Amman: Jordan’s Council of Churches on Saturday urged a government ban on the film The Da Vinci Code for being “a violation of redlines”, the official Petra news agency reported.
Council Secretary General Hanna Nour said the movie, based on a best-selling novel by Dan Brown “has been previously banned from publication in Jordan and Lebanon because it directly harms Jesus.”
He said the film is damaging to the memory of religious figures of Christianity and Islam, claiming it “contradicts the truth as written in the Bible and the Quran about Jesus.”
The Vatican has denounced the film, scheduled for release this month, saying it is based on lies that could turn viewers against Christianity. Clergy from the Roman Catholic church all over the world have raised complaints about the film. In Italy, a massive poster for the upcoming film has been removed following complaints from clergy.
The novel contends that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had descendants, and that the Vatican and a religious organisation close it are covering it up.
Nour said the Council is strongly urging “the authorities to stand beside Christians in the issue and take the necessary measures to prevent this film from showing in Jordan.” [source]
I guess it does bring up a good question: should it be banned in Jordan? I wasn’t aware the book was banned in part because I never paid attention to whether it was on bookshelves anywhere but mostly because everyone I know over there had a copy of it (in Arabic and English) so I assumed it was allowed.
Is the premise of the story offensive to Christian and Islamic beliefs? Yes, obviously. Despite the fact that both religions don’t exactly agree on everything concerning Jesus (pbuh) but there is obvious consensus that Dan Brown’s version of events did not happen.
As for censorship, I don’t know. There are times when I feel that all materials should be allowed and people should make up their own minds; that we shouldn’t insult people’s intelligence when it comes to drawing conclusions. But then again when I meet some people I find that most will just go with the general flow instead of forming original opinions. And in this day and age there is a lot of ‘harmful material’ out there. I guess pro or anti censorship/banning depends a lot on your beliefs or ideological position. Perhaps the more conservative will be pro while the more liberal will tend to be anti.
But all of this aside I consider myself somewhat a realist and the fact is if Jordan bans the movie everyone they didn’t want watching it will be watching it because most people get their movies from street vendors for 1 JD.
Then again this begs the question of what the purpose is behind banning or censoring something. Is it to remove it from the reach of society so that they won’t be exposed to it? Or is it merely a ‘message’ or an indication of a stance or position on the matter undertaken by the state?