Comedy Sketch with Rowan Atkinson Playing an Archbishop Causes Controversy

What happens when Rowan Atkinson (a.k.a. Mr. Bean) becomes Archbishop of Canterbury?

Only awesome things. (None of which have to do with prayer.)

Jesus said love your neighbour — and let’s be perfectly clear, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about this, he doesn’t mean shag your neighbour. He hates that. Absolutely hates it. Though as I say, he doesn’t mind the word shagging, he’s got a terrific sense of humour. He doesn’t like the f-word that describes the same thing. He thinks that’s very rude.

Anyway, I hope I’ll be able to talk to you more often like this but for now, from all of us in the good old C of E, have a wonderful night, keep on giving, keep on laughing, keep on praying – it doesn’t work, but it’s a good part of a getting-to-sleep routine if you’ve got insomnia.

Awesome :)

That clip, which aired on the BBC this past Friday for Comic Relief, somehow sparked thousands of complaints:

Atkinson also told viewers: ‘Jesus said love your neighbours, but it doesn’t mean s**g your neighbours.’

The corporation said that around a quarter of complaints received about the sketch were in relation to the religious context – while the others were more concerned about the language.

They have since removed it from the Comic Relief coverage still available on the BBC iPlayer.

Ridiculous. The Catholic Church itself is far more offensive than this sketch.

Hayley Stevens at The Heresy Club echoes that sentiment:

The idea that Christianity should be respected in the United Kingdom and exempt from criticism and mockery is kind of sweet, yet extremely misguided and ridiculous because just as those 2,000+ people who complained to the BBC have the right to feel offended by what Atkinson said while pretending to be Archbishop, Atkinson, and everyone else for that matter, has a right to be offensive. In fact, I don’t think Atkinson was as offensive as he could have been had he wanted to. There’s so much potential when it comes to mocking the Church of England!

Seriously, if you think *that’s* offensive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. (Atkinson once played a vicar in a way more hilariously offensive sketch. And there was also that time he offered the Church’s Guide to Fellatio.)

Incidentally, there’s a Facebook group (created before this sketch aired) calling for Atkinson to actually become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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