BOMBAY: The bluff has been called. The tunnel vision of fundamentalist groups like the Secular Christian Forum is not the voice of Christians or the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has clarified that it is not seeking a ban on the play ‘Agnes of God’ although it is offended by its promotional material. The theatre group has promised to remove the ads and reissue fresh ones.
The producers say they will go ahead with the first show on Monday. The play depicts the real life story of a nun who killed her newborn infant and was freed by the courts on the grounds of insanity. It has been staged in various countries and was also made into a movie starring Jane Fonda.
Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesman for the archdiocese of Bombay, said, “The Church has not approached the home ministry for a ban. We have not seen the play but have got reviews from abroad. I agree it is based on a true story but the billboards are loosely worded and show disrespect towards the Christian faith. Freedom of expression must come with responsibility.”
Producer Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal said the ads would not be repeated. Her troupe had approached police Friday to seek protection for the show and for themselves given a “telephonic threat” from a one of the CSF activists, it is believed.
Except for the Christian ‘secular’ Forum, most Christian organisations do not want the play banned. It is high time that liberal voices from every corner are heard loud and clear. Bans on literature, theatre and cinema for hurting so-called ‘religious’ sentiments must stop.