British court blocks BBC blasphemy case

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Written by Chris Perver  
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 09:45

Two High Court judges have ruled that Stephen Green of the Christian Voice organization may not prosecute BBC Director Mark Thompson over the broadcasting of Jerry Springer: the Opera. The show was aired by the BBC several years ago and generated around 60,000 complaints from the public. It parodied US talk-show host Jerry Springer, interviewing Jesus Christ and Satan. It contained hundreds of swear words, featured Jesus Christ wearing a nappy and expressing homosexual tendencies. At the end of the show, Jerry Springer tells Jesus Christ to "go to hell". We prayed, sang and several men preached the gospel at the steps of the building. I was one of those who protested outside Broadcasting House in Belfast. I was interviewed by a reporter as to why I was protesting about this programme. I just said that Jesus Christ was put to shame for me, and I was standing up for Him. Despite the record number of complaints, the show went ahead. Programmes considered offensive to Catholicism were cancelled after the BBC received far fewer complaints. The judges have ruled that the BBC was not in breach of blasphemy laws.

Quote: ""The play had been performed regularly in major theatres in London for a period of nearly two years without any sign of it undermining society or occasioning civil strife or unrest," the ruling said. The BBC welcomed the decision, saying it went ahead with the broadcast only after careful consideration. "We believe the work, taken in its proper context, satirises and attacks exploitative chat shows and not the Christian religion," the BBC said in a statement. "The Court's judgement today vindicates that decision in full." Civil liberties group Liberty, which made a written submission during the case, called Britain's blasphemy law outdated and "ripe for repeal". It argued that the offence of blasphemy violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

Had the BBC been a privately funded organization, things would be a little different. But the BBC is funded by public money through a compulsory licensing scheme, and this fact has irritated many Christians in this country. As was said at the protest in Belfast, only in Northern Ireland can you pay to be insulted. The BBC's broadcasting of the Jerry Springer show prompted many Christians to burn their television licences on the streets in protest. Moreover the BBC's Royal Charter is approved by the British government, and part of this charter states that the corporation shall not air anything which may be deemed offensive to the religious views held by its viewers. 

Quote: "5.1 The Corporation shall do all it can to secure that all programmes broadcast or transmitted by or on behalf of or under licence from the Corporation as part of the Home Services:- do not involve improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of those watching or listening to its religious programmes or any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination; 

According OfCom and the BBC, the Jerry Springer show was broadcast in the name of art. And as was said at the protest, Christianity it seems is a soft touch. Had the subject of the show been Allah and Mohammed, Buddha or any other religion, there would have been a national outcry. But as the Scriptures state, the world loves its own (John 15:19). You can only rebel against the truth, you cannot rebel against falsehoods. It is the name of Jesus Christ they use as a curse word, it is not the name of Mohammed, or Ghandi or any other religious leader. Praise God that this is our God. This name, which is used so deridingly by men, will be one day be exalted by God. For at this name, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10). Do you know this Man? Trust in Him for salvation today. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him", Psalm 2:12.

Isaiah 49:7
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, [and] his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, [and] the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

Source Reuters, BBC

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