saxChrist & 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
Jonathan Ackerman”

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.

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16 Comments to “Rag Mag Blasphemy”

  1. The Pretoria News has published the same article – read it online here:
    http://www.pretorianews.co.za/.....916C552676

  2. “Both the vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town and its Rag chairperson have apologized for what has been labelled a “blasphemous” attack on Christianity in the rag magazine Sax Appeal.”

    Source: http://www.dailychristianway.c.....ia-news-2/

  3. Galilee International Ministries received the following by e-mail:

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I am writing to acknowledge your e-mail about the contents of the UCT student magazine, SAX Appeal 2009, which has been the cause of great offence and insult. I acknowledge also the legitimacy of your sense of hurt and outrage. These have shown themselves in various ways, including some pretty vicious insults directed at me personally. I take these in my stride because on this particular occasion, I believe that such collateral damage is part of my job.

    I am also aware that in your anger, you have focused on the only names that have been supplied to you, and I have to accept that when you need to express outrage the visible target is the one you will hit. But just for the record, many of the people that have been sent these e-mails had nothing to do with the production of the magazine in question.

    University administrations the world over are usually in a permanent state of playing catch-up to keep abreast of the antics of their students, who sometimes lack the maturity and judgement to realise that not everything that is seen as funny by some is acceptable to all. I say this to make it clear, as you will see from our Vice-Chancellor’s own apology, that we as UCT have absolutely no intention of sweeping this under the carpet or minimising its impact.

    I am setting out below the two statements that we have circulated to the print and electronic media. I hope they do serve the purpose of reassuring you that UCT takes your anguish seriously. The first is an unconditional apology by the Chairman of the RAG Committee; and the other is a statement by the Vice-Chancellor.

    Statement from the RAG Committee Chairman

    It has become clear that many people of the Christian faith have been hurt and insulted by some of the contents in our magazine, SAX Appeal 2009. UCT RAG unreservedly apologises to everyone who has been offended in this way. We value all the responses and comments that we have received and we will endeavour to ensure that nothing like this happens in the future. We believe that, in our honest intention to raise funds for the needy, we overstepped the mark and we hope that you will accept our unconditional apology.

    Cameron Arendse
    RAG Committee Chair

    Statement from the Vice-Chancellor:

    The recent SAX Appeal has rightly caused an outcry from many people and some of its articles have caused deep offence.

    The chairperson of RAG, Cameron Arendse, has apologised unreservedly for the offence it has caused.

    I believe this apology is appropriate and I have a strong view that the editorial team overstepped the boundaries.

    I have asked that the Editorial team meet with UCT Management as soon as possible. We will revisit the role of the editorial advisory board that should work with students to advise on the publication’s content.

    Many of us regardless of religious affiliation have been offended by aspects in the publication and for those let me add my apology.

    Dr Max Price
    VICE-CHANCELLOR

    I should also add my own apologies for the hurt that has been caused to you by this unfortunate episode. On Monday I will be meeting with a delegation of churches to tender our apologies in person and to plan a way forward.

    Your sincerely

    Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo
    Deputy Vice-Chancellor

  4. Valis says:

    I am shocked and sickened by this story. How dare you censor other people’s freedom of speech? Who the hell do you think you are? You have no right to force your bronze-age myths and superstitions onto the rest of us. Just because you believe such insane nonsense as that there’s an invisible magic-man in the sky doesn’t mean you have the right to infringe on other people’s freedoms. I don’t go around complaining about you people putting up crosses and bible verses everywhere, a practise which I find extremely offensive!

    You call yourself a religion of tolerance and forgiveness, yet you are anything but tolerant and forgiving. Why don’t you for once practise what you preach? You’re nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. I am sick, sick, sick of this oppressive religion.

