships. Some Christians divide "being" and "doing" gay, and they love the sinner but hate the sin. I can understand Refresh FM taking the latter view (each to their own), but the fact they're willing to devastate someone because of those principles seems incredible - and ill at ease with the Christ I understand from the beatitudes in Matthew 5.

And yes, I am devastated. I am reeling. I am fragile, hurt and angry.

Dawkinsesque

The 'Christian' element of this blog post may put you off. You may think I was stupid for expecting Christians to like gay people. You're wrong. I would take a Dawkinsesque punt and reckon that most Christians have no problem with gay people. Jesus certainly didn't.

I understand it was a painful decision for Refresh FM to take - it's not easy giving what they probably see as 'tough love' to people they care about. But their insistence in the meeting that this isn't personal, that it isn't about me, is based on an incorrect understanding that sexuality is something to be separated from our true being. Our sexuality is woven into us. Even Jesus had a sexuality. He would have expressed that sexuality in some way - if he didn't, then the gospels are a lie and God was not truly made flesh.

And so to today. I hope the Theatre Of Noise ends up on a station 20 times the size. I did the right thing by telling Refresh FM I am homosexual. My integrity is intact and I have tried hard to act with grace. I think Refresh FM's decision cheapens them; it's a disappointment because I expected better from friends that I love. I will go back to Refresh tomorrow if they change their hearts and minds about homosexuality, but I don't think that will happen in a hurry.

What next? I don't know. I have spoken to Ofcom and also to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, and I was shocked to find out it is perfectly legal (and Ofcom-safe) for radio DJs who are voluntary, rather than paid, to be sacked because of their sexuality. I can see the logic when the law is there to protect livelihoods, not hobbies, but if what I have been told is true, this law needs changing.

Gritted teeth

You may feel the need to protest or campaign after reading this piece. You can talk with me further at dj (at) fatroland.com. Whatever you do and to whomever you speak, please show the same grace that I have tried my hardest to show throughout all of this (often through gritted teeth or teared eyes!). You will not change minds by shouting at people: start from their point of view and work from there.

I have to leave the dust to settle to some extent because my (straight) co-presenter, who has been immensely supportive in all of this, needs to make a difficult decision about his future with the station. I also need to discuss things more with our producer, who expressed his annoyance at the decision in a brief text conversation the day after the meeting. I will speak to more people, to organisations, to those that understand.

A wrong has been done and I need to stop this happening to other people.

And to Refresh FM, if you're reading this... the Bible calls us to love our enemies. I'm not sure if you're an enemy - I don't know what you are any more because I am still reeling from Monday - but I think I still love you despite your stupid, stupid decision.

Edit: there are updates on this blog here and here, and here is the Guardian's coverage and the Pink news coverage. Thank you everyone for your support.

42 comments:

Sarah said...

I am so sorry to hear this - and disgusted but, sadly, not that surprised. I know how much work you've put into your shows and how much it means to you. It seems to me a foolish decision because you were so good at what you were doing and I don't see that you being gay would affect the work of the station negatively - but maybe it's just too long since I've been in evangelical culture to understand.

JPM said...

My reading of the Bible (New Testament) is that it tells the story of a bloke who went through a series of difficult and challenging situations - including the 'great and good' of his religious background - with tremendous dignity, leadership and, most of all, love.

Mr E, Your own dignity and love have followed this example. You have done your faith proud.


Can I suggest your (now, sadly, former) copresenter should play a song by that great Manchester band Joy Division.

Though some may suggest Decades ('here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders), I would suggest Wilderness.

I travelled far and wide through many different times,
What did you see there?
I saw the saints with their toys,
What did you see there?
I saw all knowledge destroyed.
I travelled far and wide through many different times.
I travelled far and wide through prisons of the cross,
What did you see there?
The power and glory of sin,
What did you see there?
The blood of Christ on their skins,
I travelled far and wide thorugh many different times.
I travelled far and wide and unknown martyrs died,
What did you see there?
I saw the one sided trials,
What did you see there?
I saw the tears as they cried,
They had tears in their eyes,
Tears in their eyes,
Tears in their eyes,
Tears in their eye.

