Retailer pulls magazine off shelves for blasphemy

The Star, a Johannesburg newspaper, reported on 20 February 2009 that a leading South African food retailer, Pick 'n Pay, pulled a student magazine off its shelves in response to complaints by Christians. The story was also reported the next day in the Saturday Star. The magazine in question, the SAX Appeal, is produced annually by students of the University of Cape Town for charity and is sponsored by Pick 'n Pay.

The magazine reportedly had an article entitled "Top Ten Atheist Retorts to Fundamentalist Christians", which included things like:
- "Jesus died for our sins. - I bet he feels like a tool now."
- "Praise the Lord. It's a miracle! - No you stupid C.*.*.T." (Christian who Understands No Theorems), statistically they happen every 365 days." Apparently, god was called a "pervert".

More details are reported on a Christian website http://galmin.co.za/myblog/?p=437.

Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute charged that the SAX Appeal "grossly overstepped the boundaries of decency and respect of individual beliefs individual religious beliefs".

The South African cartoonist, Zapiro, said that he thought that religions got far too much respect.

For me, although I find the Christians' touchiness about a silly students' rag magazine annoying, I don't know if it's worth writing to Pick 'n Pay. For anyone who wants to do so though, you can go to:
http://www.picknpay.com/static/section/index.php?page_id=3041

UPDATE 24/2/09:

The Christians have also reportedly lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission and have been putting pressure on UCT. Here are some statements which have been issued from UCT:

Statement from the RAG Committee Chairman

It has become clear that many people of the Christian faith have been hurt and insulted by some of the contents in our magazine, SAX Appeal 2009. UCT RAG unreservedly apologises to everyone who has been offended in this way. We value all the responses and comments that we have received and we will endeavour to ensure that nothing like this happens in the future. We believe that, in our honest intention to raise funds for the needy, we overstepped the mark and we hope that you will accept our unconditional apology.

Cameron Arendse
RAG Committee Chair


Statement from the Vice-Chancellor:

The recent SAX Appeal has rightly caused an outcry from many people and some of its articles have caused deep offence.

The chairperson of RAG, Cameron Arendse, has apologised unreservedly for the offence it has caused.

I believe this apology is appropriate and I have a strong view that the editorial team overstepped the boundaries.

I have asked that the Editorial team meet with UCT Management as soon as possible. We will revisit the role of the editorial advisory board that should work with students to advise on the publication’s content.

Many of us regardless of religious affiliation have been offended by aspects in the publication and for those let me add my apology.

Dr Max Price
VICE-CHANCELLOR



And for light relief, here is a cartoon by Zapiro on navigating around religious sensitivities http://www.mg.co.za/zapiro/fullcartoon/211

Tags: Liberalism, blasphemy

Views: 25

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Replies to This Discussion

Still think theism doesn't affect you ?
Maybe the Christians had a right to be offended. The article was offensive.
Letting words offend you is a baby step down the same path that culminates in suicide bombing.
I agree with felch, who do these fucktards think they are forcing their narrow-minded medieval beliefs onto other people? Sorry Deborah, but no-one has a "right" not to be offended. Problem is, this is but the thin end of the wedge. Look at what is happening in Britain and the Netherlands, when a film maker has his life threatened and he gets barred from entering a country because of religious fanatics. And so what if the article was offensive? There are lots of things published that offend me but I don't go around trying to censor them. I am offended every time I drive by a church and see their posted bible verses on their notice board. I still don't try and force my views on them.

I am starting to get very concerned about this growing trend. Last year the xtians had a concert tour by the band Devildriver cancelled by putting pressure on the promoters. When my friends who play in a band called Architecture of Agression put on a concert called Rock Aganst Religion the venue was picketed by xtians. I was preached at by some xtian idiot telling me I'm going to hell, how offensive is that? I just laughed it off, so why do they have the "right" to censor other people's free speech?

We may not be as bad as some other countries yet, but this is a worrying trend.
I'm against threats of violence but at least the Christians have not been violent or issued threats of violence. Maybe the Christians see the article as an incitement towards hatred against them. Should incitements towards hatred always be condoned?
The point here is that it was satire. No-one was inciting hatred towards any-one. If the xtians see it as such that is their problem. They still have no right to censor other people. Being told I'm going to hell isn't hatred? Sorry, but that is a double standard.
Disagreeing, and even ridiculing is not hatred. If it were we'd call the comics page the "hate page." I don't hate xtians, but I will defend my right to offend them. They can't dictate the freedom of speech of others by censoring things that contradict or lampoon their beliefs.
NIce one Valis.
Christians have been bombing the shit out of other Nations for years and thats cool.
FUCK EM
Would you hold the same line in relation to offensive articles about, say, a marginalised ethnic group?
Yes I would. Freedom of speech is an absolute. Any restrictions at all and you have no freedom of speech. "I may despise what you are saying, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." (This of course excludes the well-known example of shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theatre.)
And what about making a film where Jews are compared to rats as happened in Nazi Germany?
I have plenty of those. They're call "historical artefacts". I even paid for a copy of the propaganda classic _Triumph of the Will_.

But don't blur the point - there is a HUGE difference between criticism and vicious satire of beliefs, and that of personal attacks against person or a race. You are using the same kind of perverted logic that repugnant fundamentalists use to justify themselves. You can cut the throat of a western journalist for a jihadi website, but you can't cut the throat of an abstraction like a belief.

People are not the same as beliefs.

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