53 2 mins 15 yrs

jesusguantanamo.jpgI see that "Jesus the Guantanamo Years" – the ludicrous anti-US anti-Christian play is opening in Belfast shortly. DUP Councillor Christopher Stalford, formerly of this parish, was helping expose the silliness of this inane play on the BBC earlier this evening, and more power to his elbow! The left-wing ideologues behind this play like to pretend that Jesus Christ "could" qualify for internment in Gitmo under current US rules of engagement. Not so.

1. Christ was not a Jihadist, nor did he spend his time on battle-fields. I know left-wingers think that everyone in Guantanamo is innocent and only the US is guilty but surely the Prince of Peace is the wrong selection even by their stadards?   

2. Judaeo-Christian values inform the US constitution from which the President derives his power. Either the playwright does not understand this or does not like it.

3. If you want to write a play about a religious teacher from the Middle East who would well qualify for Gitmo, try Mohammad. After all, those currently in Gitmo all swear allegiance to him. There’s a clue for you.

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53 thoughts on “MUHAMMAD – THE GUANTANAMO YEARS

  1. Really only one person behind it – Abie Philbin Bowman – and more power to his elbow. I heard it’s a very good play and the premise fits. If it hurts, tough.

  2. Woody Guthrie had a great tune "Jesus Christ" in which he sang that if today Jesus was to preach what he preached in Galilee they would lay him in his grave. U2 did a pretty good cover of it on the Guthrie tribute record a few years back. I’m not against the use of the name or imagery for artistic or even political reasons.
    I don’t know enough about the play, I suspect it is more provacative than serious, and likely biased (but that is the guy’s right).
    As for the concept, well I don’t hold with the particular analogy, but I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion – in Western democracies – look how nuts Pakistan went over that crappy cartoon.

  3. >>I know left-wingers think that everyone in Guantanamo is innocent <<

    Well, they don’t actually. Left-wingers and right-wingers are one on this in that both are pretty sure that SOME are innocent.

  4. "Judaeo-Christian values inform the US constitution"

    A glance at the bill of rights vs the ten commandments reveals that claim to be nonsense.

  5. Frank

    Could you please enlarge on your coment at 8.36PM.

    I always assumed that "One nation under God" meant the christian god as opposed to the budda or the tooth fairy. The fact that it banned state religion (good) did not mean that the constitution was not christian in its ethos.

    As you know, I speak as an atheist, just curious.

  6. The guy is poking fun and, I suspect, making a semi-serious point. From the press release:

    "The Bush administration is refusing to comment on allegations that Jesus Christ, Son of God, was detained as an ‘illegal combatant’ in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 2002, U.S. immigration officials reported questioning a bearded, Middle-Eastern man who – when asked to state the purpose of his visit – informed them that he was ‘on a mission from God’ which involved ‘dying as a religious martyr’.

    The man was promptly arrested under the Patriot Act and sent to Guantanamo. Only after he left Cuba – in circumstances which remain unclear – was the man identified as Jesus. In a move that is likely to embarrass the already beleaguered U.S. President, Christ plans to talk exclusively about His experiences in a forthcoming show at the Project Arts Centre, entitled Jesus: The Guantanamo Years.

  7. Now why did I think ‘Edinburgh’ 2 seconds into reading the first sentence? So we have yet another edgy, daring, boundary-pushing artiste poking Christians with a stick – yawwwwwn

    Meanwhile, in Sydney, edgy, daring, boundary-pushing artists depict Mary in a Burka and bin Laden as Jesus – zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Are any of these dullards ever going to something a littel daring, or will they leave it to Scandinavian cartoonists?

  8. Noel -I think innocent is questionable, but proof of guilt doesn’t seem likely in all cases, which in our system means they should be set free.

    Frank: I think there was a religious heritage that did inform those who drafted the U.S. Constitution, and of course a wise decision to separate the government from an established religion.

  9. Peter,

    "I always assumed that "One nation under God" meant the christian god as opposed to the budda or the tooth fairy."

    That phrase is from the pledge of allegiance I think, and not the original one either.

    "The fact that it banned state religion (good) did not mean that the constitution was not christian in its ethos."

    Just compare the 1st commandment to the 1st amendment.

    There is also a lot to suggest that many of the founding fathers were atheists or Deists.

  10. Frank – You are correct about the pledge of allegiance, and the founding fathers included atheists and agnostics. They were also profoundly influenced by the Judeo-Christian heritage (even the atheists). What was important in my view is they managed to provide an document that was vague enough to evolve, yet clear enough to to promote and preserve their ideals.

