With the debates over censorship, gay marriage and the ever-present abortion rights dilemma, it is easy to see how people can aspire to force their belief systems on one another.
If you’re an MTV-watcher, you’ve probably seen the commercials supporting the anticensorship cause. The debate is over whether swear words or other “dirty” words should continue to be edited out of music and music videos, or if the songs should be left the way they were created.
Censorship detracts from the work of any artist. Be they Dave Matthews or Snoop Dogg, almost every artist that you see on MTV puts his or her soul into the lyrics. Those familiar with any particular musician or group already know what to expect from their next album in terms of language. Therefore, if they see an artist coming up whose lyrics they don’t approve of, they have nothing to stop them from simply changing the channel.
The whole fear of swear words is unfounded. The only thing really wrong about words such as these is that they can be viewed as disrespectful and can be offensive due to their meanings. Hearing somebody swear constantly is like being around an incurably pessimistic person. It is annoying because of the negativity, but beyond that the words are really only sounds. The words themselves are defined by culture, so there is nothing of which to be afraid.
On June 24, for example, a Utah man was arrested for checking out approximately 400 library books and blacking out every word he deemed offensive. This may seem extreme, but this is exactly the sort of thing done on MTV. Just because a few people find the words disagreeable, they are forcing their beliefs into the lives of other people.
Of those who advocate President George W. Bush’s plan to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to prohibit same-sex marriages, few are in support for reasons outside of religion.
Religious Republicans are refuted by Democrats in every argument they make until they reach the inevitable conclusion that “the Bible says it’s wrong.” Well, the Bible also says to leave judgment up to God and to practice unconditional Christ-like love. Whomever a person is attracted to has nothing to do with the quality of his or her friendship or how trustworthy he or she is. The Bible says we have been put on this Earth with free will. Therefore, restricting two adults from making a decision that involves nobody but themselves in the name of the Bible actually goes against what it preaches.
If you don’t want gay marriage, don’t have one. It is that simple. In the past, it was unlawful for two people of different religions to marry. Before that, it was unlawful to marry somebody outside of one’s race. By barring people of the same gender from marrying, the acknowledgment of human rights is taking a step backward.
This could also be the first time the Constitution has been changed to disallow a right.
What one group of people thinks is best for humankind often clashes with the beliefs of another group. Even within one religion, there are many different sects that may contradict one another. Is it right to have one subject to laws that censor one’s personal life just because someone else thinks it best?
Forcing others to conform to one’s standards is truly unethical. Whatever the reason, be it religion or personal judgment, censorship of other people’s rights is inconsiderate and unkind.
If someone wants to skip the bad words, just change the channel once if the title or artist is known to be offensive.
If you think being gay is immoral, then go ahead and pick your friends based on their sexuality. But when you force censorship on others just so you can feel safer in a world that you share with everybody else, you might regret it when the polls are turned against you.
Nakisa Samakar, Daily Utah Chronicle, University of Utah.