This is Toby Sumpter with your CrossPolitic News Brief for Monday, January 6th, 2020.
That Star Wars Lesbian Smooth
NBC News reported on December 26th that authorities in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates cut the brief homosexual kiss in the latest Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Singaporean authorities told the BBC that the kissing scene was cut in order to give it the PG-13 rating. Otherwise, Singapore only allows films with homosexuality by rating them R21, which prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to see it in theaters. This is because at the age of 21, young people magically become immune to corroding effects of perversion. O wait, nevermind.
The NBC News article notes that male homosexual acts are still illegal in Singapore, even though this “British colonial era law” is no longer enforced. The article notes that female homosexual acts are however, legal. While this seems a bit schizophrenic on the surface, it is striking that in the old testament law, only male homosexuality was criminalized. While Paul clearly identifies both male and female forms of homosexuality as sin in Romans 1, one of the most important distinctions Christians need to remember is the difference between sins and crimes. Only crimes are the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate. If God has not identified something as a crime in His word, it should not be a crime in our country, including things like smoking a cigar when you’re 17 or wearing seatbelts. Of course either one of those things might be foolish or sinful (if you’re disobeying your mother, for example), but neither should be crimes. And you cannot defend tyranny by appealing to Romans 13 or 1 Peter 2. Yes, we are to submit to human ordinances, but that doesn’t remove the fact that the civil magistrate is acting tyrannically and unlawfully.
But back to that Star Wars lesbian smooch, NBC reports that Chinese authorities did not cut it. Could this indicate that they have are easing up on censoring homosexual and trans film representation? China had banned “Brokeback Mountain” few years ago and “Call Me By Your Name,” but while it granted ”Bohemian Rhapsody” a full theatrical release — it only did so with cuts of suggestive and gay content. It’s striking that on this particular point the tyrannical communist regime has more decency that the United States of America.
And this links up with the recent pornography debate. Should pornography be illegal? Yes, of course. This is because pornography is a species of prostitution, and prostitution is prohibited in Lev. 19:29, Dt. 23:17, and the punishment for a priest’s daughter who turned prostitute was death (Lev. 21:9). While the death penalty would be a maximum penalty in cases of extreme debauchery and corrupt, the biblical law clearly requires civil magistrates to suppress all forms of prostitution. And we should not miss the fact that prostitution has always been closely associate with idolatry. But sexual morality and the God/gods you worship always have social and political results. You are asking for a particular kind of society by how you live sexually and how you worship. It’s also the other way around: the laws you enact are also asking for a certain sexuality and religion long term.
So for example, back in August, Disney’s live action Mulan reboot was in the news when the lead actress Crystal Yifei Liu tweeted support for the Hong Kong police who have used increasingly harsh tactics to contain and suppress protesters. Variety’s Rebecca Davis noted then that China’s government widely praised the film, “putting Disney in an awkward position of having its interests defended by the world’s biggest authoritarian regime.” The same article notes that Variety was able to identify scores of active accounts on Twitter that had all the hallmarks of being state-backed bots, all posting under the hashtag #supportmulan. Mulan is of course the story of the female-warrior hero, which is its own form of prostitution. A cursory glance at Twitter a few days ago, brought up mostly fan tweets for the young actress, but also still some recent commentary on the ongoing Hong Kong protests, clearly supporting the harsh tactics of the Hong Kong police.
As I was preparing this news brief, I had also come across reports that Canadian public broadcasting television had made its own censorship decision this holiday season by cutting President Donald Trump’s brief cameo appearance in the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. However, on further investigation, it appears that the cut was a routine television-time edit made back in 2014. So maybe conservatives are a little jumpy, but if the Simpson’s were able to predict Trump becoming president back in 2000, maybe the Canadian’s were already gearing up.
Anyway, the point here is that censorship is inevitable. It is not whether you will have censorship but what standard will be used. Could a pro-life ad be run during the SuperBowl? Let’s say money is no problem, would it be allowed? Of course not. But will there be an ad with a homosexual couple in it? Almost certainly. Will there be ads with bikini babes? Of course. But could we run an ad defending the sanctity of heterosexual marriage? Not on your life. But we had already agreed to homosexuality and bestiality and prostitution when we struck down public obscenity laws. When we said we would allow prostitution on the screen, so long as someone was a certain arbitrary age, in principle we rejected God’s law, rejected God, and we were turning to idols, and one of the most hideous idols was the god-state. If the State can rule against God’s law, the State is claiming to be god. And you cannot do that without inevitably ultimately censoring Christians and Christian morality because Christian morality fundamentally denies the state’s ultimate sovereignty and deity. Christian morality insists that the state has a legitimate but extremely limited jurisdiction under the God’s law. But that’s like telling an obese man he can only have a certain number of calories a day. It kind of cramps his style. So of course Christians and Christianity are currently being censored in America. Now, on the one hand, businesses should be free to accept whatever advertising they want (within biblical limits) and reject any they don’t want. But we shouldn’t pretend that there’s an equal weights and measures going on. Everyone knows that if Toyota or Nike ran an ad celebrating motherhood and homemaking, they would be bombed into the next century by liberal extremists.
