Posters featuring the Flying Spaghetti Monster have been removed by officials at London South Bank University. Officials were concerned the posters would offend religious students.
British Humanist Association reports:
Non-religious students at London South Bank University have had posters advertising their society banned for being ‘offensive’. The poster publicising the South Bank Atheist Society (SBAS) depicted Michelangelo’s famous ‘Creation of Adam’ fresco from the Sistine Chapel but with the character of god replaced with the satirical online deity the ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster’ (FSM).
The British Humanist Association (BHA) and National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Students Societies (AHS), of which SBAS is a member, condemned the decision as ‘utterly ridiculous’ and part of ‘rising tide of frivolous censorship that is curtailing the legitimate activities of our members.’
In a statement. SBAS President Cloe Ansari said:
“I never expected to face such blatant censorship and fragile sensibilities at university, I thought this would be an institution where I could challenge beliefs and in turn be challenged.
“All I have seen is religious sensibilities trumping all other rights with no space for argument, challenge or reasoned debate. It is not what I expected when I came to university.”
“I felt harassed and intimidated – it was not aimed at protecting other students from harm but an attempt to sideline and restrict our rights; perhaps perceived as the easier option rather than standing up to the much bigger religious societies. Rather than included, we have been made to feel as an unwelcome minority of secularists”.
Barbara Ahland, president of the London South Bank Students’ Union, said: “The Students Union has been made aware of an alleged incident that took place at the Refreshers’ Fayre last week. We are taking the allegation very seriously and an investigation is taking place.”
The University is wrong. Censorship is wrong. Freedom of thought always trumps the right not to be offended. In fact, there is no such right, as the right not to be offended. The possibility of being offended is the price we all pay for freedom. All in all, it is a bargain.