Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sunday Times' Last Supper blasphemy

We are all used to Christian sensitivities being ignored and Christian iconography perverted, while those things which are precious to minority faiths are invariably respected and revered. Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the most sacred period in the Christian liturgical calendar. And the Sunday Times decides to publish this 'Last Supper' graphic alongside their 'cash-for-access' story.

His Grace thanks Austen Ivereigh for bringing it to his attention. It is absolutely appalling. Did John Witherow edit this edition? Or was it Ian Brunskill? Whoever it was, complaints need to be made. Lots of them. It is bad enough having to put up with this on an ordinary day. But Holy Week?


Blogger carl jacobs said...

What is the connection between the Last Supper and this scandal? I look at this photo-shopped picture, and I can't comprehend why it's supposed to be funny. Or biting. Or ironic. Or whatever. It just seems gratuitous. Or perhaps dumb. Is it supposed to contrast the seriousness of the Last Supper with the frivolity of paying money to meet someone? What exactly is the point?


1 April 2012 at 20:57  
Blogger Bob Churchill said...

I dont get it. Other than borrowing from a rennaisance painting depicting a biblical event it's not obviously hateful or offensive. Unless His Grace thinks all depictions of biblical events subverted for satirical purposes are wrong? Surely His Grace doesn't want emulate Islamic sensitivities to mere depiction of religious imagery?

1 April 2012 at 20:59  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

It just shows the baseness of the shits who work in journalism these days that they either don't know this is the holiest week of the Christian faith or if they do, they just don't care. They are beyond contempt. Would I censor them? No. Do I think they are abominable? Yes.

1 April 2012 at 20:59  
Blogger Bob Churchill said...

I agree it's not that clever btw - presumably the implication is that the last cash-for-access supper may have been had. But what's to complain about at a "blasphemy" level (the very concept of ehich is archaic anyway..!)?

1 April 2012 at 21:01  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

The people who write this must surely be aware of their hypocrisy. There is absolutely no way that they would even consider a similar cartoon using Mohammed. Islam it seems is the established religion of the UK according to the media.

1 April 2012 at 21:32  
Blogger non mouse said...

A couple of possibilities, Your Grace.
Either they are indeed so vapid as to suppose that a beard suits the secondary object of their scorn.

Or.. Could they be millenialists?

(Matt. 24) 2.And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
[. . .] 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place [. . .] 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together (KJV.

1 April 2012 at 21:37  
Blogger non mouse said...


43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh. 45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (KJV.

1 April 2012 at 21:40  
Blogger non mouse said...

Whichever way we take it, the picture isn't pretty.

1 April 2012 at 21:44  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
It was said the the BBC's opinion was 'You can knock the Christians, they can take it'.
Seems like the theory is spreading.
How sick is it to represent Jesus by Cameron?

1 April 2012 at 21:58  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

So will the Sunday Times be publishing some similar photo shopped pictures of muslims when Ramadan comes around in order that theybe equal and unbiased? I bet not.

It's easy to take the piss out of soft targets so unless they are prepared to take the piss out of every religion and everyone, they should leave the Christians alone. It's not even slightly amusing anyway.

1 April 2012 at 22:19  
Blogger Oswin said...

Not terribly funny, but it is a skit against Cameron, and not against Jesus. If I may, Your Grace, your own piece of April-Foolery might, in certain quarters perhaps, be seen as a little untoward too? (We'll not mention the Bradford West piece!) ;o)

1 April 2012 at 22:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

btw, we should be discriminating about what we call blasphemous. 'Life of Brian' was blasphemous - the most blasphemous work I have ever seen. This is just dumb. And I can't really get too worked up about it because it doesn't seem like a mockery of the Lord Jesus. I could be convinced otherwise, but right now it seems like a mockery of a political figure.

Is it poorly timed? Yes. Was the picture used because this is Holy Week? I have no doubt. Would the media do this to Islam? Well, no, but then the media isn't really afraid that Christians would slam a clip in an AK47 over a picture, so that's sort of a back-handed compliment. Is it irritating that the secular media sees Christian imagery as proper fodder for its obtuse humor? Yes. But blasphemy? I suspect that was the farthest thing from the mind of the individual who put this together. It's more likely he just didn't think anyone would be offended. Well, anyone important that is.


