Saturday, 5 October 2013

Attacks on atheist students are not new

The actions taken against the students running the LSE Atheist, Secularist & Humanist Society is not the first time that free speech in our seats of learning has been attacked by religious bigots and their lickspittles. It seems Reading Students Union did the same with their their atheists.

The Godlessness in thought blog reported the story thus:

Gillian Gibbons, a teacher from Liverpool who worked in Khartoum, was arrested in 2007 for naming her class teddy bear Muhammad. Authorities detained her in a police cell, and a court sentenced her to fifteen days in prison and deportation. This was a comparatively lenient decree: Gibbons, charged triply with insulting religion, incitement of hatred and public contempt for religious beliefs, might have faced forty lashes for these under Sudanese law.
A year ago as freshers’ fair took place at Reading University, its atheist society sought to raise awareness of blasphemy laws’ global effects, citing the Gibbons case specifically. To pique passing first years’ interest as a conversation-prompter, they wrote the name Muhammad on a post-it note and stuck it to a pineapple, assuming no doubt that this exhibit’s surreal whimsy couldn’t possibly be viewed as aggressive, prejudicial or intolerant. They erred in thinking so: after the best part of a day passed without signs of trouble, a representative of Reading’s student union (who ran the fair) informed them a number of complaints had been received, adding the earnest but Pythonesque instruction, ‘Either the pineapple goes, or you do.’
According to a statement the group made which hit the press:
They seized the pineapple and tried to leave. However, the pineapple was swiftly returned, and shortly was displayed again, with the name Mohammed changed to that of Jesus.
Shortly afterwards, the second RUSU staff member returned and ordered [us] to leave the Freshers’ Fayre. At this point, a group of around five students, some of whom self-identified as Muslim, approached the stall and began to criticise us, asking and telling us to remove the pineapple. Though these students mainly engaged in discussion, one removed the label from the pineapple without our permission.
As the RUSU staff member merely raised his voice and shouted at the [society] president when he attempted to explain our position, we were ultimately forced to leave the venue. However, several other societies at the Fayre offered to continue distributing our leaflets, and we continued to hand out leaflets outside the venue until we were again asked to leave by RUSU staff members, this time accompanied by RUSU security staff.
Our Freshers’ Fayre’, the student union commented, ‘is an inclusive event for all students. As the societies [sic] actions were causing upset and distress to a number of individual students and other societies attending we took the decision to ask them to leave.’
Defending the society’s expulsion on grounds of inclusivity seems Orwellian in the extreme.
Read the rest: here

It seems you are free to practise any religion and be offended by criticism and lampooning whilst those who choose to reject such superstitious notions are not free to express our views.

It seems that our student leaders require some basic education.

Lesson One:

Example (a) 

This video with Dave Allen is about lampooning religion (in this case the Catholic church)

Example (b)

This is hate speech, this time from Christian extremists.

Can you tell the difference?

If you can't, educate yourself. That's what you are at University for apparently 

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