This entry was posted on
Thursday, August 10th, 2006 at
3:12 pm and is filed
Pandora (10 Aug): A rather unholy row at the Edinburgh Fringe: the Australian comic Jim Jeffries has been dropped from debating in the BBC1 religious affairs show Heaven and Earth this Sunday, following a run-in with the evangelical activists Christian Voice. They have their robes in a twist over Jeffries’ production, The Second Coming, which claims to be “his most morally bankrupt show to date” – not bad considering that his last one, Porn Idol, delivered “lashings of the most explicit and offensive punchlines of the festival”. Jeffries was billed to join a panel discussion on blasphemy with Stephen Green, director of Christian Voice, but Green refused to engage with such a “sick, repellent man”. “Heaven and Earth called to confirm at 11am,” Jeffries tells me. “At 11.40am they rang back to cancel. It’s stupid because I was looking forward to dropping the knob gags and having a serious debate about blasphemy. He could easily have beaten a hungover bloke on a Sunday morning.” Green admits he “spoke to the producers”, adding: “Freedom of speech doesn’t go so far as being blasphemous. This is a matter of God being gratuitously insulted. God is Almighty and beyond insult.” A member of the H&E production team said the change was “no big deal”. Jeffries denies charges of blasphemy: “Jesus didn’t know he was the chosen one until he was 30. I have got a couple of months left – and as much chance as anybody.”
Picked up by Media Watch Watch, of course, and it needs to be noted for the record that this is yet another example of Stephen Green’s rather unique interpretation of freedom of speech.