1 April 2012 at 23:13  
Blogger Owl said...

maybe it is more subtle than it might first appear.

As a joke it fails completely but what it does get over, at a subconscious level at least, is that Cameron is taking the place of Jesus.

Think about it.

1 April 2012 at 23:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Christianity will be here and strong when the author of that struggling humour is dust.

1 April 2012 at 23:40  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Gay Butterfly said...

Owl has a point.

Cameron is selling his soul for popularity, forgetting the Chalice placed before him. Imagine who's feet he's been licking and washing.

Who's the woman? There was no female at the Last Supper.

2 April 2012 at 00:33  
Blogger non mouse said...

Mr. Jacobs @ 23:13 - I couldn't agree more on Life of Brian. And I lean both to your view and Oswin's that we have here indictment of Cameron for playing God.

Do the writers imply that Cameron has had his last supper? Perhaps, someone who has read the accompanying text will know that, or whether he is also seen as playing martyr or betrayed ruler. That role would certainly lead to my AntiChrist allusion (above), for Cameron is no Redeemer, but a traitor of the people he presumes are 'his.'

If the authors intend to denigrate imagery of Christ---then their ignorance of context, especially apolcalyptic context, makes the petard backfire!

In any case, I agree the choice is extremely bad taste.

2 April 2012 at 01:09  
Blogger gresham58 said...

Isn't blasphemy taking the name of the lord in vain? I don't see any of that here. His Grace on the other hand appears to be rather close to the sin of idolatry.

2 April 2012 at 05:13  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

So why are minority faiths revered and respected and why is Christianity regarded as less than nothing?

What does this turning of the other cheek and pussy footing around achieve ... being walked over like a doormat?

Where does it say in the scriptures that you must gather in a little corner holding crosses while they set the lions on you.

There must be a fight back verse in the bible somewhere!If there isn't it probably got mislaid by those stupid Greek theologians of the early Church.

2 April 2012 at 07:43  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Oh grow up and get over it.
There is no such thing as "blasphemy".
If BigSky Fairy is all powerful why doesn't he/she/it/they deal with it.
Get a life.

Meanwhile the RC church is grossly offending travellers on the Circle line with "stations of the cross" (eugh) posters, promoting their version of your death-cult.

2 April 2012 at 07:56  
Blogger IanCad said...

Dodo @ 00:33,
The woman is, most likely, Rebekah Brooks. Note the horsey allusions of the word "Meet" and in the physiognomy of the subject.

Don't expect much from British humour. It is, generally, scatological, puerile and prurient. I'm sorry to say that IMO the Americans are far more verbally endowed in their sense of comedy.

2 April 2012 at 08:28  
Blogger Windsor Tripehound said...

G. Tingey said...
Oh grow up and get over it.
There is no such thing as "blasphemy".
If BigSky Fairy is all powerful why doesn't he/she/it/they deal with it.

More extracts from the GCSE R.E. project. And by the way, that last sentence should have been terminated with a question mark - you'll be docked one house-point!

2 April 2012 at 09:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Gay Butterfly said...

There is the doctrine of the "Two Swords"; much misunderstood and misinterpretated these days because of the protestant embrace of liberalism and secular toleration.

In case Danj0 springs into action, let me say it does not mean the Church running the State or burning people at the stake in the 21st century.

The Greek theologians were not "stupid"!

2 April 2012 at 10:25  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Surely the woman is simply Mrs Cameron?

2 April 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

In any case, for goodness sake get a life.

2 April 2012 at 11:06  
Blogger bluedog said...

See the positives, Your Grace.

At least the Christian religion is a sufficiently powerful metaphor to need no explanation. By contrasting Dave with the altruism, integrity and sacrifice of Christ at the Last Supper, Dave is implicitly made to appear the shallow sleaze that he is.

Importantly, the cartoon is a contrasting exercise in freedom of speech. We Christians may be enjoined to turn the other cheek, but aren't we big enough to rise above something this trifling? Our Muslim cousins seem rather touchy and would react with ill-judged hysteria to a cartoon depicting Mahommed, as we have seen.

