Not the Messiah’ dropped by Classic FM

The BHA reacted today to confirmation that the national radio station Classic FM stopped its promotion of Eric Idle’s show ‘Not the Messiah’ due to complaints the station received from Christian listeners.

The show, which celebrates 40 years of Monty Python, was originally promoted on air and on the station’s website and was the subject of a competition for tickets to a screening, but was dropped by the head of the station after some listeners reacted angrily to what they perceived as the promotion of a ‘militant atheist production’.

BHA Campaigns Officer Pepper Harow said ‘We are hugely disappointed by the judgement taken by the head of Classic FM to effectively ban promotion of this show. There are no blasphemy laws in this country anymore and this decision is entirely unjustifiable.

‘Just because some people may not like something, it doesn’t mean it should be banned. We live in a liberal democracy where all views should be heard, not just the ones we want to listen to. Hyper-sensitivity to one particular religion should not prevent the enjoyment by everyone else of perfectly legitimate music, art or drama.’

Update – Friday 26th March 2010

Lots of people have contacted us to say that Classic FM have answered their complaint by saying that the ’Not the Messiah’ competition was not pulled because of Christian complaints.

We contacted Classic FM last Wednesday and asked the Receptionist if the reports that we had seen about the station dropping the promotion of ‘Not the Messiah’ were true or not. She replied very quickly and said they were true. We asked who took this decision and why it was taken. We were then transferred to someone else, who again confirmed that they had “dropped” the promotion and told us that it was the Head of the Station who had made that decision. As to why it was dropped, we asked if it was due to any perceived religious intolerance, and were told that was the case and it was their policy to not promote anything which can be considered religiously offensive.

This was the basis of the story above. 

Notes

You can contact Classic FM to tell them what you think of their decision here.

For information or comment, please contact Pepper Harow on 020 7462 4992

Read more on the BHA’s work on free speech.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing the interests of the large and growing population of ethically concerned, non-religious people living in the UK.

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