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  • Hug a Christian

    by Sunny
    8th February, 2007 at 4:37 am    

    free hugs

    I met these lovely women in San Diego on new years eve and asked to take a picture. Their only condition was that I receive a hug after taking a picture, to which I obliged of course.

    The interesting point is that they were part of some conservative Christian students coalition and this was simply part of their outreach work, where they would offer hugs to people and even listen to them. Some may become interested in their work and maybe even the word of Jesus Christ.

    It’s an obvious point to make isn’t it - if all preachers had such a genuinely friendly and warm attitude towards others religion wouldn’t get such a bad name. Most religious people think a faith should be able to sell itself but I disagree. There are usually two ways to ‘spread the word’: striking fear / guilt in the hearts of believers, or inspiring them with good deeds and practicing what you preach. Guess which approach most go for? This is why I genuinely appreciated the hug. All power to them.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Religion

    64 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 8:54 am  

      I see what you are trying to do, and I commend you for it, but some of it rings hollow.
      It’s a long long time since the Spanish Inquisition but only days since a survey showed a large percentage of UK muslims thought death was appropriate punishment for someone leaving their faith for another.

    2. Katy Newton — on 8th February, 2007 at 9:18 am  

      This is nothing to do with religion, Sunny, you just like hugging girls.

    3. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 9:23 am  

      I think Katy has the measure of you, Sunny!

    4. Sid — on 8th February, 2007 at 9:59 am  

      Oh to touch the hem of your garment, El Cid.

    5. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:11 am  

      ha ha ha ha ha Sid.
      Consider me completely disarmed

    6. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:14 am  

      Sid - Katy and I are highly diverted.

    7. Billy — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:36 am  

      Christians on the street and no sign of a megaphone. Nice!

    8. Leon — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:57 am  

      Yep Katy’s on the money with this one.:D

    9. sabinaahmed — on 8th February, 2007 at 11:21 am  

      I want to know if those were big burly men, wold Sunny have so readily obliged?
      This can never work for certain religions as women are not allowed to touch men let alone hg them.And how do yo pblicise good deeds?
      There must be people in every religion who do good deeds but they certainly cant stand on the street corner and shout about it.
      As far as publicity goes, misbehaviour sells papers good deeds dnt.

    10. sabinaahmed — on 8th February, 2007 at 11:25 am  

      Am sorry folks, i can never write here anything without making mistakes,it is the feeling that am in the presence of the great and the good!
      Any way please read;
      Ah the power of the PP, am reduced to gibbering wreck!

    11. Sunny — on 8th February, 2007 at 11:32 am  

      Katy, how dare you accuse me such a thing! *cough*

      Sabina - Maybe hugging doesn’t have to apply to people of all faiths, I just mean people need to do more good deeds instead of standing around with a megaphone or a table full of literature.

    12. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 11:51 am  

      Like missionary work…

    13. Vasey — on 8th February, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

      Well, it’s certainly better than the muppets who hang around town centres banging on about how we’re all going to hell unless we subscribe to their particular brand of Christianity. Those guys don’t accomplish much more than pissing people off.

    14. Riz — on 8th February, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

      I’m with you Sunny. Spread the message through positive vibes!

    15. Anas — on 8th February, 2007 at 1:40 pm  

      I’d hug the one on the far left, the other two I’m not too sure about.

    16. William — on 8th February, 2007 at 1:45 pm  

      Good gestures of any kind are more likely to make people feel good than bad ones and more likely to want to listen.

      Nothing wrong with hugs from men or women. OK as a man I might be a bit more enthusiastic about hugging a woman than a man but…well.. there’s always a cynic!!

      By the way did everyone know that the answer to world conflict is to get world leaders to stop sit down and have a refreshing cup of tea. Here’s the proof!!

    17. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

      The poster says ‘Free hugs’. Not ‘Free hugs for hot guys only’.