Tim Footman said...

Hi Roland, I'm neither gay nor Christian, but I hope you don't mind me commenting.

I don't think you were stupid to expect them not to be bothered; maybe a little naive, if you don't mind me saying. You're right Jesus had no problem with gay people, but Christianity as an institution (not as a faith) is founded not on the teachings of Christ, but on St Paul's interpretations of Christ. And St Paul was a vicious little fuckpig who would have called Ian Paisley a wet liberal.

The weirdest bit is that the Refresh people don't want to upset the Muslims (people who do not accept that salvation comes through Christ alone, surely the biggest doctrinal error from an evangelical perspective) but they don't mind upsetting you (who does accept Christ as his saviour, but has non-mainstream ideas for the best use of this genitalia, which is a bit of detail, really). Are they playing the card that the African churches have used, saying that if they accept homosexuality, the Muslims will find it easier to convert people? It's not upsetting Muslims that they're fretting about, it's potential competition!

To be honest, matey, I think you're well out of it. I know your faith is important to you, but do you really need those bozos along to support you? Isn't there a branch of the Metropolitan Community Church nearby? Get in there! Pray with pride! And I bet the vicars are cuter.

stefan said...

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

:)

Anonymous said...

E, I had been wondering how you got on. I'm sorry with the outcome. If I ever need anyone in my corner, I'll be calling on you - you have acted with grace, humility and dignity; listening to the other's point of view, where others in your position could have taken a whole other route which would not achieve anything. I'm with you 100% Jules x

Fat Roland said...

Sarah - none of it is a surprise, which brings me to...

Tim - yes, I do tend to be naive; I'm a blind optimist most of the time. I've had support from MCC London throughout this, and from my own church (sanctus1.co.uk). (Reading your comment was a little like reading your book, and it weirded me out for a moment: it was like Noughties was speaking back at me.)

JPM - wonderful! You simply have to get Kevin Cummins' new photography book. It's a joy (division) start to finish.

Stef - I nearly started my post with that quote.

Jules - such flattery will get you everywhere. Sorry I haven't updated you, but I think you've had enough going on. I hope you're feeling better every day.

james henry said...

Wow, that's... pretty appalling. I agree with Tim in a way that you're better off out of it, but still.

My condolances, and it sounds like they've lost a fine presenter for no better reason that prejudice, and fear of the unknown.

Presumably they will later be sacking other presenters for wearing mixed fibres, shaving, etc.

Imacborg said...

Sad to say the world is not without it's narrow minds, conflicting opinions, and hurtful comments.
Remember when I was challenged because I held opinions and views which was not accepted by the norm, as in the evangelical world.

Sadly you were confronted by issues other people have and their lack of understanding and the pain and memories will carry for many years.

I saw this coming after your departure for the religious book industry and feel so sad that you have been insulted like this.The fact the church is so established in it's ways, creates more devision, factions, and blindness, and that this what has made people like you and I as outsiders.

I am here for you and will listen and help you through the pain, but sadly the evangelical world and it's establishments will not change.

If the evangelical world can not even change on centuries of devision between the Pentecostal movement and evangelical beliefs, how will they consider homosexuality or
Other challenging issues.

With love, imacborg x

The Silver Syrinx said...

Can I assume that you left them a copy of Bishop Gene Robinsons address from Greenbelt: "Homosexuality: What the Bible says and why it matters?" They sure need to hear that at Refresh FM. Where would Jesus be in all this? Demonstrating the truth through real inclusivity, real love ... hanging out with YOU. The Church should be part of the answer and not the problem. Instead they are determined to live in a world of self-righteous exclusivity. A world I no longer wish to be a part of for that very reason.

I love you E. I am so very privileged to have you as a friend. To know you is to also know Jesus .... I know where I'll be hanging out! You rock! Rx

Fat Roland said...

James - thank you for your kind words. I think I saw one of them eat a cheese and ham sandwich once, so that's the meat and dairy thing up the spout.

Imacborg - yes indeed. The evangelical world cannot be changed, but individual evangelicals

Silver Syrinx - amen to that, sister! Thanks also for your candidness, honesty and kind words on the way to and from Greenbelt.

