Still more on the Jesus and Mo kerfuffle

A few days ago I described censorship at the London School of Economics, where secular students at the Fresher’s Fair were forced to cover up their Jesus and Mo teeshirts, and remove “offensive” material (i.e., stuff critical of Islam) from their booth. This, apparently, was the doing of the Student Union of the LSE, and supported by the school itself.

I wondered exactly what those J&M shirts showed that was considered so offensive.  Well, the Jesus and Mo artist has now revealed what they were on his/her Twitter feed, and has offered a high-resolution image of one so you can make your own shirt and be equally offensive.

Here they are, with a link to the hi-res version.  

Shirt 1 design:

Picture 3

Isn’t that just over-the-top offensive?

Shirt 2:

Picture 2

You can support this worthy artist by buying Jesus and Mo goodies at CafePress.

If you want to see political correctness gone wild—and in England!—here’s the policy of the London School of Economics Student Union on “Islamophobia”, with footnotes omitted (download original here, click to enlarge):

Picture 3

Note the disingenuousness: the Union believes in the right to criticize religion and in freedom of speech and thought—so long as it doesn’t involve Islam.  What an odious document! Must one say again that “Islamophobia” is not racism, since Muslims aren’t a race?

Note as well that any criticism of Islam, it seems, is “deliberate targeting of one religious group with the intent or effect of being Islamophobic.”  Islam happens to be the most invidious and repressive of the world’s most popular religions, and that’s why it’s being singled out—though Christianity is hardly neglected!  It’s as if one couldn’t criticize the Conservative party because you’re singling it out by not also criticizing Labour!

Since there’s only one brand of atheism, I wonder if an anti-atheist shirt would be banned for singling out disbelief?

59 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Stephen Barnard
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    It would be fun to display an anti-Pastafarian t-shirt, the more “offensive” the better. I wonder if anyone would get the joke.

    • Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Maybe CFSM needs to bring about a new law demanding that no one makes images of the FSM, punishable by a bowl of paste being upturned on the persons head who dares disrespect this most sacrosanct of laws?

      Not that anyone would actually do such a heinous thing. CFSM is a peaceful religion, which would never waste a bowl of pasta.

      But anyone who bares an image of the FSM deserves pasta on their head!

      • Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        Paste or pasta? The latter seems more appropriate; the former would be less wasteful of food – and wallpaper paste seems the kind of things students might pour over people’s heads anyway…

        /@

        • Marella
          Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          I assumed he meant tomato paste, which gets put into spaghetti sauces.

    • Wildhog
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Pastafariophobia! Hahaha!

  3. jay
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    This is a byproduct of our non-offense mentality over the past couple of decades. The issue is made worse in that the “victim” often gets to choose what is ‘unacceptable offense’.

    As with many such things, it started out as censorship ‘for a good reason’ (that’s how ALL censorship starts), and the definitions get to expand and dilute. Some on the left try to salvage the situation by defining offense that is acceptable (they agree with it) and offense that is unacceptable (they disagree with it) but the bottom line is once you start down that road, this type of thing is what inevitably happens. Everyone can find cause for offense. (We’ve seen that happen in that sexual harassment spread out from ACTUAL harassment to merely seeing things that make one feel awkward)

    Free speech is exactly. We’ve got to realize that even non threatening free speech includes all sorts of ‘victims’ including people whom we might identify with. When it comes to free speech, you don’t get to pick and choose.

    Is religion different than nationality or sexuality? Despite the fact that some would view criticism of religion as acceptable but other criticism as unacceptable does not hold water with most people. Even though religion is not genetic (neither is culture for that matter) it will be viewed by the vast majority of people as equally personal to the ‘victim’. Good luck trying to get most of the world to buy into that distinction.

    No one has the right not to be offended. And it’s not just religion. Anything.

    Any other approach to fighting censorship is doomed to logical failure

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Probably longer than a couple of decades, with some rewriting to focus on different groups that resolution could easily have come from the mid-1970s. I suppose that student politics (at least in London) really haven’t moved on too much. But then again the age of the students remains a constant….

    • Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.

      — Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)

      /@

  4. Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Disambiguation: Whatever belief system poses the biggest threat of retaliation gets special treatment and a carte blanche gift card.

  5. pktom64
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    While I completely agree with you on this, I find rather odd to specify that

    “Islamophobia” is not racism, since Muslims aren’t a race?

    Well then, since as far as I know there’s only one Human race, racism doesn’t exist?

    As we know, racism need not be based on “race” (whatever that means).

    So yes, I believe some Islamophobes are plainly racist. And yes, this LSUSU document is disingenuous.

    • Dominic
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      “there’s only one Human race” – & they claim Adam won it.

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        My late father used to say, much to his own amusement, that “the lord said unto Moses come fourth, but he came fifth, so god lost his beer money”

    • Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      actually “race” is defined as “Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.”

      Last I checked, Islam is not a physical characteristic. Being against Islam or any other religion is not racism.

      At the same time, you can be a racist and an Islamophobe, but they are not the same thing.

