Teenager arrested for ‘blasphemous’ T-shirt

Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

A 16 year old was arrested, in the Gold Coast, on Monday for wearing an offensive T shirt. The T-shirt in question is a Cradle of Filth band T-shirt. The T-shirt depicts a semi-naked nun masturbating, with the words “Vestal Masturbation”, on one side and the words JESUS IS A C**T on the other.

For those of a sensitive nature the picture of the T-shirt is at the end of this post.

The story has been in several news media, but Ben Dillaway reported at goldcoast.com.au that it was blasphemous. In his article there was also the following quote from a local minister:

The Reverend Matt Hunt of the Helensvale Baptist Church said it was sad people spoke about the Lord in such a way.

“It’s fairly common language these days to express sadness, anger or hurt,” he said. “It’s a degrading word to use and Jesus is anything but that. It’s like calling white black.”

Mr Hunt said using the Lord’s name in vain was a serious sin.

I tend to agree somewhat that the C word can be considered degrading and/or offensive by some. However, the rev will have to get over the fact that a very large number of us don’t believe Jesus exists. Thus it’s no more a ‘sin’ calling Jesus a bad word than it is calling the tooth fairy a bad word.

The goldcoast.com.au article has a comments page which understandably has had a large number of comments. Over 300 at time of writing, perhaps this might beat the Unleashed article which currently has over 1180 (see my post How to get 1000+ Comments).

The comments basically fall into one of three types:

  1. The religious person who thinks it’s blasphemous and evil and the guy should have been charged
  2. The people (religious or not) who think that anything goes, freedom of speech and all that, and the guy should not have been charged.
  3. The people (religious or not) who think that the C word and/or pictures of semi-naked women masturbating is/are offensive.

Then there are all the off topic arguments.

Personally the C word is one of the few swear words I try not to use in the public arena. I have been told by several women they find it the most offensive of all the swear words. However I do use it occasionally, but if someone says to me they don’t like hearing that word, or any other swear word, I will do my best not to use it in front of them. Some call this the “Grandmother Test”, would you use the word in front of your grandmother?

I have no problem with people ‘insulting’ Jesus as a) he isn’t real and b) religion should not be above critique or criticism, just because it’s religion.

However the C word could be considered offensive, as could a picture of a, mostly naked, woman masturbating (the fact she is depicted as a nun should be immaterial).  Especially when displayed in a open public arena.

If the guy has been charged for offensive behaviour then it’s up to the courts to decide if he’s guilty (based on current acceptable standards). Any charge of blasphemy or insulting imaginary beings should be, quite rightly thrown out of court.

Do I find the T-shirt offensive? I think its funny but a bit too rude to be wearing in general public.

Do I think the police should have charged him? I think that unless the police had had complaints, and not from religious people being offended by the supposed blasphemy, they should not have charged him. Don’t the police have more important things to do? The police should not be the sole arbiter of public decency, perhaps they should have just cautioned the guy in the first instance?

Here’s the offending T-shirt,


What do you think?

Offensive? Blasphemous?

Should anyone be charged with offensive behaviour for wearing it?

Would you wear it?

Is Jesus a Cunt? (see I can say the word)

If you read through the comments watch out for the troll that goes by the name of Zac. Zac if you read this, please read FAQ 1 and FAQ 2 before even considering leaving a comment.

I had heard about this on the radio, but hat tip to Nut Watch for bringing the offensive T-shirt story to my attention again.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, blasphemy, Cradle of Filth, freedom of speech, jesus

28 responses to “Teenager arrested for ‘blasphemous’ T-shirt

  1. Lol – I saw this on Richard Dawkins net. What a waste of taxpayers money, there is implied freedom to criticise govt (per Lange v ABC) but we still cant criticise religion. I

  2. AV

    Is it blasphemous? I don’t really care, and in a secular liberal democracy that should definitely not be grounds for charging someone with an offence. Australia is not a theocracy, the last time I checked.

    Is it offensive? Not to me, but perhaps it is to some. All the same, there is no such thing as a right not to be offended.

    Would I wear it? No, I haven’t been into heavy metal t-shirts since I was in high school.

    Is Jesus a Cunt? It depends upon which Jesus you’re talking about. I don’t know if the word really applies to the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus worshipped by those in liberal and emerging churches, and so forth. It probably applies to the post-rapture Jesus. It certainly applies to Yahweh.

  3. While I tend to think that anyone who wears a t-shirt like this is a bit of an ass in the first place, it’s a stupid thing to arrest someone for.

  4. Pingback: Jesus Is A Cunt, ab in den Knast! | DER MISANTHROP

  5. DThoren

    Man, if this delays the release of the new CoF album in any way, I’m gonna be really mad.

  6. Gbus

    does the notion of jesus have any power over you?
    then why should the word ‘cunt’?
    it’s just a bunch of letters.
    this is a religious issue.. if the shirt had said ‘frank is a cunt’ would it have caused such a fuss? i cant believe my country who has spent the last 5 yrs at war fighting for ‘freedom’ would kick up such a stink about a fucken t-shirt.

    on a lighter note.. perhaps the shirt refers to being ‘born again through jesus’ and is in actual fact pro-christian haha

  7. Sune

    Sure its blasphemous, but so what? It’s just not an issue, or at least it shouldn’t be.
    Religion has no speciel privileges, and should be open to critisism, ridicule and satire, just as everything else. Especially considering that Jesus (and other religious figures and symbols) are imaginary. There is absolutely no reason, why you shoudn’t be allowed to call Jesus a cunt. Hell, I think I will do it myself. JESUS IS A CUNT.
    Who got hurt there?

    And who seriously gives a fuck whether its offensive? People don’t have a right not to be offended (like AV also pointed out). But apparently some people think that we should overrule our right to freedom of speech, whenever some suburbian god-boy gets a bit upset. Get bent Jesus-freeks!

