“A London park authority has stopped plans to put a giant inflatable whale beside the Thames because it would be ‘too religious.’ The Bible Society had hoped to place the mock 50ft sperm whale in a park opposite Tower Bridge to illustrate the story of Jonah.”
Will they next ban the phrase “Good Samaritan” from everybody’s vocabulary because it might be “too religious”? How about, “you shall not steal” and “you shall not murder”? Those are religious commands that have been written into our laws.
What about art, music, and literature?
Little is known of the specifics of Leonardo da Vinci’s religious commitment. We do know, however, that his most memorable art subjects came from the Bible (Adoration of the Magi, The Baptism of Christ, The Last Supper, The Resurrection of Christ). Will these disturb the secular sensibilities of young people?
Should the London Museum have to cover their religious pieces of art like Albrecht Dürer’s (1471-1528) “The Prodigal Son among the Pigs” and “Samson and the Lion”? The lion is a national symbol of England. Maybe these should be taken down or at least covered. The problem is, they’re all over England. In fact, the Barbary Lion is a national animal of England. In addition to Samson (Judges 14:5), there’s David’s encounter with a lion and a bear (1 Sam. 17:34-37), and Jesus as the lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5). If they only knew, the lion would scare them to death.
How about the sarcophagus carving of Jonah and the whale that’s in the British Museum? British school children might see it and ask questions. Horrifying.
What if young people see The Bible in the British Museum or come across the website “Art and the Bible”?
Although a German composer, Ludwig van Beethoven’s works are known around the world, and some of “musical works reveal definite Christian imprints. These are plainly evident in Missa Solemnis [Solemn Mass] and in Christ on the Mount of Olives [Matt. 24] as well as in other religious compositions.”1 Must these be censored as well?
Then there’s one of the greatest pieces of English literature, the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, a product of England.
The phraseology of the KJV has become part of our common vocabulary: “apple of his eye,” “birds of the air,” “broken reed,” “clear as crystal,” “decently and in order,” “handwriting on the wall,” “labor of love, “lick the dust,” “a leopard can’t change its spots,” “multitude of sins,” “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” “beat swords into ploughshares,” “blessed are the peacemakers,” “cast the first stone,” “feet of clay,” “forbidden fruit,” “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword,” “many are called but few are chosen,” “wolves in sheeps’ clothing,” and too many more to list here.
Must these be wiped from everyday usage because young people might ask the source of the phrases?
Should radio stations stop playing “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season),” a song written by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s and performed by Seeger, the Limeliters, Judy Collins, and the Byrds? The song is popular around the world, including England.
The lyrics are taken almost verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8):
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
These silly and fearful Brits, afraid of a whale when they have a population of radical Islamists that want to take over their country. When that happens, they’ll be praying for the “whale people” to return (Matt. 12:40).
- Alvin J. Schmidt, Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 329. [↩]