Thursday, May 17, 2012

The ASA responds to His Grace


The ASA has kindly responded to His Grace (within the 48hr deadline requested), and they appear to have opted for Discursive Deflection Letter No.17b, which incorporates expressions of absolute vacuity patronisingly written in sentences of monosyllabic nothingness as though the recipient were a moron. It answers none of the eight questions asked, and merits a jolly good fisking:
RE: ASA Complaint Investigation - 192907/JT 
Dear Sir,
Thank you for your email. I am writing to provide some further explanation as to why we contacted you about this ad, and how our process works. 
His Grace thanks you for that, but he has no questions about how your ‘process’ works. He simply asked why you chose to escalate this matter immediately to the level of ‘formal investigation’, and why you chose His Grace alone from the blogosphere to justify his decision to publish/distribute it. You answer neither question. And His Grace doesn’t like the tone of ‘I am writing to provide some explanation as to... how our process works’: he is neither five years old nor mentally deficient.  
As you are aware we received a number of complaints about a Coalition for Marriage ad that appeared as advertising on your blog, among others, and some of the complaints related to whether or not the ad was offensive.
Yes, His Grace is more than aware, thank you. He understands that you received 25 such complaints ‘including the Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group’, and that 10 of these 25 deemed the ad to be ‘offensive and homophobic’. His Grace specifically asked you to define ‘homophobic’ in this context, but you appear now to be avoiding all mention of the term. It is actually quite important that you explain how the word is being used in this context, for he genuinely cannot understand how an advertisement which features heterosexual couples on their weddings days and which seeks to uphold the law of the land can be ‘offensive and homophobic’. Obviously, we need to agree epistemologically and etymologically on this term, or we risk talking at cross purposes. But perhaps those words have too many syllables for you.

You also informed His Grace of the involvement of the ‘Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group’, but they have categorically denied filing any such complaint. They subsequently modified that rebuttal, and are now apparently aware of one person who did complain, but not (they assert) on their behalf. Do you not check if an individual complainant is authorised to speak on behalf of the organisation he/she purports to represent? By mentioning this group in your correspondence, you elevate the status of the complaint significantly from one of a handful of sundry offended individuals to a whole organisation which may represent many thousands. This is clearly misleading. Have you not misrepresented the JGLG to all those who have received your bundle of ‘evidence’? Are you not in danger of inciting hatred or ill-feeling against this group with the false attribution of ‘homophobic’ grievance?  
When we investigate complaints involving issues such as offence we seek the views of the publisher on why they think the ad was suitable for publication, and whether they think the complaints have merit. 
Not quite: you asked His Grace to justify himself, and you did so in an intimidating, threatening and harassing fashion. You say ‘we seek the views’, but the method and manner of that seeking ought to be polite and entreating (for publishers, as you now aver, are doing you a favour in giving their time). Instead, you made demands with menaces. And nowhere did you state that to respond is not obligatory. Indeed, the statement you have published on your website is disingenuous.
In this case, we contacted you as the ‘publisher’ of the ad, because it appeared on your website. We contact publishers because we find that they can often provide us with valuable context regarding ads. You are clearly well placed to know what the likely reaction of your readers will be to the ad from the Coalition for Marriage and their petition, and whether or not they are likely to find the ad offensive.
Three blogs (to His Grace’s knowledge) carried this ad. If it so manifestly useful for you to seek the perspectives of publishers, why were all three blogs not asked to make submissions? Would that not have been fair and equitable? It is preposterous to suggest that a publisher would admit to distributing material which they know will offend their readers, not least because by making such an admission to the ASA they are potentially incriminating themselves and risk prosecution. Again, you are not answering the question of why His Grace alone was singled out. To acquire ‘valuable context’ is a laudable research objective which is best attained by maximising the pool of potential data: to restrict it to one blog is likely only to provide you with deeply flawed, biased and partial context.  
So, please be reassured that we have sought your views on this so that we can take them into account when drafting a recommendation to the ASA Council in response to the complaints.
Reassured? It's kind of you to enquire. But His Grace’s views on this ‘homophobic’ ad would most likely have been strongly supported by Guido Fawkes and ConservativeHome, who both have ready access to lawyers and £1000s to throw at their defence. Instead, you choose to isolate and harass. Surely the ASA Council would be more swayed and persuaded by blogs which are read and followed by 100,000s, instead of the lowly, insignificant blog written by His Grace?
Though we value your input, publishers are not compelled to respond to us. We have various examples of ASA rulings where publishers have responded and we have agreed with them, where we haven’t and where the publisher has declined to comment. If you do not wish to supply us with a view or correspond with us further on these issues we will simply let you know the outcome of the case, once it has concluded.
Now this bit is interesting, for every sentence in your email and every page of the multiple attachments read very much like demands. There was never a hint of a suggestion that the recipient was not obliged to respond. Moreover, you imposed a deadline for that response. Even moreover, you added ‘at the latest’. And even moreover than that, you added: ‘...we will need to see robust documentary evidence to back the claims and a clear explanation from you of its relevance and why you think it substantiates the claims. It is not enough to send references to or abstracts of documents and papers without sending the reports in full and specifically highlighting the relevant parts explaining why they are relevant to the matter in hand’. Where did you ever state that ‘publishers are not compelled to respond’? Where was the option explained that this publisher may simply ignore you?

The statement now published on your website makes the same assertion, which has led to further harassment and criticism of His Grace. Could you please say WHERE you explained this, or give His Grace permission to publish all 9-10 pages of the attachments you sent so that others can make up their own minds on this matter? Do you not understand that an organisation calling itself an ‘Authority’, and which attaches a bundle of ‘evidence’ to corroborate allegations of hate/offense/harm is jolly threatening and intimidating? Do you not see that by omitting that crucial optional clause that you might harass publishers by making demands while actually having no legal authority to demand anything of anybody?
I also want to point out that the fact the ad is being investigated does not in any way mean that a decision has already been made regarding the complaint. We are gathering information and views and have not yet reached any conclusions. This is entirely in line with how we go about assessing many thousands of complaints about ads, every year. 
It really doesn’t help to state the obvious: an investigation should precede a judgment. But the interesting thing here is that you have given credence and substance to the merest possibility that pictures of heterosexual couples on their wedding days may be ‘offensive and homophobic’ by escalating this complaint to the level of ‘formal investigation’. This is quite patently preposterous, especially coming so soon after your losing the case of the Sandown Free Presbyterian Church in the High Court. Surely, even you must be able to work out that if ‘The word of God Against Sodomy’ advertisement is covered by Article 10 of the ECHR, a fortiori must be an advertisement which simply promotes marriage as a union of a man and a woman?  
I hope this helps you to understand why we contacted you and asked you to respond. If you do wish to provide any comments regarding the ad we would be most grateful for them and would take them into account.
Actually, to be perfectly frank, this helps His Grace with absolutely nothing. You have not answered a single question or addressed a single issue raised. That in itself is simply further harassment. One would think, since you are attempting to elicit ‘valuable insights’ and ‘valuable context’, that you might have addressed His Grace’s concerns directly, instead of deflecting and patronising as a strategy for obfuscating and defusing. But, again, perhaps that’s too many syllables for you.

