TV Channel cleared of blasphemy charges
If you’re like me, you might be wondering what it takes to get arrested on blasphemy charges in the UK (I have a vested interest in this question, after all). Well, not a hell of a lot as it turns out. Last November, Rowan Atkinson (of Mr. Bean fame) did a fairly innocuous sketch on ITV for the Prince of Wales’ 60th Birthday. His act involved dressing as a vicar and making a few milk-toast jokes about Jesus (including one where after turning water into wine, he’s asked if he does kid’s parties).
As a result, the station received over 500 complaints from humorless Christians wishing to use Britain’s pussy blasphemy laws to silence any mockery of their ludicrous beliefs, and because it’s now illegal to “entice religious hatred”, overly sensitive religious rubes can now use the long arm of the law to silence any criticism of their belief. Luckily, he’s been recently cleared of all charges.
This isn’t the first time Rowan has been fighting against this ridiculousness. In 2004, Rowan was battling the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill that included measures against “inciting religious hatred”:
But Mr Atkinson and his fellow critics oppose part of the bill which will create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred to protect faith groups, particularly Muslims, from attack.
Mr Atkinson told a meeting at the House of Commons on Monday night there are “quite a few sketches” he has performed which would come into conflict with the proposed law.
The blasphemy elements were expunged from the bill, but later became “The Racial and Religious Hatred Act” passed in 2006. While the drafters claimed it would only be used to stop people from stirring up religious hatred, it’s instead being used to censor guys like Atkinson who “upset” overly sensitive Christians who can’t bother to defend their beliefs themselves.
Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said: “It is about protecting the believer, not the belief.”
Protect them from what? Reality? Can we stop making it a crime to speak your fucking mind already?