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Glenn Hoddle was treated abominably for his religious views

The football commenter and distinguished former player and manager Glenn Hoddle suffered a heart attack two days ago while at a London TV studio. His life was saved by a sound engineer who knew how to use a defibrillator, though he remains in a serious condition. I wish him well.

I do not follow football, but those who do might enjoy the appreciation of Hoddle’s career written for the Times by its sports writer Matthew Syed, “Glenn Hoddle a visionary whose face did not fit in muscular English game”:

Ray Clemence, the goalkeeper, would pass out to Steve Perryman, who would feed Hoddle. A glance up, and then the ball was off, curving into the path of the wide players, the move already in full swing. As Hoddle advanced up the pitch, he was like a grandmaster in lilywhite, seeing four moves ahead, making passes into space, and daring his team-mates to think differently.

Hoddle’s different way of thinking extended to matters other than football. Syed relates,

His managerial career for England ended in acrimony after he expressed controversial religious views. I felt then, and still feel, that he was treated abominably.

Hoddle’s reported view that disabled people are paying the price for sins in a previous life struck me as no less ridiculous or offensive than the theology I had been surrounded by as a youngster at church. The difference was that his views were unconventionally whacky, which is why he was not granted the latitude that would undoubtedly have been offered a Christian or Muslim. Tony Blair, whose religious views are as off the wall as anybody’s, called for him to resign. Hoddle said that his beliefs had been misrepresented, but by that stage, it hardly mattered. By the time he was sacked, it had become a witch-hunt.

Mr Syed’s views about religion are not mine, but when it comes to the unfairness of a man being hounded out of his job for religious beliefs unrelated to that job, and the double unfairness of the Prime Minister joining the mob, we are at one. (Blair’s bad example was followed by Cameron who also disgraced his office by denouncing a private citizen who had broken no law.) The links are all dead in the blogpost I wrote in 2004 in response to an article by Simon Barnes that placed Hoddle in the same bracket as the then head coach of the Spanish football team who had made racist remarks, but my opinion has not changed:

But there was one part of his [Simon Barnes’s] article that I thought was unfair. I quote:

“Glenn Hoddle was dismissed as England coach because he said things about the disabled that provoked a heart-felt reaction across the country. The head of the England football team just can’t go around saying things like that.”

No, he can’t. And that has the unfortunate consequence, particularly for those who oppose racism as Simon Barnes does, that until things change we can never have a Hindu coach for our football team. Hoddle’s belief in reincarnation and that misfortune in this life is the result of bad behaviour in past lives may be unusual for a white Briton but is orthodox for thousands of Britons of the Hindu religion. I have no doubt that Hoddle’s sacking had a chilling effect on Hindus striving for public eminence in all sorts of fields, not limited to sport.

and

I wish more prominent British Hindus had spoken out about this at the time of Hoddle’s exit – but I find it hard to blame them for their silence, given that it had just been demonstrated that people with their beliefs could be sacked for them to popular acclaim.

26 comments to Glenn Hoddle was treated abominably for his religious views

  • James Strong

    Our current Home Secretary believes that an illiterate dark ages Arab flew to Heaven on a winged horse.

    (If he privately doesn’t believe that I would advise him not to say so, it could get him killed as an apostate.)

    Why can’t people with those views be hounded out?

  • And they should definitely get rid of all those zombie-worshippers who engage in ritual symbolic cannibalism.

  • pete

    These days Hoddle could probably sue the FA for sacking him for his deeply held religious convictions.

    A few days ago the European court of Human Rights upheld the conviction of an Austrian woman for calling the Muslim prophet Mohammed a paedophile.

    It seems that blasphemy and disrespect for the religious views of others are now things to be punished as in the good old days.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/european-court-rejects-austrians-case-over-prophet-slur/2018/10/25/4cd0600e-d852-11e8-8384-bcc5492fef49_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b008613fd275

  • Jim

    Stop linking to articles behind paywalls, its bloody annoying.

  • John B

    ‘…disabled people are paying the price for sins in a previous life…’

    And what is the difference between punishment for sin being vested on sinners in this life versus the next? Punishment for sin is the basis of all religions.

    I wonder what would have been the reaction if he had said gifted people were being rewarded for virtue in their previous lives?

