‘Show was not crude or blasphemous’

Having attended one of the two sell-out performances of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s production of ‘The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)’ I struggle to understand why those who have not seen it could consider it blasphemous, and or why they should want it to be banned.

The script was written 20 years ago. The Life of Brian stirred up debate thirty years ago and the content of the production we saw in Newtownabbey was of a similarly inoffensive nature. It may have been a little irreverent in parts, but was far from meeting the description by DUP councillors of it being “crude and blasphemous”, as I am sure some of the clergymen in the audience would confirm.

No one who was there found it offensive, but more importantly no one was forced to go to it. The performers rightly received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd, many of whom were outraged that a narrow fundamentalist group on the council wanted it banned. In a free democratic society everyone has the right to free speech and as councillors we do not have the right to tell people how they may and may not be entertained.

There is a law against blasphemy as there are laws affecting public decency. Everyone is entitled to respect for their religious views, but such views do not entitle their holders to impose those views on others.

Cllr Tom Campbell