His Grace will now consider whether he wishes to provide you with his comments regarding the advertisement. In the meantime, he asks, once more, out of exasperation, that you substantiate your published claim that: ‘...as we have made clear to them in this case, and they are not compelled to respond’. Where, precisely, was this made clear?

The Lord forgive you, for you plainly know not what you do.

92 Comments:

Blogger Anoneumouse said...

It would appear that WWF will soon be able to launch a new money raising advertising campaign

Adopt an ASA council member

For £2 a month, you get a Cuddly toy, Fact book, and Certificate.

17 May 2012 at 11:00  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ah well, at least a secularist blog has offered its support in sympathy. Just save yourself many man hours of time and worry and ignore them until you get your day in court. They won't burn you, you know!

17 May 2012 at 11:26  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

One wonders if Your Grace could take this matter to a legal attack against the ASA, as they are clearly both harassing and misinforming in this matter.

Keep up the pressure, Your Grace, and maybe this house of cards of theirs might come crashing down!

17 May 2012 at 11:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, your further comments show that this matter needs to be dealt with at a political level. ASA seems to see its role as being over and above that of the Parliament and the Judiciary. Your communicant does not believe that ASA's mandate runs to such plenipotentiary powers.

It is quite bizarre that this entity can appoint itself as judge and jury in a political debate. After all ASA was set up to determine the merits of soap-powder ads, not to act as a whitewashing mechanism for one party in a contentious political debate.

The relevant minister should be persuaded to sack the board and personnel of the existing quango in their entirety. If there is any need for an authority auch as ASA it should be staffed by less ambitious individuals with a commitment to public service.

The electorate should be concerned by the ASA's self-appointed role as enforcer of political initiatives sponsored by the BBC-Guardian axis.

17 May 2012 at 11:30  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Magisterial put-down, Cranny. You will, I hope be sending it verbatim to the ASA. These are the sort of people that give morons a bad name.

17 May 2012 at 11:31  
Blogger Kinderling said...

ASA: "You are clearly well placed to know what the likely reaction of your readers ... and whether or not they are likely to find the ad offensive."

When Britain was civilized the ASA delt with "Complaints". They could not then write, "You are clearly well placed to know what the likely reaction of your readers ... and whether or not they are likely to complain," because you could not possibly know which side of a value judgement a person chose to hold for themselves. They were individuals.

In this NuPravda Era however you are now meant to know the sub-set of People's Natural Offences, that they come armed with grievances that you must have demonstrated to have attempted to placate... or be sued and imprisoned.

This collective animal-herd mentality is Communism. They're here.

17 May 2012 at 11:40  
Blogger Hereward said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 May 2012 at 11:55  
Blogger Kinderling said...

If anyone thought Cranmer would know the thoughts of his readers you just have to read the differing viewpoints over a dead man who died over two thousand years ago.

If they each wrote a gospel according to their fancy by sure a tolitarian empire would take the bits they liked to control the masses and make Hate Crimes out of the rest and those books burned.

History has a way of repeating itself.

17 May 2012 at 11:57  
Blogger Hereward said...

A masterful piece of analysis but beware being dragged into a debilitating vortex of fruitless correspondence.

There's a lot going on in the world. Don't let a flotilla of toothless alligators distract you from draining the swamp.

17 May 2012 at 11:58  
Blogger Mark In Mayenne said...

A further message of support for YG. Other people have pretty much said what needs to be said.

You might try drafting a model letter for them, to show them what a polite request for valuable insight looks like, while it makes clear at the same time that a response is not necessarily required.

I am looking forward to reading of the sacking of the incumbents at the ASA.

17 May 2012 at 11:59  
Blogger David Waddell said...

Well done for tackling this issue with such clarity, logic and enthusiasm.

I'd like to offer the perspective of a complainer, following the advertising (in early 2010) of a website promoting extra-marital affairs. I believed such advertising was a clear breach of the ASA code, which one would expect to rule against adverts which offend "against widely accepted moral, social or cultural standards."

420 people complained (ranking it in the year's top ten), but the complaint was rejected almost instantly. I'm not convinced it was properly investigated.

Critically the ASA regulates the advertising, not the product. In the case of maritalaffair, it seemed to me that the advertising of the site might indeed be widely held to be offensive. In the case of C4M, regardless of the merits of the campaign, it is hard to see why your innocuous advert might be considered widely offensive.

I blogged on it here: http://waddell.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/uncomplicated-adult-fun/

17 May 2012 at 12:00  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Don't let the morons drag you down, 'Bish.

Keep the pressure on them but stay cool; afterall you are getting on a bit. There's more going on in the world for you to be using too much energy on these numpties.

17 May 2012 at 12:08  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

Calm down DanJ0, his Grace only said "fisking".

17 May 2012 at 12:24  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

Lady Anne said...
I wonder how long it will be before (if the government can't get gay marriage through in the teeth of public opinion) marriage is abolished altogether, because it offends some people?

17 May 2012 09:04

There is very strong evidence to suggest that this is precisely the longer term plan.

This is yet another example of Fabian stile cultural MARXISM as outlined in The Communist Manifesto.

IMO Gay people in common with all other ordinary human beings, are being USED to ferment division leading to ever more cultural destruction, and when their usefulness is used-up, they will be spat out in the usual tried and tested manner.

17 May 2012 at 12:31  
Blogger HampsteadOwl said...

So cross about this, have written to ASA chairman. Here's the letter - edited to fit the limit here, but still v. long I am afraid.

I am not a supporter of the Coalition for Marriage. On the question of the legalisation of same-sex marriage itself, I am roughly agnostic, inclining, if anything, to the view that its legalisation would be no great matter. I say this because my issue here is whether the ASA has allowed itself to be captured by a political agenda. Therefore I wish to distance myself from any impression that I am pursuing such an agenda myself.

I have read the comments on the ASA made by “Archbishop Cranmer". His evidence shows the Authority to have adopted a bullying and hectoring tone towards him. In his position I would have felt intimidated by the clear implication that I was being asked to justify why I had published an advert that had subsequently become the subject of an ASA examination, and that I would be in trouble with the Authority if I did not comply. This is in contrast with the ASA's post hoc statement that its approach to Cranmer was merely a request for his perspective and that he was under no obligation to respond. It certainly does not appear to have been couched that way - quite the contrary - and this raises the further question that, if the ASA is so capable of saying one thing while apparently meaning something else, whether it can be considered a fit body to judge whether adverts are misleading.

