Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I never thought I'd be defending Madonna in a post, but here I stand.

A story out today is really disturbing me. It is about how German police plan to watch this weekend's Madonna concert in Dusseldorg to see whether Madonna repeats a stunt in which she appears to mock Jesus Christ by wearing a crown of thorns in front of a mirror shaped like a cross.

Prosecutors plan to keep an eye on Madonna's weekend concert in Duesseldorf to see if the pop diva repeats the mock crucifixion scene that has drawn fire from religious leaders.

Johannes Mocken, a spokesman for prosecutors in Duesseldorf, said Tuesday that a repeat of that scene during Sunday's concert could be construed as insulting religious beliefs.

Now, as a person of faith, I do believe that what Madonna is doing is in very poor taste. And I believe that it is deeply offensive to many people. I have no intent of purchasing the video of the concert or certainly of attending it.

However, what the police are doing is much more sinister.

It is not, nor should it be, up to the state to police speech, or for that matter religion. True, in Germany, there may not be an equivalent to what it says in our constitution that the state shall favor the establishment of a religion, nor are there the same types of free speech laws in Germany as there are here (for example, in Germany it is illegal to display a swastika). And this is not the first time that Germany has done things like this-- for example, they consider scientologists to be a dangerous cult (and I've been hard on scientologists myself at times: see paragraph four of this post for example). That is one thing, but their persecution of scientologists in Germany is not justified.

The heavy police presence to watch Madonna and the threat of prosecution is intimidation and frankly, given that it is, I hope as a matter of fact that she DOES repeat her performance from Sunday, not because I like it, but because I dislike political intolerance or intimidation. Whatever Madonna's sins are, they are of the type that will be sorted out sometime after she leaves this world, not in the Dusseldorf prosecutors office.

One would think that with Germany's past history, they would err on the side of tolerance, but again, that doesn't seem to be happening.

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