Not sure if you’ve heard the news, but China has banned Western religious music. Well, technically, it was banned all along, but only now are the powers that be getting their red and yellow panties in a bunch.
The banning news hit the wire after The Messiah, as to be performed by Britian’s Academy of Ancient Music at the Beijing International Music Festival, was changed from a public performance to invite only.
Also shutout was Mozart’s Requiem, set to be performed in Dujiangyan, a city heavily hit by the tragic Sichuan earthquake this past spring.
According to an opinion piece in the Guardian by Catherine Sampson, the new ban signifies a step backwards by the Party in an attempt to regain control of the Christianity running rampantly through its friction-filled Middle Kingdom.
And though I think any sort of ban on music (Christian or otherwise) is completely ridiculous; rolling the issue into a ‘Lord be with us, the persecuted” message, which the largely Christian-run Western media is prone to do, is equally daft.
It’s no secret that religion is closely controlled and monitored in China, and as an atheist, I don’t necessarily disagree with it being so.
Now I know a lot of Christians are going to raise issue with this, but if there’s one thing that events past and present endlessly illustrate for us (with pop-pop-pop-up book simplicity no less), it’s that religion (particularly the branches involving the big guy upstairs) can quickly grab control of peoples and nations and make them do holy horrible things.
With NGOs of dubious intentions and missionaries disguised as ESL teachers sneaking their way into China, it’s hard to fault a government that is nothing if not cautious and apprehensive about the West’s witchy ways.
Granted, when most of us listen to the “Hallelujah” chorus of The Messiah, we aren’t really considering our devotion to the Lord Saviour Jesus Christ. We’re just thinking that it is beautiful. Which, of course, it is.
But when judging whether something should be allowed for public consumption (again, in a country that is not exactly shy about its censorship) it likely just comes down to hard-cold translations.
When making a decision on what passes and what doesn’t, we need to remember that the stuffy old comrade is sitting in a smoke-filled office sipping green tea with a Chinese translation of:
Provide me a place among the sheep,
and separate me from the goats,
guiding me to Your right hand.
When the accused are confounded,
and doomed to flames of woe,
call me among the blessed.
I kneel with submissive heart,
my contrition is like ashes,
help me in my final condition.
– Mozart’s Requiem
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth / The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. / King of kings, and lord of lords.
– Handel’s The Messiah (“Hallelujah”)
It might not be right, but it certainly isn’t surprising. Well, no more so than yoga being banned from public schools because of its ties to Hinduism.
h/t Hao Hao Report