The second part of my complaint concerns the fact that the ASA has taken up the allegation that the CfM advertisements are offensive and/or homophobic. I cannot understand why it should even entertain this. The adverts themselves contain photos of couples on their wedding days - which no reasonable person could find offensive - together with statements that build to an invitation to sign the CfM's petition against same-sex marriage. There is nothing inherently offensive in those statements either.

One must conclude that what some people find offensive here is the motivation behind the adverts - that is the concept that there should be opposition to same-sex marriage and that an organisation might be allowed to mobilise it. They are entitled to that view, of course, but the ASA should not expose itself to the risk of appearing to side with that point of view by taking up a claim with no evident basis in fact. If the adverts themselves contained material that might be judged offensive (as opposed to speaking to an arguably offensive cause) then the ASA should act. However, since this is not the case, in my opinion the Authority has rendered itself parti pris by failing to dismiss this part of the complaint as being without any evident basis. This is true however the ASA eventually rules on the matter.

As an analogy to underline my point, would the ASA investigate a poster containing nothing but the slogan “Vote BNP” as being potentially offensive? Many people, myself included, find the BNP offensive in its aims. However, it is a legal organisation that offers itself for election, so that a call to vote for it is a legitimate statement in a democratic society. If the ASA could not hold to that position, then it would be saying that it disapproves of the BNP, which it has no remit to do. I believe by taking up the issue of whether or not the CfM supports an offensive and/or homophobic cause, the ASA has similarly gone beyond the limits of its authority.

This matter is important not least because we live at a time when people’s right to freedom of expression is being challenged by those who think that just because something is found by someone to be offensive then it should not be said. Of course, we all accept that there are limits on freedom of speech, but campaigning against same-sex marriage is not one of them. It is extremely worrying that the ASA could not have made its position on this matter much more clear.

This letter represents nobody’s view but my own. I intend to post its contents on the Archbishop Cranmer site.

17 May 2012 at 13:14  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

Your Grace,

Excellent. If you need any sharp sticks to poke them with, I am happy to get my whittling knife out.

@HampsteadOwl. An excellent missive.

It would seem that the ASA have made the bad mistake of poking their sharp stick into a wasp's nest. Let us ensure that they get suitably stung

17 May 2012 at 13:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

HampsteadOwl

That was a good letter. The analogy with the BNP was very telling. However, I suspect the C4M would not appreciate being compared to that little nest of anti-Semites.

carl

17 May 2012 at 13:34  
Blogger HampsteadOwl said...

Carl:

Well I'm not comparing CfM with the BNP as I think you appreciate. The point of the parallel was that they are both organisations whom other people might find offensive, and therefore complain about, however fair (in the case of the BNP) or unfair (in the case of CfM) that might be

17 May 2012 at 13:58  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace tweeted
'Archbishop Cranmer ‏@His_Grace

Speak now, or forever (be forced to) hold your peace http://c4m.org.uk/consultation/?cranmer'

As Ernst is an old cynic, who would not usually go this far, as a petition is one thing but believing giving a statement to a consultation which will be as useful and determining as the EU referendum petitions and discussions in parliament will force them to rescind their travel is foolhardy, as the consultation is a foregone!. However,I have decided to do this in support of yourself and others here, despite it being hopeless..We merely stay temporarily their will.

Ernst's argument detailed below and submitted.

"The form of marriage and what constitutes it is very ancient, dating back beyond recorded history by human eyewitnesses of the original act (pre-historic) and was practiced by all people of many cultures, ethnicities and belief systems on all continents and continued in visual and oral ritual. Marriage has always involved men and women and always exists to serve the family. It never exists solely for individuals or for couples. Therefore a common knowledge of its origins must have been understood and handed down by each generation as something especially good for mankind in regards to forming a loving companionship and to create and protect a stable family unit as the primary reason cultures have favored marriage.

Same sex couples already have a means of all the legal benefits of marriage but the specific meaning of what marriage has meant and is meant to be would be lost and would be like calling black white and white black merely to satisfy the colour blind against the non Achromatopsia suffers. It is NOT 'denying them marriage is denying them the ability to have a loving commitment with another person'. People love others and commit to others all the time—People just don’t always call it “marriage.”

E S Blofeld

17 May 2012 at 14:40  
Blogger Oswin said...

HampsteadOwl: 13:14 : well done that chic strigidae; that's showing 'em!

I'll wager the ASA doesn't often find itself backed onto the ropes, by such a myriad, combination of punches.

Will it attempt to hold, or concede gracefully; or is it too 'punchy' to know when to 'throw in the towel'?

Let us all keep up the pressure!

17 May 2012 at 15:19  
Blogger graham wood said...

Hampstead Owl. Very good letter, and particularly your point:
"This matter is important not least because we live at a time when people’s right to freedom of expression is being challenged by those who think that just because something is found by someone to be offensive then it should not be said."

It is for this reason that there is an urgent need to join with those who now urge the Home Secretary to amend, and without further delay, Section 5 of the Public Order Act which at present outlaws "insulting words".

An amendment to the Act "The protection of Freedoms Bill" is supported by a number of MPs, but not enough. Why not write to your own MP today about this?

So important is 'free speech' without risk of being incriminated through the highly subjective perception of being "insulted", that opposition to the unreformed existing law has united the Christian Institute, The National Secular Society, and Mr Peter Tatchell !

Up to now this one word "insulting" has been used to silence political dissent, protesters, political activists, broadcasters, and Christians - all pursuing their legitimate rights of free speech and expression.
Tell our complacent and dozy political class to wake up, and do the job we elect them for - namely to protect our freedoms.

17 May 2012 at 15:33  
Blogger Pétrus said...

One point to remember is that the ASA does not investigate every complaint it receives.

In fact, it only investigates a small number of them.

There has been a real person at the ASA who has looked at the complaints and decided that there was a possibility of merit.

The thing is even a dog with a hammer in its arse would be able to look at the complaints and see they were without any merit.

17 May 2012 at 15:52  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

An excellent piece of fisking indeed YG, but apart from a to be expected expected 'no case to answer' result, I doubt the ASA will be subject to any form of credibility review in the near future. I suspect that like any of the other 'thought police' quangos it will continue to be influenced by left wing ideologies as are currently dominant in education, media and of course the EU.

Sadly the culture of seeing and taking 'offense' in virtually anything, knows no limits and has apparently taken serious root as a cause celebre amongst the 'Left' - however blatantly
stupid.

As an ardent believer/supporter in the right to peaceful existence for the State of Israel YG may wish to contemplate by way of light distraction from the slings and arrows etc, this little gem - a letter of objection regarding a quiz question regarding the Israeli National Bird:-

"The Morning Star has always been the newspaper you could rely on to support the cause of the Palestinians, so why of all the birds in the world did you choose the Israeli national bird to include in your quiz? ... dismissal of our objection to quiz questions on Israel’s national bird (M Star April 30), it’s not the bird we object to but what this bird represents – the racist and apartheid state of Israel".

http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/this-includes-any-reference-to-their-wildlife/

(original source Harry's Place)

17 May 2012 at 15:55  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"ASA's self-appointed role as enforcer of political initiatives sponsored by the BBC-Guardian axis." (Bluedog, here) - I imagine that, as time goes on, there will be many quangos and government/media departments whose function will be to enforce the State line; that's how Soft Stalinism - our present system - works.

