The Catholic Bishops Conference President, Cardinal Baselius Cleemis started it all by writing to the Home minister to ban the controversial play Agnes of God and asking all to support his cause.
Sri Kurian Joseph from Delhi responds with the letter below. If all controversial things are banned there will be no public discussion in a democracy. What is essential is not banning but encouraging public discussion on all controversial items to enlighten the ignorant and superstitious population. The only thing to be banned is violence from anyone against any one.
Only people who know nothing about Jesus and the open humane society he preached will ever think of closing the mouth of critics. The Jesus I know is the one who needs no defenders, as he was neither a coward nor an ignorant to defend his and his followers cause. He in fact is the model and patron of all critics, especially against the High Priests who want to decide what is moral and immoral. Sri Kurian's letter follows:
I received an invitation to sign a petition to ban the play 'Agnes of God', in support of the CBCI demand to the Govt of India. Here below is my reply:
I'm sorry but I completely disagree with the demand to ban this play.
Please think this through before we let ourselves follow the RSS/VHP and the Mulla practice of banning everything they don't agree with.
Attached are four very thoughtful articles:
– the first by Fr Jacob Peenikaparambil CMI – an open letter to the President of CBCI ("Our faith is not so weak that a book or play can destroy it.") published in Indian Currents.
– the second by Mrs Flavia Agnes, women's rights lawyer ("begin with the Church adopting a strong policy against sexual harassment of women, rather than sweeping the issue under the carpet"), published in Asian Age
– the third by Mr John Dayal, eminent journalist and human rights advocate ("I have the humility to know that I am not here to defend Jesus Christ. It is Christ who defends me.") ; and
– the fourth by a group of highly educated Catholics who have objected to Mr Joseph Dias's presumption of acting as Representative of all Catholics ("Such demands violate the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression and is an affront on the democratic traditions of our country") published in the blog Kafila..
If none of these mean anything to you, please think:
Historically almost every demand for ban has only increased public demand for the product or idea being banned. Do you want to make this play – which you consider so objectionable – more and more popular?