Save Gareth Cliff

December 6, 2007 at 3:10 pm (Atheism, Religion) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

South African DJ Gareth Cliff has been castigated for his comments regarding blasphemy laws. Gerda-Mari Povey, a 5fm listener from Pretoria, sent an e-mail of complaint to Cliff on Thursday morning after listening to his show.  Povey’s email was typical of religious complaints – oversensitive, overemotional and full of extraneous punctuation marks (I think Povey must have had a job-lot of exclamation marks). Some choice Povey quotes used by the site include the following:
“You know what, Gareth, I love your show, but this morning u shocked me!!!! just wanted to say, God is not petty!!!!!”, “I pray that something drastic will happen in your life, that will allow you to experience the loving kindness and mercy of God…” and “What if my children had heard his comments. It was very irresponsible of him. I’m normally the kind of person who just keeps quiet, but this time it was just too much.” Heh. Won’t someone, please, think about the children?!? Overwrought or what? Other busybodies were quick to jump on the bandwagon – “Cliff has gone too far”, “get Cliff off air” etc.

So what atrocity preceded the email of complaint? I’m not sure, as the reports seem to be focussing on what Cliff said in a later email. As far as I can tell, the original accusation of blasphemy relates to the ‘controversial’ DJ referring to a news report of the ‘Teddy Teacher’ Gillian Gibbons. Apparently, Cliff responded to Povey’s email with “Stop sprouting nonsense. There is no god. There is no tooth fairy and there is no Father Christmas.” – which sounds pretty darned reasonable to me. An email response from Cliff to Povey can be found here.

Povey also said “he can debate politics etc all he wants, but when it’s about religion, he should show more sensitivity”, which is a pretty typical response from a religionista. Why should religion have special privileges accorded, that other beliefs or belief systems do not? Should football fans show more sensitivity to my claim that the club I support are, in fact, ‘by far the greatest team the world has ever seen’? Jesus Christ! You’re just being goddamned ridiculous now. My personal view is that blasphemy is a victimless crime.

Footnote: DJ Cliff does, by the way, have form for this kind of thing:



  1. Rory Hodgkinson said,


    Religion is the base of all cultures and the one area you do not go into debate about. You respect it. That is why there is a BCC to protect the religion. You are not allowed to express any opinion on any religion as it offensive and when people live by that value you are playing with fire.

    Gareth has His right to opinion but airing it or sending it on mail.

    Celebrity ethics 101 do not take on someone’s culture or religion beliefs.

    From my opinion If you think your greater than God He will bring you to your knees.
    God does not need defending but He stands proud when He sees His Children not allowing the demons to destroy society.

    Very interesting, read Bible (Galatians 6:7):
    “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    Here are some men and women who mocked God :

    John Lennon (Singer):
    Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said: “Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, Today we are more famous than Him” (1966).

    Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than ************, was shot six times.

    Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):
    During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

    Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died.

    Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):
    During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ), while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said: “God, that’s for you.”

    He died at the age of 32 of AIDS in a horrible manner.

    The man who built the Titanic
    After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: “Not even God can sink it”

    The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic .

    Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
    She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show. He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said: “I don’t need your Jesus

    and we all know the story.

    Gareth never Mock God

  2. jdc said,

    God doesn’t exist (and if there was a god, I’m sure she would have far more important things to worry about than whether or not I was being a bit cheeky). Like the situation in Darfur, or the Iraq war. Or Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing blood transfusions. Or preachers torturing their sons. I have to say, I’m not excessively worried by your examples and I do plan to continue to mock gods and religions.

    Why should religion be accorded a special respect above that accorded to non-religious beliefs? Why should we not debate religion? Is faith really that fragile?

  3. amanzimtoti said,

    If you don’t believe in something, you should say that YOU don’t believe in it. Don’t claim it doesn’t exist. You are not all knowing.

  4. jdc325 said,

    Fair point, amanzimtoti. I don’t think it’s just about belief, though. What about the improbability of god? I don’t think this is a 50/50 thing.

  5. nrrdgrrl said,

    rory, your faith is obviously very weak if you cannot face any differing opinion. if you need to use full force and the threat of people dying before their age when their opinions are not exactly the same as yours, you must be very incertain about your beliefs.

  6. HJ said,

    No, it’s simpler than that.

    Wait until someone controversial dies unexpectedly, then find a reason why you can claim Ceiling Cat did it.

    That’s how followers work, interpret the problem in the terms you want to promote; it doesn’t matter how flimsy the causal links are.

  7. RaiulBaztepo said,

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  8. Karina said,

    Gareth,you are so smooth with your mouth and have a way to wiggle youreselve out of a lot of arguments.It comes through as bombastic and as a person who does not really know to much about religion.How can you look at nature and say there is no God… your scientific beliefs and excplanations just as bombastic to the uneducated public.You know that you have a huge fan base,can you not use it to better people and their look at life.To be a balanced person you need to see the good and not only the satirical.
    I know you are laughing this all off and will have a quick witted reply.Maybe you never needed help or uplifting in your life.I pray that you think about what you say….my God is sacred and you cannot comb it under the same comb as you do with other issues.Good luck.

  9. jdc325 said,

    Are you complaining that I am boombastic or that Gareth Cliff is? If it’s the latter, then I’m afraid Gareth may not read your views. AFAIK, he isn’t a fan of this website.

    P.S. I reckon this question, “How can you look at nature and say there is no God”, could just as easily be phrased the other way: “How can you look at nature and say there is a God?”

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