Bath Skeptical Society today denounce the action of the Chaplaincy at the University of Bath who censored material being performed by students who are part of the Comedy Writing Improvisation and Performance Society (CWIPS) because it was deemed offensive to religious people.
Bath Impact reports that ‘just four hours prior to opening night the committee of CWIPS was told that a sketch involving the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed titled ‘Cooking with Christ’ should be cut. “The SU couldn’t give more of an explanation,” recalls one of the members of the committee regarding the lack of justification given for the changes being made to the show, especially on such short notice.
It became known that the Chaplaincy of the University had become involved in the decision making process of the SU. “We were told that the chaplaincy had read it and pronounced that sketch too graphic”, the committee member said, “we come under the authority of the SU, so whilst we don’t necessarily agree with what they asked us to cut we have to respect them as they are elected to their position, however the chaplaincy is not part of the SU.”
In the wake of atrocities across the globe attempting to silence the criticism or mockery of religious ideas and figures we feel that this is unacceptable. For people to be censored from mocking ideas simply for fear of offending those who are not open minded enough to accept challenges to ideas they are invested in is not compatible with a fair society, and should not be tolerated within a university. It insults not only those of us who champion freedom of speech but also the religious people whom those responsible for this decision have attempted to save from being offended.
I, on behalf of the Bath Skeptical Society have reached out today via the National Secular Society to the students who were censored in this manner to offer them the chance to perform their work, uncensored, at one of our future events in the city centre and I hope they will take up the offer.
Hayley Stevens, on behalf of the Bath Skeptical Society.