Demands to ban the Bible
But the demands for an over-18 classification were dismissed by Hong Kong's media regulator, who said: ‘The Bible is a religious text which is part of civilisation. It has been passed from generation to generation… (It) has not violated standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable members of the community.’ And a Hong Kong pastor agreed, saying: ‘If there is rape mentioned in the Bible, it doesn’t mean it encourages those activities.’
While the pastor’s reasoning may be true, it is puerile to expect that films about paedophilia or rape may not be similarly condoned. As long as it’s not a ‘happy ending’ for the proponents of such vice, the film may be considered to have some moral dimension to it. A stronger argument would have been to talk of what is gratuitous, but even then there is great difficulty in codifying degrees of subjectivity.
One might expect to hear very soon of such cases being brought in the courts of the United Kingdom. Cranmer suspects that they may come first from the militant gay lobby, demanding that any passages that may be adduced to make homosexuals ‘feel uncomfortable’ ought to be excised from (at least) Bibles used in schools. The Qur’an will, of course, be exempt (probably because it is not ‘widely used’).
If Prime Minister Brown were to revive attempts to outlaw the incitement to religious hatred, there are vast tranches of Scripture which may be deemed to fall foul of such a law. And one does not need to focus on those crimes and vices. The Roman Catholic Tridentine Mass is deemed to be offensive to Jews because it talks if their need for their conversion. They are ‘blind’, and need leading from the ‘darkness’ that is Judaism. Yet the Apostle Paul makes a savage comment on the Jews, declaring: ‘The wrath of God has come on them at last’ (1Thess. 2:16 NIV, or ‘uttermost’ KJV).
It is naïve to suggest that such a sentence may not be used to justify anti-semitic sentiment, and therefore to incite hatred. As the UK is increasingly subject to anti-discrimination legislation, it really is only a matter of time before Christianity and the Holy Bible are perceived as the root of all social divisions, if they are not so portrayed already...