Article Title:Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary...
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:4th August 2007 - 12:20 pm
Story ID:4733
Text:The New Zealand Catholic Bishops have been lumbered with an $8000 bill after unsuccessfully taking their case against C4's "Bloody Mary" episode to the High Court and losing. Hmmmm. On the one hand, I disliked the South Park episode in question for other reasons. I'm a Wiccan, and many of us worship either goddesses alone, or a goddess and a god. We view menstruation as something that happens in every women's life, and not something to view as dirty or shameful. However, I wouldn't have wanted it banned merely because my political and religious sensibilities were offended. On the other, though, the Catholic Bishops wanted it banned because it was 'blasphemous.' Catholicism is a faith that relies on multiple symbols of the divine, and the Bishops objected to what they saw as a 'derogatory' symbolic portrayal of the Virgin Mary. Some might point out that symbols of the divine are mere reflections of the ascribed qualities of the divine in question, and that the original source of ascribed divine inspiration is undimmed. Regardless of a misogynist adolescent cartoon, surely the Virgin Mary Herself is still the Virgin Mary to faithful Catholics? It all comes down to whether certain symbolic representations of the divine should be more protected than others, and whether blasphemy laws are justifiable. I don't agree that they are. Why should Christians be specifically protected if other faiths aren't? And are blasphemy laws justifiable on the basis of free speech, especially when they require Solicitor-General permission to continue? Even the Maxim Institute doesn't think so. When the Catholic Bishops and conservative Catholics protested about "Bloody Mary", that was their right in a pluralist society, and they were exercising their right to free speech. Calling for "Bloody Mary" to be banned, however, went too far. I hope the Catholic Bishops console themselves with the observation that I made above, pay the money, and move onto other things. Craig Young - 4th August 2007    
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