17 May 2012 at 16:06  
Blogger Berserker said...

If you redefine marriage, where does it stop. What about redefining other institutions like the BBC and the Guardian. Can we have a positive discrimination policy there perhaps. Like employing Daily Telegraph readers and could say an anti gay priest to give us: Thought for the Day?

Playlet:

I still have my parents wedding pictures in an album. Is that an offence?
ASA: No, Sir.

I am going to show my neighbours these pictures when they come round on Saturday. Is that an offense?
ASA: I'll check at the next staff conference but I think that would be quite in order Sir.

When my neighbours see these pictures I shall undoubtedly make comments on the dress style and probably throw in a few phrases like: It would be much better for this country if traditional marriage was still respected by everyone. Would this be an offense?
ASA: Tricky one, that. We'd advice against making such inappropriate comments.

My neighbours have a gay son and he's joining his parents later in the evening. Should I show him the wedding photos too and ask: I hear that you'd like to get spliced soon, Jeremy. Don't you think my auntie Dora's bridesmaids outfit would look absolutely bona on you!

ASA: It's the Tower for you old sport. But I hope it won't come to that. If you could just send us in a video of you and your neighbours get together, we might be able to make a plea of say: Under the influence of drink...

17 May 2012 at 16:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Nowhere man: "Calm down DanJ0, his Grace only said "fisking"."

On a thread I haven't even commented on, too. What is it with these popish berks here? Dear oh dear.

17 May 2012 at 17:01  
Blogger David B said...

A good fisking and a good letter from Hamstead Owl.

David B

17 May 2012 at 17:11  
Blogger Tony said...

I find strawberries offensive. I can't stand them. I detest them with a passion. I wouldn't eat one if it was the last food on Earth. It makes me feel sick just to think of strawberries.

Does that mean I have the right to have Tesco investigated for advertising strawberries during the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament?

I wonder what the AS'A' would think of that (the second A being in quotes because I do not recognise its authority in this case)...

After all, I think that nobody should be encouraged to buy strawberries because I find them repulsive, therefore the advertisements themselves are, by extension, similarly repulsive. The AS'A' should therefore conduct an investigation into said offensive adverts.

I think I should write to the AS'A' and make a complaint, and I recommend that others should also do the same where they see advertisements for things that offend their personal tastes - be they prawns, meat, leather goods, anthropogenic global warming, or any of a myriad range of other possibilities. Maybe the AS'A' might get the message?

17 May 2012 at 17:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

It's worth pointing out that this is not really a recent phenomenon. Afterall, the film The Life of Brian was banned in parts of the country and self-censorship happened at the BBC and ITV for fear of offending Christians. For what? A hugely funny film, an icon really, which is not even explicitly blasphemous.

17 May 2012 at 17:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

which is not even explicitly blasphemous.

Yes, actually, it is. It is the most blasphemous film I have ever seen. Absent the parallels to the life of Christ, the film is incomprehensible. At its worst moment, the crucifixion scene mocks the suffering of Christ
by trivializing the event. I agree the film is funny. But the technical skill with which it was made cannot eradicate its fundamentally evil nature.

carl

17 May 2012 at 17:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "It is the most blasphemous film I have ever seen."

Blimey. It's poking fun at religious people really. And let's face it, it's hard not to in the scheme of things.

Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!
Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few.

Lol.

Spectator I: I think it was "Blessed are the cheesemakers".
Mrs. Gregory: Aha, what's so special about the cheesemakers?
Gregory: Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.

17 May 2012 at 17:51  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The BBC broadcast Jerry Springer: The Opera a few years ago and got something like 60,000 complaints from Christians offended by its content. The infamous Christian Institute tried to force a judicial review of the BBC's decision at the High Court based on the BBC Charter as I recall. I wouldn't recommend you watch that if you think The Life of Brian was controversal.

17 May 2012 at 18:08  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DanJo/carl

Blasphemy/Heresy - horses of the same colour - nothing less than religion's way of inhibiting an individual's freedom to critiscise by thought, deed or word. Bit like the ASA or sec5 Public Order Act really - only with nastier consequences.

17 May 2012 at 18:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Keep it up Your Grace. If they are anything like the Inspector’s employer, you are still being dealt with by a monkey. However, your expert wielding of the English language will quickly bring an organ grinder onto the scene, if not several.

Your excellent sign off. The Lord forgive you, for you plainly know not what you do. “Works on so many levels” as they tend to say today.

17 May 2012 at 18:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. The Inspector’s post to Pink News was published. Even attracting nine replies. A great deal of varying bitterness and venom on that site, don’t you think. In fact, throw in hate, which is especially applied to the non gay accommodating religious, and you have the ethos of the comments section. At least the articles are presented slightly better, before being released to the mercy of the angry mob. But all that unhappiness and grief ! It would be soul destroying to view that every day, and indeed, might account for much of the attitude. One wonders if the regulars realise this, and the effect it has on the psyche…

17 May 2012 at 18:30  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Herewood said @11:58
a debilitating vortex of fruitless correspondence.
How true is this when we try to communicate with faceless bureaucrats. I recently wrote to Boris complaining about the stonewall ads on buses. All I got was a stereotype letter as to why he banned the opposing adv. When I wrote to Pickles, my MP, about SSM I merely got a stock letter that again failed to answer my specific questions.

We are not communicating with thinking people so lets not blame the morons that they employ just to churn out pre-written responses that are selected from a list of suitable answers. There is no consideration as the the questions included in the correspondence and if the answers don't fit, tough. 'We are not allowed to think and actually correspond with you, we just send standard answers'.
Is there a Government agency that writes all these standard answers in this typical meaningless way?

I do hope that you are keeping your MP and the Minister responsible for the ASA in the loop?

God Bless you and may he keep your spirits up. (Not just the alcoholic kind)

Integrity (where there is none!)

17 May 2012 at 18:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Inspector remembers eagerly anticipating ‘Brian’. Now, interesting thing here is that it was called blasphemous BEFORE it’s premiere. AND there was no book on which the film was based. What does that tell you. On seeing it, didn’t see the harm. A rather humorous take on what would happen if a chap was MISTAKEN for the messiah. As for crucifixion, it was standard fare in the area. They should introduce it in the UK for serial criminals.

On a similar note, the Inspector remembers being told that Ricky Gervais was no comedian before he ever saw him. They were damn right about that though...

