Am I Right to be Offended by a Satanic T-Shirt?

Tonight we went to a shin-dig; an exhibition for furniture design students, one of them being a friend of ours.

It’s the kind of event you expect to see an eclectic bunch of folks. And I like to think I’m pretty open-minded about most fashion choices.

Until, of course, those choices directly impact on me or those around me.

There was a bloke there wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a nun in the middle of some sexually explicit act (admittedly, such was my offense, I didn’t linger on the image so cannot be sure of the exact nature of the act) and on the back…

Now, before I state this, please know that some of you may be quite offended at this, as I was. However:

On the back of the shirt, in large, no-chance-of-missing-it writing: Jesus is a c—.

I hate that I’ve just had to write that, but there you go.

So. Some of you may be Christian, some of you may not. Some of you may be Jewish or Hindu or Muslim or atheist or whatever.


I just think that perhaps we should all be a little bit respectful. I mean, I wouldn’t go around wearing a shirt that I knew others would find offensive, because I have respect for my fellow humans.

I believe in respect for all, even those bastard satanic types (yep, I said it) who think it’s a grand idea to display hatred of a religious figure they shouldn’t give a damn about on their shirts.

Can you tell I’ve had some experience with satanists shoving their Christian-hatred views in my face?

Certainly have.

In high school a group of kids, who I shall call Emo’s, only because I know that description will piss them off, thought it’d be a great idea to display a picture of satan one of them had drawn in the Year Twelve common room.

This was a space Year Twelve’s hung out. All of us. My home town being the multicultural place it was and still is, there was quite the mix of religions. All of which were offended by this poster.

So we asked the group nicely to take it down as it offended us.

They said no. Not simply no – there were some derogatory comments towards Jesus in their response – but the outcome was that they refused to take it down.

The rest of us put our heads together to decide what to do. None of us could stand being in a room with satan staring down at us. It wasn’t the picture so much that offended us, it was the lack of respect the people who put it there were showing their classmates.

We thought about putting a picture of Jesus up in the room as a way of retaliation. But we decided against it because that wouldn’t be fair to the atheists and muslims.

So it was decided, in an act that I now see as a little mean, to write on the bottom of the poster: God Loves You. It was either that or God Forgives You. I can’t exactly remember, being so long ago. We didn’t write it in big writing, and made sure it was on the outside border of the picture. But still, it was there.

It was enough to infuriate the satanists who took it down immediately. Job done.

Thing is, we shouldn’t have had to have done it in the first place because the picture, in my opinion, should never have been displayed.

This guy today obviously wanted to cause outrage with his shirt, for why else would he be wearing it to a public event where the parents of the students involved were in attendance?

And I was offended, clearly, or else I wouldn’t be writing about it now. What I can’t come to terms with is why someone would want to be that offensive and hurtful to the beliefs and opinions of others around him.

On the flip side, this guy could have found me just as offensive with a crucifix dangling from my neck. I see it as my right as a Catholic to wear a token of my faith. Perhaps he views the wearing of his t-shirt as his right, too.

My sister always likes to remind me of a Ricky Gervais quote: ‘just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.’ Yes, I’m offended. Perhaps I’m not right. Is my crucifix the same as his Jesus is a c— t-shirt? Am I being too precious?

Or should that guy perhaps thought a little longer about his fashion choice before walking out the door to attend a public event?

45 thoughts on “Am I Right to be Offended by a Satanic T-Shirt?

  1. I believe you have the right to be offended. Yes! But, to what place does that thought or emotion take you as a person. That was last night. Did the rudeness of another harm you physically? Do they have rights? You are still thinking about it. Are you getting rent for the part of your brain worrying about this? Imposing your will upon another because you are offended is a deadly tool used by those who would rip out crosses in military cemetaries, or who prevent prayer or even the appearance of prayer in schools or other places. Would such a shirt offend me? Most likely, but consider the sources and be more worried about the fact that people like that actually can breed and have children who will continue pushing “stupid” along as a gene.


