I suppose I need to use my “religion” tag sometime and I seem to be on a role today so here goes.
I recently saw a petition online (while looking at the material for my previous post, ironically) asking the White House to support a law making it illegal to portray the prophets of major religions in a negative light. Apparently to this person “major religions” means “Abrahamic” religions because they specifically said “Mohammed, Jesus, and Moses.”
Now, that’s all well and good I suppose. However the flaw in the logic here falls with ignoring two things. The first being the first amendment (freedom of speech and religion), the second being that “Major” is not actually a synonym to “Abrahamic” in a religious context.
For a primary example, take Hinduism, practiced by millions of people world wide. If you are going to forbid depictions of prophets in a negative light, why not extend that to their gods? They are most certainly a “major” religion. What about the Buddhists who have no “god” only teachers? Do you then extend that protection to the Buddah and all of the Lamas (and all of their various reincarnations)? And if you extend it to them why stop at “major” religions? To follow the freedom of religion and separation of church and state on that issue you’d have to extend it to all religions. And, believe me, you wouldn’t want that.
For a small idea of what kind of effect such a law would have let me give you some examples of the repercussions.
Satan no longer appears in Christian depictions, after all, Satanism is also a religion.
Son of The Mask is banned for showing Loki and Odin in a negative light. (admittedly not such a bad thing, I don’t know many people who like that movie)
The comic series Thor is completely removed from shelves.
Thor is removed from all Avengers comics
Speaking of Thor and The Avengers, those two movies would suddenly disappear or be heavily edited to avoid offending Heathens such as myself. (Not that they offend me but I’m sure they offend some Heathen, somewhere.)
I’m sure there are more repercussions, but I think I made my point.
You see, the solution isn’t to stop saying/showing things that offend people. The solution, in reality, is to stop being offended so easily. How do you think I felt seeing my religion’s mythos butchered by Son of the Mask and then by Thor and The Avengers? I’ll tell you how I felt, I didn’t give a flying monkey turd about it.
Maybe you think I’m callous, I’m not. You see, the difference between myself and those that freak out at every little religious indiscretion is that I KNOW my Gods and I KNOW my mythos. I don’t need it force fed to me by every reference to them ever written. I can also separate mythos from “inspired by mythos.” And I can appreciate a good joke or inspired story, even if it IS at the expense of one of my Gods.
A perfect example of this actually comes straight from the Sagas. I’ll paraphrase for those of you that don’t care. Thor’s hammer is stolen by the Ice Giants. He and Loki have to dress in Drag as Freya and one of her handmaidens to get it back. Every time I hear or read that story I start laughing when the Giants are suspicious at first but eventually fall for it completely. I don’t get angry that this story was told, I enjoy it as a story.
Perhaps what I’m saying is that the Abrahamists should take a lesson from their Pagan brethren and be a bit more accepting of others works and beliefs. After all, during the initial Christianization of the Nords, the Nords couldn’t understand why the Catholic priests were so upset at them simply adding Jesus to their personal Pantheon of Ancestors and Gods. Think on that for a bit.