News Headlines > Olympics ceremony writer hits back at criticisms of 'godless' content

09 May 2014 | by Christopher Lamb

Olympics ceremony writer hits back at criticisms of 'godless' content

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The Catholic who wrote the script for the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony has defended it against claims that it demonstrated the disappearance of God from Britain.

In a book review in The Tablet, Dr John McDade, a lecturer in theology at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, claimed that the John Lennon song, “Imagine”, was played at the opening ceremony and led “the nation in the fond wish that we would be done for ever with God, religion and heaven”. The song’s lyrics suggest that a world without religion and heaven would live in peace.

But Frank Cottrell Boyce, replying in a letter to this week’s Tablet points out that Lennon’s song did not appear in the opening ceremony (it featured in the closing ceremony).

He points out that the opening ceremony, directed by another Catholic, Danny Boyle, was littered with Christian references. These included the singing of the hymns, “Abide with Me”, “Jerusalem” and “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”. He adds that the title of the ceremony – Isles of Wonder – was coined in part from G.K. Chesterton’s phrase that “the world is not perishing for lack of wonders. The world is perishing for lack of wonder”.

A spokesman for Danny Boyle said he was unable to comment due to his work schedule.

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