    1. ‘Are you getting rent for the part of your brain worrying about this?’ I like this comment. Very Eckhart Tolle: It is not the problem that causes you distress, it’s your thoughts about it.


    2. Rent? I love it. I agree. In my opinion, the guy with the T-shirt won because he got you worked up. Will Smith — ‘Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings & emotions/’ A good read. Thanks for posting it.


      1. I agree with Domonique. Your post was and is a good read and made me stop and think before I replied. I guess that might be the lesson in this: stopping and thinking. One of my majorf flaws is reacting without thinking. I am great at doing that. I learned this past year that some things we live with are built in and we need to learn about them and understand that we are the ones in control. One of my surprises was that if you suffer from PTSD, which I do as a Vietnam Vet, your emotional self is set at the point of the violation. In other words, I was in my teens when I was cursed with PTSD so my emotional self, my ability to handle situations like what you described is set at that age, not my current age. It is curious how something can linger within for so many years and affect so much of our lives. Anyway, great conversation. Lots to think about. Thanks!


  2. Clothing in itself is a joke. Covering our natural nudity is “normal” while going to the movies without pants would be considered offensive. Weird, right/ So let’s move on to choices in clothes. Here in South Africa, we’ve had a few incidents where women were assaulted and harassed for wearing skirt that were seen as too short. And then there are brand shirts with naked women or giant penises on them. What do we do about clothes, because we’re actually forced to wear them. The best we can do is let our clothes speak our mind. If that man hates Jesus, it’s his right to wear a shirt announcing it. As much as it is your right to ear a crucifix, which I personally find more horrific than most four letter words.They kill people on those things. It’s like me wearing a noose. No one is right here, but some were offended. Offense is a sign that there are still things that are beyond one’s acceptance. It means you’re still you.


    1. I have never been able to understand, nor will I ever have the capacity to understand, I am sure, why wars are fought over religious views. I simply cannot comprehend it.


  3. I think the guys t-shirt was a little crass and obviously if you are a religious person you would be highly offended. Me, not being religious, wouldn’t have been offended by him calling Jesus a c***. Not because I think Jesus is a c*** but because I don’t have an opinion on it. In this day and age of political correctness gone mad, nanny state softness it may have just been an extreme act of punk rockness?! Similarly with the Devil picture, I’m not sure I could be offended by that. It’s just a picture of some fake being. No different to someone putting up a picture of some monster from a movie. I am totally waffling here, but ultimately what I am saying is, no I wouldn’t be offended but I would think the guy wearing the shirt is a total c***!!!!


  4. Have you ever noticed that it seems like tolerance and political correctness only applies to other faiths, not Christianity! I deal with this all the time, especially at this time of year, in corporate publications I lay out. Everything is ‘Season’s Greetings’ instead of Merry Christmas because it has the name of Christ in it. And any graphics used must be of St Nick, mistletoe, Christmas trees or presents – definitely not any religious ones. It makes me want to boil over sometimes!


  5. Now it wouldn’t be me if I said nothing.
    But isn’t Satanism also a religion though maybe not really acknowledged. And forgive me if you think I am wrong. But tagging on their poster could be just as offending as tagging on a cross.
    The t-shirt Jesus is corny ( might refer to See You Next Tuesday). I am not offended, you said it yourself. each to there own. Jesus on a cross could be considered just as horrific. I mean it is a statue of torture and death all in one. Religion is often used in wrong ways and it is a shame it is done so.
    Seeing differently and maybe being offended does make you think about religion. We should at least stop putting one owns religion on top of another.
    NO offence meant in it at all. I disregarded religion for it always lead to conflict. It is humans nature I think to always wanting to be better. And like you it stupid wars are fought over it.
    Keep smiling and be You. the best you you can be.And simply reach out.


    1. I have faith (no pun intended) that people will one day not see religious indifferences as a reason for violence.

      And yes, it was very wrong of us to do so. We were young, ignorant and vengeful.


  6. You did exactly the right thing, well done! When these Jesus haters pass from this life, they find too late that they made a poor decision and were doing the devil’s bidding. God bless you.


