One of the most controversial Fringe acts of this year's Adelaide Festival is Come Heckle Christ. Is it free speech or just plain offensive? The Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson responds to the show, in The Advertiser.
It goes without saying that for Christians, Jesus is the centre of our lives. We love him dearly and we depend upon him wholly. So, it is very important for us to recognise the importance of Jesus in our lives, especially as we approach Easter and commemorate his death on the cross and his resurrection.
We understand that not everyone has the same set of beliefs as us, but we have a right to expect other people to acknowledge and respect our faith. In a pluralist society such as ours, there will always be differing viewpoints on religion and that is as it should be. But there is no excuse for using blasphemous, insulting language in an attempt to grab attention, knowing full well it will incite outrage.
I have heard reports that the performance in question is not necessarily anti-Christian, yet the title and the publicity material being used to promote it are clearly offensive to both Christians and people of other faiths.
The fact that it is part of a publicly-funded festival is further cause for concern, particularly when many people in the community take their religion seriously. This is evident in the number of complaints received from within our own Catholic community and from other faiths as well.
In some parts of the world there are people being persecuted for being Christian and one way we can show solidarity with them is to defend our faith in a peaceful, non-confrontational way.
As a Church, we have had our say on this issue and have no plans to protest. Rather, I have asked our communities to put a special focus on prayer over the coming weeks.
FULL STORY Comedian Josh Ladgrove and Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson on Fringe show Come Heckle Christ (The Advertiser)