There was some recent news in Australia about a boy who was arrested for wearing an offensive t-shirt. I admit being very curious about what kind of t-shirt could be so offensive as to warrant an arrest. I’m not easily offended and am all for free speech so it was hard to imagine. Well, the t-shirt was pretty offensive especially to Christians. But let’s forget about the offensiveness of the shirt for a second and just look at the content. The t-shirt states that Jesus is the 4 letter word beginning with c. I really don’t think this word should be seen as a bad word but in modern society it is seen as one of the worst. So even without reference to Jesus this t-shirt would anger a lot of people. The shirt also contains an image of a mostly nude woman touching herself suggestively. She is wearing the headgear of a nun.
This t-shirt is a band t-shirt for a metal band, called Cradle of Filth, and you can find selection of their t-shirt at this store. If you are into that kind of thing. A quick google and you will find that this is not the first time that someone has been arrested for wearing this shirt. A few years ago in England a boy was fined and sentenced to community service. Cradle of Filth frontman was quoted as saying:
It is with some concern that poor Adam’s plight is acknowledged. Defaming organized religion openly in public is now a crime? What is wrong with England? Still, the litter problem on our city streets should improve dramatically if they keep handing out 80-odd hour community punishment orders willy-nilly. The country will be spotless in no time, a sure sign that God works in mysterious ways, even through us!
I think the main question here though is: did this boy deserve to get arrested? It is hard to say really. On the one hand he’s just a teenager trying to stand out from the crowd by doing something stupid. If that’s a crime we all would have been arrested at some point. I’d be doing life. On the other hand his stupid act angered and offended many people. If he had my friend or family’s name on his shirt I would have been pretty angry and it might have ended up with violence. Now some people love Jesus more than I love my family and may have less control over their temper (Christian though they may be) and the result could also have been violence.
For this reason, I think it was OK to ask the boy to stop wearing his t-shirt and to arrest him if he didn’t. It was a preventative measure. I don’t like the idea of losing my right to free speech but I do believe in compromise. Recently I was in Las Vegas with my brother. We are Irish. My brother was wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt and the hotel staff politely suggested that his t-shirt was not appropriate. To be honest, I was shocked when my brother told me. My brother on the other hand thought the fact that this would happen in America, the land of free speech, was very funny. He didn’t agree with them but he didn’targue either. He checked in and changed his t-shirt.