Non-religious students at London South Bank University have had posters advertising their society banned for being ‘offensive’. The poster publicising the South Bank Atheist Society (SBAS) depicted Michelangelo’s famous ‘Creation of Adam’ fresco from the Sistine Chapel but with the character of god replaced with the satirical online deity the ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ (FSM).
The British Humanist Association (BHA) and National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Students Societies (AHS), of which SBAS is a member, have expressed exasperation and condemned the decision as ‘utterly ridiculous’ and part of ‘rising tide of frivolous censorship that is curtailing the legitimate activities of our members.’ [BHA]
We are reaching a point where student humour and the ability to express ourselves irreligiously is being increasingly challenged on campuses. With social media these stories get out there much quicker, and with photoshop the ability to make sacrilegious imagery is much easier. The growth of AHS societies at universities and challenging debate by calling a Pineapple Mohammed, or wearing a t-shirt depicting the prophet have hit mainstream media. The debate is there to be had, and lampooning each other is par for the course.
Satire is the sauce that lets the meatballs go down, and noddles brought to a simmer bring out the full texture and richness to be had. Denying students such a rich diet is a betrayal of an education which they are paying for. To be challenged, taken out of their comfort zone, and be stronger and more determined in what they believe as graduates than before they embarked on improving their minds.
It is the right to see the world differently and express it openly.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog