Christianity the pressure group

We should all ban the “Jerry Springer – the Opera” because it is blasphemous.

We should ban gay marriage.

We should ban abortion.

We should all think the same things.

Everyone in the country should bend to our will.

I thought we were supposed to be building relationship with our loving personal father God, but it appears that we are actually a censorship pressure group.

The problem is I don’t agree with everything you think is right. For example, I think the media should be largely free to show what it wants, and I feel my opinion comes out of my Christian faith, just as much as you feel that a belief in censorship does. Who is right? I don’t know, but please don’t make me and people like me feel like outsiders just because we disagree with you. There are lots of us, but we don’t shout so loud.

We don’t live in a Christian society – there aren’t any Christian societies any more. So we have to re-evaluate how we approach things: we can’t over-rule the majority with these opinions just because God told us it was so. We need to persuade, not rule, and the most important thing we need to persuade people of is the fact that God exists and is worth listening to, not the specifics of what we think he says about these issues of personal morality and censorship. Just as Muslims or others living in former Christian countries have to accept the society in which they find themselves, so do we.

When I get these emails written as if the author’s point of view were so obviously correct (even though often the author hasn’t seen e.g. Jerry Springer – the Opera) I think of Amos 5:21-24:

I hate, I despise your religious feasts;
I cannot stand your assemblies.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

This is pointless, showy stuff, and there is so much we could be making a noise about that is really important: why are the governing rules of trade between rich and poor countries so unfair? Why do we step in to “humanitarian crises” in Europe but not Africa? Why are we wasting our time on “personal morality” issues when we could be spending it on situations that are just plain wrong? I think personal morality is for personal people, but injustice is a collective sin, and that is what, if we must be a pressure group, we should be pressuring about.

Anyway my main point is should we be a pressure group at all?

Apologies if you sent me one of these forwarded emails – this is a rant, and not one aimed at you.

Really, we should ban email, and then I’d get less annoyed generally.

25 Replies to “Christianity the pressure group”

  1. Did you hear a Radio Three Producer, who has now resigned from the BBC because od his Christian faith finding the recent decision on the Jerry Springer show unacceptable, say the following on Radio 4:

    “Picture the person that you love the most. Look at them and think about what they mean to you.

    Now would you let that person be ridiculed?

    In the same way I do not want that to happen to Jesus”.

    I agree with free speech. But I also believe we should respond to something that humiliates Christ…or is His portrayal not that important to you? As someone who pays for the BBC I feel I have a right to say what I think they should and should not show.

  2. People should be able to protest about anything that offends them.

    I saw the show and it didn’t offend me (it amused me for the first half and bored me for the second “blasphemous” half).

    What I object to is the idea that because we are all Christians we should automatically agree on everything.

    As for the comment about paying for the BBC, I find that an awful idea. Imagine what the BBC’s programmes would be like if none of them offended anyone. The major strength of the BBC and the reason why its programmes are of a significantly higher quality than other UK broadcasters is because it doesn’t have to bow to the commercial pressure to please everyone.

  3. I did hear about the guy who resigned. He was very reasonable about it and it’s a good thing to do if you think this programme humiliates Christ. I thought it was more an attack on modern culture, and sort of in support of the chaotic amoral modern culture at the same time.

  4. The general public is not commercial pressure. Its called democracy – a group of people standing up for what they believe to be right and trying to change something. I find the attitude that we should distance ourselves if it becomes uncomfortable interesting. Did Peter do that when asked three times if he knew Jesus?

  5. But what should the limits be? I didn’t watch the programme and so perhaps I am unqualified to comment. However I believe there should be some sort of parameters to what we can broadcast – especially the BBC. Have the blasphemy laws got it all wrong? As a Christian would be happy for a programme to humiliate other faiths?

  6. I don’t think we should have any blasphemy laws since I don’t think we live in a Christian country. That’s democracy.

    I’d be happy for a programme to “humiliate” other faiths as much as JSTO did if it took place in a country where members of that faith were not in danger of oppression or violence.

    I disagree with the “especially the BBC” part, but agree there should be limits.

    My main point is not my personal opinions, it’s about the attitude that assumes we should all agree on these things.

  7. > The general public is not commercial pressure.

    a) It’s not the general public – it’s a vocal pressure group who go under the banner of “Christians”. That offends me since I disagree with them but am a Christian.

    > Its called democracy – a group of people standing up for what they believe to be right and trying to change something.

    Yes, people are free to stand up for what they believe in. That’s what I’m doing – arguing that we shouldn’t be made to feel our opinions are automatically wrong because they disagree with those of the “Christian Pressure Group”.

    > I find the attitude that we should distance ourselves if it becomes uncomfortable interesting. Did Peter do that when asked three times if he knew Jesus?

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Did I say we should distance ourselves if it becomes uncomfortable? Are you using Peter as a good example or a bad one?

  8. > The general public is not commercial pressure.

    Sorry, missed b)!

    b) They are not the same, but both “pressure group actions” and “commercial pressure” tend to push towards “offending no-one”-style bland programming.

  9. This is m and I’ve got very confused by trying to follow the comments made to this article so I’m sorry if I repeat anything and also I’m unlikely to be able to find it if anyone responds to this…!

