Saturday 25 November 2017

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Freedom of expression – no matter what?

C. Schembri has SOMETHING TO SAY about freedom of expression. Should it be tolerated no matter what, or are there times when it crosses the line?

As things currently stand, whether you love or hate Gordon Manche, you must have formed an opinion about him. The petition he presented recently to MPs outside parliament, signed by 10,500 individuals, has raised furious debate. Manche, the River of Love – Christian Fellowship leader, is seemingly adamant that the Civil Unions Bill will not stand. Basically, his premise seems to be that homosexual people should not have a right to adopt children.

Let me start by saying that I believe in Freedom of expression, with a capital ‘F’. Hence, Gordon Manche is exercising his democratically given right to express what he believes in and can rally as many supporters as he pleases to his cause. But in all honesty, is the man doing himself any favours? Starting with the banner his followers held which read ‘God loves everyone but not everything’ (Alla jhobb lill kulhadd imma ma jhobbx kollox) during one of his interviews with The Times of Malta. The expression, loosely translated, is enough to set your teeth on edge. It’s worse when interpreted in a Maltese context, because the expression usually implies – we have had enough of your behaviour and we will not tolerate any more of it. Now I seem to think that a Christian God is loving, accepting and non discriminatory – unless that is my version of it.

Something else which he said made me cringe at the behest of all adoptive parents on the island, ‘kids aren’t an object which you import from Russia, China etc..’. Children are a gift, whichever part of the world they come from, regardless of them being biologically related to their parents.  He seemed to imply that parents adopting kids is similar to treating them like an object which can be availed of and disposed of easily. I do not believe that adoptive parents have this mindset, whether they are hetero or homosexual.

Manche has made another interesting insinuation, that Joseph Muscat’s temporarily induced blindness at the Labour Party’s event held in Zurrieq, was somehow an act of God. He pulled this off by quoting the Bible on Facebook underneath a ToM update: “And Jesus said, ‘For Judgement I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” The good pastor did say afterwards that he is praying for the healing of all involved, and that someone must have altered his Facebook post because it included other comments. I would like to see the Pastor stare directly into floodlights for a minimum of five minutes, I wonder if he ‘may be made blind’ then. I fear, from my limited knowledge of the Bible, that Gordon Manche may still be equating his God with a vengeful Old Testament God. This sort of God would condemn a lot of things which we now deem perfectly legitimate, despite being good Roman Catholics. But I really do not think he/she/it will condemn an, admittedly, unconventional family type, as long as it is the loving, nurturing type.

So what I am saying is that yes, Freedom of expression is not selective, it should apply to everyone. But perhaps we should consider that there is a line which needs to be drawn somewhere, and there is a moment when as Maltese people we should be careful of the ludicrous. We have already, I think, entertained individual eccentricities which incite hatred towards certain groups of people, and I do not think it benefits anyone in particular.

Personally, I have signed the counter petition, which can be found here. Everyone deserves loving, irrespective of where and whom it comes from.

 

  • joe spiteri

    I very much like this article written by Mr or Ms c Schembri.That is the way sensible people should voice their opinion. No of course I do not hate Gordon Manche. But I definitely disagree with him. The reason that I do not have any religious convictions is exactly because I had religious convictions and I know what negative results they produce. But I, even being what I am, can mention one episode that Gordon Manche is missing about Jesus Christ. When Jesus was asked if it was right to rescue the donkey from the well on the sabbath He did not hesitate to answer that the law should be broken because the circumstances so demanded. So the message is very clear. God gave us brains and we should use them not follow the law blindly. What a child needs is love and being well cared for. If two homosexuals can be proven to be able to do so why shouldn”s they? What does Gordon mean by saying that we should consider the rights of the children? Is caring for a child in a home depriving him or her of any rights? One thing is for sure. Those who adopt being gay or straight go under a rigorous test before they do so while those who marry with the blessed sagrament or by civil marriage bring forth children and God help them. I am very sorry that this law like divorce has not been enacted at least a hundred years ago. If only the dead could rise and relate what they have been through we could have a xarabank programme five hours daily. About that act of God blinding momentarily Joseph Muscat let us not be funny. I am very glad he recovered and I am sure God loves him. As for me I would to kiss the ground he walks on for the steps he took on this issue. Anyway may God bless everyone of goodwill.

  • joe spiteri

    Pardon me what does it mean that my comment is awaiting moderation?

    • hi joe, I just uploaded it now …all comments are read before they are uploaded to ensure that nothing libellous is written..thanks for waiting. Josanne

  • joe spiteri

    Thanks Josanne I just wanted to satisfy my curiosity. Come to think of it your answer makes a lot of sense. Hats off to you for taking your job seriously. Again God bless.

  • joe spiteri

    I have a message to all those who are against divorce gay adoptions etc. etc. If you have a partner of the opposite sex, get married by the blessed sagrament in church, and raise children and stay together until death. You have no problem whatsoever in doing that.What I fail to understand is what are you worried about.

  • joe spiteri

    I have a message for pastor Gordon Manche. Go ahead and preach whatever you believe in. You very good airtime on Television. Much more than I will ever have. Those homosexuals who want to change their lives by your teachings let them, change all they want. Just let them decide for themselves. If what you say is so true maybe one day all of Malta would attend the sapphire Hall they being Maltese and Foreigners. What else do your want. Live and let live u is sewwa jirbah zgur. And by the way children have no rights. Your children are taught evangelist beliefs. Jehovah children are taught Jehovah beliefs. Catholic children are taught Catholic beliefs. And many children are taught how to swear by all that is holy and unholy. Other children are brought up filled with political hatred. So you see you do not really have to worry a lot about gay couples who want to adopt a child after having passed a rigorous test. And even being what I am I stillgenuinely tell you may God bless you. Just let others get on with their lives please.

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