  • he was not granted the latitude that would undoubtedly have been offered a Christian or Muslim

    Mr Syed’s views about religion are not mine …

    Or mine, not only but also in a rather trivial sense. Even when Mr Syed wrote it, I would have questioned whether the words ‘Christian or’ really belonged in that sentence. Since the post two down from this one concerns Muslims being given an extraordinary amount of latitude while their critics – Christian and otherwise – receive extraordinarily little, I’m not sure it even deserves being called a question today.

    Of course, if one accepts the idea of past lives (a point on which I differ from Mr Hoddle), then the number of people who have been politically-incorrect in a past life – or indeed, in almost all of them – must be vast. How would the PC react to that justification, I wonder?

  • Roy Lofquist

    “In the early fifth century, the debate over human suffering centered around newborn babies, who obviously had not committed any sins. If they hadn’t sinned before, why were some born with handicaps or low intelligence while others were born normal? The Church had ruled out Origen’s answer: their fates resulted from previous actions. So it had to come up with a new answer for the question of why innocent babies (and good people in general) suffer and die. Early theologians had toyed with the idea that man’s wretched state of affairs is somehow related to the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden. But it was Saint Augustine (A.D. 354–430) who picked the dusty apple off the ground, polished it on his bishop’s robe and fashioned it into what remains a cornerstone of Christian theology—original sin.”

    Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity (Kindle Locations 3158-3164). Summit University Press. Kindle Edition.

    No theologian I. Can’t vouch for accuracy. Just offering for discussion.

  • Runcie Balspune

    but when it comes to the unfairness of a man being hounded out of his job for religious beliefs unrelated to that job

    I’m not sure this case is as cut and dried.

    I would think we can agree that you can believe what religious or political ideology you like, it is when you act on them that it becomes a problem, especially when it is against the law.

    Hoddle was not hounded out solely due to his religious beliefs, he was ousted because he acted on those beliefs – remember this was more than just voicing about the sins of the disabled, there was all the faith healing clap-trap with Eileen Drewery going on and her close involvement with the team.

    Hoddle should have really kept his mouth shut, his critics needed an excuse because they were concerned how he was running the team with superstitious nonsense. Personally I would have waited for his team’s performance on the field of play to prove himself.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    James Strong writes,

    Our current Home Secretary believes that an illiterate dark ages Arab flew to Heaven on a winged horse.

    (If he privately doesn’t believe that I would advise him not to say so, it could get him killed as an apostate.)

    Why can’t people with those views be hounded out?

    Your second sentence gives one good answer to the question in your third.

    As a matter of fact, I have been saying for years – most recently here and here – that I certainly do believe that all groups should be free to restrict their memberships however they please, including in ways that I think are morally wrong. In the libertarian world I would like to see, the Football Association would be free to reconstitute itself as the Non-Hindu Football Association or the Non-Muslim Football Association, though I would hope that people would boycott it if it did. In the real world that does not permit competing bigoted and non-bigoted Football Associations to exist, to hound someone out of a football job for his (mildly expressed) religious opinions is an injustice that cannot be rectified by his freedom to associate with a better F.A.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Jim,

    I linked to the Times because it was in today’s Times that Matthew Syed made the point about Glenn Hoddle’s abominable treatment for his religious views, and that observation was what I wanted to comment upon. The rest of the article is about Hoddle’s style as a football player and team manager, and is irrelevant to this post.

    A secondary point is that an extract from an article is exempt from copyright under the “fair use” provisions so long as the amount of the material quoted is “no more than is necessary for the purpose”.

  • Hoddle was not hounded out solely due to his religious beliefs, he was ousted because he acted on those beliefs (Runcie Balspune, October 29, 2018 at 4:04 pm)

    Hoddle did not act on his belief about how it could be that some innocent nevertheless suffer, save insofar as he obeyed his religion’s injunction to care for them. If the people with the authority to sack him wanted to do so because of

    … faith healing clap-trap …

    they should have said that was why.

  • Nicholas

    @James Strong
    “Our current Home Secretary believes that an illiterate dark ages Arab flew to Heaven on a winged horse”

    Our current home secretary on his religious beliefs “I do not practise any religion. My wife is a practising Christian and the only religion practised in my house is Christianity”.

