Saturday, 25 January 2014


Row as 'blasphemous' Bible spoof play cancelled by Northern Ireland council

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The Reduced Shakespeare Company's production of a play about the Bible has been cancelled in Newtownabbey amid a blasphemy row

Amnesty International has said the cancellation of a play in Northern Irelandafter Christians claimed it was blasphemous interferes with freedom of speech.

The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) was due to be staged in the Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey on the northern outskirts of Belfast later this month.
The Democratic Unionist-led borough council decided to call it off amid strong opposition from religious conservatives.
Amnesty Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said: "It is well-established in international human rights law that the right to freedom of expression, though not absolute, is a fundamental right which may only be restricted in certain limited circumstances to do with the advocacy of hatred.
"It is quite obvious that those circumstances are not met in the context of this work of comedy and, thus, that the cancelling of the play is utterly unjustified on human rights grounds.
"Such interference with freedom of speech and artistic expression should be of concern to freedom-lovers everywhere."
The Reduced Shakespeare Company's production asked "Did Adam and Eve have navels? Did Moses really look like Charlton Heston (the Hollywoodactor)?"
In its promotion for the play, the company added: "Whether you are Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, atheist or Jedi, you will be tickled by the RSC's romp through old-time religion."
A total of 800 seats were available over two nights and 150 tickets were sold, a 19% take-up.

Comments (110)

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Fwee Bwian
I have criticized the DUP many times on these columns and I have been a member of Amnesty International for over 10 years. However I am very surprised to see Amnesty International getting involved in protesting about this play being banned (not from the country, but just from council premises).

No-one seriously doubts that this play is blasphemous, but in a world where most of us do not believe in God this is not taken seriously. However, those who do believe in God have a right to take it seriously.

Would Amnesty protest as strongly about a play being blocked if that play mocked Muslims and the prophet, Mohamed?

Come to think of it, did Amnesty speak out in support of freedom of speech and defence of artistic expression when cartoonists were threatened with death for poking fun at Mohamed in Denmark back in 2006?.
11 replies · active 1 hour ago
I can't wait to see the reaction when the movie,
"The Graduate 2..(The Iris Robinson Story)"
comes out!
The fan will be well hit!
Banning Brokeback Mountain too?! An excellent film, beautifully made and very thought provoking.
Seriously what is wrong with these people?
7 replies · active 2 hours ago
The DUP are good at scoring home goals. They protested at girls dressing up as nuns in our school production of 'The Sound of Music' when I was a boy. BUT, who funds Amnesty and how can they claim to speak authoritatively on every minor is issue? Are they the secular Pope? Have they nothing important to do with their funding? We never hear them protesting about the ongoing killing of Christians in various countries round the world.
8 replies · active 2 hours ago
Northern Ireland really is a joke amongst the outside world.

Seriously, we recently had police intervention at a church, a church claiming to cure gay people, and now protests about a play?

I'm not a church goer, and given the recent press I'm quite glad of that, if this is what Christianity is all about.
4 replies · active 2 hours ago
I am a ratepayer in Newtownabbey and voted for the current Mayor, Alderman Fraser Agnew.
I fully support what he and the DUP members have done on this.

When I voted I ensured that I voted for those who would uphold God's truth and stand for
His holy word. Is nothing sacred to all of you ?
18 replies · active 2 hours ago
I haven't seen this play myself but apparently there' a scene that I don't think other complete strangers to me should see. I won't let them make that decision for themselves of course because I'm in charge. I should have the power to decide who see's what because I'm an idiot megalomaniac.
2 replies · active 2 hours ago
cicero68's avatar - Go to profile
The play is considered blasphemous and banned. However, every summer, mayhem ensues with the same Christian fundamentalists, going on the rampage, drinking, attacking police, sectarian behaviour outside Catholic churches, marching where they are not wanted and a whole lot of other unchristian behaviour buts it all done in the name of their brand of Ulster Christian culture.
3 replies · active 2 hours ago
njmcc's avatar - Go to profile
Its the final acts of a dying breed. Thankfully as we progress into a more secular society these type of actions will soon be resigned to the history books.
We can speed it up too by not voting for these bigots again

