Gerry on Jesus

I wouldn’t have commissioned him myself for this sort of thing during my BBC career and yes, I understand the incongruity and share the sense of irony. But then this is the sort of left field idea that Channel 4 is for. I’m looking ahead to Gerry Adams’s Jesus pilgrimage next Sunday with an open mind. Helen Bond, a Biblical scholar at Edinburgh University was Adams’ minder on the project. She writes about him as if she had barely heard of him before – Adams that is. This is a salutary reminder to us that Irish political passions which some of us think stopped the world barely registered even a couple of hundred miles away. Many of these folk will be in the Channel 4 audience. Extract from Helen Bond’s blog

Judas’ betrayal was another area where Gerry’s perspective helped me to see things rather differently. Once again, I’ve always approached Judas intellectually, asking why he betrayed Jesus, what motivated his actions – greed, disillusionment, an attempt to force Jesus’ hand? Gerry, however, instinctively understood the defection of a “gang member.” “Yeah, that’s what happens,” he said, “they got to him.” I had thought of Judas’ betrayal as something active, something he chose to do, rather than a situation he was forced into, perhaps (and quite likely) under duress. Of course, the whole Judas story is probably colored by the betrayal of David in 2 Samuel 15, but the general outline of events is historically plausible, a historicity made even stronger by its clear resonance with the way groups (on both sides) were infiltrated and betrayed in Belfast.

  • John O’Connell

    Can it be said that we as a society have reached the bottom of the applecart?

    Jesus said that his message was “a sword” in telling us that he did “not come to bring peace but a sword” (Mt 10:34). His sword, the sword of embarrassment, is therefore designed to bring about a just and peaceful world where love is the currency, not hate.

    Gerry Adams’ sword, the sword of armed struggle, or the tactical use of human suffering, has a stated aim of achieving justice too and, whatever about the possibility that it can achieve its aims, its use of violence – generating hate not love – is in direct competition with the sword of Christ.

    I would suggest that all that Gerry Adams’ sword can achieve is cultural domination and supremacy in the long term. Social justice is not found in the compromising of justice by blaming victims, whether they are perceived as legitimate targets or not, for the sins of the world. That is to blame Christ and to declare him deserved of his crucifixion.

    Gerry Adams’ sword is in that sense completely Antichristian and fortunately a strong Catholic Church and an able SDLP managed to give Gerry Adams’ Sinn Fein a new direction in the 1990s.

    However, there has been no repentance from the Republican Movement for their past actions and therefore it is wrong that Gerry Adams should be asked to front a programme about Jesus. By refusing to repent, he is in effect mocking Christ.

  • Turgon

    The inappropriateness of Adams being on a programme about Jesus has been debated before.

    The problem here is that one needs to look at the person who is being brought on. Some may call it whataboutery but the allegations regarding Adams’s involvement in violence are frequent, just one example:

    Hansard 13th Feb 2003

    Having Adams on talking about Jesus’s life is little more tasteful than having the late Fr. Brendan Smyth talking about children.

  • Jaggers

    Father Jack once asked “Is that gobshite never off the telly?!” Gerry’s appearance on a light entertainment programme – the Late Late Show – on Friday last and this forthcoming religious programme could be heralding a mass normalisation of SF, after all what’s wrong with a normal politician being involved in a range of programming.
    Seeing the Late Late Show on Friday made me remember one of Gerry Adam’s first appearances on the Late Late Show in 1994 ( where it’s fair to say he was given (justifiably or not) a rough time. I wonder how much further we will be in another 15 years when Adams will be 76 (around the age that Nelson Mandela was changing the world).

  • Cynic2

    Ah well, Jesus did say ‘suffer little children’ but perhaps didn’t mean it to be taken quite so literally.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Personally Id find “Gerry Adams on Jesus” as interesting as “Brian Walker on Jesus”. Although as Jesus was neither Conservative or Unionist, the latter is unlikely.

    And I suspect the Commissoners at Channel 4 would find that “Gerry Adams on Jesus” more interesting than “Fitzjames Horse on Jesus”.

  • Cynic2

    Will they ask him ‘How come if you are so into Jesus you ran an organisation that murdered so many people?”. Or something like that.

    PS I like his terrorist chic garb with the Palestinian solidarity scarf draped oh so casually around his neck. I wonder can he tell us if he’s now pro PLO, Fatah or Hezbollah (for whom he’s an postate infidel)


  • padraig

    John I would be interested in your views on the armed struggle of the British Government in Ireland.

    Or is that a good very Christian ‘armed struggle’, whereas the Republican one arises from the forces of the outer darkness aka Satan , Darth Vader and Star Wars.

    The force be with you!!

  • FitzjamesHorse

    There is something strangely Alan Partridge about it all. Strange ideas get pitched to commissioning producers……many of which fall short of “monkey tennis”.
    I suppose Bill Oddie knows something about Birds. Maybe Michael Palin knows about Travel.

    But we get a strange celebrity culture……Ian Wright (ex-footballer with a mediocre London team apparently) reporting from Route 66 is only slightly less risible than Stephen Fry in USA or Chris Barrie from Red Dwarf doing some show about engines or Vic Reeves on Jack The Ripper.

