Posts Tagged ‘hypocrisy’

Beijing-Style Censorship in Canada

March 1, 2008

Yesterday, there was a story in the news about changes to the Income Tax Act that will allow the government to deny tax credits to Canadian films it decides it doesn’t like, after the fact.  The bill, C-10, is now in the Senate, having been passed by the Commons unnoticed.  Now that it’s become public knowledge, some opposition MPs who voted it through the minority government first house are suddenly protesting.  It makes you wonder if they even read the legislation they vote on.  It also makes you wonder why the media didn’t pick up the story before it was passed.

This bill is a form of censorship.  There aren’t any criteria to determine which films will be rejected.  It will be entirely at the discretion of a panel set up by the government.  David Cronenberg says it’s the kind of thing you’d expect from Beijing.  This is clearly open to abuse to further political or social agendas.  For evidence you don’t have to look any further than who takes credit for making it happen.

Charles McVety is a clergyman and the president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, a fundamentalist evangelical group that seeks to restore “Judeo-Christian moral principles” in Canada.  He seems to be as interested in American social politics as Canadian, if not more, because on his Word.ca website you will find an ad for his new book, rather grandly entitled ‘Earthism’, which appears to claim that the disgrace of fellow clergyman turned gay crackhead Ted Haggard fits nicely into the ‘great falling away’ prophesied in the bible.  It doesn’t seem to matter how hypocritical and wrong these people are shown to be, they’ll still find a way to claim it proves they’re right.

His group lobbied for years to get these changes.  His contacts included people in the PM’s office, fellow fundamentalist Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, and like minded backbench MPs.  Although he didn’t meet with Stephen Harper or Heritage Minister Josee Verner personally, the government finally agreed with the group.  Verner replied to his written materials by saying said she didn’t want to fund movies like ‘Young People Fucking’, for instance.

Conservative MP Dave Batters also cites ‘Young People Fucking’ as an example, despite not having seen it.  In a committee meeting with Michel Roy of Telefilm Canada, he said the purpose of Telefilm is to “facilitate the making of films for mainstream Canadian society, films that Canadians can sit down and watch with their families…”  He doesn’t seem to understand what a mainstream movie is.  A commercially successful movie is mainstream, because it appeals to a wide audience.  A film can be mainstream and be unsuitable for a seven year old.  Many mainstream movies have ‘mature’ content.  Although I agree the decision makers at Telefilm annoyingly seem to have their own preferences, and I’ve heard the evidence myself at trade forum seminars, this kind of censorship is not the answer.

I haven’t seen ‘Young People Fucking’ yet, but I will.  What I have read about it indicates that the title is probably the most shocking part.  It might just be shocking enough to get it noticed and help it break through to the mainstream – an achievement for a little Canadian movie in a Hollywood dominated marketplace.  Good marketing.  The easily offended moralists may unintentionally help that cause.

If McVety and the government want to talk about ending offensive tax credits or breaks, let’s talk about ending the free ride for religious organizations.  Churches and their affiliates don’t pay taxes even though they profit from investments.  Not all the money they receive is used for charity, and their idea of charity is often actually tied to recruiting new members and spreading the word.  They have also been havens for paedophiles.  Talk about offensive.

The long feared appearance of the moral right wing of the Conservative government may have come.

Sunday Morning

January 20, 2008

I got up one Sunday morning when I was eight or nine and turned on the TV.  Growing up in Windsor, a border city, we picked up Detroit stations, even in the pre-cable days of the early 1970s.  So, that meant that I found religious programming rather than the cartoons I was probably hoping for.

What I saw left a lasting impression on me.  A row of beautiful, wholesome looking young women in pastel coloured chiffon dresses stood in a beautiful, natural setting as they sang, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching off to war…”  Besides wondering how they managed to flash their perfect smiles for every syllable, I was immediately appalled.

Even at that tender age, I was offended.  Despite my lack of sophistication, I could see the hypocrisy.  Kill for god?  Doesn’t one of the commandments read, “Thou shalt not kill”?  Now I’m supposed to believe god wants us to kill when it suits him?  And I could see it was a sales job, too.  I may have been pre-pubescent, but I knew a pretty girl when I saw one and, somehow, that sex sells.  Somebody wanted people to buy the ideas of war and god.

At that time, the US was embroiled in the Vietnam war, fighting against the communist North.  Being godless, they were presented as a threat to American ‘values’.  It wasn’t about money, markets, or business opportunities, of course.  It’s amazing how history keeps repeating itself.

If I, a child, could see through this ruse, why couldn’t the adults across the border?  Are people really so blinded by religion?  Apparently, they are.  Give them eyes, that they might see.

‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, a song I suspect has its origins in the Crusades, was the most offensive song I’d ever heard, and it remains so.