  7. Reminds me of the scripture (Gen 3:15) where God talks to Satan and basically says, I will put enmity between thee and the seed of the woman.

    The struggle is between your moral SYSTEM and his antithesis. It is expressed in your Christianity and his attempt to repudiate it.

    In your system, it is right to recognize that others are free to believe as they will, but wrong to denigrate/hate them for it.

    The repudiation of good is an intrinsic component of his system. However, this does not make your morality relative. Rather, your system requires you to repudiate his without denigrating it.


  8. Hi Giorge, I think you have every right to be offended and as you pointed out, it is respect for the fellow human beings that do believe in Jesus (me being one of them). I am a pretty liberal Christian but I turn off comedians when they make crass jokes about faith and I do take it personally.

    It’s the same with having religious rants on Facebook. I once burst into tears because of something a “friend” posted on Facebook about how bullshit Christianity was, especially as I had prayed for him and had tried to reach out to him on an emotional and spiritual level. I felt he had thrown back in my face. He tried to assure me it wasn’t personal but it was too late, the damage had been done.

    I also get upset when people categorically say Jesus was a mythical creature and that the bible is fiction. I think that’s what I find most offensive. I am not one to shove Christianity down people’s throats and I hate when athiests drag God’s name through the mud. Ironically with the same force and hatred as far right Christians.

    Good for you for speaking (or writing out) I was starting to feel like the only one out there.


    1. I actually went to see a well-known comedian once, only to find that his entire routine was based around him poking fun at church goers. An hour of un-called for attacks. I don’t mind when people poke fun at religion – I wouldn’t have been offended if this bloke was wearing a funny slogan, and I’m the first to laugh while watching shows like South Park when they make fun of the ridiculous side of Christianity (hard-core, blinders-to-the-world Christians) but doing it out of malice just isn’t on.

      Don’t worry – you’re not alone!


  9. It is my opinion that our emotions reflect something within ourselves. If we are offended by something it is because it touches upon something we don’t like within ourselves. We cannot change others, not their actions, not their thoughts, not anything other than lock them away in a box to limit their movement and influence upon others, but as a people that is not our way, nor should it ever be. We should use what we experience as a tool to learn obout ourselves and what we should change within and not how or what we should change in others. Only by living our own lives can we influence others by their observation of how and what we do. If we try and force our beliefs upon another it will only make them turn away and mock us. I believe in something so profound that no words can ever describe it. All I know is the word love describes it and with love as its foundation there is no way somethng as simple as something written on a t-shirt could offend me. Our external selves reflect our internal being and this is what I learn when I look at others, observe their actions and what they wear. If any emotions arise from what I observe then they are a reflections upon my own inner being and if it causes turmoil then I must acknowledge it and work upon it internally. This life is about our own personal journey and isn’t about trying to make people over into who we are and what we believe. Their presence is here to teach us something about ourselves. What you do with that is your choice.

    One other thought: It amazes me how people get so upset over a government or people trying to eliminate prayer from schools or workplaces or whereever. No one can control our minds, and it is within our minds where prayer occurs. We can pray anywhere we want and no one be the wiser, so in this can we not understand that any government, institution or people trying to take away prayer is fighting a losing battle?

    Live your lives and stop trying to fight an enemy which does not exist.


    1. More people need to think like you, and you’re right. People do tend to get all high-horsey about these kinds of things.

      Yours is a perspective that works well in relationships – if you partner does something you don’t like or don’t agree with, it’s not their actions that cause you the upset, it is your thoughts and reaction to them.


    2. Perfect response! Although I, myself, believe that government should not allow prayer in schools, workplaces, anything not religion-based. That doesn’t mean I won’t pray (in my own eclectic way!) but it is uncomfortable for many. I don’t believe my government should represent religions that not all persons are affiliated with. In the end, it’s all just our “life circumstances” and we can respond or not as we feel in the moment. Namaste’!


