Roger Whittaker

View Roger Whittaker's profile on LinkedIn

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Dr Peter Mullen

Tuesday 7th October 2008

The Rev Dr Peter Mullen is the Rector of St Michael, Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate, and the Chaplain to the Stock Exchange. He is a well-known "conservative" in the Church of England, and fairly frequently airs his views in the comment and letters pages of the "quality press".

He has been in the news in the last couple of days as a result of some homophobic remarks that he made very recently on his blog, which is now no longer available.

I noticed that his blog had disappeared for quite different reasons: I had complained to the Bishop of London (in June this year) about some utterly outrageous and repulsive Islamophobic remarks that he had made there. The first reply I had from Bishop Chartres was to the effect that he would "have a word with Dr Mullen". After a decent interval I wrote again to ask whether he had done so, and got a reply from the Archdeacon of London, who suggested (I'm paraphrasing) that the Internet was a jolly good thing which enabled dialogue between people of different opinions, and that I should take the matter up with Dr Mullen directly, but he did say that he would pass on my comments to a person within the Diocese responsible for inter-faith matters.

I replied as follows:

[...] This is not, however, a matter of views and opinions: the content to which I drew Bishop Richard's attention is, I would argue, utterly inappropriate and un-Christian. I am not interested in entering into a dialogue with Dr Mullen: and with all due respect, the fact that I had to send a second letter to get a substantive reaction from the Diocese possibly indicates that the Bishop was not particularly keen on doing so either (despite his having said that he would "have a word with" Dr Mullen).

I shall look forward to hearing from you as to the outcome of your discussions with Dr Mullen and others, but I must point out that by bringing the matter to your attention I offered you and Dr Mullen a way of avoiding the consequences that would ensue if this matter received wider publicity. I have in fact already spoken informally to the religious correspondent of a national newspaper about the matter, but emphasised that I was awaiting your response.

I assume, though I don't know, that Peter Mullen had received notice of my complaint. Then he was reported as having made various homophobic remarks on his blog, which very quickly disappeared.

The Guardian's report by Riazat Butt mentions my complaints.

Dr Mullen is a patron of an organisation called Anglican Friends of Israel. Its terms and conditions make interesting reading.

Another patron of that organisation is Professor David Marsland, who is the author of this repulsive fascist speech to a group of South African irreconcilables.

Dr Mullen has defended himself on the grounds that his writings were within the English satirical tradition. I have quite a lot of time for people (such as the late Auberon Waugh) who use self parody in a knowing way to amuse. Unfortunately Mullen's remarks were not in that tradition. I will not repeat the material of which I complained here, but Raizat Butt has given a flavour of it in her Guardian report.

At the present time, Dr Mullen might have better things to do than airing his unpleasant prejudices: just now in his capacity as Chaplain to the Stock Exchange, he may well have a fair bit of pastoral work to do, including reminding his flock of Matthew 6:24.