The big questions

Here are Chris and Abhishek on the BBC show The Big Questions. The question, you will remember, was “Should human rights always outweigh religious rights?”

There’s also Tina Beattie, and a guy called Davis Mac-Iyalla saying yes they should, and (I skipped ahead) hot disagreement about (male) circumcision.

I skipped all the way ahead to get to the Chris and Abhishek part at about 50 minutes. They unzipped their jackets as requested to reveal the (shock-horror) Jesus and Mo T shirts.

Do they have the right to wear such T shirts? No, the woman in a hijab sitting (reluctantly) next to them says. No, another woman in a hijab in the back row says. “When you’re threatening our religion,” she explains twice. Of course, the T shirts don’t threaten her/their religion.


  1. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Religious believers often regard humour and truth as far more threatening to their religions than violence and persecution.

  2. Pliny the in Between says

    A (extremely rare) visitor to my cartoon site argued with me about this issue of the religiously offensive nature of 99% of my output. My position is that this person absolutely has the right to be offended on behalf of his or her ideas, but that their offense should never carry the force of law.

    If you are going around claiming things on behalf of an omnipotent being, said being should be grand enough to take a joke.

  3. Acolyte of Sagan says

    I watched this on Sunday morning, and two things stick in my memory. The first is when the host tries pressing the woman in the burka sitting next to Chris to elaborate on something she’d said, and rather than do so she claimed that the host was oppressing her: the second is the way the cameras were switched as soon as Chris and Abhishek started to un-zip their jackets so the images weren’t screened.
    To his credit, though, once the t-shirts were revealed the host did ask what all the fuss was about as the picture ‘is just a bloke with a beard, isn’t it?

  4. says

    Yes, I noticed that second item too – the way they jumped to other cameras as if Chris and Abhishek were about to reveal pictures of slaughtered children or something. So pathetic.

  5. says

    Religion deserves as much protection and privilege from a society as listening to Justin Bieber “music” or watching “Gilligan’s Island” reruns. They’re all equally pointless frippery and hobbies.

    Anyone who wants to partake in it is free to do so, but has no business expecting laws based on it nor claim any ability to force it upon others where it’s not wanted. They’re not asking for rights for themselves, they’re asking for obedience from others.

    The only right that religious people deserve is the right to have it, and they’re already getting that.

  6. sacharissa says

    It is remarkable that they showed the T-shirts at all. The UK press would not show the Danish cartoons and news coverage on Chris and Abishek’s problems at LSE were illustrated with an image showing only Jesus. Mo is clearly visible on screen several times.

  7. says

    Yeah there is me a few seats along from an image of Mohammad, and this was broadcast while I was in Tehran, which added an extra frisson of excitement to the trip!

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