Wednesday 8 March 2006

Jerry Springer – The Opera is on in Glasgow over the next few days, and I quite fancied going until I discovered it’s about £20. I’m no fan of opera, theatre or Jerry Springer, I just fancied going to see what the fuss was about.The fuss, for those lucky enough to have missed it, has been so-called Christians protesting all over the world about this comedy stage production of the raucous television show. If you believe the lunatics, the show is blasphemous, portraying Jesus in nappies and generally taking the piss out of God. The protests, mostly by ghastly fundamentalist Christians, have been vociferous in their condemnation of the show both in the USA and over here.

Jerry Springer - The OperaWhat angers me is that the protesters have probably never seen the show. In these sort of situations they normally haven’t, they just launch into a diatribe against anything they think might offend their warped values. How dare they judge the show without seeing it? How ignorant is that?

I’ve heard from various reviews I’ve read that it’s not actually that blasphemous – I believe Jesus doesn’t appear in nappies, but rather one actor plays both Jesus and a different character who wears nappies. And all the God stuff (where Springer apparently visits heaven or hell or something) seemingly takes place in the second act during a dream sequence. So what the fundies are saying is that the creative world cannot portray people having blasphemous thoughts or dreams! What sort of art is this, where we cannot portray characters’ dark or unsavoury thoughts??

Maybe my comments have basis, maybe they don’t. The point is, I have no idea, and won’t know until I see it. Which I can’t be bothered spending £20 to do.

But the whole controversy is just another example of the freedom of speech debate raging in this country, where hardline idiots of many faiths believe that we have no right to offend people’s religious sensitivities. The ability to criticise, be controversial and offend people (short of incitement to violence or criminal activity) should be a central pillar of any free society.

Moreover, some of those who protest against things like the Mohammed cartoons have hardly shown a good example of responsible speech or action (or a strict adherence to the principles of their faith, for that matter) in burning flags and property and inciting suicide bombings.

And I find it personally insulting as a Christian that people who claim the same faith as me can take the moral high ground and assume that their values are everyone’s values. I believe in the absolute truth of Jesus as the saviour of the world and all-time greatest sandal-wearer. I believe that I and other Christians should live their lives in accordance with that truth. Furthermore, I believe that all must believe this truth if they want to be liberated from their sins. However, to believe for a second that others do not have the inherent right to reject that truth is a denial of God’s will. He gave us the choice, the ability to say “no”. By imposing our values on others, we deny that choice, and deny God by attempting to be judge in his place.

Long live free speech. Although not for too long… this blog’s rambled enough already.

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