I haven't seen this play myself but apparently there' a scene that I don't think other complete strangers to me should see. I won't let them make that decision for themselves of course because I'm in charge. I should have the power to decide who see's what because I'm an idiot megalomaniac.
2 replies · active 2 hours ago
Now Amnesty International gets involved. Now. Not last July when the Ligoniel lodges were prevented from marching home. Where was their concern then for our civil right to parade our hatred anywhere we like? Does that not concern them? Clearly not. Amnesty International can keep their Commie, Gay, Leftie noses out. We can’t march and insult where we like but they can give off about our God fearing brethren defending Jesus? Ow right!! Anyway Jesus knows all their names and addresses. We'll see who's laughing then. Submitted by seamasbeag on behalf of the Organising Committee Camp Bigot, Twaddell Avenue.
10 replies · active 3 hours ago
I am sure if Jesus was around he would have bought tickets for Himself , His older brothers and His Mum the Virgin Mary,He might even have made a cameo "appearance" as obviously Himself and the family were practical jokers and enjoyed the craic as much as anyone.
I've started the petition "Alderman William Ball: Acknowledge that your personal and vociferous demands for censorship of the Arts fall outside of any public authority that you have been afforded." and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:
7 replies · active 4 hours ago
Well at least the DUP hasn't quite gone this far (yet????)
2 replies · active 5 hours ago
Great publicity for this show I'm sure the next showing will be full
I was in Ballymena on the day the ELO cancellation was announced. I was listening to Newsbeat on Radio 1....I don't do that anymore.
The 4 Ds comment was even more cringe worthy than reported in this article. It's etched on my mind.

The radio reporter was flabbergasted at the councillor's explanation. He said ELO were the straightest band ever. The councillor , who was a preacher replied, 'To us Rock 'n Roll is the 4 Ds, drink, drugs, debauchery, devil worship and secks'. I screamed at the radio "that's 4 Ds and an S you idiot".

Every national radio station carried it. However every cloud has a silver lining, the DUP lost control of Ballymena council at the next election.
1 reply · active 5 hours ago
cestqui8's avatar - Go to profile
Anything these idiots do denies human rights. Why can't we play irish league games on a Sunday? Because these idiots claim we should be reading our bible by candlelight. It's not ok for us to watch a comedy sketch but it's ok for the party leader's wife to have an affair with some wee fella and 'finance' his business. We need to oust these bigoted hypocrites from this country. It's 2014 folks not 1690
2 replies · active 7 hours ago
coilsandco's avatar - Go to profile
Since when did the DUP give a toss about human rights?

They are Anti-Catholic, Anti-Gay, Anti-Science and Anti-Democracy. They make the Taliban look enlightened.

1 reply · active 7 hours ago
Its time someone called on Jamie to step in and reverse this decision!

All I can say to the DUP is this. Don't go to London and see the book or Mormon. Some of you will never come home so severe will be the hart attacks you will have with the shock and offence caused.
The local Taliban (DUP/UUP) have been issuing fatwas against everyone who challenges their religious fundamentalism for decades.
This is just the latest victim.
What ever happened to turning the other cheek?

Here's a checklist of things you can do to complain about this blatant theocratic censorship:
K1L4BT's avatar - Go to profile
This is what we have had to put up with for years.
Now maybe the DUP can be exposed as the fundamentalist regime that they are and voters will start saying no to them.
"In 1993, rock group ELO Part II were banned from playing in council property in Ballymena, Co Antrim, as DUP councillors said that rock music would attract “the four Ds”: ‘Drink, Drugs, Devil and Debauchery’."

You couldn't make it up!!!!!
The DUP have fooled us all, they are in cahoots with the Shakespeare Company, and are taking 10% of the takings for all the publicity.
It's even made the National News at 6. Well done the 'progressive and forward thinking DUP' for showing us to be a backwater. Jolly well done!
“Wadder youzuns all slabberin’ abeut? Them eul’ foreign actors jus’ kiam over here d’ mack ahr Holy Beible, so th’ did! An’ thad eul’ Amnesty International’s just a bunch o’ Provie lovers, so thee are!

Ahr Pradizan pallyticians tuck the democradic decision d’ stap Gawd-fearin’ Pradizan folk from bein’ offended bey a show th’ wuddeniv wannit d’ see anyway cuz thur Gawd-fearin’ Pradizans!

Nigh, ei’m headin’ eut d’ git blacked, so ee am, cuz thurs nathin’ else d’ do reun’ here for a biddiv intertianment, so thur isn't! Maybe yiz shud be askin’ whey thad is, insteadee pickin’ awn the Pradizan pallyticians!

Heul’ awn a minute…”
Just how far people of close minds go? Are they infallible and have the right to control your mind? Open minded people are a asset to society.
8billion's avatar - Go to profile
Consider yourselves lucky they don't have any real power.

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