Letters: David Fleming, September 18, 2015

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I was recently in a card shop in Lynn seeking to buy a birthday card for my wife which turned out to be an onerous exercise.

After a lengthy abortive search which was obviously apparent, the proprietor helpfully asked if she could be of assistance. I thanked her and said I was feeling irritated on two counts.

The first was the absence of specialised cards for 65-year-old wives. Such a card could have been purchased for a partner and even those in same sex relationships. Responding, the lady tactfully said it was the sign of the times to which I replied that many people in Lynn were of retirement age and should have been facilitated, given that most of them would be in traditional marriages, and explained that this was one of many attacks on a centuries old institution.

Secondly I took exception to a cartoon card depicting Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee, with swimmers frolicking in the water. The caption read, “Oi, Jesus, relax! It’s the summer holidays!” The lady was demonstrably concerned and apologised for any offence caused.

Furthermore I informed the proprietor that at one time such blasphemy would have fallen foul of a previous UK law on blasphemous libel, no longer a crime due to secularism. Yet if the same caption had been replicated for the prophet Mohammed, the shop would have at the very least been visited by the police, probably leading to prosecution.

The irony is that the offensive meaning of the cartoon in its entirety would be lost on a biblically illiterate country. The weakness of the churches in West Norfolk is a contributing factor!

David Fleming

Paradise Court, Downham