Jesus golf joke complaint dismissed
CAPE TOWN — St Peter was expressing his feelings, not swearing or blaspheming, when he urged Jesus not to “f**k around” in a golf game, the office of the press ombudsman ruled on Monday.
Theruling followed a complaint by a member of the public against an article in the March edition of magazine Sports Illustrated about the pursuit of sporting perfection.
Deputy ombudsman Johan Retief said the article included a joke about St Peter and Jesus playing golf in heaven.
He said the joke went that when Jesus hooked his first tee-shot, an angel guided the ball back into play, the dove of peace caught the ball in its beak and dropped it on the green, from where the Holy Spirit blew the ball into the hole.
“So St Peter said to Jesus: ‘Do you wannaplay golf or do you wannaf**k around?’.”
Retief said the complainant, André Williams, maintained the article went too far by telling a joke about Jesus, and that the use of the word “f**k” amounted to blasphemy.
However, Retief said that in the joke, St Peter felt done in, and that Jesus was not playing fair.
“The phrase ‘f**k around’ is used to express this feeling, and does not as such amount to swearing …
“Although it can be said that the use of the phrase ‘f**k around’ constitutes bad taste, it does not by definition amount to a breach of the Press Code.”
He also said the context of the joke in the story — that technology could turn sport into a joke in its pursuit of perfection — was of vital importance.
The fact that the joke had been published many times all over the world indicated a moral climate that tolerated it. Retief dismissed the complaint. — Sapa.
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