Christ & Christianity Singled out for Blasphemous Attack by UCT
In a recent e-mail that seems to have started circulating on the 19th of February, originating from the Family Policy Institute, it was stated that the University of Cape Town published articles in their Sax appeal magazine that could only be described as outrageous, indefensible and blasphemous.
Here is the contents of the e-mail as it was sent out:
“The 2009 edition of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Sax Appeal magazine has grossly overstepped the boundaries of decency & respect for individual religious beliefs by singling out the person of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith for blasphemous mockery and ridicule. In a cartoon created from 50’s stock pictures, word balloons are inserted to blaspheme Jesus Christ and demean, mock and ridicule the Christian faith. Jesus is referred to as a “tool”, Christians as stupid c**ts and God as a “pervert”
On page 84/85 entitled “LIE, top ten atheist retorts to fundamentalist Christians — Richard Sagan puts them in their place with these handy replies”. “Jesus died to save us from our sins”. – “I bet he feels like a tool now” “Praise the Lord, it’s a miracle!” – “No you stupid C.*.*.T. (Christian who Understands No Theorems) statistically they happen every 365 days” In one picture a man with a megaphone shouts to passing people “I love God”. The caption above him reads; “F**k off to heaven and leave the rest of us alone” In another, a women is lifting her leg saying; “pervert” with the caption underneath “God sees everything” In a picture of two men lying in bed at opposite ends, “Without God you will never be happy” — “I’m pretty happy when I’m drunk, high on crack and having freakish man sex”
These and many other exclusive attacks on Christianity are spread throughout the magazine. A full page of Zapiro cartoons mock the Levitical injunction against homosexuality. If UCT attempted this despicable attack against any other faith group there would have been a major outcry by now and perhaps even violence. Alarmingly, I can’t find anybody at UCT willing to take responsibility for this blasphemous and unwarranted attack on Christ and the faith of millions of Christians.
THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! – THIS IS INDEFENSIBLE! – THIS IS DISCRIMINATORY! IT IS TIME FOR CHRISTIANS TO STAND UP FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND DEFEND THEIR FAITH, BELIEFS & THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS! “
The writer of the e-mail continues to name the editors, directors and the sponsor of the magazine which included Pick and Pay’s marketing director.
One brother commented while forwarding the e-mail:
“We’re DEFINITELY in the last days. And I thought these people were GOOD!!
We need to stand up!! Maybe we could all bombard these people’s e-mails with retraction demands??
C’mon. Send this e-mail to all and EVERYONE in your mailbox.
Let’s DO SOMETHING!! This is totally unacceptable!!
THIS IS MY GOD THAT THEY ARE INSULTING!!!!!!!”
Replying by e-mail, after a blog author of Galilee International Ministries (SA) sent the mail directly to Mr Ackerman, he responded:
“Thank you for assisting to bring to our attention the current issue of Sax Appeal, which contains material that could well be regarded as being offensive. We were extremely angry when we saw it.
Pick n Pay has supported Shawco, the principal beneficiary of the sales of the magazine, for over 40 years and we believe this to be an extremely worthy cause. The company has and continues to support UCT and its students in significant ways.
Given that this is a magazine produced by students for a student initiative, Pick n Pay has never played a role in editorial decisions of any kind. We do believe that while satire has always been a feature of Sax Appeal, students putting the magazine together should be extra careful while documenting, reporting and cartooning their work to avoid blatant disrespect of any faith, culture and race. We believe this to have been disappointing, irresponsible and not in keeping with what we believe is acceptable behaviour by anyone, including students. You will be pleased to know therefore, that we have made the decision to remove Sax Appeal from sale in Pick n Pay stores. We are also engaging with the University of Cape Town on this issue.
Thank you again for bringing this to our attention.
With kind regards
An article in the The Star (20 Feb 2009) reports that “A leading food retailer yesterday pulled a satirical student magazine off its shelves after a storm of protest from Christians.” Tamra Veley, spokesperson for Pick n Pay also, is also quoted in the article using the same words as in the above e-mail from Jonathan Ackerman.
According to The Star, the executive Director of Freedom of Expression Institute, Jane Duncan replied that “blasphemy was no longer a recognized ground for restriction of publications. “It is debatable whether the article advocates hatred against the Christian religion. The statement ridicule Christianity, but that does not mean that the encourage people actively to hate religion”, Duncan said. Duncan also added: “The statements are silly and childish. Many of us would simply dismiss them as student toilet humour and move on to more enlightened literature…” – Read a scanned image of the full article here
The Christian Democratic Alliance also responded saying the contents o the magazine was “a deliberate and planned discriminatory attack on Christianity…”
UCT RAG’s mission statement is the following:
“Through its fundraising activities for SHAWCO, RAG aims to equip UCT students with the fundamental skills, perspectives and experiences required to passionately develop their careers such that they become leaders within an African context; always conscious of the needs of their fellow citizens.”
It is sad that the “needs of their fellow citizens” do not include the feelings, respect and recognition of the various faith groups in South Africa, and especially that of the Christian faith.
We would love to hear your comments on this.