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An Open Letter To The Reverend Fred Nile In Regard To Marilyn Manson

1132 words - 5 pages

Dear Reverend Nile,I watched with interest as you requested that the Federal Government deny US pop star Marilyn Manson entry to Australia to perform as part of the 1999 Big Day Out touring music festival. I came to understand that you desired to prevent Mr Manson's visit to our shores not purely on the basis of the content of his lyrics - or even his reported stage and other antics - but because he is a minister of the Satanic Church, committed to propagating the Church's message through his art.Let me state from the outset that I share the basic Christian beliefs to which I believe you would adhere. I am convinced of the existence of personal, spiritual evil, named in the Bible as Satan. I am convinced also of that being's power to influence the life of any being on this planet and that anyone who has committed themselves in such a way as Mr Manson has to that being will see his or her art and life affected by that spiritual being.However, we live in a pluralist society, something which I am sure you know and are perhaps sad about. But it remains a reality.A pluralist society tolerates Satanism as a religious belief. Whether Christians agree with the wisdom of that, it is a fundamental of the society in which we live. All religions, at least in terms of our laws, are given a right to exist and to freedom and tolerance. It is a right which Christians need as much as any other religious group. To appeal to the Government to ban Marilyn Manson from Australia on the basis of his "religion", rather than for his politics or any other reason, is to call for a dangerous precedent which no Christian anywhere in the world would like to see established.Yet, I can sympathise with your obvious concern about what is allowed to influence young people in our pluralist society. You have a desire to crack the old chestnut that says art and the practices of artists do not affect the minds, hearts and wills of young (and older) people. I possess the same desire.But before getting to this, I am concerned on two levels about your approach to achieving your goals, whether they be to have Manson banned or to critique his art.First, your comments play into a media circus. The media is most interested in religious commentary on social events and figures when those comments can be construed as negative toward events or figures. The media wants conflict and can obtain it through you. Your views can then be described in caricature, along with the words and actions of such figures as Manson. The media can then milk the conflict for sales and, when it is over or while it is going, assume a condescending tone and talk down at the protagonists in the "storm-in-a-tea-cup" which they have been significantly involved in creating.Second, there is the question of the generational relevance of your comments. The generation that spawned the Baby Boomers, raised in a relatively Christian era in regard to shared morality, in all probability agree with you. And many Baby Boomers (raised...

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