17 May 2012 at 18:37  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

OiG

"On a similar note, the Inspector remembers being told that Ricky Gervais was no comedian before he ever saw him. They were damn right about that though..." A CONTINUATION from Elton, Sayle etc, who confuse ranting or sly biased insinuation with chortles and guffaws. Most definitely agree with your observation.

Ernst

17 May 2012 at 18:43  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I think they should allow the blog owner to publish the 10 pages for us all to read. Also why didn't they contact the C4M team who produced that ad and asked them all those probing questions? I think we should also know who the smouldering faggot/s are at the ASA who instigated sending H.G that pile of intimidating bull.

17 May 2012 at 19:07  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

dANj0 SAID ...

"What is it with these popish berks here? Dear oh dear."

Something of a stereotype, wouldn't you say? Why hold all Catholics responsible for the independent action of one? Are we all the same - apart from a shared faith?

An example of 'popephilia', I'd say, and from the self-proclaimed intellectual liberal too ... tut, tut.

17 May 2012 at 19:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Something of a stereotype, wouldn't you say? Why hold all Catholics responsible for the independent action of one? Are we all the same - apart from a shared faith?"

The noun is berk, popish is an adjective. The common theme between the three of you is that you're complete berks and you usually use your popishness to demonstrate it.

17 May 2012 at 19:28  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

More evidence of an irrational hatred and fear of Catholics based on unfounded assumptions. A clear indication of Popephilia and Cathophobia,I'd say.

I could say something about the common themes between a number of homosexuals who post on here. Possibly things like: self indulgant, selfish, sanctimonious and egotistical. However, it would not apply equally to all of you - Anna Anglican, for example, being an exception.

17 May 2012 at 19:37  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Ooop's ... that should read *popephobia!* What was I thinking!?

17 May 2012 at 19:39  
Blogger Owl said...

Just a couple of observations.

The ASA is trying to exercise an authority which it doesn't actually posess. see "Beyond Authority by Julia Middleton (Common Purpose).

Helplessness against the faceless burocracy. check any form of totalitarism e.g. Progressive Socialialism, National Socialism, Communism etc. etc.

Manipulation (instead of representation) of the masses (education, 'elf an' safety etc.). check Fabian "gradualism", Frankfurt School, Tavistock Institute, LSE etc. etc.

We are recognising more and more of the tentacles, Will we soon see the beast?

An interesting aspect of some of the original members of the Fabian society was the (at that time illegal) open display of non conventional sexual behaviour. One wonders if they are now "gradually" gaining the targets they set themselves over a hundred years ago.

Wolf in sheep's clothing, say no more, nudge, nudge.

17 May 2012 at 19:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo the dog. You must visit Pink News ‘comments’ sometime. Makes one appreciate the decency of Cranmer’s site, you know...

17 May 2012 at 19:55  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "More evidence of an irrational hatred and fear of Catholics based on unfounded assumptions."

You're still running with your mistake, then. Well, I imagine the majority of Catholics are normal, mostly decent people who are to be lightly pitied at worst, and possibly freed from their indoctrination at best. How could they not be given their number. However, the berks seem to cluster in online places like this. What I actually dislike is the Catholic Church, which I consider to be an institutional evil and a blight on the recent history of our species. Even saying that, there are no doubt a fair few decent people within the institution too. No irrational fear there. So, no, you're wrong of course in what you are trying to do there. I dare say that some of the history of the Catholic Church must have benefitted our species along the way but to my mind the Catholic Church is the possibility of hemorrhoids hitching a ride with our evolving to stand upright. If you get my drift.

17 May 2012 at 20:12  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, (17 May 2012 19:15)
freudian slip?.

17 May 2012 at 20:12  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Ooop's ... that should read *popephobia!* What was I thinking!?"

Secretly lusting after Ratzinger's chuff, I expect.

17 May 2012 at 20:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dodo, (17 May 2012 19:15)
freudian slip?.

17 May 2012 20:12
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Ooop's ... that should read *popephobia!* What was I thinking!?"

Secretly lusting after Ratzinger's chuff, I expect.

OH my bird, You really should check first. ERNST'S ribs are sore at DanJo's jocular thrust.

OOhh HE HE.

Ernst

17 May 2012 at 20:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Come now DanJ0. “which I consider to be an institutional evil and a blight on the recent history of our species.”

The same could be said for gay organisations too, you know...

17 May 2012 at 20:53  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

An example of 'popephilia', I'd say, and from the self-proclaimed intellectual liberal too ... tut, tut.

I have heard this kind of thing called by many names, however popehilia is as good as any.

There are many claims made against the RCC, its military wing ( the Jesuits) many of its thousands of priest, and the Holy Father himself.

It matters not from where the claims come, or the motives of the people who make them. What matters is whether they are TRUE or not.

Leaving aside for now the very well documented and self-confessed, sadistically torturous, and horrifically genocidal history of The RCC's military and diplomatic wing, it is claimed that his Holy Father is himself a rampantly practicing homo-sexual and pedophile, and has been all of his adult life.

I cannot possibly know for sure one way or another, as I personally have never been anywhere near the man, and neither do I personally know anyone who has, however there does seem to be compelling evidence to substantiate these claims, indeed this supposed evidence is all over the internet, as are highly similar allegations concerning the likes of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and now David Cameron.

My own, or anyone else's opinions regarding homosexuality itself are of little importance to the matter of establishing a persons honesty, and therefore suitability for high public office. This most especially as prime ministers and heads of enormously rich and almost infinitely powerful multi-national religious corporations seek to control the lives of other individuals.

I feel sure that many members of the voting public and The RCC would be very interested to know whether these people have or have not been lying to the public in general and to their own wives or partners in particular.

As we are often told by our leaders, when it suits their despotic purposes" If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

I feel sure that his Holy Father, and his 3 becloseted friends would have no problem at all refuting these often made allegations against their good name, therefore I wonder why none of them have cheerfully embraced the opportunity to do so?

If my wife or connections had become aware of preposterous allegations against myself on countless internet sights and within the pages of ever more books and other publications, I know I would be very keen to establish my innocence ASAP. If for no other reason that my wife would refuse to sleep with me, and most likely immediately divorce me, I would also very likely get arrested, and I would no longer be permitted to help out at my sons Boy-Scout group if any doubts remained.

One wonders if the likes of Dodo are capable of seeing the presence of profound evil even if the evidence of its presence was crushing their own toes.

However this kind of clear inability to spot evil when one is looking full square at it, or indeed a lifelong member of it, is not either new or uncommon.

17 May 2012 at 21:22  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Atals

I did wonder about the state of your mental health. Needn't have bothered, as it's preety clear.

little pope len and Ernie the milkman

So predictable.

You two should be sorting outyour doctrinal differences. Maybe,it's just a distain for Catholicism that unites the majority of fringe protestants. God knows, you share little else in common.

