Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Right To Be Offensive

Merrick, 6th April 2000ce

In February BBC TV comedy Goodness Gracious Me featured a sketch showing Asians trying to be British, and it included them having Holy Communion and putting chutney on the wafer. Christians complained to the BBC that it made fun of them, and the BBC have apologised!

Why can't we make fun of communion wafers and religions? How come we can mercilessly ridicule politicians - even ones who've done nothing wrong - and that's all OK, but you can't take the piss out of someone for holding a belief most people find ludicrous?

The reason is that politicians are dealing with mere human values whereas the Christians are playing by God's Rules, and God is above human laws, God is exempt from criticism, or even a bit of piss-taking. By playing along with them (as the BBC has done by apologising for the Goodness Gracious Me sketch), we're half-way agreeing that yes, they are divinely inspired and infallible and sacrosanct, a rank above humble human laws.

But the human laws apply to all of us, and so if anything they deserve more respect than the arbitrary, contradictory and clearly invented ideas Christians say are unquestionably divine.

It's the human laws that are all that stand between us and a range of tortures and burnings from the Christians. Christianity is not just about bumbling vicars camply mumbling about the sin of unmarried parents. The Churches have spent most of the last thousand years having colossal sprees of torture and murder against those of us who don't actively agree with them. And they haven't changed their beliefs. They still think they have the One True Way to live, and that us Unbelievers are damned to literally burn in hell, literally forever. They would burn our living bodies to save our immortal souls again, given the chance.

But we should be free to ridicule both the human earthly ideas and the religious ones. Freedom of speech means the freedom for someone to say something you actively despise. If you don't believe in that, you don't believe in freedom of speech. It's that simple. Even Hitler and Stalin would let you say what you want as long as you agreed with them. The right to disagree and the right to offend are the right to free speech.

Why can you only complain about things people have said and try to gag people? Where do I complain to to stop the gagging? Why are you only allowed to object to people saying their piece and not object to their being censored.

It means we get ruled by the complainers and end up with the most molly-coddling, unchallenging, diluted pap, which - as a whole - is way more offensive than any blasphemy or swearing. These bastards have stopped Life Of Brian being shown on British TV for twenty years.

And if a religion can't take a TV comedy putting chutney on their wafers then the religion is too flimsy or too paranoid to be worth anything but ridicule.


Originally broadcast as a spoken piece on
Radio Savage Houndy Beasty,
Leeds Student Radio,
2nd April 2000ce.