    So why not Gerry Adams on “Jesus”.
    Why not Peter Robinson on “Frugality”
    Why not Reg Empty on “Catholicism”
    Why not Jim Allister on “Intelligence”
    Why not Jake O’Kane, Tim McGarry and Colin Murphy on “Humour”

  • John O’Connell


    After 800 years of altered values and persistent violence, the armed struggle of the oppressed becomes the greatest empire the world has ever known. Where does the violence of armed struggle stop? If no-one knows then why start it? Weren’t we happier without it?

    Only Christ’s sword can create a just world.

  • Rory Carr

    …and in that just world any television programmes about Jesus will almost certainly feature John O’Connell with Gerry Adams relegated to playing the role of Satan. Isn’t that right, John?

  • backstage

    For Gerry, Jesus is just another fantasy in a long line. What might bear some interesting analysis is to what extent dogmatic belief in a fictional god supports other irrational beliefs.

  • John O’Connell


    I have defined in this thread Christianity and Antichristianity’s swords. It is for others to choose what kind of world they want. But my advice is to stick with Jesus and stop trying to replace him with Gerry Adams. That road is the road to hell on earth.

  • padraig


    I have no difficulty at all believing that God calls us to love our enemy and to do good for those who hate us. By difficulty, particularly with Evangelical Christians in the six north eastern counties is not that they condemn violence and those who perform violence, but that rather they condemn those who who use violence that they do not like, but encourage and support those who perform violence that they do like, such as for instance , the British Army .

    I would have no difficulty for instance in fully supporting your biblical stance for instance if you could find it in your heart to reject proponents of violence such as the Prince of Wales who is the Colonel in Chief of the British Parachute Regiment which is currently killing large numbers of God’s children in Afghanistan.

    But I doubt if you could do that,Your own view of Jesus is a very,very partisan one, a Jesus who is none to fond of Rebels.

  • padraig

    John, I heard Dawn Purvis of the PUP make some very good points on this in a recent interview on Radio Ulster. Some very strong born again Christians up in Stormont are behaving in a very nasty and arrogant manner towards SinnFein members there, refusing to get into lifts with them, talking or greeting them.

    So much for Christians.

    On the other hand ex UVF, UDA and IRA prisoners , many of whom would never darken a Church door are working together to bring peace on the streets of Belfast and have developed a respect for each other as a result.

    I would find far more of Christ in these people who are unchruched than those, ‘Christians’ who are highly judgemental of people such as Dawn Purvis or Gerry Adams.

    Christ, it seem,s is often absent in the Christian and present in those who appear reject them.

    Or as Goethe once famously said, ‘The one thing that stops me from becoming Christian is Christians’.

  • Munsterview

    John O’C 2010 @ 01:11PM.

    As a historian I now quite regularly take part in history seminars where post Grad. students deliver papers from work in progress on some aspect or the other of the recent Six County conflict . I have to keep reminding myself that most of these students were not born before the SF/RSF splits, never mind the Provo/Offecials one, ’69 and all of that, given some of the things I hear and conclusions reached.

    It never ceases to amaze me as to how many well documented events that I have lived through and experienced, have been got so wrong. And all of this before lecturers and other mentors with their political party agendas advise on the interpretation of the events concerned and as to how the material should be orientated and presented.

    If young contemporary historians dealing with events that were so well documented and not not yet a half century old can get it so wrong what chance is there for events twenty centuries old with scant if any recorded sources?. And even where these scant sources exist it is often that of the Sean O’Callaghan / Kevin Myres school of commentary.

    With regard to the historical Jesus and the movement that he led as distinct from the Jesus of Faith we know little indeed. Western Christianity use just four gospels out over a hundred known and referred to in early writings and even at that three of the four are, it is generally accepted, based on a single lost document, so de facto only two gospels are accredited. We now have possibly over ten more available in whole or in part that have been authenticated, but these have yet to influence mainstream establishment christianity.

    As a person with more than a passing interest in these matters could you please enlighten me John as to how why your Jesus of peace advised his followers of the day to go out and buy swords, as to why he resorted to violence to clear out the money changers from the temple forecourt or as to why his right hand man and designated successor was carrying a sword, which he used to attack and cut the ear off one of the arresting party the night Jesus was captured? Why also did the authorities need, in modern terms, a whole battalion to arrest your man of peace, just what were they expecting or afraid of ?

    Once these little items are cleared up we can perhaps return to some of the issues you raised as if we do it would be nice if we were singing off the same hymn sheet so to speak!

  • Mrazik

    Look on the bright side, it might turn out to be funnier than the life of Brian, although I suspect it will be excruciatingly painful to watch.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I recall Sylvia Hermon saying that SF-IRA members always asked about the health of her husband (Jack former RUC Chief Constable) but DUP members never did.
    I suppose this might appear hypocritical of SF-IRA or perhaps a feeble attempt to show a kinda decency. Or maybe genuine decency.

    The problem with being one of the “Elect” as many fundamentalists believe themselves to be is that you start thinking of other people as “lesser” which allows or excuses the type of behaviour you mention.

