Protect teh Kiddies

By Legal Eagle

I attended a religious school for the first three years of High School. I’m afraid that it went in one ear and out the other, because I didn’t even realise that Jesus was God according to Christian doctrine until I was about 25. I have a fantastic ability to be able to switch off during boring lectures while still looking interested and alert.

Anyway, when we were in Year 7, we had to read the Old Testament and perform a play based on a scene from the parts we’d read. Some bright spark in our group had the idea to do the scene where Potiphar’s wife attempts to seduce Joseph (he of the Technicolour Dream Coat). We embellished it shamelessly. I seem to recall that I was one of Potiphar’s wife’s peacock- feather-waving attendants. I don’t think our high school had it in mind that we would perform a play about a seduction. But that’s the thing about the Bible (and the Old Testament in particular). There’s so much sex and violence there (Noah’s son’s covering him up because he was naked and drunk, God smiting the unrighteous with plagues, God demanding Abraham sacrifice his son, King David having young virgins in his bed when he was elderly because he needed to be warmed up, etc).

Anyway, in light of the sad news that Gillard is sticking with the Net Filter (although it is being delayed until next year) I was wondering whether the Federal Government would employ the services of GodBlock, whose stated aims are as follows:

GodBlock is a web filter that blocks religious content. It is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions. When installed properly, GodBlock will test each page that your child visits before it is loaded, looking for passages from holy texts, names of religious figures, and other signs of religious propaganda. If none are found, then your child is allowed to browse freely.

Should we start censoring holy books which mention stuff which is probably MA 15+? (eg, Shiva’s first wife Dakshayani immolating herself, Joshua slaughtering Jericho, Jesus being nailed to the cross, Aisha the child bride of Mohammed).

I’ve only partly got my tongue in my cheek here. When my daughter asked me why Churches always had crosses, I was trying to explain that Jesus got nailed to one as a punishment. “No, no, don’t go on!” she cried in distress. I tried to explain that Christians believed that Jesus rose again, but she put her hands over her ears and said, “It’s horrible!” You realise when you introduce these concepts to a very sensitive little girl how upsetting they are, although we’ve become inured to them through familiarity.

The serious question which arises from this post: where do we draw the line with censoring stuff that may harm or distress children, and which we may not wish our children to access?

(hat tip – HeathG)

12 Comments

  1. Jamie
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I think the line is blisteringly obvious: With the parents. Noone knows better what your daughter is ready for than you, and noone knows better what mine is than me. I don’t need the government trying to tell me; they aren’t very good at it even for ‘normal’ kids, which mine aren’t. ><

  2. Posted July 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Lot, who received very favorable press in the OT, and the episodes where his daughters got him drunk (yeah…. right), would be something explicitly refused classification.

    Unless, of course,

  3. bryan
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    It is not just the sex and violence. My daughter (9 at the time) saw a news item about a crocodile eating a tourist.
    She said, “God made him do that”.
    What? apparently her (religious) school had told the class that before the “flood” every animal was vegetarian.
    Really, what nonsense. Who needs that type of disinformation propagated. Won’t someone think of the children?

  4. Posted July 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    We sometimes forget that Christians worship a flying zombie with a weekly act of magical cannibalism.

    As for sex and violence, I can only recommend — yet again — that worthy summary, Back of the Bible.

  5. Jamie
    Posted July 12, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh. Right. Rhetorical questions. I suck at those. >.>

    Though to be fair, a surprising number of people seem to think that the government SHOULD be the line, so perhaps I can be forgiven my lack of faith. 😛

  6. Posted July 12, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I am laughing hysterically, and I’m only at the Book of Hosea.

    The little comic strips are brilliant. I just wish he’d finished it.

  7. bryan
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Legal Eagle
    I am not a biblical scholar. apparently all animals were originally vegitarians
    http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/carnivores.html
    is one reference

    I had a chat with the school and was told that the religious studies person was of a “fundimentalist” bent and apparently really believed this. I took the opportunity to teach my daughter the difference bettween science and belief.
    Not sure if this worked, she is now a lawyer!

  8. Posted July 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    On “all animals were originally vegitarians”

    So… either lions evolved after the deluge, or the design of their dentition wasn’t particularly intelligent.

  9. PAUL WALTER
    Posted July 18, 2010 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    I could write a heap of stuff after coming from the Jacques Chester link. Truly.

    Had a miserable day and pissed myself at the Hosea thing, sort of a temps perdu thing tripping back to the first episode I ever saw of Southpark.

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