The Vatican has filed a formal complaint with the Israeli government about a private Israeli TV show that it claims blasphemed Jesus and Mary. On the program, the host challenges the idea that Mary was a virgin and Jesus walked on water as a “lesson” for Christians who deny the Holocaust. The host was upset about the Pope lifting the excommunication of a bishop who denied the holocaust. The Israeli government’s response, however, is worse than both the program and the objection.
The host, Israeli comedian Lior Shlein, Mary is said to have become pregnant at 15, thanks to a schoolmate. It said Jesus could never have walked on water because “he was so fat he was ashamed to leave the house, let alone go to the Sea of Galilee with a bathing suit.”
Obviously, these statements are neither funny nor productive. Yet, the show appeared on the private Channel 10, one of Israel’s three main TV stations, and should not be censored as a matter of free speech. Yet, the Israeli government immediately conceded and said that it would interrupt the transmission and get the broadcaster to publicly apologize. The act by the government is far worse than the juvenile statements of this program host. The Israeli government has shredded free speech rights on the alter of religious sensibilities.
This follows a trend of treating criticism of religion as a form of prohibiting discrimination. The Vatican was joined by Hezbollah in condemning the program.
Western countries have been yielding to demands to criminalize criticism of religion, a trend that threatens the foundations of free speech (here). This includes efforts to define criticism of religion as a form of discrimination, here.
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11 thoughts on “Vatican Filed Complaint Over Blasphemous Program and Israel Moves to Censor Show”
I know. It was just a little sophomoric fun. I stand duly chastised!
@ mespo727272: the article orignally said that “The Israeli government has shredded first amendment rights on the alter of religious sensibilities.”
Now that the good professor has corrected that, maybe he can go ahead and correct the spelling of “altar.”
To say this disappoints me is to understate the case. What was the government thinking. People can say what they want about Israel but for many years its’ government acted independently and that included reactions to outside pressures. I know that some would take the position that perhaps they paid to little heed to world opinion, but whether that is so is an argument i would leave for another day.
In this instance, in the light of the Pope’s recent actions with
Shoah denying Bishops, a ridiculing response in parody (okay it wasn’t funny in a haha sense) was perfectly appropriate satire. That this upset the Vatican is just too bad.
To be honest I don’t know if the Israeli’s have a similar construct to the First Amendment. Their various media outlets have a history of being argumentative and outspoken against the government in power, from both sides of the political spectrum and with no seeming penalty. If they don’t they should.
The most disturbing part of this though is that the Vatican’s objection was that it was blasphemy. No government, anywhere, should repress free speech because a particular religious leader considers it blasphemous to their religious beliefs.
In my opinion, which I stated here many times, it is blasphemous of any religion to consider itself to fully know God’s intentions.
Without commenting on the validity of Christianity, it seems blasphemous to me that the Pope believes that on religious matters he is infallible because he is acting through God’s will. What adds to that blasphemy is that is a belief that was only codified in the mid to late 19th century by a Church whose history dates back to 325CE.
As to Rafflaw’s comment I agree that the actions of the Israeli government seem reminiscent of G.W.Bush, but I would date them further back to Menachem Begin’s time when he began to cast a conservative economic pall over what was a progressive economic country. Much of Israel’s current woes I lay on the rise of Begin, since that also was spawned by the rise of Fundamentalist Jewish power in Israel. This was spurred on by the movement of families of the Lubavitcher Sect from Brooklyn, emigrating to Israel.
Fundamentalist religion, in any political iteration, is a threat to us all.
We are on the same wavelength today. I was just going to post that Israel’s government seems to act more and more like George W. Bush’s regime, it makes we wonder if George W. changed his religion and decided to emigrate to Israel. I agree with Prof. Turley that the jokes weren’t funny, but I love jokes about any religion. As long as they are funny ones. Like Lindy Lou’s on the other thread.
The Vatican and Muslims of Hezbollah, for one hundred Alex. Intolerant of personal freedoms guaranteed by free speech? Which we now enjoy less of thanks to BushCo
They actually do have a fourth of July. It occurs every year on July 4.
On one of their calendars.
But not on the original.
And a Fourth of July! Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Does Israel have a first amendment?
Sorry, Mike S.
It’s not looking good for Israel. But if it’s any consolation, it’s not looking good for anyone at this point.
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