  8. I don’t get it. The shirt should be prohibited for the ‘cunt’ and the masturbating nun.

  9. blackatheist

    What’s wrong ? Jesus is a hispanic guy I know.
    And what is wrong with a nun scratching her thigh ?

  10. Fastercat

    I think arresting someone for excersising their freedom of speech is always wrong. A baseball bat to the sinuses would be much more appropriate in this case.

  11. AV

    Yes, the religious do have a long and proud history of responding to the expression of views they don’t like with extreme violence. Fastercat’s comment is in keeping with that antidemocratic tradition.

  12. Dawn

    I have to agree with vitaminbook. It’s not a shirt I would wear, or enjoy seeing someone else wear. But I my reaction would simply be that the person wearing the shirt is an ass.

    As a woman, I hate the word “cunt” being used as a pejorative. If you want to use it descriptively, to describe my genitalia, fine. But don’t sum me up as only one part of my body. It’s degrading, and like referring to a guy as a dick. Not that I don’t use both term in that matter, but I try not to do so (it takes a lot to get me angry enough to use them in that manner. During sex, anything goes between my partner and me)

  13. AV

    I’m not sure if you’re from the States, Dawn. In the US, “cunt” is mainly used as a pejorative against women (AFAIK), whereas in Australia and the UK, it’s used to describe men only. It still has the same referent, the vagina, but the phrase “Jesus is a cunt” would be understood differently in Australia than in the US.

  14. Joel B1

    I’ve been thinking about this for some little while now. At first it seemed very offensive and blasphemous.
    But, on reflection maybe it’s a compliment for Jesus, albeit slightly unusual. That is, I find those bits (the “c” bits) very interesting and lots of fun so maybe saying Jesus is one is a compliment.
    Alternately, it could be a very strongly worded statement saying that “c”s are very very good, and to have one is as good as having Jesus?

    But mostly likely it’s probably just there to annoy/offend people.

  15. Jason McPherson

    I have that shirt. Blasphemous? Yeah to some ppl but its freedom & speech & religion to me you don’t like it turn your fucking head & bitch not going to stop me from telling everyone the truth. So fuck the police in Gold Coast for arresting a kid for being different than others & expressing it in his own way, what the fuck do you think freedom is for?

    Jesus is a CUNT!

  16. Ha Ha, why not tell us what you really think Jason 🙂

  17. Pingback: Carnival of the Godless # 99 « Oz Atheist’s Weblog

  18. Mikko

    you forgot people that ask why don’t you do that to muhammed

  19. I just submitted this to Reddit. Maybe that will bring you a few more hits.

  20. stateofprotest

    “I just submitted this to Reddit. Maybe that will bring you a few more hits.”

    Indeed, at least this one.

    Someone will always have a reaction to words and images. A reaction that isn’t proportionate to the actual harm done (with words and images, the actual harm done is generally zero).

    One of my favorite videos is the CNN Crossfire interview with Frank Zappa. Frank pretty much says all of what anyone should ever have to say about this subject:


  21. Mike

    Yes it’s blasphemous, yes it’s offensive, and yes it’s FREE SPEECH. What occurred here is a violation of first amendment rights.

  22. A. Nuran

    If Jesus and the Church can’t survive a little heartfelt (albeit foulmouthed) dissent they don’t deserve to exist.

  23. vjack “.. a few more hits” !!! I got another thousand!!
    Wow, didn’t realize Reddit was so popular? Perhaps I should use it a bit more often.

    Thanks for the link Procrustes, I’ll make sure I watch once I can (long story cut short – lost broadband at work, broke laptop at home)

    Welcome to all the new readers.

  24. ryan

    No let people say whatever they want, they people do whatever they want. There should be no restraint, no order, no God, nothing. Yea, sweet sounds like a great world. This kid should be taught a lesson and his parents are a disgrace. Forget about the fact he is talking about a person people respect but he has CUNT in capital letters plastered across the front?

  25. AV

    No let people say whatever they want, they people do whatever they want. There should be no restraint, no order, no God, nothing.

    ryan is right, children. This is how Nazi Germany got started.


  26. ShannonM

    How stupid to arrest someone for wearing a t-shirt with a mild swear word on it! That’s just stupid ! Besides, the t-shirt tells the truth: Jesus truly IS a cunt….and an asshole….and bitch….and a fucking bastard…and whatever else I could think of to call the little piece of shit! I truly and viciously hate and despise jesus, so I don’t care at all what it gets called! Fuck jesus! I would wear the shirt and then fight with anyone who tried to get me to stop wearing it !

  27. robin marchant

    my view….jesus was a man
    2000+ years ago…why should e give two fucks about some street magician from 2 millenium’s ago…face the facts people CUNT its a word…words are harmless, get over it…would i wear the shirt? no…not because of what it says or the image, but because i dislike the music of cradle of filth
    but if it were any shirt of bands such as slipknot or megadeth etc. of course i would wear it..i’d be happy and proud and i would expect to be allowed to walk around without being arrested by some dickweed coppers who think that this is some sort of crime…what part of freedom of speech dont people understand?
    its gotten to the point where if you call a ‘chalk board’ a black board people will frown at you as it could be taken as a racial offence…as well as nursery rhymes like ba ba Black sheep….changed to ba ba rainbow sheep as its ‘offensive’
    fuck the cops…say what you want…when and where you want..and wear whatever the fuck you feel like wearing because there will always be other people who support your case, and will aid you in getting your point across
    that is why..with my FREEDOM OF SPEECH
    my final words to you people will also be a phrase and my own personal opinion

  28. How dare she say that Jesus is a cunt, everyone knows that Jesus is a fag.

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