    A fascinating article today in the NY Times recalling Lafayette who helped the nation at its beginning during the revolution and returned for a tour of the nation decades later. He saw the evil of slavery but opined (well before the American Civil War) that it would necessarily fail as it was inconsistent with the ideals of the nation. Which is ulitmately why the Gitmo disaster will fail.

  11. I think Gitmo was/is necessary, but I think they should be able to determine guilt or innocence within a reasonable time period, then appropriate action should be taken – release or a trial.

    I don’t think Gitmo has been a total disaster, but under our constitution you can’t hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime. I think it could have been run better/differently.

  12. I agree with Pete here. There are plenty of satirical and scatalogical references to Christian figures in many forms of modern artistic expressions but a truelly daring and brave writer/artist would be prepared to tackle the big M.

  13. Isn’t that new musical that we’ve seen clips from…"I want to be like Obama"….a slap at islamism?

  14. Mahons,

    "Frank – You are correct about the pledge of allegiance, and the founding fathers included atheists and agnostics. They were also profoundly influenced by the Judeo-Christian heritage (even the atheists)."

    No doubt, but do you see this influence in the document? If so where? The first amendment says you can have as many or as few gods as you want and you can say what you want about them – the first commandment says the opposite.

    Anyway I think it’s clear enough that they didn’t mean to found Jesusland and some kind of theocracy is usually what "judeo-christian values" is used as code for.

  15. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  16. Redeemed – nice scripture, but it won’t work on Frank, he’s a confirmed bachelor in this area. No bicycle built for two, he rides alone.

  17. Pete,

    LOL – fair enough so!

    Colm,

    a truelly daring and brave writer/artist would be prepared to tackle the big M

    Plenty have, they were Muslims themselves. That’s the point, Philbin Bowman is a Christian, poking fun at the religion he was born into and getting up the arses of high and mighty gobshites. So, as I said, more power to his elbow!

  18. >>I think innocent is questionable<<

    Since when do you think it’s questionable that even some of the inmates are innocent, mahons?

    Since Gitmo was opened?

    After they released the first batch of innocents?

    After they released the second batch .. and so on?

    Or only now?

  19. Daphne,

    "Redeemed – nice scripture, but it won’t work on Frank"

    It won’t work on ‘Redeemed’ either.

    "No bicycle built for two, he rides alone."

    "Redeemed" doesn’t even have a bicycle (just doesn’t know it).

  20. Hi guys,

    This is Abie Philbin Bowman, author of ‘Jesus: The Guantanamo Years’. Glad to see I’ve provoked some debate. Can I invite you to come and see the show that you’re so intent on condemning as anti-Christian and anti-American? It’s on in the Black Box Theatre next Thursday and Friday, and tickets are a modest £6.

    Many of the points raised here are dealt with in my blog entry of a few months ago: "A Christian Approach to Fighting Terrorism” on http://www.MySpace.com/AbieLaughs

    But I would like to address the accusations levelled in the original post directly:

    1. My show is neither anti-Christian nor anti-American. Three weeks ago I had seven Protestant ministers sitting in the front row of my audience in Boston. They loved the show, because it champions Christian and American values: opposition to torture, the right to a fair trial, and the determination to eradicate terrorism — not to fuel it.

    2. My real target in this show is not Jesus, but the hypocrisy and stupidity of the Bush administration. Guantanamo Bay goes against everything Jesus ever stood for. He himself said "what you do to the least of these, you do also to me". In that sense, Jesus is in Guantanamo.

    3. The suggestion that I should have written “Mohammed: The Guantanamo Years” is a lazy knee-jerk reaction which completely misses the point of my show, both politically and comedically. I suggest that Jesus would qualify for Guantanamo not simply because He’s bearded and Middle Eastern (as Mohammed was), but because Jesus walked out of a cave and was prepared to die as a martyr. Politically, the point is that Guantanamo is run by Christians, not Muslims. So the fact that it violates Islamic principles isn’t hypocritical or controversial. If someone wants to do a play about Mohammed and his values, it should be set in a prison in Iran or Pakistan. I would be very happy to see that play. But I’m not Iranian or Pakistani. I am a Westerner. I wanted to address the problems of my own society first. That does not mean I’m blind to the problems of other societies.

    4. I think we can all agree that some of those in Guantanamo are guilty, while others are innocent. All I am advocating is a fair trial to establish the guilt or innocence of those held there. Anything less than that is manifestly unfair and makes America look stupid and unprincipled across the Middle East and beyond. I don’t think this is a radically left-wing position. Colin Powell and John McCain have called for precisely the same thing.

