Richard Herring Press


Tuesday - 26 March 2002 - The Aquarium
Feedback - Difficult balance to strike

Dear Boxy and President,

I find it surprising that an SU club is putting on an event which directly makes fun of and offends a minority group.

Normally the student Union is quite (justifiably) strict in ensuring that the views end beliefs of any student are not subjected to public ridicule, and in the past the Sabb's team have made a stand against such antisocial behaviour.

A comedy act based entirely upon making fun of homosexuals, physically or mentally disabled people, coloured people, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, (and so on, as the list is long!) would surely be opposed by our Union, on grounds of discrimination? And yet the much-publicised "Christ on a bike" by Richard Herring describes the Holy book of Christianity as something of a comedy classic.

While the balance between freedom of speech and respecting people's opinions is a difficult one, surely a lot more respect is appropriate in this case? What is extraordinary about Christianity that sets it apart from other faiths to be open to this treatment? Why does the behaviour of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago still challenge people today, leaving humour as a defence to his claims?

And why is one SU society being allowed to run an event that clearly and deliberately belittles the beliefs of many members of the union, and several other union societies?

Tim Ditchfield

Response from the SU President:

The event was heavily discussed before deciding to accept it and it was felt that it was acceptable. We asked for a brief synopsis and also asked where else it was performed. It has been a national show and we felt that it would be reasonable.

Furthermore, we thought that it would be thought provoking and would spark off debate on the subject of faith as a whole. It is not challenging or belittling people's belief, it simply points to some factual inconsistencies in the New Testament.

Christianity has not been singled out by the students' Union, it happens to be the faith that Richard Herring has the most knowledge of and has chosen to base his show upon.

The very nature of comedy is often founded upon inappropriateness and often treads a very thin line. We felt that this was within acceptable limits and we respect that fact that our members are all intelligent people, capable of drawing their own conclusions.

We apologise for any offence caused and would like to state that this was by no means intentional.