London South Bank University Spaghetti Monster poster causes controversyBy Sj.Cliff
A Pastafarian poster has caused chaos amongst religious groups at London South Bank University last week. Students from the South Bank Atheist Society put up the poster only to have it removed by union officials for being “religiously offensive”. But is it really?
So Pastafarianism? Funny statement of ideological difference or just plain offensive?
The poster is of Michelangelo’s famous ‘Creation of Adam’, so drawing on a copy could be seen as criticism of Christianity. Especially as it was put up by the Atheist Society.
But what is Pastafarianism? Portrayed in the media as a parody, it is actually a recognised religion (at least by the council of Europe). This only makes it religiously offensive if you don’t have the same beliefs.
What started of off as a campus row has now been criticized by the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the National Federation of Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Students Societies (AHS) who said the poster’s removal was “utterly ridiculous” and part of “rising tide of frivolous censorship” at British universities.
We messaged the society via their facebook page to see why they put the poster up in the first place and what the repercussions mean.
"The poster was put up originally for the re-fresher's fair. We thought it was a great way of promoting the divine path of Pastafarianism. Offence will always remain subjective, so people could find it offensive, however this doesn't mean that any individual had the right to silence our freedom of expression. Personally, we did not find it offensive, or set out to make anyone feel uncomfortable. It shouldn't have been taken down though, however it stems from people taking offence on behalf of others. The Union have since apologised, but this highlights again, the bigger issue of freedom of speech in our universities. Rather than censorship, fellow students should be educated about free-thinking and tolerance. If - as students, preparing ourselves for the so-called real world, need someone else to decide for us what we will or won't find offensive, how can we ever empathise with other people's views or beliefs?
Cloe Ansari - Pasta Prez & Ella Mallison - Vice Pasta Prez
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