Rocketman ban, hypocrites and the truth about this Christian nation

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa, 12 June 2019

It’s hardly surprising. Indeed the decision by the Principal Censor, Lei’ataua Niuapu Faaui, and the Censorship Board to ban the screening of the Rocketman at Apollo Cinemas shouldn’t shock anyone at all.

It’s been done before with movies like The Da Vinci Code, Milk and others and it is always bound to happen again.

By mandate and obligation, that is why the Censorship Board exist. They have the job of approving and rejecting what movies can and cannot be shown in Samoa.

But if anything stands out like a sore thumb, it is the fact that the banning of the public screening of a movie about the life of a musician Samoans have grown up to love, Elton John, has once again highlighted the hypocrisy and the contradictions we see right across this nation today.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have become a people guilty of being selective on how we apply our conscience and judgment.

And we don’t have to look far for an example. While the Censorship Board has pulled the plug on a movie about music, and one which delves into issues that have become more and more relevant given our people’s changing lifestyles and choices, another movie glorifying violence where people are bludgeoned to death in gory scenes is widely promoted for everyone to see.

John Wick 3 is undoubtedly the most popular movie at the cinema today, and probably one of the most violent movies around. It is just one of hundreds of violent movies being allowed by the same Censorship Board, and yet they appear threatened by the real life story of a gay man.

Which is ironic isn’t it? Now according to Principal Censor Lei’ataua, the depiction of homosexual activity in Rocketman met criteria where it “violates laws against same sex marriage and it doesn’t go well with cultural and Christian beliefs here".

He added: “There are acts that are not good for public viewing, and against the law… it’s not good for our Samoan culture. We have laws and we value our culture and our Christian beliefs.”

Lei’ataua is correct that we do value our “Christian beliefs and culture". We certainly don’t disagree with the notion that we need to protect those.

But let’s brutally be frank here, how much of our “Christian beliefs and culture” have been eroded because of gay movies?

How did the decision to ban the Da Vinci Code make Samoa a better Christian country? And what did we get from banning Milk?

The only thing we can see from where we stand is a bunch of self-righteous people who proclaim that they are Christians, and yet they do the total opposite of what the Bible says. There is a simple word to describe such people; they are hypocrites.

Folks, the alarming crime rate, the growing number of social problems, including evil crimes like rape, incest, domestic violence, theft and violence do not reflect well on a country that is so gung ho on its Christian values.

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Going back to the issue of movies that are banned, why can’t the Censorship Board screen and ban movies which depict colorful plots to steal and kill other people?

Why don’t we ban movies where drug lords are glorified, convicts and murders are hailed as heroes and where women and children are murdered and slaughtered?

Why don’t we screen and censor movies that are full of lies, stealing and where extra marital sex is promoted like there is no tomorrow?

The truth is this, in Samoa no one has died from being a fa’afafine or being gay. No one has gone and killed someone after watching a gay movie.

What we do have is a massive problem with dishonesty, theft, unfaithfulness in marriages and so forth. Now that has definitely killed so many people.

We need to stop being hypocrites when it comes to these things.

We have men preaching from the pulpit of churches who continue to perpetrate violence against their wives, females in general and children. Some of these men – and in some cases women – are notorious for being unfaithful to their wives and husbands.

The sad truth is that the number of extra marital affairs in this country is appalling. If anything, we should be concerned about this because that is the root of so many cases of conflicts of interest, corruption and everything else that is bad in Government and Samoa in general.

Corruption starts from within our homes.

We find it ironic that here we are once again picking on a gay movie when we cannot even keep the sanctity of the so-called Christian values and culture we keep throwing up as an excuse for these barbaric decisions.

Here is the worst part; by the Censorship Board banning movies, they are basically telling the world that in Samoa, people here have no moral sense to decide what they can and cannot watch.

The last time we checked, this is a free country. No one can force anyone to watch a gay film if they don’t want to watch it. Besides, if you are 21 years and older, you are considered a grown up. You should be able to make your own decisions.

But if children are the issue, when a film is deemed bad with a rating of R21, isn’t it the parents' responsibility to ensure their children don’t watch it? Or have the parents become too busy with church and cultural responsibilities that the children are running amok doing whatever they want?

Lastly, we accept that Samoa is officially a Christian state filled with religious and sometimes "holy art thou" kind of people. And there is a simple solution for them, if they don’t want to be contaminated by worldly things like gay movies, don’t go anywhere near it. Stay far, far away.

What do you think?

Have a productive Thursday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa, 12 June 2019

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