Take My Mother in Law... No Seriously, Take Her...


According to a recently published 12-page cultural awareness guide the London Borough of Barnet has effectively banned that staple of old-style comedians, the mother in law joke… Of course I would never dream of making jokes about my mother in law… our relationship is no laughing matter…
This is a form of humour that has literally existed since Roman times… mind you they thought throwing Christians to lions was entertaining.
But the guide says “British mother-in-law jokes, as well as offensively sexist in their own right, can also be seen as offensive on the grounds that they disrespect elders or parents.” Old style comedians like Les Dawson would have been left with little to say without the mother-in-law joke, and whilst I’m not into jokes that stereotype or pillory people unfairly, I must say that I’m with the more surreal comedian John Sessions, who I doubt has ever told such a joke, when he suggests that Barnet has had a bit of a sense of humour bypass in publishing this guide.
But whilst this is merely foolishness, what is slightly more worrying is legislation currently being proposed by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, for adoption by the United Nations. It is the Defamation of Religions Resolution, which has been proposed in various forms over the past 11 years, but which if passed in its current form this year would allow governments the power to determine which religious views can and can’t be expressed in their country, and gives the state the right to punish those who express ‘unacceptable’ religious views as they see fit. In effect, it would make religious persecution legal, despite the freedom to practice religion being defined as a universal right under the United Nations Charter. Whilst it is an Islamic Group, supported by around 57 Muslim majority countries which is advocating this resolution, I would be opposed to it no matter who advocated it. At the time of the reformation the supposedly Christian rulers of Europe effectively carved up this continent according to a similar principal of one ruler one faith, prompting centuries of religious wars and persecution between Catholics and Protestants, which has ultimately produced the wonderfully united and tolerant society we live in…
I trust and pray that this resolution will not pass… Because whilst jibes about mother in law's may at times be in bad taste… the sort of world that this resolution would produce is no joke...

(An adaptation of this morning's Thought for the Day on Radio Ulster)

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