The Prince of Wales’ 60th birthday show provided yet another opportunity for Stephen “Bird Shit” Green, head of failed fundamentalist pressure group Stephen Green’s Voice (aka Christian Voice), to indulge in a display of offended piety.
This time it was Rowan Atkinson’s skit on Jesus’ miracles in the Gospel of St John:
(Sketch starts about 1:50 in)
This is the circular sent out by Green:
Rowan Atkinson mocks Christ at Prince’s Birthday Show
Rowan Atkinson mocked the Bible, Jesus Christ, His miracle at Cana and His crucifixion on the Prince of Wales’ 60th birthday show at 8.35pm on Saturday 15th November 2008 which was broadcast on ITV as ‘We are most amused’.
Atkinson came on dressed as a vicar and began to read from John Chapter 2. After half a verse he began to blaspheme the word of God and mock the Lord and His miracles as conjuring tricks. Since the presentation did not change, it would not have been clear to someone unfamiliar with the scriptures what was from the Bible and what was not. Atkinson finished up by saying: ‘He did go unto Jerusalem and he did his full act … they absolutely crucified him.’ (A reference to a common showbiz saying when an act has gone down badly.)
All this was in front of the heir to the throne, who, if the Lord wills, will be granted the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ when he is crowned. Atkinson is a friend of the Prince of Wales, and he thinks he can do as he likes. The camera did not record the Prince’s reaction.
That comedy can be clean, respectful and side-splittingly funny was shown earlier in the evening by Bill Bailey in a brilliant musical piece of solo stand-up comedy.
Atkinson has rightly defended political satire and his biography quotes him as saying: ‘The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas – even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.’
But his sketch was not political satire, nor did it criticise any idea or belief of Christianity. It was just insulting, mocking, crass and disrespectful. Civilised, decent people do not behave like that. Plainly Atkinson thinks there is not enough disrespect in our society already today.
How much longer before this man dissolves into a puddle of his own outrage?
(Hat tip Peter Ould)