    5. I think it’s hilarious that the DUP is criticising me for dressing up in orange and talking about God. I’m no theologian, but I’m pretty sure that telling jokes is not as blasphemous as torturing people.

    Hope to see some of you next week — would be very happy to discuss any of this in person after the show.

    Abie

  21. Abie

    "I suggest that Jesus would qualify for Guantanamo not simply because He’s bearded and Middle Eastern (as Mohammed was), but because Jesus walked out of a cave and was prepared to die as a martyr."

    Can I just point out that a statement like that undermines any point you think you have. I won’t entertain that disgusting analogy but I am willing to meet you half-way and compare what Christians believe about martyrdom and the Islamic concept.

    A Christian martyr does not seek his own death or harm to others but is killed for his faith. Not for a political project.

    Ragheed Aziz Ganni was a Chaldean Catholic priest who was murdered together with subdeacons Basman Yousef Daud, Wahid Hanna Isho, and Gassan Isam Bidawed after the Sunday evening Eucharist at Mosul’s Holy Spirit Chaldean Church. At the time of his murder, Father Ganni was secretary to Paulos Faraj Rahho, the Bishop of Mosul of the Chaldean Church, Iraq’s largest Christian community. Fr. Ganni would not have been considered a myrtar if he had taken up a gun and been killed however bravely in the fighting.

    The Quran declares that "those who are slain in Allah’s way" are not dead, but alive and this is interpreted to mean that any fighter who is killed in a jihad attains automatic salvation.

    But Christians killed in the Crusades are not considered martyrs

    The difference is huge and it appears your play is baseed on a misunderstanding.

  22. Hi Abie,

    Thanks for commenting, and allow me to respond to your points as, unlike Henry, I think it is not a queation of your misunderstanding, it is a question of profound ignorance.

    First, the fact that "seven" Protestant Ministers came to see your play means nothing. There have always been useful fools, and more than a few of these are located in the Protestant faith. The US values which you, and the seven clerics fail to understand, include fighting for liberty, defending freedom and standing UP to tyrants, rather than producing plays which apologise for Jihadi.

    Second, your assertion that putting terrorists behind bars is against everything Jesus stood for is wothout any Biblical basis. Christ, and the Bible, preached that the State had the right to take the life of those who murder. Many of those in Gitmo murder and yet the US has shown them (far too much) clemency.

    Third, the title "Jesus the Guantanamo years" is lazy and indulgent, appealing to liberals and no one else with half an ounce of sense. Mohammad, unlike Christ, preached Jihad, in that sense he IS in Gitmo.

    Fourth,can you share with us who you "know" that "some" in Gitmo are innocent? I do have a little sympathy with your view that they should be tried however, and if found guilty, executed. Deal or no deal?

    Fifth, it is indeed obvious you are no theologian. Your dig at the DUP (of which I am no supporter btw) is a good one-liner if you like to categorise all Orangemen in this way. I suppose if you can do that then we can look forward to your next effort about all towel-heads being terrorists? Or is it OK to poke fun at some, but not all?

    Finally, going to see your play costs £6. Going and reading a Bible costs about the same and I suggest there are more truths in it than I fear you are able to display.

    In the spirit of creative writing, may I offer an ideas for your follow-up play.

    How about Muhammad – the paedophile years? You could use this to lauch a stinging attack on child-abusers.

    The title alone, like your current title, is bvound to get media attention. Or would it? Mmmm..abusing Christ gets you criticised by those such as Chris Stalford and myself, abuse the Religion of Peace and why you might lose your head.

    Thanks for commenting, however and I hope your theological understandings improve.

  23. >>Can I just point out that a statement like that undermines any point you think you have.<<

    Why? Most likely, some of those in Guantanamo are, if anything, less guilty than Jesus was. The point is that anyone with a ME appearance who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time could end up there. And Jesus’ admonition that ill-treatment of the innocent is tantamount to ill-treatment of the Son of God himself does, by any theological interpretation, place him very definitely among their ranks at Guantanamo

    Otherwise, you are also wrong about the difference between Cristian and Muslim martyrdom. If Jesus did not seek his own death, he deliberately provoked it, as did no doubt some of his supporters. Also, many Christian soldiers, leaders of revolts etc. have born the martyr’s palm. Joan of Arc is one that springs to mind.

  24. Noel,

    Christ died that we might live. Islamists die so others may die too.

    The idea that we have all those sweet starry-eyed innocent Islamsists wandering through battle-fields and then wrongly conveyed to Gitmo is such a laugh. I also note that the fact that some of those released from Gitmo have, for some odd reason, been located again in acts of terror against our military is casually ignored by the foolish left.