      I should be surprised at you, Anas, but I’m not, you’re a bloke :-)

    18. Riz — on 8th February, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

      I love it William. Go on, the tea ! That Satish dude sure went on some journey.

    19. Vladimir — on 8th February, 2007 at 2:23 pm  

      On the same notion as hug a Christian, how about hug a terrorist, or a suicide bomber?

    20. Kismet Hardy — on 8th February, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

      On eid day (the muslim xmas), it’s customary to hug men after prayers, so your wish can come true vladimir. Probably less dangerous to try it at a rave though

    21. Vladimir — on 8th February, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      I wasn’t referring to Muslims in particular Kismet. I was just taking the point to an extreme, and though it’s an extreme people who are terrorists or suicide bombs are more than likely to be in need of a ‘hug’, as Sunny puts it.

    22. Kismet Hardy — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:01 pm  

      They hug in northern Island too

    23. Kismet Hardy — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:01 pm  

      Fucked that one up

    24. sonia — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:34 pm  

      Heh :-)

      interesting points sunny. when i was a young undergrad i noticed some stuff along similar lines. the christian union threw lots of parties to which they went out of their way to invite international students. and they were good parties! so i joined and the first month following on from freshers week ..lots of parties. ( compare to the islamic society which was full of long bearded depressing looking fellows who scowled at you. not much competition eh?

    25. Nyrone — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      Hmm, I think it’s a lovely gesture, but that’s all it is…a gesture. I LOVE the free hugs movement, but suspect that it’s mostly a non-religious thing.

      A couple of years ago at University in Canterbury, me and my house mates began recieving visits from friendly US Mormon guys. They were dressed in suits (even in the boiling heat!) and spoke very politely about the work they did going round the world and doing the work of ‘gawd’.

      We invited them in and always offered them food and drink as we sat down in a mutual attempt to understand each other for a couple of hours. They would talk about their lives back home and going home to their ‘sweethearts’ after the work was over, and I had a lot of respect for how hard they worked each day to do what they felt was the right thing.

      The first few weeks were sweet and fun with a cherry on top, but when they began their real ‘work’ of trying to ‘convert’ us to follow the same things as them, then the polite-exterior quickly gave way to an uncompromising-aggressiveness in which their previous open-mindedness flew out the window and was replaced with a far more intolerant ideology and attitude. They would open these books with pictures of 20 ancient-looking old white men and claim that these men were the chosen messengers of God and that it was a fact…I looked at the pictures, they looked like a cult.

      The final straw came one afternoon, when they asked if it was ok for them to say a few prayers as we all held hands…we agreed and all sat in a circle.
      They said some prayers about peace for the world and hoping that “our new friends will come to our side and find the real god someday” and some other stuff about keeping everyone happy…and then they finished with the word ‘Amen’.

      One of my housemates and I (both being secular) did not utter the word ‘Amen’ at the end of the prayer (why should we feel obliged?) and this caused the 2 Mormon guys to become quite angry…after accusing us of being “really nasty and mean” they burst out of the house and never came back…a few weeks later when we saw them walking around on Canterbury high street ‘converting’ other people, we said hello and they blanked us…

      and that’s my story of the friendly Mormon guys:)

    26. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

      I have no time for missionaries whatever they’re representing.

    27. Leon — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

      and that’s my story of the friendly Mormon guys:)


    28. Don — on 8th February, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

      Anyone remember ‘flirty fishing’?

    29. ZinZin — on 8th February, 2007 at 4:06 pm  

      But I don’t wanna hug. Anyway huggings sinful.

      Anas hugging the one on the far left how appropriate.

    30. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 4:10 pm  

      Ha Ha

    31. Electro — on 8th February, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

      Christian evangelicals, especially in America, like to do that sort of thing.

      Those smiles and those fresh faces are sincere and genuine.

    32. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 4:16 pm  

      Nyrone - Did they mention if they were wearing their official chastity underwear?

