Saturday, June 28, 2008

Teen arrested for 'blasphemous T-shirt'

A GOLD Coast teenager who wore a T-shirt by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth that reads 'Jesus is a c**t' has been charged with offensive behaviour.

Above the offensive slogan a nun is depicted masturbating.

A 16-year-old was arrested on Monday for wearing the shirt and was charged with offensive behaviour under the Summary Offences Act 2005 for public nuisance.

Senior Sergeant Arron Ottaway said the teen was walking along Hollywell Road, in Biggera Waters, when a officer saw him.

Police conducted inquiries at Australia Fair, where the teen said he bought the shirt, to find any shops selling it.

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.

"When someone comes to the point of saying Jesus is the devil or Jesus is 'expletive', the Bible does say be very careful because you're on thin ice."

Gold Coast lawyer Bill Potts said the arrest highlighted Australia's need for a Bill of Rights.

"One of the great problems with our country is that we talk about rights such as privacy and freedom of speech and the like but they are not enshrined or protected in any way as they are in America," he said.

"While there are always limits on freedom of speech, you can't incite violence or anything like that, it seems to be now more than ever that our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression should be protected.

"A Bill of Rights which enshrines that protection is long overdue in this country."

Mr Potts said charging the teen was 'ludicrous' and brought the law into disrepute.

"A shirt might offend some and might be amusing to others," he said.

"If a person was wearing the shirt in a church or a religious rally where it was specifically intended to offend or cause disruption, then perhaps the prosecution might stand a chance.

"However, to criminalise juvenile or boorish messages is to bring the law into disrepute. The police are acting like the thought police and censors.",23599,23919553-2,00.html

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