  • Mr Ed

    If the people with the authority to sack him wanted to do so because of

    … faith healing clap-trap …

    they should have said that was why.

    But ‘faith-healing clap-trap’ can be tested, and discredited. However, merit-based reincarnation can’t be tested, just scoffed at. So he was sacked for the the less incredible aspect of his beliefs.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    As a Christian, I base my belief in reincarnation on the following verses- Deuteronomy, Chapters 1 to 4, and chapter 5, verses 1 to 5. In the first four chapters, God declares throughout the chapters that the adults who were at Mt. Sinai will be left as carcasses in the desert. Then, in Chapter 5, Moses declares that the people who are now here, are the same individuals who were at Mt Sinai (“Not your fathers, but you!”). The reader is left to deduce that their souls have come back, in new bodies, to complete the oaths that they swore. It is not outrightly stated, but can be deduced from the wording.
    As for whether reincarnation can be tested, yes it can. Joan Grant, for instance, wrote many books about the past (like ‘Winged Pharoah’) which were, she claimed, based on her own past lives, and archaeologists enthused about her accuracy, until they learned it was based on memories.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    There are other reasons, such as being able to reconcile verses that seem to conflict- The sins of the fathers being visited on the children unto the fourth generation, versus, the soul that sins, it shall die, each soul shall die for its’ own sins, etc. Also, from the New Testament- “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”, asked by the disciples to Jesus. What had they been taught, if they asked questions like this?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    James Strong, as far as I know Mr Javid isn’t a Muslim. Thats actually a reason why Islamists hate and fear him because he’s refused to play that card.

    As for Blair’s stance at the time, I recall being annoyed about him getting involved. Blair is, or claims to be, a Christian. He subscribes to the doctrine of Original Sin. Which isn’t so different than the notions of Glenn Hoddle, in as much as it states that a person is tainted through no action of his own but by simply existing as a mortal creature and because of inheritance.

  • Niozen

    Another victim of the virtue signaling groupthink hivemind du jour. And looking to politicians for moral guidance, particularly war criminals WMD Blair and Oinky Cameron, is an exercise in futility.

  • Adam Maas

    Johnathan: By Islamic law, Mr Javid is a Muslim, and is thus at risk of the penalty for his very clear apostasy (he is something of a light of sanity on a number of fronts related to Islam).

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    And a final reincarnation thought- Through-out the Book of Revelations, Jesus says to Christians, “To him who overcomes”. NOT ‘To him who believes’. Not “To him who belongs to the correct sect”. And Jesus also talks about how the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, in the new age. Reincarnation would achieve that.

  • bobby b

    “And Jesus also talks about how the first shall be last, and the last shall be first, in the new age.”

    All those years they told us to line up alphabetically, and now we find out they got it backwards.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Too true! The ‘M’s and ‘N’s, near the middle, won’t be too worried, though.

  • Personally I would have waited for his team’s performance on the field of play to prove himself.

    Like exiting the World Cup in the second round having lost to Romania in the group stages? The only coaches of major footballing nations which did not resign after that tournament were the Frenchman who won it and Glenn Hoddle. Everyone else resigned having failed to achieve what they entered the tournament to do.

  • Tim Newman (October 31, 2018 at 9:16 am), yes, if they had said to Glenn, “The team is not doing well enough. We wish you more success as a coach in your next position and/or life.” then even those who thought him a good coach would have easily granted that a football coach is apt to be fired if those with the power to do so lose confidence in him. We both appreciate that Natalie’s ‘abominable treatment’ refers to the reason given for sacking him, not that a coach can be sacked.

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    Glenn Hoddle is like any person free to believe whatever he or she wishes. Socialists believe Venezuela is perfect, commies believe no one has tried real communism yet, Remoaners are sure the EU cares about the UK, and so on.

    But the issue for Mr Hoddle was, I believe, that when a journalist suggested they speak “off the record” he believed that what was said then would remain between them and not be plastered in huge black headlines in national newspapers. As more than one person has said before, you cannot trust people in the media. There is no such thing as ‘off the record’ if it makes these hacks famous or makes them money.

    In short, beware of journalists.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Hoddle did not act on his belief about how it could be that some innocent nevertheless suffer,

    I was referring to his religious views in general (including the faith healing clap-trap) not the specific reincarnation b*ll*cks.

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