This week will be our first pub discussion of the year. During these meetings, we have a relaxed (or occasionally heated) chat about atheist/humanist/secularist issues that have been in the news recently, in small groups (in the pub) – this week, the topic will be censorship and students’ unions.
At the start of this academic year, the Atheist Society at the London School of Economics made the headlines, as they were intimidated, and threatened with forced removal from their freshers fair for wearing t-shirts featuring the satirical comic book characters Jesus and Mo. This follows on from a similar incident last year, when Reading University’s society faced expulsion for exhibiting a pineapple named “Mohammed”.
So where should the line for freedom of speech be drawn? How should students’ unions best balance the need to protect students from harm, yet also protect freedom of expression? Even if we have the right to offend, does that mean we should?
Some relevant links, you may wish to look at beforehand are:
- A first hand account from Abhishek Phadnis, LSE Atheist Society President
- Joint Statement from LSE and LSE SU
- “Censoring atheists at LSE is a victory for oppression” – Guardian Comment is Free
- “Jesus and Mohammed T-shirts banned: victory for the ‘sanctimonious little prigs’ of LSE’s student union” – Telegraph.co.uk
- Do Atheists have the right to offend Muslims? – Jihad of the Pen
- Wearing Jesus & Mo Shirts Doesn’t Mean You’re Discriminating Against Christians and Muslims – Friendly Atheist
- Jesus and Mo comic, satirising the LSE SU events
The meeting will be on Monday 4th, 19:00 at The Crown Inn (same place as the pub quiz last week). As always, please feel free to come along if you are a new member, and hopefully we will see as many of you there as possible for lively discussion!