Thursday, January 15, 2015

BLACKFACE, POPE, FREEDOM, LAWYERS & ‘JE SUIS TWU’, and THE COMING HELL



Here’s what I gleaned from the news today:

 [BLACKFACE]  A theatre company in Montreal had a year-end review skit that lasted 90 seconds; they were poking fun at a Montreal Canadians’ hockey player who happens to be black.  To play the small part they used another cast member who was already on board.  Problem was he was white and they painted his face ‘black’ for this part.  All hell broke loose from the art and acting community for the production company’s insensitivity.  Without boring you with all the arguments for and against the action, let me just tell you that when I first heard about the complaints, I thought, “Get a life.  It’s a show for Pete’s sake.  No one is making fun of a prophet or a religion.  It’s a comedy skit.”

But then I read some of the background.  Apparently “blackface” (according to Graeme Hamilton writing in the NationalPost) is the word that was assigned to the old practice that originated in the racist 19th-cetury minstrel shows depicting blacks as buffoons.  The argument is that doing so now is a throwback to that time and racism, something many feel mocks and belittles blacks.

Furthermore, there is no excuse for this in Quebec where the issue has been discussed and brought to mind several times with respect to recent theatre.  On the other hand, one black actor is quoted as saying he would be really ticked (he used a stronger word) if someone white was portraying him and they didn’t paint his face black.  So he was okay with this – it’s theatre for Heaven’s sake.

So I considered the history and the fact those in the profession (in Quebec at least) should have been aware of the concern and known better than to do this.  Of greater potential influence on my personal thinking, however, is the admonition in the New Testament that, at least Christians (if not all men, and women) should be careful not to offend (James 3), especially if the offense is not based on fact and truth and reality.  [Sometimes we go out of our way to tell lies to people in order not to offend them and that’s not what I’m talking about here.]  For all of the above, I came down on the side of those that opposed the ‘act’.

[THE POPE]  Which nicely takes me to the Pope.  Although, I haven’t agreed with a number of his actions and/or statements lately and his single-handed attempt to save the world through the acceptance of other religions (we’re not just talking about being at peace with them), I did appreciate his comments in the Philippines yesterday on the issue of “freedom of speech”.  Here is what CNN provided on the subject:  Freedom of expression is a right, but there are limits when it comes to insulting faiths, Pope Francis told reporters today, referring to events surrounding the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.  ‘One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith,’ Francis said. Likewise, he said, people have religious liberty, but ‘one can't kill in the name of God.’ He said this after a reporter asked him about religious liberty and freedom of expression.”

I must admit, it appears the Pope is indeed right on with respect to this issue.  But while reading his quotes again, I just noticed he makes another interesting point that President Obama may not like or accept.  The Pontiff implies the killings in Paris were done “in the name of God”.  Since the killers were Muslims, the entity that the Pope must have been referring to was Allah.  And Allah is the god of Islam.  Why the American President refuses to accept that connection is beyond many minds.  Especially when even the Pope, as well as some world leaders, and a majority of Mr. Obama’s constituents, relate this terrorism to an issue with Islam – maybe Islam gone wrong – but Islam nonetheless.

[FREEDOM OF RELIGIOUS THOUGHT, LAWYERS, & TWU]  Freedom of speech leads me to freedom of religious thought.  And that is very much currently being violated right now with respect to all the Law Societies trying to block graduate lawyers from Trinity Western University’s Law Program practicing their profession in their provinces.  Not only are their rulings illegal but they have no logical basis.  Rather than get all upset about this personally, I’ll let Marni Soupcoff’s excellent piece present a position I fully support on the issue.  You don’t want to miss it.  Click: Defending the TWU Dissenters
(Picture accompanying article from the National Post Jan. 15, 2015)
It’s a pity that the matter will require the decision of the Supreme Court again just as TWU’s successful court case to have their graduate teachers practice their profession did a few years ago.  And just so know, professional bodies in neither field had problems with the actual courses the students were taking at TWU.  It was their beliefs they objected to.

[THE COMING HELL]  What do all of the above have in common?  Simply this.  We’re in a terrible ideological war but one side is failing to recognize the true enemy.  Some of that side’s leaders even think we’re winning.  And worse still, they turn a blind eye to more and more atrocities each day – the latest being the massacres in Nigeria.  I guess the estimated 2,000 murdered recently are not a big enough number of deaths to really get excited over.  But this stupidity has its ultimate consequences that are best summarized by Francois Bugingo, writing in the “Le Journal de Montrèal”.   There he warns the West for ignoring “the slow death of Nigeria” because in so doing, we “gradually open the door to our own hell.”

Now you can never say, Bugingo and I, didn’t warn you.  – Ken Godevenos, Toronto.

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