26 February 2006
The show Jerry Springer: The Opera starts at De Montfort Hall 27 February until 4 March. Members of Leicester Secular Society will be displaying a banner outside the gates of Victoria Park in support of the producers of the show who have been under attack from extreme christian sects who regard it as blasphemous or insulting rather than satirical.
This is just one of a series of attacks on freedom of speech. Other cases are the protests, and indeed riots, ostensibly against the Mohammed Cartoons, which we discussed here earlier this month, and the Sikh protest against the play Bezhti in Birmingham last year.
It seems that it is people who hold to fragile beliefs that cannot withstand the heat of open discussion who protest the loudest. Their emotional reaction derives from their fear that unbiased examination of the origins of their beliefs will undermine their faith.
On the other hand, rational thinkers don't mind people criticising or ridiculing their beliefs. If someone contradicts what we believe to be true, we just ask: well show us the evidence then. What annoys us the most is misrepresentation or denial of established scientific truth, as for example in the case of young-Earth creationists denying evolution, or propagandists denying the historical truth of the Nazi gas-chambers.
Should we not therefore be more forceful in saying what we really think, even if it offends those who are over-sensitive? Too many people are starting to censor themselves out of a mistaken desire not to offend or out of fear of stirring up trouble. Let's have it all out in the open and not be afraid of the truth. We should be free to condemn or ridicule people who spread false teachings, religious nonsense or inhumane dogma.
"Jesus Christ is the most important person in my life ... more important than my immediate and extended family". How sad is such an inhuman view!
"God is so powerful that we naturally pray to Him when we are in peril. Our whole nation prayed during the Second World War and we were saved miraculously." That is surely an insult to the whole nation! Much human effort and ingenuity was expended and many lives were lost in that struggle, by people of all beliefs.
My mate, X, was going round Europe by train on an Inter-rail ticket. Travelling with her was another teenage girl who, as she found out when the train was pulling out of Waterloo, was a born-again Christian.
A few days into the trip, they were sat in a train compartment, when a respectably dressed man got in, sat down, and got his cock out. X looked at her travelling companion, who sat frozen to the spot. She decided that she was on her own. So she said "Oh, put it away.", picked up his bag and coat, and flung them into the corridor. He followed.
"Why didn't you do anything?" X said to her companion.
"Oh but I did", she replied. "I prayed that you'd do something, and God answered my prayer."
It seems the comment facility just cuts short long URLs. Lets see if it can handle an HTML link.