Meanwhile, all western audiences will be subjected to the Star Wars kiss. Of course you don’t have to see it. You don’t have to go to the movies. You don’t have to fork over your money to see JJ Abrams put his two-second virtue signal pinch of incense on the altar of sexual idolatry. But then again, I’m also rather pleased that it still seems rather embarrassing. Why not go all in? Why not have a main character that’s trans or flaming homosexual? Because the movie franchise would flop, tank, and disappear. Hollywood is a discipling America, and they understand the power of incrementalism. For my money, women have been known to kiss one another for centuries. We all know what they were trying to do, but I’d rather just say on that planet that’s how all the godly women greet one another or express extreme relief and sisterly love. There have been human cultures that routinely greeted one another with kisses; we need not eroticize a kiss. To those who are impure, everything is impure, but to those who are pure, much remains pure. Sorry, JJ, no sexual perversion points will be awarded to you, you patriarchal pig. Now, Disney, on the other hand, your Mulan remake is an abomination, and unfortunately, far too many Christians will thoughtlessly eat that up.
North Korean Dictator Announces End to Nuclear Moratorium
Lastly, and just briefly, you should be aware that on New Year’s Day, North Korea’s Dictator Kim Jong-Un announced that his country no longer feels bound by its self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. Mr. Kim said that the testing of new weapons would be witnessed by the world in the near future. It is believed that North Korea has not tested any long range missiles or nuclear weapons in over two years.
Recall that President Trump has met with Mr. Kim three times during his presidency, and Trump has repeatedly insisted that he has a good relationship with the Communist Dictator, even as recently as last Tuesday. But North Korea had set December 31 as a deadline asking the United States to make some concessions to the heavy sanctions that remain against North Korea for their various human rights abuses, and with no concessions made, Mr. Kim told his party that his country will shift to a “shocking actual action” that will make the United States “pay for the pains sustained by our people.” Mr. Kim called the US treatment of North Korea “gangster-like acts” and called on the people of North Korea to “foil the enemies’ sanctions.”
The New York Times’ Choe Sang-Hun reports that while North Korea has demonstrated that its fleet of missiles could likely reach parts of the United States, it is not clear that the country has a nuclear warhead that could survive re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.
While there are no doubt many complexities here, one note of interest is the government run media funneling the exact information to the people of North Korea that the North Korean dictator wants. So here we return to the notion of censorship and media, and culture war. Christians are people of the word because we worship the Word made flesh. And that Word has dwelt among us, and we have beheld his glory. That Word has also spoken through the patriarchs and prophets and apostles, and we have that Word preserved for all time in the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. It is God’s truth. And it is the truth that sets all men free. This freedom is political, economic, and social, as well as spiritual.
The world is an insanely complex place, and it can be hard to know what to think. But the Word of God is available to us. You probably have a number of copies all around your house. Are you reading? Are you listening? Are you marinating? The Word of God is a light. Do you need light? The Word of God is a sword. Do you need to address sins in your life or your family? The word of God is also a strong tower, a defense. We have a power that Kim Jong Un cannot imagine. Actually, given the fact that Bibles are illegal in North Korea, I suspect that he does imagine. And if Trump really wanted to set off a reaction, that’s where he would push. Let the Bibles in. And same thing goes for Saudi Arabia and Iran and China. Well, quite frankly, we need a massive revival of Bible reading and Bible preaching in the West. Reading certain verses out loud in public would get you arrested in many places in our so-called “free” countries.
Speaking of Bible reading, if you’re looking for a new Bible reading plan for the new year, you’re most welcome to join the Christ Church Bible Reading Challenge. Our plan runs September through May, but there are facebook pages for men and women and you are most welcome to jump in at any time. Go to www.christkirk.com/biblechallenge to find out more.
If you or someone you know is looking for a rigorous Christian college, I would also suggest you check at New St. Andrews College, a liberal arts college for leaders who want to shape culture under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Find out more at www.nsa.edu.
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