    While fundamentalism is well known in Protestant circles (fundamentalist Catholicism also exists) there are very large numbers of Protestants who are not fundamentalist. And this is something which will eventually undermine the DUP. They tend to feel superior to the “sinners” among their own support.

    I am NOT of ourse equating Fundamentalism with Sectarianism.

  • padraig

    It reminds me of the Pharisees, Fitzjames horse, a billion miles for the humility of Christ. Steeped in arrogance and spiritual pride. Those who cannot get rid of the bitterness of the past are doomed to eternally keep repeating the mistakes of the past in their bitter, unforgiving hearts.

  • Alias

    You have to love that rationale. Some passage in the bible has Jesus mentioning swords and suddenly… we have an instant implicit justification for Mr Adams mixing petrol with sugar to make napalm that would stick to the skin of dog breeders, thereby burning them to death and requiring others to have skin grafts for the remainder of their lives so that wee Gerry could get to pose as a cheap Made-in-Ballymurphy knockoff of Che-cuvara before deciding that it was better for Gerry to cooperate with the security services rather than spend a long time in jail as a result of incriminating evidence or other indiscretion…

  • padraig

    Of course ‘Alias’ its all THEIR fault. THEY’RE the ones to blame. Its all THEIR FAULT.

    A small, very bitter heart in a very small minded black and white world stuck back there in the somewhere in the ’80’s. Get over it.

  • Perhaps Gerry has given up on being President of Ireland, and has now set his sights on Pope and after that, the sky’s the limit, if you get my drift.

    With regard to the historical Jesus, Blaaa, a contradiction of terms surly, I thought the old boy was due any day soon.

  • Alias

    padraig, you’re right: it was the dog breeders fault.

  • sdelaneys

    “Only Christ’s sword can create a just world.” J O’C.

    It’s about time he sharpened the blinking thing, John, as his ‘product’ to date has been poor. Don’t think he’d pass the transfer test on his current showing re justice in the world if it’s down to him and his sword. Being infinite, though, he’ll be able to wait for Catriona to sort that aspect of the problem out although I’m not sure if she can wait that long.

  • John O’Connell


    I have no problem condemning Prince Charles.

    Jesus rejected the rebels too because they were being co-opted into the system of violence that founded and ruled his society. Jesus wanted a society formed on love not violence.

    I also reject the notion that you can be Christian and live in the Old Testament as many unionists do. Love not hate is the product of living in the New Testament.

  • John O’Connell


    You tell us of the potential inaccuracy of the long distant gospels and then expect me to defend attacks on Jesus’s peacefulness based on those gospels.

    Which is it to be: Gospel or no gospel?

    Those who live by the sword will perish by the sword.

  • John O’Connell


    The sword of Christ or politics, (diplomacy and the use of embarassment) is being weilded every day to make the world better. But Satan is fighting hard.

  • Scaramoosh

    I always understood that the Jesus Event represents an answer to man’s universal existential predicament; namely alienation from his essential being.

    It is difficult to relate this to the Jesus who is being being discussed by some of the contributors to this thread, who seemingly discriminates against people according to the colour of their cloth and the nature of their crime, and who, would, seemingly be affronted by the notion that he was being debated by Gerry Adams.

    Such a perspective clearly misses the depth of meaning behind the Jesus story.

    Gerry Adams is as well placed to discuss Jesus as the next man, and to argue otherwise is to sink into the realm of arch-hypocrite.

    If you don’t want to watch him don’t turn on the programme; go off and pray to your own personal Jesus.

  • padraig

    Fair enough John, you are consistent. I respect that.

  • Slartibuckfast

    [i]There have been howls of outrage after it emerged that Ch4 have commissioned Jesus Christ to present a program on Gerry Adams under the theme of forgiveness.

    Irate callers have jammed the Ch4 switchboards with complaints and angry letter writers have bombarded newspapers to protest against the bearded Prince of Peace being represented on television by such a lowly figure as Jesus Christ.

    ‘This is a yet another cheap publicity stunt by Ch4,’ thundered An Phoblacht in a bad tempered editorial. ‘And by even trying to associate a notorious militant such as Jesus Christ, who let us remember was behind the infamous and violent attack on the money lenders in the temple, with someone such as Gerry Adams who has spent his entire life not being in the IRA and peacefully campaigning for civil rights, it is also a calculated insult.’[/i]

    Some notable Gerry Adams miracles:
    [i]Feeding the 5000 with pure bullshit
    Making the alive become dead
    Turning everything into a whine[/i]

    [b]Latest: Adams to forgive Alan McBride
    Latest latest: Gerry to be crucified in Sunday Tribune again[/b]

  • Slartibuckfast

    Excellent post. It just demonstrates the sheer neck of militant republicanism.

  • granni trixie

    I read somewhere that Adams got 10,000 for this piece – if so,what an inappropriwte use of public money.

    Also, as to Gerry’s game plan – I heard years ago that he had set his sights on President of Ireland (but then I heard that rumour a long time ago about Catrina too). Unthinkable nowadays, isn’t it?