The Star, a Johannesburg newspaper, reported on 20 February 2009 that a leading South African food retailer, Pick 'n Pay, pulled a student magazine off its shelves in response to complaints by Christians. The story was also reported the next day in the Saturday Star. The magazine in question, the SAX Appeal, is produced annually by students of the University of Cape Town for charity and is sponsored by Pick 'n Pay.
The magazine reportedly had an article entitled "Top Ten Atheist Retorts to Fundamentalist Christians
", which included things like:
- "Jesus died for our sins. - I bet he feels like a tool now.
- "Praise the Lord. It's a miracle! - No you stupid C.*.*.T." (Christian who Understands No Theorems), statistically they happen every 365 days.
" Apparently, god was called a "pervert
More details are reported on a Christian website http://galmin.co.za/myblog/?p=437
Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute charged that the SAX Appeal "grossly overstepped the boundaries of decency and respect of individual beliefs individual religious beliefs
The South African cartoonist, Zapiro, said that he thought that religions got far too much respect.
For me, although I find the Christians' touchiness about a silly students' rag magazine annoying, I don't know if it's worth writing to Pick 'n Pay. For anyone who wants to do so though, you can go to:
The Christians have also reportedly lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission and have been putting pressure on UCT. Here are some statements which have been issued from UCT:
Statement from the RAG Committee Chairman
It has become clear that many people of the Christian faith have been hurt and insulted by some of the contents in our magazine, SAX Appeal 2009. UCT RAG unreservedly apologises to everyone who has been offended in this way. We value all the responses and comments that we have received and we will endeavour to ensure that nothing like this happens in the future. We believe that, in our honest intention to raise funds for the needy, we overstepped the mark and we hope that you will accept our unconditional apology.
RAG Committee Chair
Statement from the Vice-Chancellor
The recent SAX Appeal has rightly caused an outcry from many people and some of its articles have caused deep offence.
The chairperson of RAG, Cameron Arendse, has apologised unreservedly for the offence it has caused.
I believe this apology is appropriate and I have a strong view that the editorial team overstepped the boundaries.
I have asked that the Editorial team meet with UCT Management as soon as possible. We will revisit the role of the editorial advisory board that should work with students to advise on the publication’s content.
Many of us regardless of religious affiliation have been offended by aspects in the publication and for those let me add my apology.
Dr Max Price
And for light relief, here is a cartoon by Zapiro on navigating around religious sensitivities http://www.mg.co.za/zapiro/fullcartoon/211