17 May 2012 at 21:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Atlas. I cannot possibly know for sure one way or another,

Don’t be too upset if the Inspector tells you that’s the only part of your diatribe that came anywhere near sense...

Rather despondent now, are you, but chin up – next year is the fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy. Yes, grassy knolls all over again. Ah, there you go, you can’t keep your inane smile hidden from the Inspector....

17 May 2012 at 22:04  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

Office of Inspector General said...

The same could be said for gay organisations too, you know...

That may be so, but I hope you will agree two evils to not make a good.

The air has always been thick with allegations.

For example, many people claimed that Hitler intended to systematically murder many European Jews, freemasons, Gypsies, and disabled people, and bring death and destruction to all four corners of the globe.

Many people claimed that Marxism was a death cult, and would lead nowhere good for humanity in general and the Russian people in particular.

Many people claimed that the EU was an evil organization, brought kicking and screaming into existence by using evil, for the purposes of performing evil, for the powers of the Dark Lord of evil.

Many people claimed that a single European currency was a Jesuit inspired plot to deliberately bankrupt the nation states of Europe, in order to further enslave their respective peoples to the evil intent of our banking establishment.

Many people claimed that no more "Boom and Bust" was an obvious lie which would ultimately result in the biggest seemingly never ending economic bust so far known to mankind.

( I could go on all week with this list )

HOWEVER, it is now perfectly clear that these evidently paranoid Little Englanders and assorted malcontents were stark staring mad all along, for none of these things actually happened in reality, as we are now clearly living in the kind of utopian paradise our leaders so lovingly promised to deliver.

Oh, hang on.....

17 May 2012 at 22:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Atlas. Many people claimed...

The Inspector has no idea as to whether you posses a cow, but he can tell you this. No one in your family would entrust you to bring it to market lest you swap it for a handful of ‘magic’ beans. Even though ‘Many people claimed the beans were indeed magic’...

17 May 2012 at 22:21  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Atlas

Many people predicted alien invasion .... er?

Aaaaahhh ....... they're in my garden! Head for the hills!!!!

17 May 2012 at 23:14  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

How bloody dare you!!!

Never, never callme a dog, Sir. For now, I am a Dodo in a wolf's clothing.

17 May 2012 at 23:16  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Ps

God, is it really 50 years since John Kennedy's murder? How time passes.

17 May 2012 at 23:17  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Without the' popish berks' and the atheistic pooftas this blog would be awash with turgid dull drivel.
Calvinists ,Reborns and hint of pink Anglican confused homosexuals don't make for interesting reading.

17 May 2012 at 23:20  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

cressidade nova

You might think all that, I could not possibly comment!

(Welcome back and you enter stage left with your usual sharp humour!)

17 May 2012 at 23:28  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

Dear Inspector.

A self-proclaimed Roman Catholic which does not believe in the power of magic is either not really a Roman Catholic at all, or has not properly understood what a Roman Catholic undoubtedly is. Which are you?

Roman Catholicism is perfectly littered with demons, witches, and other assorted proponents of the Dark Art of magic and ancient mysticism.

Publications like The Lord of the Rings, and The Narnia Chronicles were not only written by highly knowledgeable Roman Catholics, their authors drew almost exclusively from ancient Babylonian mysticism as propagated by The RCC at the highest level.

However don't take my word for this please read some of what C.S.Lewis had to say on the subject of magic, and magic beans.

However unlike Len I am not really concerned with either the ultimate fate of your particular eternal soul, Roman Catholics in general, or indeed upon what they found their traditions, for who knows it may even be based on more then a little actual truth.

My problem is with the temporal power of The RCC, and the evil it has done and continues to do in the name of the divine spirit.

If you wish to remain a member of a cosmologically based, Babylonian death cult, in full knowledge that it is so, then that is perfectly fine by me, just stop insisting that it much or indeed anything to do with Biblical Christianity, or the reported mission of Jesus Christ, cos it don't.

17 May 2012 at 23:35  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Atlas

Please tell me you're never left alone with children!

17 May 2012 at 23:51  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Atlas shrugged

C S Lewis was not a Catholic.

He discovered God on top of a double decker bus in the High Street so naturally he would be into magic beans!

18 May 2012 at 00:02  
Blogger non mouse said...

I like C4M's latest at! Thanks, Your Grace! Hope they collect a record number of signatures :))

18 May 2012 at 00:03  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dreadnaught

Blasphemy/Heresy - horses of the same colour - nothing less than religion's way of inhibiting an individual's freedom to critiscise by thought, deed or word.

When did I use the word 'inhibit' or any synonym thereof? I was describing the nature of the film. I wasn't advocating any gov't action. If the Christian community has enough of a footprint to prevent such films simply because people fear giving offense, then well and good. If it doesn't, then too bad for us. God is still in His heaven. Providence will not suddenly be altered. I don't waste much time or energy on such things as 'The Life of Brian.' But woe to those who made it for they will give an account.

carl

18 May 2012 at 00:09  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer's blog is about the right of free speech, without interference from shadowy groups of thought police who bang the drum for their masters when they think that a reward is due for their slavish forelock tugging obedience.

Many Christians who wish to share the gospel with non believers, explaining its relevance to their present lives & eventual eternal future, have to be prepared to face criticism, scorn & insults on a daily basis. It's par for the course if you believe the message & purpose of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, many are still sacrificing their lives in some countries for the sake of saving their fellow man from an eternity of suffering & regret.

I often find some 'entertainment' blasphemous or insulting, but mainly sad, & have to remember Jesus' words "Forgive them Father, they know not what they do" as He suffered the pain of crucifixion.

Why do I watch these things? I'll tell you. When a soldier goes to war, he knows it's not going to be nice or fun. If we truly follow Christ we are committed to fight in a spiritual war until our last breath, because we love & obey our God, & our fellow man.
One card that the enemy has his captives (Poor souls are prisoners, but don't even realise it) play, when a film, play or comedian is mentioned which is insulting or blasphemous is "Have you seen it?", usually uttered with a triumphant challenge in the tone. In the belief that it will throw one onto the back foot with a hesitant "Well no - but!" & the conversation is ended with a victorious "Well how can you criticise it then?" followed by exit & scornful sneers.

We gain the advantage if we can say "Yes I've seen it, but I thought it relied on blasphemy & bad language to get a cheap laugh" or "Yes, I've seen it, But you must admit it was a work of pure fiction".

friends If we are serious about the salvation of the lost, we must toughen up. Freedom of speech is vital, even if it sometimes hurts & wounds us. It's loss to groups like the ASA would be a disaster for us & those we seek to set free.

18 May 2012 at 00:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I wouldn't recommend you watch that if you think The Life of Brian was controversal.

As a general rule, I don't watch such things. The only reason I would ever watch would be to establish the credibility to discuss the movie (or whatever) from an apologetic perspective. But that need almost never arises. Such things are made primarily to offend me. It's a good example of the whole 'pearls before swine' concept.

