Well, the secular media have finally broken the story of Tony Anthony.
The book was a phenomenon. It was translated into 25 languages and won the Christian Booksellers’ Convention Award in 2005.
But now, following a sustained internet campaign by a group of Christians who doubted Anthony’s claims almost from the start, it appears that little of the book is true.
The revelation is acutely embarrassing for the Evangelical Alliance, an influential organisation representing 2 million Christians in the UK, which championed the author. Anthony, who founded his own organisation, Avanti Ministries, was the star speaker during the alliance-backed Global Day of Prayer in 2010, attended by the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
After an independent investigation, a panel appointed by the alliance has concluded that Anthony had, at best, a sketchy relationship with the truth. In a statement on its website the alliance acknowledges that “large sections of the book Taming the Tiger, and associated materials, which claim to tell the true story of Tony Anthony’s life, do not do so”.
Critics of Anthony, who raised suspicions that many of his claims were untrue as far back as 2005, are now asking why it took the alliance until last year to launch an investigation.
In his book Anthony explains how in 2000 he thought he had hit a “small deer or fox” after his car hit Elizabeth Bracewell, 39, the sister of the former England footballer, Paul Bracewell. She died as a result of her injuries.
During his trial after the death, Anthony, from Southend-on-Sea, was described by the judge as a “devious and manipulative man” who had “deliberately embroidered his story” to throw police off the scent. He was given a 15-month sentence after admitting perverting the course of justice.
Again, I make the point that not even basic checking was done on this man. He has a serious history of dishonesty, and was clearly making up large chunks of his story.
Unsurprisingly, the comments are full of people making disparaging remarks about Christianity.
And frankly, not all of them are undeserved.