University College London’s atheist group wanted to advertise a pub night on Facebook and chose an image from Jesus & Mo as the picture to go along with it. New Humanist reported on the flak this caused with the Students Union and those who complained to them. A petition supporting the group was soon launched that got over three thousand signatures world-wide and the Union has since admitted it can’t force the group to remove the picture. Robbie Yellon, president of the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (ASHS) is quoted:
Unfortunately, the Union has considered the possibility that posting the image might have constituted an act of bullying, prejudice, harassment or discrimination. We firmly believe in the protection of our fellow students through University and Union policy; however we cannot accept such a suggestion. They have also considered the force of our actions and unwillingness to concede. As such, the society may be risking a disciplinary hearing which could lead to the forced resignation of committee members, or disaffiliation from the Union. In light of our now constructive relationship with the Union, such an event seems unlikely, though we would ask for your support should it ever occur.
A Muslim group on campus tried to make the argument that once people were offended by the image it should have been taken down. It was a cartoon image of Jesus and Mohammad sitting side by side with unidentifiable drinks in front of them. I suppose it could be asked why they didn’t just take some random free for use clip-art image of people drinking instead of something nearly guaranteed to piss somebody off, but whatever. Did anyone suspect this kind of advertising for their group would be the result? Did it boost their membership numbers at least? Any press is good press? Call me cynical…
EDIT January 20th, 2012: Group leader forced to resign