Anonymous said...

I know we have talked this through as best as we can in work (which at the moment is a bit of an achievement in itself!) but every time I read/hear about it I become even more shocked. As you know, I'm not a religious man and I am never surprised by things that the church can throw up, I'm just stunned that they applied their archaic attitudes toward you! In fact I'm that stunned abou the whole thing, I've even started reading your blog!

I do believe things happen for a reason, something good will come out of this for you. It might not seem or feel like that at the moment but you will get what you deserve. Quick, apply for Wogan's job, perhaps the beeb have got something against gingers and they will summon Evans for a meeting soon!

Take it easy
iain

Paul Canning said...

Hi, someone has just tweeted me asking for my suggestions for you. They would be to contact contact lgf.org.uk + pinknews.co.uk and tell them your story.

best wishes + good luck

JPM said...

It's interesting - about a month ago I was up in Manchester with a bunch of anglican thinkers to do with work (to do with health) and they were very very scathing about evangelicals

They had two stories that they told

1) Evangelicals have two brains... one's missing and the other one's gone off to look for it.

and

2) Christianity is like a swimming pool. Most of the noise comes from the shallow end.


I don't mean to be rude or scathing - I just found it interesting that ordained people said these things

Mark said...

Hey Roland,

So many things to reply to! Firstly, there is so much to admire in your post. You had the courage to go to them and tell them, instead of keeping it secret. That shows a real love of truth and openness, which I really value. Secondly, I love your thoughtfulness. You haven't flown off the handle, and you've decided to reaffirm your love for Refresh. That's a pearl of great value.

Like you, I'm both gay and Christian. I don't think we've made the same decisions about that whole thing, but I can identify with you and empathise with your situation.

When I say that we haven't made the same decisions, I should explain that I still haven't come to a solid decision myself regarding what to do about the tension between my faith and my sexuality. I know that will sound crazy to non-Christians, and I know it will sound like I'm ignoring the Bible to (some) Christians, but it's not easy.

I take the view that this is between me and God. I direct all my questions and -- let's be honest -- anger towards him, and I'm not afraid to take an unpopular stand. I just need to feel like it's my stand.

I would feel the same way as you do if my Church reacted the way Refresh has done. It's hard when you sit on both sides of the fence, isn't it? I know that evangelical Christians aren't all rabid homophobes, even though the world seems to think they are. And I know that gay people aren't the promiscuous sin-lovers that some Christians think they are.

(And I know how patronising it is to hear Christians say things like, "it's a sin, but it's no worse than, lying, for example.")

But this is the church we're a part of, eh -- warts and all.

I used to have a blog about being gay and Christian, but stopped it for a number of reasons. Planning to start another one, would be great to have you as a reader when it's up and running ;)

I haven't weighed in on the topic, have I? My reaction to things like this is to try to understand the other side. If I can "get inside their head" I find it helps me to control the negative feelings. Reconciling yourself to the other side, even if it's reconciling in your own heart and not in 'the real world', brings healing.

I think for the most part I would be angry and confused. I would also try to get them to understand my point of view and how I was feeling, even if they didn't agree with me. Understanding is really important to me.

I would probably also see if there was any truth in what they said. I know not everyone is going to like that, but this is how my head works. I don't like accepting something as true just cos everyone says it is, whether it's society or the Church. I also play Devil's advocate all the time -- with myself at times.

One thing I know, if they haven't shown you respect and love and honoured the friendship they have with you, then this is categorically wrong. Whatever their convictions on homosexuality and gay people being employed by Church, love should transcend that when it comes to friendship. I can't tell from your post, but if they've just cut you off with no concern or pain on their part, then they've not acted in a Christian way.

I hope this hasn't sound like preaching, that wasn't my intention. I would very much like to hear your reaction to what I've said, your comments will help me with my own questions about being gay and Christian.

Blessings, Mark xx

Mull said...

Roland, I think this sucks. I'm probably taking this more legalistically than others, but I cannot see how Refresh can deny you the right to broadcast.

Could you expand on what kind of organisation Refresh are exactly? The way I see it, the Victoria Park Fellowship are a church and according to guidance on discrimination they are free to discriminate in who they let in as a member.