    I did recently forward an email about the Jerry Springer thing – and it’s not something I often do. Also, I’ve never before expressed any concern to tv companies about the content of programmes shown. This time, I did email – I hadn’t seen the show but I had no way to see it before it was due to be on tv (and also I’m not quite sure that I think you should have to see something in order to be concerned about its content) but the reason I DID do it this time was that I know people of other religions would be up in arms about it if their religion was represented in a bad light. [My husband watched an interview with someone at the BBC who did say that there’s no way they would have shown a show like that if it featured Islam because of the reaction it would get.]

    I don’t actually really agree with censorship – I think someone being allowed to stop us seeing/knowing about things is a dangerous road to go down, and I believe we have freedom in Christ. All things are permissable but not all are beneficial or something like that…

    But sometimes it’s hard to get the balance because it’s also important to stand up for what we believe in. In one of the schools I work in, they bend over backwards to accomodate the needs of (and not offend) the Muslim kids but don’t seem to feel that Christianity needs to be acknowledged and God can’t be talked about and more places seem to be going in this direction.

  10. I think we do need to be careful because muslim people are much more likely to be attacked for their religion than christian people, in the UK. So I think there are sometimes good reasons for treating people differently.

  11. I do agree with what you are saying generally speaking.

    My thought on this is Daniel.

    Daniel was a Jew in a non-Jewish country and went along with stuff but every now and again he made a stand. He made a stand against worshipping another and not God. He also made a stand about eating veg not meat for a bit.

    What I’m trying to get at is he decided when he was going to make a stand and did it with things he felt appropriate for reasons we can try and figure out.

    I guess God wants us all to make a stand for him at certain points in our lives. What the reasons are I doubt will be the same but the point is we make a stand and let it be known to those around us. This I believe shows a healthy faith.

    As for TV I have found that life without TV is no bad thing and so I don’t watch it much. I have not had difficulty in filling up my life with other (less offending) stuff.

  12. I’m very pro free speech, so I had no intention of complaining to the BBC about Jerry Springer. However, in the end, I surprisingly did, but with a different take. This was because I got irritated when I noticed the following binding agreement between the BBC and and the Secretary of State for National Heritage:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/info/policies/charter/pdf/agreement_text.shtml

    Looking at 5.1 (d) and (e), I can’t see any way that the BBC are keeping to their agreement, so I’ve asked them to explain how they’re interpreting this. They’ve yet to answer satisfactorily – they just send me waffle about free speech, which I’ve already told them I believe in. Here’s how I end one of my emails to them:

    “What this teaches me is this: there is a vast difference between being in favour of free speech (which I am, and clearly you are) and behaving according to patterns which you have bound yourself to (which as far as I can see, you are not). I’m not impressed with a corporation that bends its own rules when it feels like it.”

  13. To be fair though, Christians aren’t the only ones to speak as if any right-thinking person will align with them. The most obvious example I’ve experienced is student protests about tuition fees etc., where the implication is that you’re a traitor if you have any doubts about the leaders’ point of view, or even question whether it’s worth discussing the issues, as if the right position wasn’t obvious.

    Whether or not I agree with the Christian protesters, it’s good to see that some people are as moved to action and concerned about insults to Jesus as others are about experiments on animals or nuclear weapons or social justice. And Christians do campaign on other issues too – you can’t just criticise them for protesting about this when they should be protesting about other things, as if they don’t. Maybe there should be more campaigning on social justice and less on Jerry Springer etc., but maybe the media should show more of what Christians are doing in these other areas too…

  14. You missed ‘We should ban SpongeBob’

    although I suppose that was just in the US.

    Talking of e-mails, do you ever get those Christian e-mails saying ‘Isn’t funny the way we don’t believe the Bible, yet believe newspapers’ or something like that, amongst other things. Their aim seems to be to scaremonger people into forwarding the e-mail to show what a ‘real Christian’ they are. They’re very silly.

  15. Yes, I got one from an acquaintance of mine which was a mishmash saying how great Jesus was and then saying that if we’re ashamed of Jesus, He will be ashamed of us (Luke 9:26). Then it implied that if we don’t forward the email to ALL our contacts, it will show we’re ashamed of Him and therefore won’t be saved. I don’t see why forwarding a rant about Jesus will help my friends though.

  16. Had one of these

    Replied to the person who sent it in a very abrupt way saying my faith did not depend on my sending e-mails of any sort. I seem to remember being quite annoyed, more at the person who sent it since I would of thought they would know better.

    However refering back to my own response earlier I think that if people feel that is the way they want to respond with their faith and put their energy into that then I guess I don’t mind. I can think of far worse e-mails to get.

  17. All fair points. I concede I was a little irrational. You do have to be particularly careful about assuming you’re obviously right when it comes to religion, though, as people tend to trust other people of the same religion.

  18. The only solution is to ban email.

    Or people.

    I’m not sure God would agree with the latter, so we’re left with the former.

  19. Yes – and a democracy takes into account the views of the masses. Things should not be dictated by minorities. If it offends you – don’t watch it.

  20. If this is something you believe about so strongly, why are saying it form behind a shield of anonymity? I can think if no reason why you, or a group of people like you, should stop me from choosing to watch/do something that 1) has no impact on you and 2) is not harmful to me.

    I have to admit, reading your posts makes me (irrationally?) angry, to the point where I find it difficult not to reduce my typing to offensive four letter words delivered in a mist of spit. I need to sit down and think why it makes me feel like that. When I have worked it out (or if you have any suggestions) we can talk more about it.

  21. Woah there cowboy. Anonymity is allowed and encouraged here. There could be any number of reasons why that poster wants to be anonymous.

    I disagree with some of what they say, but I will defend to a great extent their right to say it, and say it anonymously if they want.

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