  10. Hmm, was surprised to a see fellow South African mention that some SA women have been assaulted for wearing too short skirts.
    Was not aware of that…
    Anyone who wears a ”symbol” whether in writing or jewellery or clothes is saying “Look AT ME!”
    I cannot stand the word C…, and like you balk at even writing it. Odd is it not?
    But as my SA blogger has noted the crucifix is equally as offensive…to some.
    I never give it a thought and this is testimony to the inculcation of western society. And I am an atheist. All things considered I would have thought the at Christians should be offended by the instrument claimed to have been responsible for the death of their god.

    To a Japanese a stylized mushroom cloud on a silver chain might make them a tad upset.

    Or wearing little piggy earrings in the company of jews and Muslims

    Did you have a right to be offended?
    As a woman, merely walking around showing legs and hair and face is offensive to some people.

    Religion screws up people and most people aren’t even aware how it has been used to control; people’s minds for millennia.

    I should think as a woman you should be more offended at the derogatory term used for female genitlia.


    1. Yes, C U Next Tuesday is offensive to women, but I suppose, with the same argument, dick head is offensive to men.

      Maybe we should all look at it this way – words are just words and nothing more. Admittedly, that can be hard.

      There are some countries in Asian where showing your shoulders is considered disrespectful. And when there I wear a scarf around my shoulders if wearing a tank top because I acknowledge that I am in their country and will conform to their traditions. I do not do so when here in Australia.

      You’re right – religion does screw people up. I’ll be the first to admit that.


  11. Firstly, I’m a muslim. That person wearing the T-Shirt is definitley in the wrong. Think about it like this…. My religion tells me that Jesus wasn’t crucified – but you wearing a cricifix pendant would not offend me in the slightest…I wouldn’t give it a second thought tbh as it’s your faith(catholic) and I have no reason to oppose your choice… That T-shirt, however, would offend me, even though I’m not christian – It’s preposterous how people can go around wearing such things really. Quite offensive even to myself 🙂 Nice article and a great Eye-opener!


  12. Interesting discussion opened up Giorge. I consider myself a tolerant person and in your situation I would be wondering/worrying about the wearer of the shirt and why they felt the need to display such an obviously powerful image and text. To me that is the offensive part, that someone can be so inconsiderate of others to display that. I would expect them to be constantly outwardly preaching whatever their message is, but to be honest, they are probably just scared or angry inside themselves about something that makes them want to passively display offensive material.
    Some people would find the image of a naked female on the side of a bus offensive. I would not. However I find the anti-smoking images of people coughing up their lungs into a handkerchief, also displayed on the sides of buses, offensive. But I recognise that is to my personal situation and I avert my eyes.
    Perhaps it is when the intention is to offend, that it is found offensive?


  13. I think, as others have said, it’s the deliberate decision to insult that would offend me. I’m not much worried about offending Jesus; he’s dealt with a lot worse, and none of this stuff has any power to diminish him. (I too am a Christian.) But if the person wearing the shirt has legitimate issues with Christianity (which I concede is possible and even likely), then there are more constructive ways to address it. He’s not really trying to make a positive difference. He just wants to show how shocking he can be.


  14. I feel like you absolutely have a right to feel offended, but they also have a right to wear whatever they want. We dint know that person’s story; wjere they are coming from, why they chose that to wear or what they are about. We can think they should have reconsidered their choice but like you said, maybe they would be offended by a crucifix. (I personally find them grotesque)

    Probably not helpful. Unless someone is truly hurtinf another or doing something to encourage harm to another, eh. It is our reaction and response to handle. I get wound up a LOT over people and their views, choices and actions. It happens.


  15. I replied to Kate Spyder’s comment: now I would like to leave one for you, Giorge. First, thanks for liking my post about Talking Violin & celebrity! Second, once I was driving behind a pickup truck that was covered in Marilyn Manson bumper stickers. I decided to metaphysically send him a message, I envisioned a pink light covering his truck. Then I silently encouraged him to remember when he was a little child, and his mommy speaking to him with love. I laughed out loud, thinking of this “tough guy” all of a sudden becoming wistful or smiling a little child-like smile to himself. The same thing happened at the grocery store later – I saw a young man wearing an MM shirt that said something about killing parents, etc. Ick! But – he was buying toilet paper! So I thought the same about him as I do about anyone with hate in their hearts – from the most powerful dictators to a kid buying tp – I imagine them sleeping, so vulnerable, dreams from childhood or the like. Maybe they didn’t have nice mommies or daddies, but EVERYONE wishes they did. Everyone can be consoled/transformed by the Divine Mother/Father God, whoever; that is LOVE. Thanks for sharing all of who you are!