Is Refresh actually a different organisation from the Church? If they are a separate legal entity then they cannot discriminate and deny their services because of sexual orientation.

I would reccommend emailing the circumstances of your case to the Government Equalities Office (enquiries@geo.gsi.gov.uk) and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (info@equalityhumanrights.com), as well as your MP (use www.theyworkforyou.com). Just ping the same details of your case to each of these sources and they will eventually get back to you.

As Paul said above, contact other some other advice sources - perhaps Stonewall, too?

I agree with my friend Mark above that the church are not acting in a very Christian manner by forcing you out like this. I don't see how your sexuality was actually going to impede their mission to promote the Christian message, either - they had no problems with your actual broadcasts for the previous six years.

Oh, and I agree that Just A Souvenir should have been up for the Mercury - I'd give the 'pusher the prize just for Star Time 2. Big tune.

Kerry said...

I have great admiration for the way that you've been honest with Refresh and for the grace that you've shown. I don't know what I think about all this at the moment, it has given me plenty to think about. I've been involved with Refresh in the past and I just wanted to say we've loved listening to your shows. They have been the highlights of previous broadcasts for us and some of the young people that we've worked with.
I've been praying and will keep praying.

Fat Roland said...

Iain - I'm glad I shocked you into reading my blog. Shock is the only reason most people hang around here.

Paul - I shall do that. Thanks for the suggestions.

JPM - Actually, that's a shame. It's the crass labelling of thousands of people that got me into this mess in the first place. (2) is very true, though.

Mull - Star Time 2 - oh yes! The radio station is part of the church, although there is an intention for Refresh to become a separate organisation one day - I think they're aware this gives them a dilemma. My MP is interested (I count him in my wider circle of friends, i.e. we drank beer on the same couch once), and I intend to email more people this evening.

Kerry - thank you, that means a lot. It seems those shows are now history, but we do have recordings somewhere, so maybe we'll edit them and release them as podcasts.

Mark, these next paragraphs are for you:

Thanks for your honesty. It's not easy, no. I don't think that gay / Christian tension ever quite goes away, although it does get easier. It is fundamentally between you and God, and you need to be wary of anyone who talks in generalisations.

Refresh have tried their best to be loving, although I think they've had difficulty realising the cost of their actions and the consequence of their beliefs. My discussion with them continues.

It's really important to try and understand 'the other side' (to some extent, there are no sides, just individual humans trying to make sense of it all). I have said all along that whatever your view of the issue, you have to accept the possibility that one might be wrong.

Having said that, personal integrity is important, and you need to know when to dig your heels in. Hence I would rather lose a radio show (and the friendships at the station) than compromise my integrity in a really harmful way... although it's not me that has forced that decision.

I'm happy to discuss further any time via email - dj (at) fatroland.com.

rexor said...

Heya matey, I'm so sorry to hear of how you've been treated, it makes me upset and angry and I'm gonna stop myself there before I get a rant on.

Tom said...

This is fucking pony. Good for you in being open and honest, shame on them for not being a more open and loving church. Write a letter to a newspaper if you don't get any results, and remember if all else fails, direct action gets the goods!

Neko Neko said...

I'm sorry to hear this happened to you but at least you were truthful and faced their reaction with pride.

I'm more than sure you'll find another station willing to yake you on.

All the best

Fat Roland said...

Thanks, Tom and Neko. It's pretty bum, but I do believe it's their loss. A decision like that may stop people listening, so it seems pretty unproductive.

We have our sights set on another radio station, so woo!

Philip said...

Dear Roland,

I'm glad Tim mentioned the Metropolitan Community Church as I'm the secretary of the Manchester branch of that church and we would be delighted to welcome you if you feel we are the right place for you to be at the present time.

A number of our members have been hurt by the more fundamentalist wings of the Christian spectrum (both the Evangelicals and the Roman Catholics) who are likely to take the 'love the sinner, hate the sin' line which just leaves people confused, full of guilt, and spiritually barren. MCC views things differently and rejoices in God's diversity.

