Calls to ban “obscene” Bible in Hong Kong

sealed bible

Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) has received over 800 complaints about the Bible. Campaigners are hoping to have the Holy Book reclassified as “indecent”, which would mean only those over 18 could buy it and it would need to be sealed in a wrapper with a statutory warning notice.

The campaign seems to have been started when an article in a student newspaper asking readers if they had ever fantasised about incest or bestiality was deemed “indecent” by the Obscene Articles Tribunal. A website, Truth Bible, was set up detailing the various acts of violence and pornography contained in God’s Perfect Message To The World, as well as its numerous contradictions, absurdities, failed prophecies, inaccuracies and plagiarisms. The website is in Chinese, but has a disclaimer in English in its masthead:

LEGAL DISCLAIMER WARNING: THIS WEBSITE CONTAINS BIBLE MATERIAL WHICH MAY OFFEND AND MAY NOT BE DISTRIBUTED, CIRCULATED, SOLD, HIRED, GIVEN, LENT, SHOWN, PLAYED OR PROJECTED TO A PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF 18 YEARS

TELA in as yet undecided on whether or not to rule against Yahweh’s Inerrant Word, but a local protestant minister is phlegmatic:

If there is rape mentioned in the Bible, it doesn’t mean it encourages those activities. It’s just common sense … I don’t think that criticism will have strong support from the public.

UPDATE (May 18) A passing commenter informs us that complaints about the Bible have now exceeded 2,000 (the student paper received only around 200), but TELA has so far refused to refer the case to a tribunal. Complaints have been made to an ombudsman about TELA’s double standards.

UPDATE: (May 19) The Telegraph today confirms yesterday’s update. The reason given for exonerating the Bible was:

The Bible is a religious text which is part of civilisation. It has been passed from generation to generation


9 Responses to “Calls to ban “obscene” Bible in Hong Kong”

  1. Marc says:

    I’d love an English translation of that site!

  2. Joe says:

    Judges 21:10-24

    They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.’” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance.

    Numbers 31:7-18

    Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

    Deuteronomy 20:10-14

    As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

    and so on.

    So the Bible is actually quite explicit on the notion that God’s chosen can rape at will.

  3. passer-by says:

    For people around the world who are interested in this news, you may wish to know that Hong Kong’s Obscene Articles Tribunal is capable of making crazy rulings. In 1995, it actually classified a picture showing Michelangelo’s statue of David as indecent (which was only overturned on appeal).

    The present controversy sparked off when some hypocrite newspapers (themselves publishing erotic contents daily) and conservative moralistic organizations (some related to the fundamentalist church) condemned the university’s student publication for the sex contents, intensified by the government tribunal’s classification of it as indecent, which will bring criminal consequence to the student editors. This aroused the anger of a sizable public and in particular some activists on the internet who initiated this campaign. Having read the ‘offensive’ contents of both, I think it is fair to say that some descriptions in the bible are indeed more explicit than those in the student publication.

    The number of complaints against the bible has now exceeded 2,000 (while the student press has received about 200 complaints), but the TELA has declined to refer the bible to the tribunal for classification. The outcome may seem sensible but again it provokes criticisms of double standard. People are now lodging complains to the Ombudsman against the TELA’s inconsistent decisions.

  4. Monitor says:

    Thanks, passer-by. Please do keep us informed.

  5. Marc says:

    Cheers Joe (2). I must look up the rest of them. I was aware of a couple but this really proves the point I have been making elsewhere and getting censored for.

  6. ZombieHunter says:

    HA how fucking ironic, any other time it’s christians going around banning things because of their violent/ satanic / sexual content.

  7. Siaran says:

    Old testament quotes should be separated from New Testament Christians who are supposed to follow Jesus commands and teaching:
    Love one another as I loved you
    Hate the sin but love the sinner
    Don’t cast the first stone (judge) unless blameless!
    Go into the world & make disciples to carry on this peaceful message.
    Many Jews were waiting for a bloodythirsty messiah who would battle it out with the Romans, slay then all and give them all the goodies!

    Sadly there were historic Christians with Old testament tendencies and many who find it hard to seperate sin from sinner. That many use religion as an excuse for a good bun fight in the same way as some do with football matches is wrong and not what the New testament teaches.

    The Old testament has things in it that I would not want my children to read. The new testament has Jesus being crucified, Stephen being stoned and Andrew tortured to death on a cross. Still I would not want the Bible sold underwraps like other pornographic or violent literature – although on second thoughts – such restrictions would probably make it more widely sort after & read! Such is the perversity of human nature.

  8. Andy A says:

    No, of course the Bible shouldn’t be sold under wraps, Siaran, but there seems to be plenty of need for it to carry a warning and some parental guidance, just as you might see on some websites, on some publications and at the start of some TV programmes, e.g. ‘This programme has strong language from the start and also deals with adult themes, and features scenes of a sexual and violent nature’ (my stab at a half-remembered wording). What’s being taken to task here, and quite rightly, is the sheer hypocricy of those in authority who can quite happily look the other way when the Bible is in the dock, but show a titty or a willy or talk about S&M in a magazine and it’s jail time or big fines.

  9. Thumper the Bunny says:

    Aw, c’mon! It takes a perverted mind to think the “spoils of war” (women, animals) are for SEXUAL purposes…this is in the days when washing machines, threshing machines, plows, and ovens were people or animals. Those women were useful for making cloth, baking bread, grinding grain…oops, I slipped over into the animalia…plowing fields, hauling the cloth, wood, and veggies to market or home from somewhere.

    The Baalam believers would toss babies into a bake oven in hopes their smoke would appease the gods. That’s those women. The laws of not intermarrying to keep a bloodline clean was more to keep such rituals at bay. Taking a woman home, was not for sexual slavery (hello all you people with too many electronic toys and speed dials for take-out food…)…see that purity word there and the virgins? A focused and pure lifestyle was being promulgated–not regulated: that is your own military (cretin)mind set.