Activist Stephen Green of the group Christian Voice is attempting to sue the BBC for blasphemy because it aired Jerry Springer – The Opera back in 2005. The opera—a satire based on Jerry Springer’s crass, provocative talk show—refers to Jesus as “a little bit gay” and “that perv in a nappy,” among other things. A hearing about whether Green can prosecute the BBC wrapped up Wednesday, but it's uncertain when judges will hand down a written verdict,
What the commentators said
“There is a growing case that the laws of blasphemy are anachronistic, inconsistent and ripe for repeal,” said Frances Gibb in the Times Online. One of the most convincing arguments is that “blasphemy applies only to Christianity,” and “members of a particular religion should be neither privileged nor disadvantaged by the criminal law.” And they certainly shouldn't be able to use the laws “to stifle freedom of expression.”
“We Christians support free speech,” said the Christian Voice on their website. “We should all be free to criticize one another’s religion in decent, respectful, moderate tones.” But there are limits. Would you “deliberately insult a stranger in the street? So why would someone want to insult God, Jesus Christ, and Christian believers?”
Fair enough, said Mark Vernon in the Guardian, but blasphemy laws don't do anybody any good. They do nothing to safeguard the rights of "people of religious belief." They only stir up ill will, because they're "a blemish on modern secular society."
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