Religious groups have lined up to slam Tim Minchin for his atheist Christmas song – after he donated it to a Christian charity.
His track White Wine In The Sun appears on a new CD called The Spirit Of Christmas, which raises money for the Salvation Army’s charity work in Australia.
The song – which celebrates the joy of family reunions over any religious meaning – was dubbed ‘disrespectful’ and ‘a sick joke’ by campaigners… even ones supposedly supporting family values.
Even the Salvation Army itself said it was disappointed with the track, with spokesman Neil Venables saying: ‘We do not in any way support the statements made in this song.’
He said the charity only became aware of the song once the annual CD was finished and would take a ‘more active role’ in compiling future discs.
Minchin in return has slated his critics. On Twitter he wrote: ‘I gave my song for free, putting aside my philosophical objection to the Salvation Army for the sake of beneficiaries. Imbeciles.’
And in a new interview today he said: ‘I think the Salvos are idiots. I didn't know they would benefit from the CD, but by the time I found out I didn't want to make too much of a fuss. So I gave my song free, then they turn around and say that they don't agree with the sentiment of the song.
‘Part of me is hugely outraged by what imbeciles they are, to bite the hand that feeds them and put their proselytising above charity.
‘I won't make this mistake again. I tweeted that if people want to buy my version of the song independently, I'll give the proceeds away to a non-proselytising charity.’
In the interview with The Observer, he added: ‘Christmas means much to billions of people who don't believe in Jesus, and if you think that Christmas without Jesus is not Christmas, then you're out of touch, and if you think altruism without Jesus is not altruism, then you're a dick.
The CD features a version of the song performed by singer Kate Miller-Heidke alongside traditional Christmas carols performed by the likes of Tina Arena and Delta Goodrem.
It is sold exclusively in Myer stores – but a spokesman was quick to distance himself from the Tim Minchin track, saying: ‘We don't support the lyrics in the song and don't produce the actual CD.’
Family Council of Victoria's Bill Muehlenberg said: ‘It's not quite in the spirit of Christmas. Is this somebody's idea of a sick joke?’
And Rob Ward of the Australian Christian Lobby said the song was ‘disrespectful’.
While White Wine In The Sun is largely about the joy of family reunions at Christmas, it contains a few lines about organised religion.
One verse goes: ‘I'm ambivalent to churches / Some of the hymns that they sing have nice chords / Though the lyrics are dodgy / And yes I have all of the usual objections to miseducation / Of children forced into a cult institution and taught to externalise blame / And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right or wrong / But I quite like the songs.’