Saturday, December 12, 2009

Franchising God

Ban Lifted on Malay Section of Catholic Newspaper is the headline announcing Government maintains newspaper cannot use "Allah" for God.

Jeremy Reynalds, Correspondent for ASSIST News Service KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (ANS) reported earlier this year: “Nine days after imposing a ban on the Malay-language section of the Herald, a Catholic newspaper, Malaysia's Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday lifted the ban - but mandated that the publisher must not use the word "Allah" for God in its Malay section until the matter is settled in court.”

We’re seeing lots of this kind of "funny business" these days, but it is kinda hilarious. Accordingly, Compass Direct News reported that the editor of the Herald, which publishes in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil, was notified by letter of the decision to lift the ban late yesterday evening.

Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, told Compass that the letter made clear that the conditions set out by the government in its earlier letter still stand: “The publisher must print the word "terhad" ("restricted" or "limited" in Malay) on the cover page of the newspaper to indicate that the weekly can only be sold in churches, and is meant for Christians only.”

That ministry has continued to prohibit the publisher from using the word "Allah" as the Malay translation for God. Now while this Catholic agency finds it necessary to comply with the local law, it seems humorous to the point of the ridiculous to think that anyone can legislate, franchise, or control the use of the word for God.

That is about as simplistic, writes Jeremy, as the British Bus Driver who refused to drive the bus that had a statement on the side of it saying there is no God.It seems to me it is about as ridiculous as our commercializing Christmas then reducing it to Kwanza, Hannukah, or whatever other ideology you want to promote.

There is no “Merry Christmas.” You simply cannot trace the DNA of Christmas without investigating the Christ-mas and its origins.When people refuse to praise God, Jesus said, the very rocks cry out in recognition of Him. In that biblical soap opera of suffering and diagnosing of God (as Jeremy Reynalds describes it), when God finally responded, he challenged Job to answer a few questions like,

1. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
2. Who stretched a measuring line across the earth’s foundations and measured it?
3. On what were its footings set and who laid its cornerstone?
4. Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its proper place?
5. What is the way to the abode of light?
6. Where does darkness reside?
7. Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

We surely know more today, with our scientific discoveries, but we have a long way to go before we can capture God, own the franchise, and control the use of his name - authority - wisdom - justice et al.

Be you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, or an atheistic humanist, I see little chance of your buying the franchise or exercising your ownership of the word “God.” God is neither for sale nor copyright, let alone patent. Controlled use of the word
“God” is not a legal option, not even with a delete key!

Giving due credit to Jeremy Reynalds for his original reporting,
this is Wayne at Warner’s World
adding a few modifications of my own……like

“Merry Christmas”

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