  25. David,

    "Finally, going to see your play costs £6. Going and reading a Bible costs about the same and I suggest there are more truths in it than I fear you are able to display."

    "It is safe to say that the bible contains equal amounts of fact, history and pizza."~ Penn Jillette.

  26. Frank,

    Is Abie supplying free Pizza at his play? If not, the Bible still remains the better bet!

  27. > Finally, going to see your play costs £6. Going and reading a Bible costs about the same and I suggest there are more truths in it than I fear you are able to display.

    And TV Licensing will be happy to cancel your television viewing under that argument too. And Christian bookshops will stop stocking items for sale.

    But if you’re don’t refuse light from any quarter, and want to critique Abie’s performance and ideas, then at lease nominate one of you to go and see it. I did – in London a few months back – and enjoyed it.

  28. Alan

    His "idea’s" as you call them are put about the moonbats on the left daily. There is nothing new in what he says, he merely uses Christ to make his political point. That’s why he will never do "Mohammad – the Paedo years"

    That said, would you care to review the play for us?

  29. Welcome, Alan in Belfast from another Alan in America. I was born in Belfast, but I haven’t been there in almost half a century. I followed your profile link to your blog, bookmarked it, and I will be reading more of your stuff next week (it’s a holiday weekend here in the States).

    David, here‘s that Alan’s review.

  30. Cheers Alan (Frost!)

    My eyes closed at the eulogy to Mozaam Begg. The play is run of the mill leftist mawkish trash and if Sunday Sequence or any of the rest want a clear alternative perspective, they have my number

  31. Noel

    "If Jesus did not seek his own death, he deliberately provoked it, as did no doubt some of his supporters."

    By speaking the truth? Sometimes that can lead to death and a martyr accepts that. That is not provocation except to those who kill people for expressing an opinion.

    We know that this play had it been written about Allah would probably result in the murder of its writer or a life lived in fear of murder. Would you consider that provocation?

    "Also, many Christian soldiers, leaders of revolts etc. have born the martyr’s palm. Joan of Arc is one that springs to mind."

    Joan Of Arc did not die in battle. She was burned at the stake. Had she burned herself and dozens of innocent bystanders you might have a point but she didn’t and you don’t.

  32. But Joan of Arc was a warrior though wasn’t she. She did not die as a pacifist opponent of English occupation.

  33. Hello All!

    Thanks David for covering my objections to this "play".

    I was somewhat surprised on Arts Extra when I was told "we have to be careful now" when I suggested there is another religious leader from the Middle East who had a beard and who preached martyrdom who bears a much greater relevancy to the people held in Guantanamo than Jesus ever did.

    Mr. Philman is free to make the performance he makes because he lives in a free society protected from the likes of those held in Guantanamo who wish to destroy our freedom of speech and impose Sharia law here. Pity he didn’t see the irony.

    Also, there’s nothing original here. How long has it been since "The Life of Brian"? It’s clear to me that there is only one religious leader who can be used as a figure of fun in this way….

  34. Colm

    She was a warrior but did not die in battle. It is not necessary to be a pacifist in order to be a Christian.

    There are times when war is forced upon you and resisting tyranny is the lesser of two evils.

    The English were afraid to kill her themselves so they had a corrupt Bishop try her on false charges of heresy. It s because of that she is a martyr. Martyrdom has to do with your death not your life.

    You could lead quite an ordinary or even sinful life but for example given a choice between renouncing the faith and death if you refuse to renounce then you would be a martyr.

    What martyrdom can never involve is an act of murder on your part. If a member of any Christian Church walked into this play we are discussing and blew up himself and members of the audience there isn’t a single denomination, Church or theologian who would justify it or defend it in any way.

    The difference and distance between Islam and Christianity on the subject is beyond question.

  35. Fair enough Henry, but I don’t think the author of the play was comparing Jesus to suicide bombers – If I understand correctly he is placing Jesus in Guantanamo as an example of the Americans scooping up anyone who looks ‘out of place’ and incarcerating them without trial. You and others here may disagree with his viewpoint but I don’t think he is being blasphemous.

  36. The author of the play wrote above:

    "I think it’s hilarious that the DUP is criticising me for dressing up in orange and talking about God"

    He repeated this on the radio this morning while debating the play with the DUP’s Christopher Stalford. Stalford responded by calling Philbin Bowman "deeply sectarian"

    LOL! What a plonker.

  37. JG

    truelly daring and brave writer/artist would be prepared to tackle the big M

    Plenty have, they were Muslims themselves

    You made this statement earlier, but didn’t back it up with examples.
    Got any yet?