  5. Roelien says:

    I just want to say to Valis that regardless of what your believes are , God still believes in you . He has a plan for your life and I will pray that He will bring someone on your path who will be able to show Jesus to you .
    It is because Christians don’t stand up enough that things are going the way they are around the world . This country has been founded by Christians , not atheists muslims or hindu’s . If it was not for what they’ve done we probably would be another Zimbabwe . I would like to inform you that we Christians are praying that our Lord and Saviour will once again stand in the gap and plead to our Father God to forgive our nation’s sins and heal our land . This will happen regardless of what your believes are .
    May God have mercy and forgive the ones who wrote those terrible words . The funny thing is , He still loves you regardless of what you’ve done and He will forgive you when you run to Him and asked Him to . His love for you will never change , only his tolerence for you refusing to accept what He’s done for you . The price has been paid , if you go to hell it will be a waste of precious Blood . Please wake up and invite Him in . One day , I believe sooner than we know , our Lord will return to fetch His children , you do not want to be left behind . The ones who will be left behind will wonder what happened and then you will be free from all the Christians – it will not be as great as it may sound to you .
    I pray that God will have mercy on us as South Africans and give us one last chance to return to Him and let Him heal us and our land .

  6. Mags says:

    Good for you Valis. I couldn’t agree more. It’s not only a bronze age superstition, it’s also chosen insanity.

  7. Thomas says:

    Roelien I would like to know what makes you think christians founded this country? If by christians you mean small minded racist poeple from Holland and England and by founded you mean forced people of other cultures and faiths by gun point to accept oppresion and discrimination and total prejudice of there faith and culture then I guess your right. If you werent such an ignorant person I might be forced to hate you but I dont because I understand that you have bein brought up to believe in your bible and nothing else you say things without doing the research. If you say christians founded this country you are saying that all the native poeple and faiths of this land that were here far befor christians are to be thought of as unimportant and the poeple of a lesser worth than christians wich is discrimatory! I hate it when christians who account for thirty three percent of the population say ” Poor us we are being discriminated apon once again some one stop those evil devil worshippers!” for the idiots 33% is about the highest number of memebers that any religion can acount to. Wouldnt you think its hard for a minority to effectively discriminate against the major faith of the world since every time some one speaks out against them they get bullied away. I am a pagan a faith thats as old as the human race is and guess who almost totally destroyed that faith yup you guessed it “CHRISTIANS!!!!” and im talking about murder here not conversion. I challenge you to come up with every instance that christianity is discriminated against and ill give you two more that christians have discriminated against other faiths and by discriminate I mean genocide. I know you probably going to babble on about how your god loves me and youll pray for me but thats because you are a discrimanatory, arrogant and probably racist person. To say YOUR GOD loves me is discrimanatory because what you saying is my religion means nothing and yours is everything and my Gods dosnt exist but your God does wich is discrimination of other peoples religion. To say you will pray for me is arrogant because why would i want or need you to pray for me to your false god and I got the racism part because you said christians founded this country wich means you have no regard for the native poeple who lived here for centuries befor christians came and ruined it all!!!!!!! Please respond you arrogant, ignorant fool.

  8. I am having a hard time approving some comments here. Not because of your arguments, but because of the way you lash out against someone in specific.

    Please, we are grown-ups – keep your cool, regardless of your convictions.

  9. Thomas says:

    Yes I apologise but as we might be out right agresive Roelin is being passive aggresive wich is the same if not worse and she probably dosnt even realise it.

  10. Shane says:

    To Thomas and others, you may find this hard to believer but true Christians are as dismayed as you are at the terrible things done in the name of “Christianity”.

    The word Christian means little Christ, i.e. to be as He was/is.

    This means that any act of violence or discrimiantion against people baesd on religious differences, racial segmentation, gender etc. are not of Him.

    At no point did Jesus ever act in a brutal manner, He cared for the lost and hurting, tried to bring them into a deeper relationship with God and even to the point of death gave Himself for those who would choose to believe in Him.

    That is the way to test whether someone is religous or truly a Christian.

    I have weighed the evidence of the Bible, seen the changes in my own life and way of thinking and on that personal evidence I have dedicated my life to Jesus.

    For this reason I have to stand in His defence in the same manner in which I would any other person I love when their name is being dragged through the mud.

    That being said, one of His commandments to me (Matthew 28:18-20) is to share the offer of His love with others which I will as I respect and revere Him.

    Be as open to hearing what Christians have to say, as you would like us to be to hearing what you have to say.

    Some of my closest friends do not share my faith – but we debate the issues and never get personal or disparaging about each others beliefs.

    Christians and aetheists alike; if you want to be taken seriously learn to listen and debate without lowering yourselves to personal attacks.

  11. Logo says:

    @Valis.

