The London School of Economics (LSE) Student Union Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (LSESU ASH) has refused to comply with a call from the university’s union to remove cartoons featuring Jesus and Mohammed from its Facebook page. The image that has generated most controversy is apparently one of the pair drinking a pint together.
‘There are no reasonable grounds for [the university union’s] instruction because we are in no way violating their policies or byelaws,” said LSESU ASH President Chris Moos. “The cartoons on our Facebook page criticise religion in a satirical way and we totally reject any claim that their publications could constitute any sort of harassment or intimidation of Muslims or Christians.”
Certainly, it seems a lot of fuss for a ‘closed’ Facebook page with just 68 members. But is Moos correct that there are no reasonable grounds behind the university’s call to remove the cartoons?
The British Humanist Association is backing the rebel LSE students, with its chief executive, Andrew Copson, describing them as “reasonable in their dealings with their union”. Copson added: “it is clearly unreasonable for a simple satirical depiction of religious figures to be deemed tantamount to intimidation of religious students. The freedom to criticise all sorts of beliefs and hold them open to satire as well as intellectual critique is a vital generator of intellectual progress – something which universities should safeguard.”
For more info on the dispute, check out this post on the website of the LSE student newspaper The Beaver.