John Dallow, Bishop of Faketown, has caused controversy by telling a group of journalists that the storms which have hit Southern England were ‘probably’ caused by a ‘lack of media coverage of the Royal christening’. He told the journalists that the ‘level of coverage was disgusting for such an important Christian occasion’. In particular he drew attention to the Daily Mail, whose coverage amounted to a ‘mere 16 pages’, the day after Prince George was christened at St James’s Palace. Dallow asked the assembled journalists whether they ‘really believed’ that it was a coincidence that such a serious storm should follow ‘so soon after the christenings appalling lack of coverage’?
Dallow’s comments have been sharply criticised by a number of secular and religious figures. Rachael Mayfair, of the National Secular Society, described Dallow’s comments as ‘utterly unacceptable’ and ‘well past their sell by date’. Meanwhile Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, described his colleague’s comments as ‘misguided’. Chartres told reporters that the idea that God might use a storm as a form of punishment is ‘absurd’ and ‘without any Biblical basis’.
Dallow’s remarks have also been strongly criticised by a number of evangelical preachers, including Will Tyndale of the British Evangelical Movement (BEM) who described Dallow’s contention that the storm was linked to the level of Royal christening coverage as ‘ridiculous’. Instead he countered that it is ‘obvious’ that the storm was in response to ‘the legalisation of gay marriage and attempts to permit the ordination of women Bishops’.