Just Google "Metropolitan Community Church Manchester" if you want to know more. Until recently we worshipped just round the corner from VP Fellowship at St Chrysostom's, but now we're at Wilbraham St Ninian's URC in Chorlton.

You'll be very welcome, but equally there's no pressure - I know you need to deal with your feelings about the recent events before considering any new ventures. But I just wanted to say 'Hi' and we're here if you want to come.

Fat Roland said...

Hi Philip, thanks for the comment.

I have felt nothing but strength throughout. I did a lot of my spiritual struggling with this over ten years ago (when I last found a haven in MCC!). I now go to Sanctus1 (sanctus1.co.uk) and they have been
wonderfully supportive.

But, although I don't really do 'Sunday church' any more, I may well pop down to MCC to say hi.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably going to get shot down here, but some of the responses are extremely visious against the radio station. They probably found themselves in a very difficult position and, after all, they are all doing it out of the goodness of their hearts rather that for any personal gain. Running a radio station is a thankless task and there are always lots of difficult issues to deal with.

Here's a suggestion - why not launch your own initiative to run an RSL in Manchester? Then you can set your own rules and, so long as you comply with Ofcom's regulations, you can create your own identity? All I ask is that you give the guys at Refresh FM a chance to run their station the way they feel right. I'm sure they didn't want to offend you, but had their identity to uphold.

simoncross said...

Hi, I was really sorry to read this story, and that it has turned out so negatively for you. I suppose however that I would urge us all to think calmly and rationally about the situation. Essentially what we have to consider is that the people running the station have a set of beliefs, and those beliefs, strongly held, inform what they do and why they do it. It's the same with all of us.
Imagine for one moment, that the situation were reversed, that the station was a gay station broadcasting to a gay audience and to those outside of the gay community, who, it would be hoped, would be favourably impressed by what the station has to say.
Then one day one of the DJ's plucks up the nerve to tell those in charge 'actually guys, I'm an evangelical Christian, and as such I dont think it's right for people to be having gay sex'. Now I would suggest that however good that chap is as a dj, the station should sack him. Even if he never says anything about homosexuality or his views on the subject during his broadcast, his being part of the team seems like anathema to me.
We have to accept that those running this station hold views which (rightly in their eyes) mean that they are in opposition to those living in gay relationships, and that gay sex is sinful. Their radio station is a missional mouthpiece which seeks to interpret their kind of Christianity to the wider public, in those terms its sadly understandable for them to sack you.
I'm deeply sorry that they did so, I'm not involved with the station, nor do I have any involvement or relationship with the church it stems from. I am part of the evangelical 'world' although wouldnt personally describe myself as an evangelical.
With love and in peace,
Simon

Fat Roland said...

Simon - you understand evangelicals well, and you're right. I also understand the reasons.
It has to be said, however, that not all evangelicals would have made the same decision and not all evangelicals hold the same view about homosexuality.
Also, the idea of the mic being a missional mouthpiece (exactly their view, and mine too!) ought to mean that overweight people ought not to present too - but then we come back to the astonishing ability for Christians everywhere to put sexuality on some kind of hysterically elevated pedestal.
But yes, you're still right!

Fat Roland said...

Anonymous - bang on. It was a hugely difficult decision for them. That is probably hard for some people to understand. My future in radio, incidentally, lies outside the world of RSLs: it's time to go for a slightly bigger fish.

jimmux said...

As ever, I feel like a minority of one in this sort of discussion. I am a born-again evangelical who believes homosexual practice is sinful; I also happen to be homosexual. But I do not *identify* with my sexuality and aspire to a greater love in Christ above and beyond sex, without any feelings of self-loathing. Like Paul, I'm torn between the good that I want to do and the bad that I don't but, also like Paul, I recognize that it is not I, but the sin that is within me.

I'm talking about mental struggle. I'm 49 and have never had sexual intercourse in my life.

But what keeps my mouth shut is that I cannot tell how my church would react. There is no-one left there who knows; the few who ever did have moved on. But if and when they I do tell them, they can praise the Lord for the miracle of grace He has performed in my life; if they react any differently, they can hang their heads in shame.

But Roland, we really can't expect people to put up with our insisting on a lifestyle which they regard as sinful just because they know it will upset us if they do - especially when we've ended up as their public voice.

