It's perfectly natural to choose a building reknowned for worshipping supernatural beings, as the fanstasy site of a science fiction contest between good and evil. But the clergy in Manchester Cathedral have missed it.
Instead they see the siting of the game as some kind of affront to their faith. Yet again we have some religious group trying to grant rights based on belief in mythical beings. They clearly don't understand that ideas themselves do not deserve respect and simply trying to link the religious use of a building to the building itself isn't enough.
The ethical argument against computer games involving players shooting up other beings, or even people, ought to be based on the behaviour patterns it might be seen to encourage and fair play, some of the religious folk have voiced this concern. The argument is a strong one irrespective of where the building happens to be.
But they claim affront because some religious symbol that they've chosen to worship is not afforded the reverence they want to show it. But whether we revere a symbol depends on our belief system. For those rational people looking at the building, be it a cathedral, church, mosque, or anything else, they bring to its observation all sorts of cultural values. Some appreciate the architecture, the craftsmanship, the setting, the colour, the aesthetics of the decorations, some associate important events with the building. But it's hard to see how any one building deserves any more or less consideration than anywhere else.
The backdrop of the game was in any case a computer simulation, likely to have been drawn from a library of graphics. I wonder how many of them would have taken the trouble to raise the issue at all if the game had been sited in some workplace, council offices, city streets, maybe Belfast or Baghdad, or Kabul.
It's hard to take these ethical rants seriously when they are more concerned with their symbols than campaigning against the real war games going on in the middle east. We also have to ask ourselves about the ranks of the religious amongst the cabinet who all dutifully lined up to vote for sanctions against Iraq condemning hundreds of thousands of children to their deaths.
Ethics in the abstract is a comfortable arena for some moralistic tub-thumping but where it really matters, in the real world, the clerics seem rather less concerned and typically find plenty of ways to overcome their scruples.
It's the antisocial content of the games that offends but other than that, siting a fictional game in a building associated with fictional beings doesn't seem like anything more than a designer finding a building with the right ambience, just like finding a Bavarian chateau for a vampire.