Springer Opera Dodges Blasphemy Bullet

Christian group can't sue BBC director: court
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2007 9:33 PM CST
The musical "Jerry Springer, the Opera" is not for everyone. (Photo by Steve Finn/Getty Images)   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A British court has ruled that the BBC can't be prosecuted for blasphemy for airing Jerry Springer—The Opera, which features scenes set in Hell with Jesus and Satan. The High Court ruled that not only is the opera not blasphemous—because it satirizes a TV show rather than attacking religion—but also found that live stage shows shouldn't be prosecuted for blasphemy.

The Christian group that pushed for the prosecution describes the ruling as "carte blanche to blaspheme." Meanwhile, the BBC praised the decision, and free-speech groups say they hope to press ahead with get blasphemy laws off the books altogether. "The obvious next step is to repeal this outdated offense," says a spokeswoman for the group Liberty.