Fat Roland said...

jimmux -

You're treading a fine line of integrity, which is what separates you from all the shouty people.

I differ on your view of homosexuality, but I respect where you're coming from and I thank you for your honesty.

I would challenge you on one point. If we start throwing Christian radio DJs off air because the station doesn't agree with everything about their lifestyle, where does it stop? Should there be overweight DJs on evangelical radio stations, for example? There is a lot more on gluttony in the Bible than there is on sexuality. It's the attitude that homosexuality is some 'special' kind of sin that concerns me: elevating this one apparent sin doesn't reflect on the priorities laid out in the Bible, and it reflects much more on evangelical tradition which I believe, in this case, has been bourne as much from prejudice as Bible study. (I hope that all makes sense - I'm trying to be as concise as possible.)

Fat Roland said...

..."doesn't reflect the priorities", sorry.

mark loynds said...

as you know dear chap.i am straight (in a jarvis cocker camp english kind of way)and a christian.i was saddened to hear this news when you mentioned it to me a while ago.do we stop people coming to church if we later find out they are gay?...no.because not to sound cheesy and twee...but jesus wouldn't.i'd love a church full of people regardless of gender or orientation who were free from judgement from other christians.if it is a sin than surely its up to god to reveal it to the person and not us.our job is to love regardless.as a friend of yours for over ten years i just want to say that i'll be praying god will soften their hearts or that he'll open another door for you to pollute the airwaves with and just to let you know that i love you and value your friendship my pink fluffy electrobunny x.

Fat Roland said...

I know we joke about and stuff and that, Mr Mark, but your comments and your continued support mean a lot to me. You're a good egg. In fact, you're a scotch egg. That's how good an egg you are.

(The word verification is "scarysm". Yeeks.)

London Chinese Radio said...

Roland this is just a note of support from a director of another community station that has an equal opportunities policy, and from an ex-volunteer who has suffered harassment at the hands of another voluntary organisation in the past.

It is completely unacceptable in my eyes, that an organisation can turn against one of its volunteers in the way that it did.

"Actively living in sin"? hilarious, farcical, tragicomic, depressing... what are some people like!

If you were in London, I would welcome you to come and do your show from there instead - it sounds pretty good... let's hope someone else can take you on in Manchester... best of luck!

Peter

Anonymous said...

Having read this and being the manager of an inclusive station that represents all members of the community I would like to extend a warm invitation to you to volunteer at ALL FM. We can't take on any new recruits until January but if you are interested please call Jason (248 6888) or Danielle (230 7945) in the new year.

Fat Roland said...

LCR and All FM - The reaction I've had from the wider radio community has been similar: general incredulity.

Thank you for the All FM invite. Let me have a chat with my co-presenter to talk more about our future plans. It would be fantastic to volunteer for you.

blackwatertown said...

Briefly - boo to them.
To you - More power to your elbow.

TNT said...

"...and suggesting that local Muslims might be offended" I hope all Muslims will complain to Broadcasting authorities about the lurid scapegoating used to by Refresh - to tarnish Msulims - when they have nothing to with the bigotry of this Christian - Evangelical - Radio station. From what I understand - Evangelical Christianity - and all that stuff about Rapture is what George Bush beleives in - and look at what that born-again (ex-alcoholic) did in the name of democracy.

Paul said...

Well, its a very simple court case,
sew them. What they have done is illegal.

tim said...

Told you that you'd be better off with your own show on Channel M! But seriously - you're better off without 'em - get onto ALL FM and destroy some CDs on there....

Fat Roland said...

Tim - indeed, ALL FM it is. I've already done one show, and hopefully there'll be more after the new year. The destruction will be back!

tim said...

Well done - saw something about Cafe del M12, is that what you're going to be doing? Gives me an excuse to listen to it again. Had something played on there a few years ago when Enchanted Gordon was doing it.

Fat Roland said...

Gordon is still Enchanting the airwaves on M12 - I was a guest presenter recently. I hope to present more with him in the future, but I'm also exploring other presenting opportunities with the station. It won't be quick - there's training to be done and hoops to shimmy through first.