      • pktom64
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        I obviously agree that being against Islam or any other religion (as I am) isn’t racism.

        As racism and xenophobia are often mixed together as hatred/fear of the other I don’t find compelling to dismiss claims of racism against Islam by saying “Islam isn’t a race”. I much rather explain why criticizing a religion or mocking it isn’t racism.

        Anyway, we’re on the same page here… nitpicking I guess. Sorry.

        • Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          Race is basically synonymous with ethnicity in common usage. The big difference between religion and race/ethnicity, is that the one is a set of beliefs (which can be changed or abandoned) and the other is a set of physical characteristics (which you are born with and can not be changed). A person can be held responsible for what she believes, but not for, say, skin or eye color (which was not chosen).

      • Ben
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        The “Islam is not a race” argument is too simplistic. At least here in the UK, all public hate speech is done by proxy — it’s codified in quite a sophisticated way, and Islam has become one of the racist’s favourite proxies. No one is a homophobe any more they just hate “professional gays”. No one is against women’s rights, they just hate “victim feminists”. And no one hates pakis any more, they just hate “Muslim extremists”. All the rest is done with a nod and wink.

        Take the EDL website as an example. Read the FAQ and you’d think every right-thinking liberal would sign up right away, but they’d feel bang out of place at the first march they went on. So how does the EDL nod and wink to the right people? Well, the crusader cross on the home page (in a shield, no less) is a start, the sea of angry white faces (all male, many with shaved heads) helps, and the stirring slogans (“no surrender”) that suggest a dire threat… ah, we get it now.

        In case there is any doubt, I think that the Union’s rules are wrong, that they interpreted them badly, and that their actions were still worse, but it’s just not as simple as saying that Islam is not a race. If you want to ban racism without stifling genuine debate about religion you need to be able to spot where Islam is being used as a proxy for a racial category. It’s not hard, and the LSESU has not even tried.

        • Florian Reuter
          Posted October 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          I agree, Prof. Ceiling Cat´s Definition of racism is too narrow. As a German, I can attest to all kinds of anti-semitism: Martin Luther´s (purely religious; as soon as a Jew is baptized, he´s welcome), cultural (those guys killed Jesus) or racist (they´re genetically determined to ruin the world). And Hitler? Hard to say, probably generically racist to the degree that you can´t even be German if one of your great-grandparents was Jewish. But of course, there are exceptions….

          So if racism could only be based on the concept of race (whatever that may be), we´d need to coin another word for somebody who is discriminated against based on a common trait that is not strictly biological or the belonging to a certain group (as opposed to his individual behaviour).

      • Marella
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        You’d think when defining a phobia you’d start with the definition of phobia and move on to your specific issue. A phobia is an unreasonable, fear, not every fear is a phobia.

        Fear of Islam is hardly unreasonable, especially if you’re a woman as I am. I don’t want to be stoned to death for carrying a mobile phone or made to live in cloth bag. I don’t want to be the legal property of a man and have my testimony worth half that of a man’s. And I don’t want to be bombed until I submit to these abominations either. If being afraid of Islam is a crime, as apparently it is, then all rational people will be in gaol.

      • Nick Evans
        Posted October 8, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        That’s your definition, sure, but the English language is a pretty flexible thing.

        For the reasons given by Ben and Latverian Diplomat, anti-Islamic behaviour in the UK is often proxy racism. Not always, as the LSESU seem to believe, but more often than the binary definition above would admit.

    • dale
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      To be pedantic, “Racism” not based on race is called Bigotry.

      • pktom64
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Oh yes, right.

        And of course in French, a bigot/bigote is someone very religious…

        How the jump was made… go figure ;-)

        • Don Quijote
          Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          …and in Spanish, bigote, is a moustache

      • Latverian Diplomat
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes bigotry is a better term, but as long as Sikhs are beaten up for being “muslim” it’s foolish to deny there’s a racist component to islamophobia.

        I don’t think Jesus & Mo is islamophobic though, it’s equally critical of all Abrahamic faiths and is critical of them on the merits.

  6. Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I dare say, that first shirt is even more offensive than a teddy bear!

    b&

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      The guy wearing the 2nd shirt put on a jacket to cover the “offensive” image, but he was informed that the word “prophet” was still visible, so it was STILL offensive.
      You’d think, with all the rules and advice for how to live one’s life that the Quran is chock full of, that there’d be something in there about maturity and acting like adults, but I guess there isn’t.

    • Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Or a pineapple?

      /@

      • Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Indeed, a pineapple can be very pleasing — and we all know how offensive pleasure is!

        Cheers,

        b&

  7. Dominic
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    This is all pretty depressing – an extension of the Mohammed cartoons in Denmark fuss. Expect more of this in 21st Century Britain.
    The SU supports freedom of speech & thought – notably absent is freedom to depict things in an image. You surely have to think that if there were a god s/he/it would say “what the heck did I create? Who are these idiots who ‘worship’ me?!”

    As Cromwell said (called “Cromwell’s Rule” by some I see) “Think it possible you may be mistaken.” Religious people do not do that…

    • Filippo
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Which also included, I think, Cromwell’s, “I beseech thee in the bowels of Christ . . . .”

