Thursday, May 11, 2006

INDIA: Bishops Demand Ban on Controversial Movies

May 11, 2006

Indian bishops demand ban on two controversial movies

New Delhi (ICNS) -- The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India today demanded a ban on the release of two controversial movies in India saying they "belittle what is at the heart of Christian faith."

The movies are The Da Vinci Code by Sony Pictures and Tickle My Funny Bone, the directorial debut of Marathi theatre actor Yogesh Konkar.

Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, the conference Secretary General, in a press statement demanded immediate withdrawal of the proposed release of these movies in India.

Both the movies are "offensive" as they deeply hurt the sentiments of the Christian Community, the bishops' conference said. Both movies should be banned in India, demanded the release issued by Conference Spokesperson Fr Babu Joseph.

The Da Vinci Code is based on the best-selling novel of Dan Browns by the same name. The novel twists history and facts to conclude that Christianity engaged in a 2,000-year-old cover-up.

The novel that soled 40-million copies makes several blasphemous statements. Among them is the suggestion that Jesus had a child by Mary Magdalene and that Christ's bloodline survives to this day.

The bishops' statement said Da Vinci Code movie "is a false and an irreverent portrayal of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, as a married man and having progeny, which insidiously attacks the very root of Christian Faith."

The other controversial movie, also set for release this month, is offensive to Christian life as it shows nuns in a poor light, say Christians who have been opposing it.

Promotion of the movie showed the female lead of the movie in the foreground of a church, wearing a nun's habit that has been designed to look skimpy.

It makes "caricature of religious persons of the Church, who sacrifice their life in the service of God and people," said the release issued by Conference Spokesperson Fr Babu Joseph.

These movies "belittle what is at the heart of Christian Faith and cherished in Christian Life, they hurt the religious sentiments of the Christian Community."

They are "blasphemous and totally unacceptable to the Christian community." Besides the movies are bound to bring into disesteem the Christian Community in the country and create misgivings about the minority Christian community in the country, it said.

Archbishop Fernandes said Christians take "strong exception to the release of these movies" in secular India, where "every individual has a right to his religious beliefs."

Both movies are based on falsehoods about Christian faith and life and will hurt the faith of individual Christians and bring Christian Communities into disrepute among people of other religions.

The bishops also urged the Board of Film Censors of India to ban such movies, which are based on the wrong notion of Christianity and its teachings.

The release said bishops join all groups that appeal for immediate action in this matter by the Board of Film Censors and Civic Authorities.

Any reference to the Religious tenets and traditions should be referred to the respective leaders of the religion, the release said.


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