At this time of year its common to read in the papers stories of "political correctness gone mad" as fanatical atheist local councils take to banning Nativity plays, rebranding Christmas as "Winterval" or some other meaningless nonsense, all in the name of avoiding offense to those of other religions.
However for once the Winterval stocking appears to be on the other foot, as it has been reported that a "comedian" has been cut by ITV from Jonathan Ross's Christmas show, on the grounds that his material would offend Christians.
Mr Tim Minchin performed a song for the show in which he compared Jesus to a zombie, a vampire and Woody Allen. He has since complained on his blog that Peter Fincham, ITV director of television, cut him out due to his fear of "the small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way".
One has to feel a little sorry for Mr Minchin as he probably assumed that one is allowed to push a few boundaries on the Jonathan Ross show, and having heard the song I cannot say that his song was much of a "challenge" to the Christian religion nor did it push the boundaries that far.
Here is a sample of the lyrics:
"Jesus was a Jewish philosopher, had a lot of nice ideas about our existential fears, much admired by his peers. Short and Jewish and quite political, often hesitant and very analytical. Praise be to Jesus. Praise be to Woody Allen Jesus.
"Jesus died bit then came back to life so the Holy Bible said, kinda like in Dawn of the Dead, like a film by Simon Pegg."
Clearly we are not dealing with a great intellectual and moral challenge to the foundations of Christian faith here. Many Christians may find it mildly annoying or idiotic and a select few (the kind who go around counting swear words in films and trying to spot naked statues to censor) will be outraged by it, but the latter are outraged by everything while the former would have withstood such puny mockery.
Perhaps now all those people who try to stamp out Christianity by banning Nativity plays and such like, on the grounds that it is offensive (which of course is a notion that is itself offensive to Christians) might start to realise their actions and beliefs are at least as absurd and reactionary as the decision to axe Mr Minchin's song.
Christians can endure mockery and have endured it (and worse) for 2,000 years, why is it though that many the non-religious (who absurdly describe themselves as "tolerant" or "inclusive") get so wound up at the sight of a cross or the sound of a prayer?
Happy Christmas by the way.