Posts Tagged ‘Gay News’

Back door blasphemy prosecution in Liverpool

20/03/2010

manicstreetpreacher reports on the latest case of religious views receiving special treatment.

I bet you thought that the UK finally did away with blasphemy in 2008?  The National Secular Society held a party featuring gay actor Ian McKellen reading aloud James Kirkup’s poem The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name, which was the subject of “Scary” Mary Whitehouse’s prosecution for blasphemous libel against Denis Lemon, the editor of Gay News in 1977.  A ridiculous anachronism finally buried in these progressive times, right?

Well, think again.  Harry Taylor, 59, from Manchester was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court on 3 March 2010 of causing “religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress”, which carries a maximum seven-year prison sentence, by leaving obscene material depicting figures from Christianity and Islam in the multi-faith room at Liverpool John Lennon Airport on 2, 26 November and 12 December 2008.

Taylor, who labelled himself a “militant atheist” admitted placing the items in the prayer room on three separate occasions, but insisted he was simply practising his own religion of “reason and rationality”.

Taylor told jurors he had left the items in the room in memory of “his hero” John Lennon before reciting the words from the song Imagine.

He said: “The airport is named after one of my heroes and his view on religion was pretty much the same as mine. I thought it was an insult to his memory to have a prayer room in his airport.”

Giving evidence in his own defence, Taylor admitted being “strongly anti-religious” after being treated badly by the Catholic brothers as a boy growing up in Dublin.

The first reaction of the airport chaplain, Nicky Lees, was to call the duty manager and the airport police, saying that she was “insulted, deeply offended and alarmed” after seeing one of the cartoons Taylor left:

Taylor, who is due to be sentenced on 23 April 2010, also left some of the infamous Danish cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Mohammed and one of a pig excreting sausages labelled “Qur’an”.

The story has been very well publicised in secular circles, with entries appearing on the websites of the NSS, the New Humanist, MediaWatchWatch, The Freethinker and the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society.  Comments have been decidedly mixed.  Many agree with NSS president, Terry Sanderson, who said:

This is a disgraceful verdict, but an inevitable one under this pernicious law. It seems incredible in the 21st century that you might be sent to prison because someone is ‘offended’ by your views on their religion.  The blasphemy law was abolished three years ago, but it lives on under the guise of religiously aggravated offences and is several times more dangerous.

However, plenty of bloggers who have disowned Taylor as a fringe lunatic.  Paul Sims on New Humanist concluded:

If free speech has its limits at the point where it becomes something like harassment, surely Taylor’s behaviour was fairly close to that line?  But at the same time, it hardly seems like something worthy of a jail sentence.  Certainly at the age of 59 he should have known better (and for that matter have better things to be doing with his time).  If he had an objection to the airport prayer room on account of his own “religion of reason and rationality”, why didn’t he express it rationally and write a letter?

I was in two minds on whether I should support Taylor.  On the one hand, he seems to be a bit of a crank.  There is a time and place for talking people out of their faith and there are ways and means of doing it.  Perhaps leaving deliberately provocative cartoons in a prayer room is not the best way to go about it.

But then again, I’ve spoken about Wahhabi extremists brainwashing their children into becoming suicide bombers at a university Islamic society hosted event in front of a crowd mostly wearing headscarves and was very nearly lynched for it, so what do I know?

While I don’t agree with Taylor’s methods, I think this is an appalling infringement of free speech.  Taylor didn’t kill anybody or even threaten violence.  That’s a vast improvement on what happens when religious people get annoyed straight off.  He expressed a view.  He made his true feelings known.  He challenged presupposition and dogma.  As the controversial film director Ken Russell once pointed out, subtly does not work on people these days; if you kick them in the balls, you’ll find you have their complete attention.

Cartoons of pigs excreting sausages labelled “Qur’an”?  I’ve read the book for myself and quite frankly, “excremental” is rather kind. I am insulted and offended every time someone tries to tell me that these books are miraculous and can only be explained by the authorship of the all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing Thing That Made The Things For Which There Is No Know Maker.  Is anyone going to demand a criminal prosecution for “religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress” to remedy my hurt feelings?

…slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush…

– Koran 9: 5

New Zealand Christians outraged by poster of Mary and Joseph after sex

17/12/2009

manicstreetpreacher: LMFAO

I have come across this hilarious article on The Daily Telegraph website regarding the poster below which was vandalised after being displayed at a church in Auckland, New Zealand:

The large poster depicts a dejected-looking Joseph lying next to Mary, whose eyes are turned heavenwards, under the words: “Poor Joseph.  God was a hard act to follow.”…

Within hours of the billboard being erected outside the Anglican church of St Matthew’s in the City, in central Auckland, it had been attacked by a man who clambered on to the roof of his car to smear brown paint over it.

As a result it was almost obliterated and the church, which describes itself as “progressive”, is seeking a replacement.

Archdeacon Glynn Cardy said the billboard was intended to lampoon the literal interpretation of the Christmas conception story “and that somehow this male God impregnated Mary”.

“What we’re trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is all about,” he said.

“We actually think God is about the power of love as shown in Jesus, which is something quite different than a literal man up in the sky.”…

St Matthew’s was inundated with angry phone calls and emails soon after the billboard appeared at a busy street corner on Thursday.

The poster also sparked a barrage of comments to radio stations and on internet websites.

Among leading critics was Lyndsay Freer, a spokesman for the Catholic Church, who said: “This is disrespectful and offensive to all Christians.

“It’s flying in the face of our 2,000-year-old beliefs,” she said.

Too flaming right!  This is a piece of blasphemy up there with the infamous Mary Whitehouse –v- Lemon & Gay News poem by James Kirkup, The Love that Dares to Speak Its Name, depicting homosexual necrophilia on the body of Christ and the BBC’s showing of Jerry Springer: The Opera.

Someone deserves to be canonised into the gallery comedic terrorists!

UPDATE: RichardDawkins.net has posted the story after I forwarded them the link.  Some of the comments are hilarious:

Comment #442632 by Rosbif on December 17, 2009 at 6:35 pm

If God made man in his own image, size couldn’t be the problem.

Comment #442637 by Art Vandelay on December 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

And guess who’s name she was calling out all the way through…?

Comment #442665 by chameleonpete on December 17, 2009 at 7:37 pm

it just demands a caption comp…..

Yey again Mary and Joseph argued about who was sleeping in the wet patch

or

Mary was getting sick of Joseph’s nun fetish.

Comment #442679 by SaintStephen on December 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Damn… missed the obvious one:

Is carpenter Joe having trouble getting wood?

Comment #442682 by squinky on December 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Caption: Years after being married, Joseph’s advances are again rebuffed by Mary the virgin.  Again, Joseph must rub one out.

Comment #442692 by root2squared on December 17, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Caption: Joseph wished he could cure headaches instantaneously like god.

Comment #442708 by GODisNOT on December 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Joy to the world, the lord has cumm! :)) 😉

One commenter has submitted an improved version of the picture:

Another commenter has posted a link to this hilarious picture which is in a similar vein:

And another commenter has submitted NZ newspaper articles before and after the paint attack.

Finally, one commenter has managed to make a serious point:

Comment #442671 by sibias1978 on December 17, 2009 at 7:52 pm

It is somewhat distressing to recall that three years ago every single newspaper in Great Britain had refrained from publishing the Danish cartoons on Muhammad in a grotesque display of cowardice and appeasement.  Religion rarely deserves the respect it asks of non-believers or the reverence it demands from believers.   However when ridicule is directed at one particular religion while simultaneously ensuring that it provokes the least amount of backlash it becomes difficult to applaud.