"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ice cream ad offensive to Catholics

This seems a trivial story but it isn’t. The Advertising Standards Agency has banned an advert for a brand of Ice Cream because it
"was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith"
The image is of a pregnant nun, eating ice cream with the strap line “Immaculately Conceived”.
The company, Antonio Frederici is trying to make a point with this advert, saying they want to
"comment on and question, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the church to social issues"
and they have plans to post follow up adverts on a similar theme close to Westminster Cathedral.
How many times does it have to be said? People have no right in our society not to be offended. Religion is fair game for mockery and satire and to do so has long been a tradition in this country. Where would British comedy have been without Dave Allen, Father Ted or Monty Python? All of these shows attracted criticism but quite rightly were never banned. You would after all think that an almighty God could defend himself without the help of the ASA, but the point is they should not be making this kind of judgment.
If an advert is promoting prejudice or anti-social behaviour or glamorising violence, or if an advert is making false claims for a product then that is the point at which the ASA should get a say. It should not be using its powers in the suppression of free speech.

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