October 13th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: China the key to Burma crisis

HUMAN RIGHTS: Christian freedoms under attack

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Election outcome will shape Australia's future

DRUGS: Parliamentary report's tough stance on illicit drugs

TERRORISM: After APEC: security review urgently needed

SCHOOLS: What price should we pay for progressive education?

LIFE ISSUES: Abortion - women's choice or coercion?

OPINION: Doctor sued over unplanned second child

COMPETITION: Coalition strengthens Trade Practices Act

INTERNET-FILTERING: YouTube launch of AFA election brochure

RURAL AFFAIRS: Farmers protest as water crisis deepens

CINEMA: Australia's seamy underside laid bare - The Jammed


How to reward teachers in special schools? (letter)

That Swedish film again (letter)

Proving his manhood? (letter)

Peter Keogh remembered (letter)

BOOKS: DELUDED BY DAWKINS? A Christian Response to The God Delusion, by Andrew Wilson

BOOKS: THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS: Australian Edition, by Conn and Hal Iggulden

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That Swedish film again (letter)

by Len Phillips

News Weekly, October 13, 2007

My review of the Swedish film, As It Is in Heaven, in which I described the film as confirming contemporary anti-religious prejudices (News Weekly, July 7, 2007), has provoked sharp, negative responses from at least two of your readers.

Marie Rankin declared, "Nowhere in the film did I recognise a specifically anti-God theme" (News Weekly, July 21).

Don Gallagher agreed with this view, adding that he and two of his friends who saw the film "were all agreed that, as it appeared to be based on the life of Christ, it was far from being anti-religious" (News Weekly, August 4).

I must say, going back over my review, I remember the film exactly as I wrote of it.

When the climax of the film is an entire congregation leaving its church and its pastor; when the core issue is the oppression of women by men; when not one but two women leave their husbands; when a pastor - who is in every way an all-too-human but nevertheless decent man - is portrayed as a compulsive reader of soft pornographic material; and when the most important aim in life is portrayed as a narcissistic desire to enter a music competition rather than support one's religious beliefs - then all I can say is that there are sadly many who are not even aware of the ways in which their own values are being subverted and put under threat.

It is not necessarily a sign that a film portrays traditional values when it lasts so many weeks in the cinemas. I noticed to my surprise the other day that it was still playing here in Melbourne at the Como in Toorak - obviously, given its venue, playing to one of the most liberal-leftist audiences Melbourne can provide.

The film goes on and on, I suggest, because it is anti-church, not because the conductor at the centre of the story is a Christ-like figure.

"Know thine enemy" seems a useful principle here. If anyone thinks a film like this provides a foundation for people's religious and spiritual beliefs, then I wonder what a plot would have to show before they thought the reverse.

Len Phillips,
Melbourne, Vic.

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