Hugh Dallas quits over 'anti-Pope' email
The Roman Catholic Church called it a 'tasteless message' and demanded that the SFA sack Mr Dallas. The Director of the Catholic Media Office, Peter Kearney, urged very swift retribution. He said the email was 'totally unprofessional, gratuitously insulting to the Pope, deeply offensive to the Catholic community of Scotland and an incitement to anti-Catholic sectarianism'.
An incitement to anti-Catholic sectarianism?
But this is Scotland, where certain Rangers-Celtic tensions are but a breath away from the IRA-UDF civil war.
It is where even the 'Hokey Cokey’ is an expression of 'faith hate'.
It is where politicians have urged the police to arrest anyone using the song to taunt Roman Catholics under legislation designed to prevent incitement to religious hatred.
The SFA have been assiduously trying to stamp out sectarianism, and so they had no choice but to bow to the demands of the Roman Catholic Church: Hugh Dallas had to go.
When does humour become unacceptobly sectarian?
Is this Peter Brookes cartoon, which appeared in The Times last year, sectarian?
Is it an 'incitement to hatred'?
Or is it artistic genius communicating what a thousand words does not?
There is no doubt that the Pope caused dismay among HIV/AIDS campaigners last March when he declared on a trip to Africa that condoms were not the solution to the epidemic ravaging the continent. He said that the disease 'cannot be overcome by distributing condoms – it only increases the problem'. He unequivocally condemned the use of condoms even as a means of preventing the spread of HIV.
By portraying Pope Benedict with a condom on his head, Peter Brookes was ridiculing this assertion.
And yet many Roman Catholics saw it as an attack on the Pope personally.
But after last week's 'clarifications' on condom usage (however they finally translate), perhaps Mr Brookes might feel vindicated.
The Hugh Dallas email is crude in comparison: there is no artistry to speak of at all. And yet it communicates a sense of righteous indignation that there has been a cover-up of priestly paedophilia even at the highest level.
Are we now at the point where religion - all religion - is protected from criticism and immune to ridicule and satire?
Are all to be 'standardised'; rendered void of levity and humour?
Are we seeing the prohibition and systematic redefining of a great British characteristic?
What about the Guardian's anti-Semitism?
The BBC's anti-Anglicanism?
Would Hugh Dallas have been sacked for sending out an email which offended Protestants?