I think freedom of speech is a profoundly good thing. And university should be a free space where people are able to express their opinions and take part in debate. That’s why I’m partially glad that this was written, precisely because I don’t agree with lots of it.
In one sense, this article is absolutely correct. For lots of people Easter equates to nothing more than Easter eggs and their chocolate of choice. Despite David Cameron declaring that we live in a ‘Christian country’ (make of that what you will), I’d take an educated guess that fewer people in Britain than ever before know what Easter is really about and why Christians would believe that Jesus rose from the dead, let alone what it might mean. I think it could also reveal something about our society. Supermarkets start selling Easter eggs*, hot cross buns and other Easter treats months in advance because they know there is money to be made. As the article suggests, they encourage our view of Easter to be about what we can get out of it and then justify to one another to make ourselves feel better. And we (literally) eat it up. We are often more than happy to accept any excuse to celebrate, regardless of what for or whether we know why.
Though some interesting inferences can be made from the article, I think one of the major problems I have with it is that the disclaimer seems to try and remove responsibility by saying that it ‘is not intended to offend’. Look, I get why it’s satire, to be honest I didn’t really need a disclaimer to tell me that, but I think it is offensive.
Christians don’t just believe that Jesus’ resurrection really happened but that he did it to show that he is: the Son of God, the Saviour of the world and the defeater of death, to name a few. Therefore, I’d say that despite the humour, it is more than a little offensive to say that the ‘only’ thing Jesus set out to do in his resurrection was to satisfy chocolate cravings. I think it becomes more offensive in light of the terrorist attack in Pakistan that specifically targeted Christians on Easter Sunday.
However, fear of causing offence is unhelpful because it prevents dialogue and free speech when we, especially as university students, should be promoting it. Obviously, the specific purpose should not be to cause offence, but at the moment it’s probably more likely to go in the opposite direction. I can see the satire in the article, and I also found it somewhat offensive. I’m glad that others are free to express their points of view, just as I am mine, and I would much rather people disagree with what I say and question me on it than not be able to share their opinion.
* The Real Easter Egg is an exception to this as it includes an explanation of the true meaning of Easter.