In short, by the Grace of God, Christianity comes out of this rather well.

2 April 2012 at 11:28  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"If BigSky Fairy is all powerful why doesn't he/she/it/they deal with it.
Get a life."

Gosh, that's witty and original!

2 April 2012 at 11:40  
Blogger non mouse said...

Jocelyn --- if that's who she is, we don't care about her.

nb if the feminists take on... first of all Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Joanna are mentioned later in Holy Week.

Second of all, it strikes me as appropriate that they are not present at the ending of blood sacrifice.

2 April 2012 at 11:48  
Blogger Berserker said...

Fatwas all round, I think. Are they double decker sandwiches or burgers on the table?

This is a very amateurish photoshop effort Of Mr and Mrs Dave.

The Times of India did a The Last Supper cartoon in 2010 to draw attention to rising food prices.

2 April 2012 at 12:33  
Blogger Oswin said...

Owl @ 32:31 : sorry, I don't see that at all. Whatever Cameron might think of himself, and of his own position, NONE of the rest of us agree with him; thus, as a point, it is rendered er, well pointless. It is as subtle as my left foot, and about as funny. I don't think it clever, amusing or appropriate, but I've seen far worse go unnoticed.

I hate the expression but, all I ask for is a 'level playing field' where other religions are similarly treated, is all.

2 April 2012 at 14:10  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...


"I hate the expression but, all I ask for is a 'level playing field' where other religions are similarly treated, is all."

But just await the response to a 'level playing field'..

Imagine a cartoon of Mohammed saluting Galloway, for his courage, his strength, and indefatigability when having to deal with the 'kafir's', on Islam's behalf.

*kaboom*, *blam*, *boom*, ,*ssshblamm*,*kapow*..!!!


2 April 2012 at 16:23  
Blogger Owl said...


I wasn't thinking about people such as your good self who has a functioning non-programmed brain.

The mind dead might be influenced to make a connection. They get influenced by every nonsense going.

Have to be the odd one out again but I thought that the Life Of Brian was one of the most brilliantly funny films I have ever seen.

I have never witnessed a better satire on the absurdity of mankind.

I fail to see any blasphemy whatsoever in the film.

That our North American friend misunderstand British humour is quite well known.

If you remember the rumpus over John Lennon's comments many years ago, I have never been quite sure if they understand the English language at all. Mind you, a Liverpudlian accent might not have helped.

Well, we must keep up the good fight and see that charlatan Dave gets taken down without being replaced with another "heir of Blair".

Damn, bloody Fabians, one and all!

3 April 2012 at 02:09  
Blogger Janet said...

Since you obviously aren't familiar with the best of British humour, you're in for a treat!:

'Cold Comfort Farm'(Stella Gibbons)
War memoirs of Spike Milligan
'Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy'
'Pride and Prejudice'(Jane Austen)
Flashman novels (G M Fraser)
'Three men in a boat' (J K Jerome)
Novels of PG Wodehouse
'The Complete Molesworth'
'Alice in Wonderland'
'1066 and all that'
'Lucky Jim' (Kinglsey Amis)
Noel Coward humorous songs
Alan Coren columns
'Round the Horne' (radio comedy)
'Yes, Minister' (political sitcom)
'Monty Python'
'Porridge' (sitcom)
'Fawlty Towers' (sitcom)
'I'm all right, Jack' (film)

3 April 2012 at 09:56  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

Jesus is big enough and scary enough to endure mockery, and its nothing new. Britain is now a pagan country, recognising this by statute might wake a few dreamers up. But no opportunity should be missed to point out that we Christians patiently endure this sort of thing, so others must as well especially since 'Equality' is one of the new pantheon of gods to be worshipped and sacrificed to.

Since this is so, lets campaign for a total free speech law, preferably as part of a British (or, even better, English) Bill of Rights. Better to concede blasphemy and firmly establish free speech.

I am willing to endure Christ mocked and slighted as long as I am able to freely point to the scriptures about false prophets, particularly Paul's comments to the Galatians where he said that if anyone brought a diferent gospel 'even if it was us, or an angel' let them be accursed. I demand the freedom to note what an excellent fit the Arabian camel driver who said he had a new gospel he had got from an angel is for this description.