    33. Katy Newton — on 8th February, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

      The Mormons used to come round to my nan’s house every week to try and convert her. She was a fairly strict Catholic but she used to invite them in and make them a cup of tea anyway because they were “nice boys” and she “felt sorry for them”.

    34. ZinZin — on 8th February, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

      Remove the second m from mormon. Thats enough to gain my sympathy.

    35. William — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:39 pm  


      “Anyone remember ‘flirty fishing’? ”

      Yes, there was a programme on about it the other night. The Children of God cult which used flirting and sex to get converts. This is the negative side to all this in the extreme/extreme use of be nice to potential converts.

    36. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:40 pm  

      you might like to know that in the catholic mass — as standard — there’s a point when you’re invited by the priest to shake hands and share some brotherly/sisterly love with your neighbours.

      do other religions have such rituals?

    37. William — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

      It isn’t just Christian groups who hug. Once I went to a Sufi meeting just for the experience and to learn. The end consisted of pass the hug and pass
      the hug again. Although there weren’t any women in the
      group though!!

    38. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

      be that as it may but that’s clearly an interpretation of #11. We could always have the good deed police….unfortunately that’s when it starts to go wrong

    39. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

      on the tea front, this is assuredly the greatest website of them all:

      I think I’ll put the kettle on

    40. bananabrain — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

      our own “flirty fishers” use smoked salmon bagels, subsidised holidays and speed-dating to lure in the unwary.



    41. Sahil — on 8th February, 2007 at 5:59 pm  

      “speed-dating”?? Do explain :)

    42. Nyrone — on 8th February, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

      Katy, your Nan seems real nice.
      “she felt sorry for them”
      haha, but how much of their slow-burning indoctrination could she stomach before pretending she was not in?

      Everyone has a limit before they begin switching all their lights off and hiding behind the sofa whilst breathing quietly when they hear that doorbell ring.

    43. sunray — on 8th February, 2007 at 8:54 pm  

      you dont like people to use racist card at every oportunity yet you turned up like a begger on BBC trying to get Shilpa to use her racist card.

      Are we British Asians that stupid that we need some Bolly star to sort our problems here in UK?
      She is a mere tourist out to make money and get fame. There is nothing wrong in that as we are all trying to do that.
      Yet you try to hang Shilpa.
      You really are a confused soul arent you.

      Hey lets give all problems to Indians to sort out hehehe.
      I know a good place in Bangalore :)

    44. Leon — on 8th February, 2007 at 8:57 pm  

      I remember when I was really young being at my Grandparents. The door bell going, my Grandfather answering it and I’d hear half a sentence then the door slam shut. My Grandfather would come in the room muttering and say to me: “Jehovah witnesses. Blasted idiots. Listen here Leon, you ever get them at your door, slam it shut. Them people talk nothing but shite.”

      I was mighty impressed!:D

    45. Bert Preast — on 8th February, 2007 at 9:32 pm  

      It completely weirds me out when my father/brothers in law hug me. But what the hell, you have to integrate.

    46. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 9:44 pm  

      is it coz dey is spanish?

    47. ZinZin — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:05 pm  

      Post# 36
      Its called the sign of peace. Shake hands and mumble peace be with you.

    48. Chairwoman — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:09 pm  

      Et cum spirito tuo (I think)

    49. The Ill Man — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:33 pm  

      Random hugging is a bore. It becomes a bit meaningless. There are points in life though where it’s what you do to keep yourself or someone else sane and feeling safe.

    50. Nyrone — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:36 pm  

      Off topic, but did anyone watch the documentary ‘child genius’ on C4 just now?

      I’m still recovering….what a bunch of little miracles!

    51. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:44 pm  

      Know what you mean about mumble. But in “my” church there’s a much warmer atmos, mainly because it’s mainly African and LatAm. I say “my” coz obviously I’m a shit catholic. The last time I went to church was for my eldest’s communion. In fact a shit catholic isn’t a catholic, which is a dilemma when attempts are made to try to organise a liberal catholic view (as well as a progressive jewish or mulsim view).
      You see jews are Jews whether they are religionist or not. And I think — because of the political climate — that muslims see themselves in the same way.
      But catholics either subscribe to the non-use of condoms — for example — or not. You can’t create an alternative and, crucially, organised progressive catholic body of thought because it would not be catholic. You can;t label it catholic even if people like me support the cause. It’s a very centralised religion. Do you kinda get what I mean?