  38. Colm

    It was in his remarks here that he said

    "I suggest that Jesus would qualify for Guantanamo not simply because He’s bearded and Middle Eastern (as Mohammed was), but because Jesus walked out of a cave and was prepared to die as a martyr."

    My point is that you can’t honestly use the word martyr as if there was no difference in the concept between Islam and Christianity.

    Jesus in Gethsemane rebuked his followers who drew their swords when the soldiers came to take him. He told them he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword.

    Not a sentiment you would associate with those who came out of caves in Afghanistan to seek the Islamic understanding of martyrdom.

  39. >>By speaking the truth? <<

    No, by staging his entrance into Jerusalem in a way foretold for the Messiah, that was deliberately provocative, especially at the time of the Passover. He also could have avoided arrest, but chose not to; when arrested he could have answered his accusers questions in a way that would defuse the situation while still remaining truthful. I am not saying he was wrong in any of this, just that he to some extent provoked his own execution. In any case, his utterances in the previoius days clearly show his intentions.

    You’re also wrong about Joan of Arc, Henry. She urged cooler heads to go to war, she led an army of young people into very bloody battles. So much for your: "the Christian martyr does not seek harm to others"

    She also was not killed for her faith.

    Your later point about Muslim suicide-martyrs is irrelevant, as that only became an option after explosives and aircraft had been invented.

  40. JG
    Still waiting…

    A director or playwright can portray the Buddah as a fatty with an idiotic grin, the Dalai Lamai’s not going to declare a "fatwah"; similarly if Moses or Abraham is camped up on in a film there’s not going to be hordes of rampaging Jews down in Golders Green or Brooklyn Heights. I’m not even going to waste my time talking about them Christians.

    It’s all stale, boring stuff…but try satirising the Big M….then watch the fireworks.
    And where there’s fireworks, very close by, that’s where the real artistic creativity will be.

  41. ONEILL,

    Exactly. These would be "brave" playwrights churn out cliched anodyne left wing anti-Christian dross and the effete liberal msm lap it up. Let’s have Abie try a few Mohammad gags, just for laughs.

  42. Noel

    "Your later point about Muslim suicide-martyrs is irrelevant, as that only became an option after explosives and aircraft had been invented."

    If you are suggesting that it was only the lack of explosives and a plane that prevented Jesus from taking out the Sanhedrin I think you are losing your mind.

    If not you should reflect again on your claims about provocation. Otherwise you could blame Salman Rushdie for provoking the Islamic fascists by writing his book.

    Maybe you do. Or the Danish cartoonists for drawing pictures. I’d be interested to know if you think they are to blame in any way for the violence unleashed by Islam.

  43. It is deeply sectarian for Mr. Philman to make the comment that he did. I make no apology for describing it as such. By the way, someone really should have told him that if it wasn’t funny on the Beeb on Friday night and it certainly wasn’t funny on RTE the following day!

  44. >>Otherwise you could blame Salman Rushdie for provoking<<

    >>If you are suggesting that it was only the lack of explosives and a plane that prevented Jesus from taking out the Sanhedrin I think you are losing your mind.<<

    Henry, your arguments are all over the place.
    First, it is disingenuous of you to bring up the example of Jesus here when we were talking about the thousands of Christian martyrs, some of whom were soldiers and some of whom ergo disprove your theory.

    Second, I don’t think, and never said, Jesus was "to blame" for his death – and certainly not that the other individuals you mentioned are in any way to blame for anything – just that he did know his death was immanent and could have prevented it but chose not to, an extremely laudable stance IMO. In that regard, Bowman’s remarks about Jesus being prepared to die as a martyr, which seemed to upset you so much (7:28), is true, as any reading of the gospels will show you. Any other comparison to later-day Muslim martyrs was I guess rather facetious and tongue-in-cheek – his point was that many innocents were/are imprisoned at Guantanamo merely on the ground of cursory suspicion, and as such a returned Jesus could easily qualify. That you repeatedly avoid this main point suggests to me that you don’t care about these innocents – as long as they are Muslims of course.

    Apart from that – and because it’s Sunday – I admit that the large majority of Christian martyrs were pacifists whereas a huge majority of Muslim martyrs were/are militant and killers. Also, if there is one man who comes as close as possible to what people imagine God to be, it is Jesus – by a long stroke. This is also sadly one of the reasons why it is difficult to follow his teachings. However, I really think those who profess to be followers so much should really give those teachings a try, and even if they don’t get far with them they could try to tone down their mass hatred a bit.

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