Thursday, December 1, 2011

Freedoms, rights, and television shows with naughty words in the title:

Like (I suspect) many Christians, I was annoyed and a bit disgusted when Channel 7 started showing commercials for an upcoming program, Good Christian B*tches. There's not much that isn't offensive about that title or the concept behind the show. However, when I received an email invitation to sign a petition for the program's removal, I declined. My Dad put it most succinctly: "No one has to watch the program. If they find it offensive, they should turn the TV off."

He's right on a number of levels. First, the goal of television networks is not to keep religious groups happy; it is to establish a wide viewership and make money. It shouldn't surprise any of us when networks promote programs they believe will be sensational, juicy, or offensive. What's more, creating hype around a show (whether it's negative or positive) seems only to generate more interest in the program. Think what the disappearance of Charlie Sheen did for the (utterly stupid and degrading) sitcom Two and a Half Men. People who had never watched the show in the past tuned in to see what kind of a job Ashton Kutcher did of replacing the ticking time bomb that is Charlie Sheen.

Secondly, freedom of choice and freedom of speech are key elements of any democratic society. This freedom translates into the freedom to create programs that some may find offensive, as well as the freedom to show these programs. However, it also gives us the freedom not to watch them.

It is when that choice is removed that we should take offense.

Consider the current debates surrounding hot-button topics like abortion and gay marriage. While we may all possess freedom to argue for or fight against constitutional changes, as Christians we should probably stop being shocked when a secular government makes non-Christian choices. The focus of our government at the moment is on individual rights -- like the right of a woman to determine whether she will keep her unborn child or the right of a homosexual couple to marry and receive the same support as a heterosexual couple.

Both of these concepts are areas which Christians have typically taken a stand against, appealing to the government on grounds entrenched firmly in Christian doctrine and ethics. If the government does not subscribe to a similar set of doctrine and ethics, these will likely be pleas falling on deaf ears. However, here is my beef: if the government is going to promote freedom of choice and the rights of individuals, how can they fight for the rights of some groups and inhibit the rights of others? I'm referring in particular to the new move to remove family benefits from parents who have not immunised their kids. Regardless of how you feel about the pros and cons of immunisation, this is a serious blow to the rights and freedoms espoused by democracy. While not outwardly depriving parents of their right to choose immunisation or no, it is, nevertheless, a form of bullying. You may choose option A or B, the government is saying, but if you choose B, we are going to make life more difficult for you.

This is not only undemocractic, but it is illogical. A democratic government cannot fight for the rights of some without upholding the rights of all. Where's the consistency?

* * * * *


Laura Elizabeth -- HAVE YOU CUT YOUR HAIR?? Do not leave me hanging on this!

Samantha R -- welcome back to the world! ;) We've missed you!

Cara -- it was fun, not at all serious. I recommend you check out PluggedIn.Com for any potential problems with the movie; they're always my go-to for appropriateness :). Do let's meet halfway in Italy! I really haven't travelled much (I'm certain New Zealand scarcely counts as "outside Australia").

Lauren -- rasesco!! Sounds like reggae music crossed with baroque; that's my interpretation of what rasesco might mean :).

Katie -- the internet is definitely the place to meet excellent friends :).

Bek Axe -- you would have loved tattooed Twilight guy, I'm sure.


  1. Your dad has it absolutely right! If we don't want to watch something, then we don't have to - it's that simple! I think our lives are much better spent on searching for our own joys, rather than worrying about things that don't affect us. For example, I love that you devoted time to writing in your blog and giving us all something to think about, rather than signing a petition about something that won't change your life for the better. Your time was spent much better this way. :D

  2. I wish Julia Gillard could spend a day with you. She would learn lots.

  3. Yes to this! Although I thought they'd changed the name of that show to Good Christian Belles because of controversy in the States. Obviously not! Oh well, not like I will be watching that show anyway.

    I liked this post immensely.

    Also, yes I cut my hair. It's ridiculously short. I'm waiting for my dad to send me the pictures so I can blog about it.

  4. Interesting food for thought. I get frustrated though when Christians shrug their shoulders and say 'oh well we can't do anything about it' - especially in matters like gay marriage, euthanasia, abortion etc etc etc. It IS important to stand up for truth and speak out on such things, but at the same time - you're right, we shouldn't be surprised when the government makes such secular decisions.
    I agree - something like an offensive TV show is different. Pretty much everything on TV these days is offensive to Christians in some way anyway!
    I also totally agree with freedom of choice and speech, but it irks me too (sorry - soapbox!) that so many Christians or people like Andrew Bolt are shut down and taken to court for discrimination simply for expressing opposing views - however gracious they might be. Anyway :-P

  5. Well said, Danielle, on all counts.

    I agree re the TV show, although I do understand why people take offence, and I would defend their right to protest as well, even though I'd personally rather protest with my TV remote.

    Wasn't quite sure what you meant re abortion/marriage. I agree we shouldn't be "shocked" by the decisions a non-Christian government makes. But are you saying in a secular democratic society we should extend choice to homosexuals who want to marry and women who want abortions?

    Totally agree about immunisation. That's truly offensive. It's an utterly disgraceful policy. I'm not anti-immunisation; we immunised our son. But that's not the point. Actually, maybe it's exactly the point.

  6. is there a reason there are two 'ands' in the title of this blog post?

  7. What a great post. Just wanted to let you know that the media (of which I am unfortunately a part!) has got the immunisation story wrong. The media has been deliberately omitting the fact that if you are a conscientious objector (and actually sign a form to say you are) you will still get the family tax benefit. Which is good news for families who have decided not to vaccinate!
    Hope you are going well. Miss you as always xxxx

  8. Your musings have given me food for thought... I like that you wrote your thoughts out in such a sensible way. :)

  9. Zing!
    Sweet political commentary!
    I had no idea about the immunisation thing.
    I am sort of in love with your brain.


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