Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Christians Against Free Speech in India

There is a furor rising up among the Christian - particularly Catholic - community in India over two movies that were scheduled for nationwide release. The local Catholic communities in Mumbai staged a protest rally today, calling for the ban of these two movies from country-wide movie theaters. They distributed fliers, in which they describe their objections to the two movies: 1) Tickle My Funny Bone - shows a women [sic] dressed as a Nun romancing, with the Church & Cross in the background. The advertisements read, "Story of a Sexy, Bold, Naughty Nun" and show her in worse scenes than the one on the behind of this sheet. 2) The Da Vinci Code - speaks of Jesus getting married to Mary Magdalene, with they having sex & children. The Church is shows as trying to cover this story, where the chalice of the Last Supper is supposed to be the womb of Mary Magdalene, bearing the blood of Christ.... Furthermore, they demand that the "secular government" of India take note of these movies "as it did with... the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie [and] the Holy Prophet's Cartoons...". They are, in effect claiming, that if the muslims could have their way with their protests and violence, so can they; in fact, so should they! Their corrupt understanding of the concept of "secular" means the government should ban all instances of allegedly insulting and insensitive material against all religions alike. They are asking all Catholic communities, parishners, and church go-ers to email or write to newspapers, politicians, and other authorities and state their protest against the movies. I decided to email them back and express my absolute opposition to them and their views. I also sent the following email to the editors of two major newspapers in India. I hope that those of you reading this, if you have any value for the right to free speech and other basic rights, and if you value living in a rational world that protects those inviolable rights, you will spare a few moments to send a quick email to these newspapers (and other ones if you can), expressing your support for the release of "Tickle My Funny Bone" and "The Da Vinci Code". To: editoronline@dnaindia.net ; toieditorial@timesgroup.com ; divinemedia@gmail.com
Dear Editors, On Wednesday, May 10th, certain Catholics gathered in Mahim to protest the release of two films that they claim are "insulting" & "hurting" their religious sentiments. They claim that India is a secular democracy, and is therefore obligated to respect all religious sentiments. Therefore, the Indian government is obligated to ban both of these movies. I wish to emphatically say that I stand diametrically opposed to these Catholics' demand! Banning of movies, books, or any other form of media violates our most precious value and basic right of free speech. Just as there can be NO compromise to our right to live, there can also be NO compromise on our right to THINK freely and express those thoughts FREELY in speech. India is a secular democracy - and precisely for that reason, every Indian should have the freedom to speak as they wish, and practice their religions as they see fit - as long as that speech or practice does not extend into a credible threat of physical harm. The Indian government has NO obligation to ban these movies. The government SHOULD NOT interfere in this matter. This is a matter of private entities - private studios, distributors, and individual citizens. The Indian government should be secular - and therefore hold NO STANCE or position for one religion or against another. Catholics need to realize that the right of free speech is guaranteed inorder to protect me when I make an offensive speech. Certainly, I would not need any such right or guarantee if I wasn't saying anything offensive. I should have the right to criticize or ridicule Hindus, muslims, or any other religion, just as they have the right to criticize Christians. If I believe that the 300 gods of Hindus are wierd, I should have the right to say it, and make fun of it. You have the right to not listen to me and walk away. You have NO right to force my mouth shut. Galileo Galilei had published his revolutionary book that was highly insulting to the Catholic Church. He was therefore, imprisoned and declared an offensive heretic. We know today how wrong the Catholic Church was, the Church apologized for that instance of denying Galileo his freedom to speak as he saw fit. If we shut every work of media, art, and science as offensive to our sentiments, we will be heading towards a horrible scenario of absolutely no freedom, and widespread stagnation. Let every individual make their own minds about the kinds of speech they wish to subscribe to. If you do not like the movie, do not watch it! If you think it is insulting to your sentiments, don't go see it. But DO NOT DEMAND that they rest of the country also respect your sentiments! A muslim CANNOT DEMAND that catholics stop eating pork because it insults the muslim sentiments. A Hindu CANNOT DEMAND that we stop eating beef because it insults their sentiments. A Christian CANNOT DEMAND that no one in this country should see these movies because it is insulting to their sentiments. Keep this country free. Keep freedom alive. Let everyone practice their own religions in peace and privacy.

6 Comments:

Blogger pallavi said...

Here's so that you would know. All my work on my log is oiginal. Inspired, perhaps, just like everyone elses, but original nonetheless.

As for citations, I will remember that for next time!
Thankyou my dear pedant!

5/10/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger pallavi said...

*blog

5/10/2006 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mike N said...

Just found your site via Noodle Food. I put it on my favorites list. And on my next update, will add it to my blogroll at www.mikeseyes.blogspot.com

5/10/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Ergo Sum said...

Thank you Mike! I'm leaving on a week-long vacation today. I'll be sure to update my blogroll with your link on it once I get back. :)

Pallavi, I've always believed that your writings were original... and even fantastic! Hence, I was surprised in that one particular instance where the citation did not appear except in the comments. :) Keep writing, and I'll love to keep reading.

5/10/2006 11:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Nunsploitation.Net Webmaster said...

The story behind the furor over Tickle My Funny Bone is quite sad. What a pitiable state of affairs in India.

Remember that in India they do not allow sex in their films. There is no nudity. They don't allow kissing. A little peck on the cheek or even the lips is fine, but no making out. No passionate kisses. Absolutely no French kissing.

But wait there's more! Smoking on the screen is also banned. If an older film with smoking is screened, they must run a disclaimer stating that smoking is bad for you.

There is also a law India making it illegal to insult anyone's religion. (Actually, it's geared more toward inciting public rioting or furor by insulting or attacking religious beliefs, but it is often used against offensive movie content.)

A recent bid by India's Censor Board chief to create a new rating above the current "Adult" and give film makers more freedom failed miserably and led to his replacement.

The worst part is, Tickle My Funny Bone looks like a goofy, stupid movie. You'll see a bunch of ads for it, it'll be in theaters for a couple of weeks and then it will completely disappear.

It won't shake the foundations of Christianity. Catholics won't lose faith. Non-Catholics won't mistake it for a documentary and get the wrong idea about Christian religions. It's FICTION. They must think the Indian public is comprised of the stupidest people on Earth if they are threatened by this film.

The saddest part of this sorry tale is the ending. The rabid uproar over this movie has won over reason. The Censor Board has agreed to cut out all religious references in the film including all churches, holy symbols and all scenes with nuns or nun garb. The movie that has already been heavily cut with scenes deleted, it's title changed and an entire song removed has been gutted further. It's completely souless now.

I wonder if they'll release an uncut version on DVD? With all the clamoring I want to see the movie that protestors threatened to kill themselves over BEFORE THEY EVEN WATCHED IT.

What a sad state of affairs indeed.

More info at: http://www.nunsploitation.net/articles/ticklemyfunnybone.html

5/13/2006 02:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

Respect! Ergo Sum.
from a Kiwi brother!
Christianity is propagated by freedom to preach the gospel not oppression of others!
Free speech is fundamental to the gospel and christianity!
St Paul forsook legalism and persecution!
To receive Christ, and live by the teachings of his apostle Paul is a free will choice not an only alternative because opposition has been eliminated!
Amen brother!
"And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!"
Tim Wikiriwhi
Libertarian Christian.
Dispensationalist
1611 KJV bible believer
New Zealand
twikitiwhi@yahoo.co.nz

5/12/2007 04:55:00 AM  

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