Brian Pellot writes a weekly Monday blog for RNS on religious freedom. Since he writes from the UK, the post is up before most of us in the Americas wake. Today’s installment is here.
Lots of angry Muslims lead off. And most prominently, Katy Perry’s video figures at the top of the mix.
If the point is to defend things one holds sacred as a sort of reaction against every offense, then I would say Islam is on track here. I point out that there is a lot of hostility in the world directed at Muslims, much of it unjustified. If the point is to invite more hostility targeted at sensitive points, then Islam’s defenders are again on track here.
People have discovered that Catholic bishops’ and the CDF’s investigations of theologians pump book sales. So if the content is truly dangerous, then the hierarchy’s actions are obviously counterproductive. It seems more dialogue–intelligent and respectful–is called for.
How about a domestic example? I often push (my term) or nag (her term) the young miss to complete her most-avoided chore: washing dishes. Sometimes the reaction is less adult than I would hope. Sometimes I must find a less direct way to saying I’ve run out of sink and counter space to prepare meals. (Cooking is my daily chore.) Sometimes the interference is from my wife, who lets laundry pile up and then runs a chunk of the family wardrobe in a single day. (Her chore.) It’s a complex set of interactions. A small-scale version of the world game board that is religious freedom.
Let me lay down some cynicism.
My own sense of the world’s religious freedom scene things will get worse in the near future (say the next few decades) before they will get better. I lament that. But the temperature is raised pretty high in these corners today. When you have to go deep into still frames of a pop music video to find what seems to have been an actor’s choice of jewelry, that says that sensitivities are running high.
It could be that Ms Perry is burying some anti-Islam message deep in the filming. More readily I would attribute it to her director, or even the suits in corporate. I’m sure this episode has pumped up viewing of “Dark Horse.” The concession was quick and painless, to be sure. And I’d bet there are some gung-ho folks out there who would never get caught watching Katy Perry, but who will view just to get back at some perceived offense against Muslims.
It would not surprise me if some corporate plant jump-started the fuss on that disintegration frame just to grab attention, and a hundred thousand Muslims signed on, unknowingly obliging the profiteering.
So the whole thing strikes me as rather neat and tidy. Cynical enough for you?