'Life of Brian' offends me deeply not because of the Judean People's Front, et al. It offends me because it is of necessity a parody of the Life of Christ. Some things just can't be made into objects of comedy. Imagine a collection of Jews singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" as the board the train to Auschwitz. That's how I look at it.

carl

18 May 2012 at 00:31  
Blogger Joe Public said...

How does a complainant prove they've been offended?

18 May 2012 at 00:38  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Carl
When did I use the word 'inhibit' or any synonym thereof?

Didn't realise I said you did. I thought I had simply made a general observation that in essence, laws of blasphemy and heresy have been employed by various religions for millenia to silence dissent.

Thomas Aquinas says that "it is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one's neighbor. … it is called the most grievous sin, for as much as it makes every sin more grievous."
Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica 2:2, q.

Sounds like its was intended to be pretty inhibiting to me, but then I'm no theology buff.

18 May 2012 at 00:52  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Dreadnaught

And of course St Thomas Aquinas was correct.

18 May 2012 at 00:58  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

JP
I think they just have to state it as a fact and the 'authorities' step in - that's what's so insane; the burden of guilt has to be disproved by the accused,

18 May 2012 at 00:58  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dreadnaught

Didn't realise I said you did.

My mistake then. I thought you implied it. Happy to be wrong in this case.

As a general rule, all cultures impose limits on acceptable belief and impose sanctions (either public or private) for violating those limits. In a sense, this whole thread is about Cranmer being charged with 'heresy' against the presuppositions of secularism.

carl

18 May 2012 at 01:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "'Life of Brian' offends me deeply not because of the Judean People's Front, et al. It offends me because it is of necessity a parody of the Life of Christ."

I see it as a parody of religion and religious people, in particular around that time and that place.

"Some things just can't be made into objects of comedy."

Muslims say the same thing regarding cartoons about Mohammed.

18 May 2012 at 05:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "If the Christian community has enough of a footprint to prevent such films simply because people fear giving offense, then well and good."

The same could be said about gay people and the increased public awareness of our presence these days.

18 May 2012 at 05:49  
Blogger Alan Douglas said...

Your Grace,

I have sent my tuppence-worth to Lord Smith :

To : Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury - ASA Chairman

Re : Complaint about the ASA itself

Sir,

Do the words Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful also apply to the activities of your own organisation ? I ask because the original requirement to respond, sent to the Cranmer Blog are at total variance with the "explanation" email sent subsequently.

The latter claims that you were merely seeking information, in effect for research purposes, and that there was no legal requirement to respond.

The original missive however is couched in terms of DEMAND and WE REQUIRE and BY X DATE and AT THE LATEST, and makes absolutely NO REFERENCE to the option not to respond.

1) I put to you that the 2nd email is much LESS than L, D, H and T.

2) Further, I ask you to respond regarding the imperious and threatening language used in your original request, which is simply NOT HONEST as portraying the remit of your organisation, and its stature and actual powers.

So, Lord Smith, how about applying those LDHT requirements to your own organisation first, before you seek to throw stones at others ? Please note I ask as one of the FUNDERS or your place, since I am a tax-payer.

And no, I DO NOT WANT a facile "explanation" letter avoiding all my points, such as the Cranmer blog had in that email, and sent out by some junior in large batches every day. I want to have a REAL RESPONSE by a real person, you, or someone deputed by you, and actually ADDRESSING my points.

LDHT requires nothing less.

Alan Douglas

18 May 2012 at 06:34  
Blogger Alan Douglas said...

Your Grace,

I can't help thinking that the great Lord Smith might have been confusing initials perhaps close to his heart LBGT with LDHT, ie Legal Decent Honest and Truthful.

What is it they say about all political careers ending in farce ?

Alan Douglas

18 May 2012 at 06:38  
Blogger Naomi King said...

I guess the ASA should be investigating God and banning the Holy Bible because God is clearly homophobic. This is what he says about homsexuals ...

ROM 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

ROM 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

ROM 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

However maybe the Comments on Pink News about your Grace would support God's plainly held view of these character types.

God bless you Archbishop..

18 May 2012 at 07:12  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@Naomi:

That's being said of *all* people without God's Grace (Romans 1:18). And that means that what is being said in Romans 1:28-30 is true of our natures as well Naomi.

"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed." (Romans 2:1-5, my emphasis)

"“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God." (Romans 3:11)

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans :6-8)

Maybe we should be sure to include the remainder of Romans: the bit about how we were saved from the same place of sin, and how others might be saved too. Or do you not want your fellow man to be saved also?

18 May 2012 at 08:02  
Blogger Roy said...

HampsteadOwl said:

This matter is important not least because we live at a time when people’s right to freedom of expression is being challenged by those who think that just because something is found by someone to be offensive then it should not be said.

As others have said that is a good point but you have overlooked one important thing; not everyone has an equal right to be offended.

If someone belongs to the Guardian reading classes and is offended that is a serious matter. If someone belongs to the Daily Telegraph reading classes and is offended that shows they are reactionary, and possibly elderly as well, and therefore their views can be ignored by all official organisations.

18 May 2012 at 08:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I see it as a parody of religion and religious people...

Parody without sympathy quickly descends into mockery. It's purpose is to belittle and demean the subject for the atavistic enjoyment of the observer. If that was the sum total of 'LoB' then I wouldn't bother with it. But 'LoB' is much more than that.

... in particular around that time and that place.

Oh, it's about religious people alright. But it's not about people 2000 years ago. It's about religious people concurrent with the movie. The theology of the movie (to the extent it has one is) is the deviation between Jesus the 'Great Teacher' and modern Christians. If you want to lose a lot of money, make a parody about people in the first century.

Muslims say the same thing regarding cartoons about Mohammed.

I'm not sure why you said this - other than to quickly change the subject from my example of "the Singing Jews of Auschwitz." Muslims would be offended by a "Life of Mohammed' just as I am offended by 'LoB.' So what? Are you suggesting that my assertion naturally leads people to slap clips in AK47s?

In this modern age, a man is legally free to offend me in pretty much any manner he desires. That doesn't mean he should look for opportunities to do so. But men do have a tendency to offend simply because they can. For no other reason than the sheer joy of inflicting pain with impunity on someone else.

carl

18 May 2012 at 13:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "Parody without sympathy quickly descends into mockery. It's purpose is to belittle and demean the subject for the atavistic enjoyment of the observer."

So what? They should grow a pair. You started by saying that it was a parody of the life of Jesus. I disagreed and still do.

"Oh, it's about religious people alright. But it's not about people 2000 years ago. It's about religious people concurrent with the movie."

It's a parody of religious people, and in particular of the people at that time and place, as I said. That is, it makes comedy out of the situation where people were actively looking for a messiah and subsequently found lots. By implication, it suggests that people were particularly gullible, including the early promoters and adopters of your religion. That's the bit that really pisses you off, I suspect.

