News

It’s Official: Jerry Springer, the Opera is NOT blasphemous

TWO British judges today ruled that Jerry Springer, the Opera, could not considered blasphemous in the context in which it was staged.

Solicitors for Christian Voice last month urged Lord Justice Hughes and Mr Justice Collins to allow the group to prosecute the BBC for broadcasting the play, which CV claimed was “blasphemous”.green.jpg

Christian Voice director, Stephen Green, had hoped to overturn a previous ruling which forbade him from prosecuting the BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson.

Mr Green said the show “clearly crossed the blasphemy threshold”.

But the High Court judges found that the production “as a whole was not and could not reasonably be regarded as aimed at, or an attack on, Christianity or what Christians held sacred”

The two senior judges also said the 1968 Theatres Act prevented any prosecution for blasphemy in relation to public performances of plays.

The 1990 Broadcasting Act, they continued, prevented any prosecution in relation to broadcasts.

The BBC received a record 63,000 complaints when the musical – a satire based on US TV host Jerry Springer’s controversial talk show – was broadcast on BBC Two in January 2005.

The corporation also received many messages of support for screening the musical, which includes scenes set in Hell with Jesus and Satan.The National Secular Society is disappointed that Christian evangelist Stephen Green has not succeeded in his bid to to mount a blasphemy prosecution against the BBC over Jerry Springer the Opera.

While it is good news that the buffoon Green has been given the brush-off, atheists are deeply disappointed that the matter will not go to trial. Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society said:

We had hoped that Mr Green would have been given permission to bring this case because we strongly suspect that the courts would have done what parliament seems unwilling to do – declare the blasphemy law a dead duck once and for all.

In a previous attempt to provoke a prosecution for blasphemy, the National Secular Society mounted a reading of the poem that was the last victim of the blasphemy law – The Love that Dares to Speak its Name – which was published in Gay News. The reading took place on the steps of St Martin’s in the Field church in Trafalgar Square, but the police decided that no action would be taken.

In 2003, the Religious Offences Committee of the House of Lords considered the blasphemy law and concluded it likely to be unsustainable under the Human Rights Act.”

Green said he would seek to appeal against today’s ruling, which he described as a “carte blanche to blaspheme”.

I hope and pray the House of Lords will uphold the totality of the law against blasphemy and allow the prosecution to proceed.

Earlier, Green and his rag-tag of delusional followers “prayed” that the two judges would give them the go ahead to bring a public prosecution for blasphemy against the BBC. But, as always, their deity signally failed to deliver – surely a sign that it either doesn’t give a toss about blasphemy, or more likely, that it simply does not exist outside Green’s fevered imagination.

See full BBC report here.

 

2 responses to “It’s Official: Jerry Springer, the Opera is NOT blasphemous”

  1. R. v Westminster Magistrates ex p. Green, per Hughes LJ:
    “The target of criminal defamation must be a living person and not an idea or a faith, nor can Christ be regarded as a living human being for these purposes, despite Christian belief in His resurrection, which is not as a presently living human being but rather to the realms of the Almighty.”

    So it’s official!

  2. Keith Porteous Wood should read the judgement. Hughes LJ did indeed declare the blasphemy law a dead letter. It is impossible to conceive of any circumstances in which his test of “serious social strife” could be met these days by an attack on Christianity.