3 April 2012 at 10:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I must admit the British humor has always struck me as being similar to Vogon poetry. Monty Python excepted, of course. I tried to read PG Wodehouse once and failed. Public television in the US has shown many British TV sitcoms. 'Fawlty Towers', and some others. I found them unwatchable. And you couldn't beat me with a stick into reading Jane Austin - although I would never consider a romance novel to fall within the category of humor in the first place.

I struggle to understand why this is the case. It's certainly not for lack of creative talent because there is nothing in the US that even approaches the best British crimes dramas. And (ironically enough) the humor laced into those shows is genuinely funny. It's always been a mystery to me why those British shows that are supposed to be funny never make me laugh.

Monty Python excepted of course. The Dead Parrot Sketch is a certain competitor for Best Comedy Skit Ever.


3 April 2012 at 13:31  
Blogger non mouse said...

Mr. Jacobs - in my experience, not all Americans share your inability to appreciate irony! What a pity you relegate Jane Austen to so trivial a classification as 'romance.'

Some of us, whose analyses are less rigidly confined to pre-designated categories, understand that good 'comedy' employs light amusement in order to engage an audience. Thus a writer draws readers into consideration of serious issues. Longinus told us so ... long ago; and Chaucer applied the techniques with consummate skill. Actually, I heard Ayckbourn describe the same principle on the World Service-yesterday, I think.

Cold Comfort Farm is
a case in point. Under the humour, it provides a very nasty argument about the superiority of frogs over the British.

Also using the cloak of humour, the original St. Trinian's films (1950s) presented seriously unpleasant truth as farce. We now live with the effects of the corrupted education and institutions they portrayed; and if Law/Government still refuses to ally itself with wisdom/goodness....

btw: I think Flanders and Swan make a good addition to the list.

3 April 2012 at 15:16  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Have you tried 'Dad's Army'? I suspect it might be something you grow to enjoy.

You might also enjoy 'Foyle's War' if you're into crime drama. 'Raising the Dead' is also masterful.

3 April 2012 at 15:23  
Blogger Anne said...

Get over to The Times and leave a comment (you need a subscription). I just checked, there was just one comment, unrelated to the picture. I left a comment (awaiting moderation).

4 April 2012 at 03:10  
Blogger IanCad said...

I still hold to my previous post Re. the banality of current English humour.
Things were not always so. I stumbled across this recently.

4 April 2012 at 09:56  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo @ 15:23 : ''Foyle's War'' - ah, I see we share a delight of 'Sam Stewart' aka the beautiful Honeysuckle Weeks! A 'Roedean' girl you know; a true 'English Rose' albeit of a more 'sandy' hue.

Decidedly 'Anglican' but she has flirted a tad with Buddhism; but hey, everyone needs a hobby of sorts.

4 April 2012 at 15:17  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

A brilliant series!

I can't say I've really noticed this Honeysuckle lass. Was she the young, rather serious driver in uniform? Church of England vicar somewhere in her family too, I believe.

As I recall she was left by a GI who, after her refusal to marry him, ran off with his tail between his legs with a French flozy. Settled for second best rather than 'man-up', stay the course, and win the fair lady's heart.

Now I think back, she was a rather delightful young woman. One any man would be proud to welcome as his daughter in law.

4 April 2012 at 16:28  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: ''I can't say I really noticed this Honeysuckle lass'' - guffaws! Of course I believe you Dodo, but I doubt the million others will!

4 April 2012 at 16:53  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin: let me remind you, it was you who first expressed delight in this young woman.

''Foyle's War'' - ah, I see we share a delight of 'Sam Stewart' aka the beautiful Honeysuckle Weeks!

I leave it the readers to decide!

4 April 2012 at 18:10  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: no need to remind me; I was up-front and honest; which became, I believe, my latter point entirely; yes?

However, as you suggest, I'm quite willing to 'leave it to the readers to decide' - poor souls!

4 April 2012 at 19:10  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin: what is this thing you have for historical women in costume?

4 April 2012 at 22:15  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: I have enough of a problem coping with it, let alone analysing it too! :o)

5 April 2012 at 00:38  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin: well said! It was always Emma Peel with me.

5 April 2012 at 00:50  

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