Carte Blanche, 15 March

The insert on Sax Appeal and it’s “blasphemy” aired tonight, and even though the show did its best to not offend the fragile, that hasn’t stopped some ranting from occuring – I suppose simply because thinking seems the last thing on some people’s minds in cases like this.

I’m rather disappointed in the segment as aired. The reactionary homophobe Errol Naidoo had a disproportionate amount of airtime, and they cut any comment from Jordan Pickering, who I know was interviewed. For context, Jordan is a Christian who argues strongly – and coherently – against the religious outrage that this episode led to. His comments would have presented some balance to Naidoo’s claims of justified offense.

Further, Naidoo himself was treated sympathetically, and his letter – which surely contributed directly to death threats received by staff on Sax Appeal – was explained away as having been written in the heat of the moment. Yet nothing was said by Naidoo – or any other person of religious persuasion – to lessen the impression that free speech is all fine, unless you say something bad about my invisible friend, who – despite so much financial, spiritual and emotional support – is still surprisingly vulnerable to attack-by-cartoon. If only Satan had known…

A brief word to UCT students: I of course didn’t mean to say that all of you have no idea of what is going on. The students that I asked did not, but there may be many who do. I simply wonder why none of you have said anything about this.

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.