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, have expressed exasperation and condemned the decision as ‘utterly ridiculous’ and part of ‘rising tide of frivolous censorship that is curtailing the legitimate activities of our members.’
Begun as a prank, intended to ridicule design in nature, the FSM Church ended up getting taken seriously as a religion in Austria and persecuted on that account in Moscow.
Hey, we sympathize. But what goes around comes around. And social engineering railroads everybody. The British Humanist Association should respond not by partisan whining but by co-sponsoring a group like Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and fighting back on behalf of academic freedom in general. They could do worse than read Greg Lukianoff’s Unlearning Liberty for some ideas about what has gone wrong and how people are trying to fix it on this side of the Pond. They should like Lukianoff; he’s an atheist too.
See also: Free speech campaigner: Today students rarely assist other students whose rights are violated
Hat tip: Blazing Cat Fur
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