Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jesus,beer and cigarette

Jesus’ positive message in a negative image

The publishing of a picture of Jesus holding a beer can and a cigarette by the Tamil daily,Makkal Osai recently was a despicable act which must be condemned. However the Christian leaders, including Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, have rightly reacted with restraint and sensibly to that irresponsible action. We too in general have accepted the apology from the editor in the true Christian spirit of forgiveness. This goes to show that as followers of Jesus, we are a peace loving people whose faith in Him cannot be shaken by such provocative acts.

The decision by the Internal Security Ministry to suspend the publication permit of Tamil daily Makkal Osai for one month is not only unwarranted but was done in bad faith as it was carried out contrary to the advice of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) and the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS).In fact Archbishop Murphy Pakiam said he was “perplexed and bemused” by the suspension.

Jesus is known for his mercy, compassion and love. He did not just preach these virtues but lived and even died by them. Would He have wanted to punish the perpetrators of this irresponsible incidence further despite their repentance? The suspension of the daily would result in a hundred workers losing their livelihood.

It is very obvious now that the whole incident had some underlying political motives. The suspension seem to have little to do with safeguarding the religious sensitivities but was a means to punish the highly critical Tamil daily.It is sad, that these days even the name of God and His prophets are being manipulated by certain individuals for political gains.The real culprits in this whole fiasco are the politicians not the staff of Makkal Osai.They are willing to go to any extent just to gain glory and power.

The daily had published a picture of Jesus Christ purportedly holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in the other, with a caption saying: “If someone repents for his mistakes, then heaven awaits him”. What was portrayed may be a negative feature but if we reflect deeply, we will see that that Jesus may be trying to convey certain positive messages for us, not just Christians but all mankind.

Firstly, Jesus may be telling us to rid ourselves of our sinful ways if we want to enter his kingdom. The beer and cigarette represent the sins due to greed, lust and hate, which are so rampant in the world today.

Secondly, Jesus is telling us that He is among the poor, destitute and the sinners. He is inviting us to be with Him with the masses. Unless we give up our pride and reach out to those marginalized and oppressed, we will never encounter Him.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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