  8. jesusandmo
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks for writing about this, Jerry.

    There’s an updated hi-res copy of the 2nd t-shirt here:

    And another of the ‘how ya doin?’ (with transparency – will print on any colour but black) here:

    • TJR
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Its ironic that people are claiming to be offended by J&M, given that J&M makes both Jesus and Mo far more cuddly and lovable than they are in either the bible or the koran.

      For a start, I’ve never noticed the bible or the koran containing any sort of Morecambe and Wise vibe.

      • Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Ah! So the Koran is the book what Mo wrote?

        /@

        • Pete Cockerell
          Posted October 8, 2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink

          What do you think of the book so far? Ruggish!

        • TJR
          Posted October 8, 2013 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Indeed.

          The Koran contains all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order.

          • Pete Cockerell
            Posted October 8, 2013 at 12:37 am | Permalink

            My, but the American readers must be confused by this!

            Andy Preview

  9. sam
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    > Since there’s only one brand of atheism,

    Evangelic-Secularists, unite!
    Freedom from Religion, a Human right.
    Education, curtails Religious-blight.

  10. Posted October 7, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I took you up on the challenge! Does it work?
    (https://michelledevilliersart.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/g-is-for-goldman/)

  11. krzysztof1
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Those people need to lighten up and settle down!

    • Carl W
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      It’s interesting that the above newspaper article didn’t describe the T-shirts, didn’t link to the Jesus and Mo website, and picked a frame of a comic that showed Jesus but not Mo.

      I wonder if the newspaper has an actual policy of not “printing” (displaying) depictions of Mohammed?

      • brian mohammed
        Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        I noticed the cowardly ‘censored’ too…

  12. eric
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Putting on my pedant hat for a moment, I note that Jesus & Mo does not constitute Islamophobia the way LSE defines it under “Union believes” #4.

    That statement very clearly identifies Islamophobia as persistently and deliberately targeting one religious group. But J&M doesn’t target one group – it persistently and deliberately targets two. If it targeted one group, the comic strip would just be named “Mo.”

    • Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Pedantry’s good.

      /@

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Quite often it portrays Moses as well. I think there may even have been an elephant headed entity in there somewhere.

      • Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, the only one who’s ever not depicted is the atheist barmaid.

        …or maybe she’s the real Mohammad in the strip? Hmmmm….

        b&

  13. Latverian Diplomat
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Can we retire the “political correctness” canard? It’s a right-wing epithet bereft of any actual meaning. There is no political correctness bureau abducting and imprisoning our precious rich white men for “accidentally” use the wrong word for some group of “those people” at the golf club yesterday.

    Most of what is referred to as “political correctness” is just simple etiquette or even basic human decency.

    Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other millionaires are allowed to scream hatred into a microphone for hours every day and no one is stopping them. But dare to express the opinion that their diatribes add nothing but a revolting stench to the culture and they weep and wail like the bullies they are.

    Why not label the LSEU action with a label that accurately describes what’s wrong with it? Like hypocrisy or pandering to the most easily offended or just plain thickheadedness.

    • Marlene Zuk
      Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      +1

  14. Diane G.
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Have always wondered why there isn’t a fatwa against Jesus and Mo‘s Author? Talk about portraying Mohammed!

    And the ayatollahs should also be targeting Café Press for their complicity…

  15. Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmm….. what is considered to be racist or inflamitory seems highly selective at LSE…
    LSE has had a number of radical Muslim speakers to the University, including Abdel Bari Atwan (a past quote “If the Iranian missiles strike Israel, by Allah, I will go to Trafalgar Square and dance with delight.”) and Abu Usama ash Dhahabee (a quote: “We love the people of Islam and we hate the people of the kufr. We hate the kuffaar” )
    One can only assume of course that these speakers would not do anything as callous as wearing an offensive T shirt while giving their LSE talks

  16. codemonkeysteve
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    “legitimate debate”

    Todd Akin approves.

    • Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Nah, the Tea Party has ways of shutting that thing down. Just look at the budget impasse — a majority of Representatives have expressed support for a clean CR, but where’s the vote?

      b&

  17. Filippo
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Some possible T-shirt protest slogans for wearing at the LSE:

    “Let Muslim WOMEN walk unaccompanied in bikinis!”

    “Let Saudi women in bikinis drive!”

    “Economics is NOT a science!”

    “Economics is DISMAL!”

    “VOODOO Economics!”

    “Go fatwa yourself!” Or:

    “I hope you don’t get fatwaed for at least six months!”

    “LSE” upside-down and backwards.

    “LSE: purveyor of Smith’s “vile maxim.”

  18. Cro-Magnon Canyon
    Posted October 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Over at Crooked Timber (http://crookedtimber.org/2013/10/07/the-history-of-fear-part-3/) Corey Robin included this quote that seemed a propos for the hurt feelings of theists.

    There are many who pretend that cannon are aimed at them when in reality they are the target of opera glasses.

    —Bertolt Brecht


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