"I'm not sure why you said this - other than to quickly change the subject from my example of "the Singing Jews of Auschwitz.""

I've no need to change the subject. There's certainly scope for comedy there but it's rather hard to offset that against the hideous backdrop of the genocide. If you seek to shock then you've failed with me. No, I said that because simply asserting that something you choose cannot be made the subject of comedy does not make it so for the rest of us. That applies to Muslims too, despite what some of them would like to think. The Life of Brian is a clever and hilarious film as far as I am concerned, and I'm not indulging in hyperbole there. It's comedy genius.

"In this modern age, a man is legally free to offend me in pretty much any manner he desires."

Well, that's not strictly true in the UK which is why there's a campaign to change Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 which seems open to abuse in these more prone to be insulted times. Also, it's only been a mere handful of years since the blasphemy law was binned and a bunch of Christians had tried to use it not long before that to suppress free speech.

18 May 2012 at 17:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Alan Douglas. I say, what a powerful entreaty. You certainly told them where to get off and no mistake !

Atlas. Couldn’t you update your take on Roman Catholicism by even a century, though ideally four and a half is what we are after. The Inspector has no problem whatsoever in criticising Rome in the centuries prior to the reformation. It was a bad show, corrupted by temporal activity and ambition. Such is the weakness of all men, but do give the RCC some credit for cleaning up its act…

18 May 2012 at 17:44  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

@Naomi

"I guess the ASA should be investigating God and banning the Holy Bible because God is clearly homophobic."

Do you really see the Bible as an advert for Christianity and therefore within the scope of the ASA?

18 May 2012 at 17:59  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

So what? They should grow a pair.

Well, at least we clearly understand what you see as the chief purpose behind 'LoB.' But in any case, isn't this exactly what I said? As in:

If it doesn't, then too bad for us.

I don't waste much time or energy on such things as 'The Life of Brian.'

If that was the sum total of 'LoB' then I wouldn't bother with it.

There are lots of things out there that I find deeply offensive. As a result, I take no notice of them. Offense doesn't necessarily produce a need to strike back. You can just ignore it as well. Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me.

You started by saying that it was a parody of the life of Jesus. I disagreed and still do.

I am still saying it is a parody of the Life of Christ. I haven't changed my message. As an example I will use one of the funniest (to me) scenes in the movie. It's when a man is forced to carry the cross for the actual criminal, and the real criminal realizes no one is watching him. So he runs away, and the wrong man gets crucified. In what universe is that not a parody of the Life of Christ? That event is a parody of Simon of bearing the cross of Christ, and comes right out of the Gospel of Luke. In the absence of that knowledge, the humor loses a considerable amount of punch. You can't abstract Christ from the parody when the movie consciously parallels events in the Life of Christ.

That's the bit that really pisses you off, I suspect.

You really don't understand. I couldn't care less what people like you think of my gullibility. The movie offends me because it mocks the work of Christ - the gravity of which is infinitely greater than the whole of Auschwitz because of the work that Christ actually performed. You don't have to agree with that statement to understand it.

No, I said that because simply asserting that something you choose cannot be made the subject of comedy does not make it so for the rest of us.

You are exactly correct. Mock away. You will affect me not in the least - other than to cause me offense. I can live with that, because ultimately you opinions don't matter. As long as you don't offend powerful social mores, you can do what you want. But if you get crosswise with those social mores, then you will pay a cost. You might as well call it blasphemy or heresy, because that's what you will be charged with.

But just from a different church.

carl

18 May 2012 at 23:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Carl: "As long as you don't offend powerful social mores, you can do what you want. But if you get crosswise with those social mores, then you will pay a cost. You might as well call it blasphemy or heresy, because that's what you will be charged with. But just from a different church."

You seem to have changed your tune about legality a little there, or perhaps slipped from a literal interpretation to a more poetic one to suit your purpose. With our blasphemy law, State-sponsored Christianity and its protectors carved out a space from our freedom in order to suppress free speech and expression [1] in matters relating to their god hypothesis. There's a significant difference between suffering public opprobrium for calling a class of people niggers or faggots and being fined or imprisoned by the State for saying the Christian god is a figment of a collective imagination.

[1] Actually, I think it was a lot more than that originally. It was that criticism of god was a undermining of the justification for our government, and that a disbelief in god was essentially an admission of immorality which threatened public order. It's significant that we still see both those examples of nonsense put out today by various religionists.

19 May 2012 at 09:06  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

DanJ0

I am an American. I know nothing about your blasphemy laws. The idea of charging someone under law with speaking false religious doctrine is incomprehensible to me. I am far more interested in the private means (legal or extra legal) that cultures use to enforce their boundaries. Those boundaries far exceed the simple fact of inhibiting the use of certain (but not all) epithets. You can still be punished for heresy even if you aren't dragged into court.

carl

19 May 2012 at 13:05  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Dear AiB

Of course I want all people of all Nations to be saved as per the Great Commission. The sole duty of life is to love God and keep his commandments (which includes loving our neighbours as well of course).

However one should not be deluded because God will not be mocked.

To be saved one needs to believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, REPENT and be baptised. I don't see much repentance on the part of the homosexuals, rather I see the reverse, see ROM 1:32

"Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

If we keep God's commandments we are blessed and if we refuse to keep his commandments we are cursed and there is no excuse.

DEUT 27:10 Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.

DEUT 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

DEUT 28:20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.

DEUT 28:48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

DEUT 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;

DEUT 28:61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

DEUT 28:62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.

DEUT 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought;

My point is that unless we as Christians proclaim what the Scriptures teach on these issues and thereby make known how high the stakes are (forgive the insensitive pun your Grace) we are not truly loving our unbelieving neighbours.

Eternity in Hell is a very long time.

19 May 2012 at 15:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Naomi: "My point is that unless we as Christians proclaim what the Scriptures teach on these issues and thereby make known how high the stakes are (forgive the insensitive pun your Grace) we are not truly loving our unbelieving neighbours."

Once or twice might count as loving. Trying to ram it down someone's throat time and again with scripture quotes is something rather different. Very counterproductive too if bringing to people to a belief in your god hypothesis is the goal.

19 May 2012 at 16:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Eternity in Hell is a very long time."

Is that how you perceive heaven and hell then? Existing with a time axis like ours?

19 May 2012 at 16:17  
Blogger Oswin said...

JoePublic @ 00:38 : that's a damned good question!

19 May 2012 at 17:05  
Blogger Naomi King said...

PROV 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

PROV 9:7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

PROV 9:8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

20 May 2012 at 09:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

No doubt there's a verse for every occasion for those latter-day Pharisees who choose to use it as a weapon. I hope the silent reader recognises what you do, realises why you do it, and sees how untransformative in reality your religion is.

20 May 2012 at 14:10  

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