    The difference is that Christians don’t go around ridiculing and making fun of your beliefs the way that article did. Did you even read it ???

    There is nothing wrong with an atheist not agreeing with a Christian and then debating it and publishing it in magazines. But to start calling people C.*.*.*s is not on. To deliberately go out and to insult and belittle someone else’s beliefs is not “freedom of speech”, it is cowardace.

    *Edited by CatchTheFire

  12. Thomas says:

    I have never made any mention of jesus in my comments and if you are implying that I talked bad about jesus because I was talking bad to a christian because apparently it means “little jesus” as you say, then thats nuts because then im pritty sure you called yourself god. Logo you are wrong christians do ridicule other religions on a regular basis and do you know whats worse them labeling you as evil or demonic even devil worshipper because of your faith wich about 90 % of christians ive told what faith i am have done. I dont know about you but I couldnt care less if someone made fun of my faith because I know what my beliefs intail and they dont, now calling me evil thats alot worse. I have christian friends too shane I am in no way saying that all christians are like Roelin here even though in my experiance most of them are all im saying is stop playing the “our religion is being discriminated apon” Thats like Israel telling America to stop there occupation of Iraque. You would think with the history of the semite religions there followers would lower there heads in respect for all the death and destruction they have caused for even a min but no instead they play the victom because some one made a comic strip based on his views of the christian faith.

  13. Elaina says:

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  14. Gavin says:

    Thomas and Valis,

    You will have to explain your words to Jesus Christ one day. Whether you believe in God or not, what he has said in his Word will be accomplished. (When I say God I mean the God of the Christian bible who through His Angels brought awareness of the law of life to mankind). Mankind is not able to keep this law perfectly but Jesus Christ did keep this law perfectly because he was chosen to and only because he received God’s spirit which assisted him to the end. He was also chosen to die at the hands of the ignorant and violent ironically so that these very people’s souls could be saved if they came to their senses and pleaded with God for forgiveness through Jesus. This may be difficult for you to understand because God’s logic doesn’t appeal to the minds of self sufficient intellectuals who perceive no need to acknowledge a higher understanding or spiritual awarenes than that which they currently possess. Because Jesus died for the weak and ignorant and undeserving he was granted dominion and rule over every authority both spiritual and physical. Jesus Christ is ruler and King over all life including you and I and you live by His grace alone even though you are ignorant of it and deny it.
    You accuse other Christians of being ignorant but are you really in a position to do this? Have you read the bible? And if not, can you then accuse anyone else of ignorance? For your own sake, read John 15:13 in the Bible just for a glimpse of who the Lord Jesus is.

    Take care
    Rgds
    Gavin (An eternal friend of the Lord Jesus Christ)

  15. JC says:

    Oh dear christ[ians].. get over yourselves already.
    [added by moderator]
    Freedom of speech & expression – AND religion, is what is being practiced in Sax Appeal. There is nothing outlawed in there.. no racism etc.

    Some people may take it as an insult to read crap like “You will have to explain your words to Jesus Christ one day” – as if telling him to change or else.

    Stop crying and being so sensitive, and learn take it a bit too.. Your God doesn’t sit at the head of this country – democracy does, and with that comes the freedoms we hold close, and practice.

  16. Juan says:

    I will say this…I am a Christian (in fact I am a minister of a church). I’m not exactly sure why I still am but something keeps me there and I am happy and fulfilled in my choice.

    I do agree that we need to be sensitive to all religions and non-religions. That is just plain common human decency. If any person called me a C**T, I can assure you, I take issue with that. Not because it is aimed at my faith but because it’s plain rude and unfair to say.

    Now with what I actually wanted to say…this one goes out to the Christians (of which I am one of them – ordained to lead them). Chill Out guys. You’re always on about defending our God as though the creator of the universe needs some puny human to do that for God. Christ never called for us to defend Him or the faith. Christian triumphalism is just another form of fanaticism, not faith! If you feel the need to defend God, then your God is too small!

    If you want to defend the church, then you need to ask yourself if it is defendable…I don’t think it is. We have perpetuated more evil in this world than any pagan religion.

    So Christians, coming from one of you…chill and continue to do as Christ did…LOVE one another as he loved us (that means sacrificing a couple of things and serving other, not fighting with them)

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