      Anyway, any non-cath alternatives to that ritual of warmth to your neighbour?

    52. El Cid — on 8th February, 2007 at 10:46 pm  

      I mean (unlike a progressive jewish or muslim view).

    53. Katy Newton — on 9th February, 2007 at 12:41 am  

      The last time the Jehovah’s Witnesses came to our front door, the Chairwoman opened it clutching a very large dog and bellowed, “TAKE YOUR FALSE MESSIAH AND GET OFF MY LAND.”

    54. Leon — on 9th February, 2007 at 12:48 am  

      Anyone here read Terry Pratchett?

    55. Sunny — on 9th February, 2007 at 2:13 am  

      the Chairwoman opened it clutching a very large dog and bellowed, “TAKE YOUR FALSE MESSIAH AND GET OFF MY LAND.”

      ha ha! that’s mean but funny… I see where you inherited your sense of humour from.

    56. douglas clark — on 9th February, 2007 at 2:51 am  


      Yeah, favourite author.

      Got an opinion on best ever? For me, it was the first one, Colour of Magic.

      I just loved the tourist, or maybe that was in the second one… And the luggage. The man is a genius.

      Great stuff, anyway.

    57. sunray — on 9th February, 2007 at 7:41 am  

      India’s hugging saint
      India’s most famous woman guru, Mata Amritanandamayi, whose name means “mother of absolute bliss”, is renowned for many things.
      But by far the best known fact about her is that she hugs people as a blessing and therapy.

    58. Chairwoman — on 9th February, 2007 at 7:43 am  

      Some of my best front door appearences have involved at least one large dog and a raised voice. I’m not sure whether the one Katy mentioned, the time I couldn’t find the Television Licence, or when the aristocratic youth of Nigeria (and that is a totally accurate description of the participants) were partying in my front garden, was my finest hour.

      We don’t have touchy-feely, but we do have Kiddushim, where a member of the synagogue congregation will lay on wine and niblets after services on Shabbat for everyone who’s attended.

    59. El Cid — on 9th February, 2007 at 8:27 am  

      I’m always polite to Jehovah’s as they are always polite to me and aren’t hard to get rid off. Utility company salesmen on the other hand get a earful.

    60. Leon — on 9th February, 2007 at 10:24 am  

      douglas, yeah I’d agree. It wasn’t the first book of his I read (that was Moving Pictures) but it was the second and the one that really made a fan.

      The reason why I brought it up is because of this quote:

      the Chairwoman opened it clutching a very large dog and bellowed, “TAKE YOUR FALSE MESSIAH AND GET OFF MY LAND.”

      I’ve seen CW characterised endearingly like that a few times and the caricaturisation always reminded me of someone but I couldn’t figure out who.

      It came to me yesterday: Granny Weatherwax!:D

    61. Chairwoman — on 9th February, 2007 at 11:16 am  

      Love the hat!

    62. Gibs — on 10th February, 2007 at 8:43 pm  

      I wonder what would happen in a major British city such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester etc if a group of Muslim girls in “Western” clothing (jeans, T-shirts etc) held up placards saying “Hug A Muslim” ?

      To answer the question myself:

      a) Racist abuse from white yobs and

      b) Abuse form Muslim yobs accusing them of being “slags”

      …. sad but true.

    63. lithcol — on 11th February, 2007 at 12:32 am  

      I seem to rember a time when it was thought a good thing to hug a tree. I don’t know what the tree thought about it.

      I do hug people, however most of them are probably secular humanists.

    64. Vikrant — on 11th February, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

      grr… i’m jealous.

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