  16. That t-shirt doesn’t sound like any description of satanists I’ve heard of. They usually have another agenda than Jesus entirely. It sounds more like that t-shirt was designed to offend all women with the use of c***, all Christians, all catholics and anyone with any desire for religious tolerance. Religious tolerance does not mean tolerating any behavior that mentions a religious figure. It means tolerating cultural or religious mores that are part of a person’s faith. Being offensive is not a religious practice.


  17. Interesting post. In India, wearing a T-shirt that says Jesus is a c— will get you in trouble, or at least thrown out of whatever function you are illuminating with your wisdom. Period. Even though I don’t share the young man’s sentiments, I feel that it is great that he can say what he wants. I cherish that kind of freedom. Though not for the same reasons as the guy. Your country is a lot more liberal. So, even though you are right in being offended, you can always rationalize it by saying that he could wear a t-shirt like that only because you and others like you allow him to.

    Interesting post.


    1. That’s the flip of the dice with this one. Offended as I was by the shirt, I have to agree with you that at least in this country people have the right to wear what they like.

      Thanks for your input.


  18. Hi, I do think this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to return once again since I book marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


  19. One wears a shirt like that with the explicit purpose of causing offense. It is barbarism in the truest sense; He is devoid of civilization. He also knows there is no cost for his provocation and by cost I mean asocial violence. He does not fear violence because he lives in a Western culture whose Christian origins evolved to teach toleration. In barbaric cultures wearing the wrong thing will get you killed or jailed. Given the context, I would assume he perceives himself a “transgressive artist”; but if he wants to impress me with his transgressive bravery, alter the symbols so he Insults Islam and fly to Islamabad.


  20. Hi, Giorge,
    Thanks for your recent “like,” it led me to your blog and this interesting but disturbing post. At first I wanted to fire off what I thought of the tee-shirt wearer and his choice of attire. But then, I read some of the other responses, sat with it a minute, and decided an obscenity would bring me down to his level. I don’t usually feel as if I’m “above” anyone else, as a matter of fact, I’m working on not feeling less-than. But in this case, maybe not. Freedom of speech…it can be so controversial, and I think some people really take advantage of it.
    I’m a Christian, but not religious. I don’t attend any organized services on Sunday mornings. But I have a Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, and I believe in His Son. I wonder what they must think of the guy. My guess is that They love him, regardless.


    1. I guess that’s the positive side of this story; that I live in a country where this man is free to wear such a shirt. I twirls have been just as offended if the shirt said something derogatory about any other religion, or race or sex. I simply can’t understand why someone would not have respect for others.

      Taking a moment to reflect on situations is something I’m learning, too. To stop and think; how do I feel about this situation? Why do I feel it? Sometimes emotions simply get the better of you.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your input. Always appreciated!


  21. It makes for an interesting debate Giorge. Personally I find it hard to get offended by anything unless it’s cruelty in some way. Even then, this is my choice to be offended. Of course, that chap with the T-Shirt was being controversial as were the students back in the day of the satanic poster – but isn’t that what being young is all about. Trying to find what you believe in. Being an arse, I certainly was, about many things when I was a ‘young adult’. Teenagers need to be pushing the boundaries in order to find their own identity. Are they offensive? – usually. Is it mostly harmless? – usually. Does it make it right? That’s debatable. Were you being ‘too precious’? – Not for You. 🙂


  22. The t-shirt is a well known Cradle of Filth merch item. Honestly, just look at you getting all butthurt because of a band t-shirt.
    Christanity and its stooges Judaism and Islam are where the true evil in the world comes from.


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