People get offended by many things … smoking, chewing gum, spitting, etc… but there is apparently one very special category of offence in Spain, “offending religious feelings”, apparently that will potentially get you jail time.
The news is that one of Spain’s leading underground artists has been charged with this, appeared in court and now faces up to a year in prison over a film short he made in 1978 on “how to cook Jesus Christ”.
So what exactly is all the fuss about? As reported in The Independent …
The film uses culinary language and images to show viewers how to “remove the nails and separate him from the crucifix, which we leave to one side” before the white ebony figure of Christ is shown being lightly smothered in butter, placed on a bed of aromatic herbs in a glass tray, and popped into an oven. Another culinary “guideline” recommends using a proportion of “one gaunt Christ” for each two potential diners.
“After three days inside, he comes out of the cooker by himself!” is the film’s punchline as the oven door opens unassisted and the tray with the “cooked Christ” slides magically forwards.
Its funny and as a bit of satire, then yes I can perhaps see why some religious folks might take offence, but seriously, being offended should not be a crime. If it is, then what about my rights, I’m offended by the fact that some religious lunatics are deploying the law to gain some privilege for an insane idea, should I now demand jail time for them?
In fact Javier Krahe, the chap who has been taken to court by a Catholic legal association, makes a rather valid observation “How do you show that someone’s religious feelings have been hurt?“. He is right, how exactly can you measure that in any legally objective manner.
The President of the Thomas More Law Center, which is the entity that filed the lawsuit, said the trial was “a real victory in defense of religious freedom, because it marks the first time application of Article 525 of the Code Criminal “(renovated in 1995, which criminalizes the” offending religious feelings of the members of a religious denomination “and” mockery of dogma, beliefs or rites “).
So where are we now?
Krahe has been charged and placed on bail of €192,000 (yes, they still use Euros in Spain :-) ). The case has motivated Spanish campaigners to lobby for a change in the law to permit genuine freedom of speech.
Quite right too, this is yet another example of catholic insanity in action. I’m quite happy for them to believe whatever they wish, but the moment they start interfering in the lives of others they have crossed the line and are breaching very basic human rights. Beliefs are not entitled to a special privilege to protect them from criticism.