Amun-Ra : Censorship, Freedom of Speech, Jesus and Bad Taste

Discussion in 'Amun-Ra' started by Amun-Ra, May 2, 2001.

  1. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Last year, some New Yorkers stood in line to protest the Off-Broadway play "Corpus Christi". The play is the story of Jesus and his disciples where all of the characters are gay. Recently, I received an e-mail that disturbed me, not because of the subject but because of the shortsightedness of the writer in wanting a petition signed to get the play and the soon to be released movie banned.

    American society has fought a constant battle for the right to freedom of speech and against its country cousin-censorship. There is a fuzzy line between the two as often what is deemed deserving of publication by one group or person is also considered to be worthy of censorship by others and that is what makes democracy beautiful.

    The e-mail further disturbed me because of its threat in the words "Deleting it shows your lack of faith and respect for our Lord!" which I found to be disingenuous, self-righteous and intolerant. My deleting it has nothing to do with my respect or lack of respect. Deleting that piece of information may mean that my mailbox is full but it could also mean to paraphrase Perry Mason, that I found the piece of information improper, immaterial and incompetent.

    There are many things that are published in some form each day that many of us agree or disagree with, but neither you or I have the right to limit those things unless they constitute a danger such as the proverbial yell of "fire" in a crowded theater, where lives could be endangered by such recklessness and even then, that may also be open to debate.

    Censorship is a two-edged sword as times change, ideas adjust and political power shifts and soon censorship cuts against those who imposed it in the first place. If there is to be any censorship, let it be self-censorship, meaning that if we are offended, upset or disturbed by what we deem improper then it is not only right that we not engage in improper behaviors, it is our duty to not do so. However, if in censoring yourself you chose to censor me, thinking that you know what is best for me; then you have stepped across the line.

    As for "Corpus Christi"? I had heard of the play before and was absolutely not interested in it. However, now, my interest is piqued. Perhaps the writer of this crusade for the protection of Jesus might have wanted to research it a bit more before he started a censorship drive because if he would have, he would have found that the play has been poorly received, not because of its subject matter, but because it lacks depth, has poor acting and it is saddled with a script even Wes Craven couldn't love. By starting a censorship movement, he has done what he hoped to avoid--drawn attention to a less than mediocre play that probably would have faded away unnoticed.

    Are there limits to subject matter? My answer is a firm no! I do not like white supremacist literature but I would defend its right to exist and in many ways I actually find it helpful to know what those I don't agree with are doing. Is it wrong to make fun of religious figures? Absolutely not! Do I find some things in poor taste, pornographic and literally without redeeming social content? Indeed, I do, but they may also be the same things you find nothing wrong with.

    The bottom line is we are responsible for censorship of ourselves and our loved ones to the extent they will allow it. We can only do what is good for us as individuals. The moment I start deciding what is and what is not good for you is the moment I encroach upon your rights.
     
  2. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You hit one here!

    Child porn! I think we could probably make an argument under "harm" that this type of publication should be censored, but I bet there are hosts of lawyers right now trying to get it changed. Go figure. I can't think of any way to defend it, but I'm sure there are those who can.

    Ra
     
  3. WisdomSeed

    WisdomSeed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Actually, much closer to home, not that I care if Jesus was gay or not (but there are some rather persistant rumors), a more important question of censorhip in the black community has shown itself nationwide in the advertisments that David Horowitz took out in college magazines, Ten Reason Why Reparations Won't Work and are Racist. Black college students wwere so offended they wanted censorship, but we can not have it both ways.

    We need to understand how very important free speech is, and how it needs to be protected.

    As far as the museum piece that offended so many Roman Catholic New Yorkers, I say **** 'em. Fist of all I never was catholic and I do not hold Mary to sainthood, second he saw what he did as an honor, based on his own cultural beleifs. so the only thing that stopped the artwork from being accepted onthe terms it was intended was ignorance and an unreaching public. Besides, if God is offended, can't God handle God's own business? Do we need to defend icons?
     
  4. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I shouldn't even comment

    I shouldn't even comment because I am one of those who feel that the more "sacred" a view is held then the more I am likely to take a shot at it--it's just my nature. Richard Pryor caught much grief fromthe black community years ago because of a comment he made. It had nothing to do with his frequent use of four letter words and the N-Word, it was because he said "Dracula doesn't like cruxcifixes because he's afraid of ********." After cussing for 20 minutes, Richard was being taken to task because of that remark. Personally, I found it humorous, but as I said I eat sacred cows for breakfast and delight in letting the air out of bogus balloons.

    I read Horowitz's article and it was porrly written, insipid, vapid, inane and revealed the author's thorough lack of scholarship. It would have been laughable, except it marked the decline of a one time activist who has lost the rest of his marbles, but he has the right. That is another good thing about freedom of speech it allows us to see people for who they really are. For instance take the lovely and talented Pat Roberts who said "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to spirit of the Antichrist." (700 Club, January 14, 1991) I'm sure there were many Christians out there who might take exception to that statement, but it allowed us to see Pat for what he is--stupid! Or take Jerry Falwell who said that "Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan in America". I'm sure that would also be a surprise, but then consider the source. Forgoing censorship often allows us to see people for what they are or aren't.

    Ra

    Ra
     
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