Oh, it’s been one of those days. Maybe it’s the freaky snow storm that hit the northeast, maybe it is people wondering if they have been April Fool’d, or maybe it was the haywire hacking that hit Facebook today – people are tetchy and strange.
Fractious, contentious, argumentative – yes, that was public discourse today. It’s been a long winter, and it’s the middle of Lent.
Arguments that surfaced, wholly unconnected, today: Whether Christians should celebrate Easter (yeah, I know – that’s WHY we are Christians, but this was confusion over the word Easter, which is derived from the pagan/germanic word for spring); whether Christians should speak out against Islam – this was in connection with the burning of a Quran inciting a riot in Afghanistan – and how they should speak out. And then there was Braveheart.
The movie, starring Mel Gibson in bad hair extensions. No, I won’t post a photo because you all know the iconic shot of Mel, face painted blue, trying to look all noble and medieval. It isn’t accurate to history, there’s a bit of hanky-panky involved (Mel Gibson!) but all in all, despite the violence, it is a film worth watching. I wouldn’t let my thirteen year old watch it, maybe, but the young man who posted that he was watching Braveheart tonight is well past that age. He also isn’t likely to buy a broadsword and start hacking at his enemies, or try to seduce French princesses in drafty old towers.
People got nasty. Violence, sex, nudity. God would be unhappy.
Points to make: A) It is about war. Violence is part of war. It doesn’t make war look like fun; it makes war look like hell. B) Sex. Yeah, we all know where babies come from. If I remember, the sex is kind of obscure – it isn’t a porno. C) Nudity. Grownups have seen naked people before. Get over it. And if you have ever watched a movie with Mel Gibson in it, you know you are going to see his nekkid butt. He loves to show that thing. Yawn. I think the worst thing about watching Braveheart is seeing the progression of leprosy in the Old Bruce.
I am thoroughly disgusted by the actions of Terry Jones, the Florida preacher who has incited violence by burning a Quran, or rather, and more accurately, encouraging his associate to burn a Quran, in yet another of his attention grabbing schemes. This is not what Christianity is about. The stunt didn’t get much news coverage in America, but it made the front pages in Afghanistan, and incited a riot that cost UN personnel their lives. People who have never heard of Terry Jones died because of his bigotry. So I have stated on Facebook that I will no longer entertain items in my news feed that attempt to raise anger and public ire against Islam. And someone tried to argue it with me. Look, links to scurrilous websites that promote misunderstanding, lies and hatred are not going to be part of my life. I’ve already said that about anti-abortion links – I am pro-life, but I do not want to see photos of dismembered fetuses. This does not honour their loss or atone for their suffering. It is disrespectful. People got taken off my friends list for that – and I removed someone today who despite my warning, provocatively posted a link to misinformation. She thinks she is witnessing to Muslims, but this is merely inciting argument.
I will not be watching Braveheart, or any violent movie. My heart is no longer in the fight for freedom. Perhaps that is for young men, if they can grasp the metaphor. I am anticipating that martyrdom is more likely, as my stand as a pacifist becomes stronger. It is exciting to think we are changing the world through facebook, but we aren’t. We could – if we use it to strengthen relationships, rally for peace, and pray for each other. But an argument gets us nowhere, except farther apart.
So watch Braveheart if you are so inclined. Remember, though, that war is brutal. Think of the innocents who lose their lives in the course of developing the plot. Be careful what you say, and why you say it.