A Lebanese Priest On Tannoura Maxi’s Potential Ban in Lebanon

If you don’t want to hear it from me, how about you listen to someone who’s among the most concerned (Arabic article) with Tannoura Maxi?

Father George Massouh, who teaches at the University of Balamand, wrote an article for Annahar in which he discussed the matter from the perspective of basic liberties, without even watching the movie.

Sects in Lebanon today, he said, are not only hijacking a person’s sense of nationalism but they are also attempting to take over people’s taste by trying to dictate what they can or cannot watch. And he’s totally right.

Religions are supposedly a voice for liberties – none of them, in theory, ask for oppression. Those who start oppressive measures are the people whose understanding of religion is quite limited. Do you think Jesus would be offended by Tannoura Maxi? There’s only one answer to this question and it’s a no. One only needs to look at the Bible and read the teachings of the Man to know that such a thing wouldn’t register on His radar of relevance, which begs the question: who are we offending here?

The answer is simple. Our Christian pride.

I think Christians in Lebanon have reached a point of mass hysteria, especially with the recent events in Tripoli, where they’re feeling increasingly threatened, unjustifiably so. Even though their reason is telling them they have nothing to worry about, their passion is telling them to grasp at anything that might make them feel strong and in control. Tannoura Maxi turned out to be the casualty.

The argument I’ve heard being tossed around: “But if this had happened with them, the whole country would have burned.”

Perhaps so. But two wrongs don’t make a right especially when it comes to something that touches on basic liberties. The moment we start compromising on what we allow others and ourselves to be exposed to is the moment we start biding farewell to our position in Lebanese society and the region. And that’s the true danger we are facing, not some irrelevant extremists whose effect far transcends their actual size.

Father Massouh concludes his article by saying: instead of asking for bans on things that we think are offending religions, we need to use civilized platforms to get the message across. Clergy and religious figures nowadays are only contributing to increasing ignorance among the people by failing to grasp that point.

So, as I said, instead of making a big deal out of Tannoura Maxi’s religious content, just let the movie be. For religions that have been around for thousands of years, how big of a threat can a movie be? In the grand scheme of things, it’s totally irrelevant. How about we see it as such instead of asking what religious people shouldn’t ask for: a policy of bans and limiting freedom?

14 thoughts on “A Lebanese Priest On Tannoura Maxi’s Potential Ban in Lebanon

  1. Interesting!! Restores somehow my belief in how tolerant we, as Christians, have always been. When we fight so hard to ban a movie and prevent people from watching it, then we cannot blame the others for the censorship they are imposing on us without even our consent.
    Plus, I think the problem is that we talk too much and crucify whoever says anything related to our religion, yet we are not ready to do anything meaningfull to defend it and stop taking it to where it has come lately. I think we have bigger issues to worry about in Lebanon than a stupid movie that would never EVER change the way we see the Christ (and if it does in any way, then I think we have serious belief issues); having representatives and politicians degrading our existence and our values is much much important and WE are legislating them and letting them invade our brains. We should not react just for reacting…


    • If people are worried about a movie causing people to convert from Christianity, they should be worried about the faith at hand and not the contents of the movie.

      But yeah Rachelle, many people – Christians specifically – share your idea on this issue.


  2. The movie is not anti religious!!! what the fu**!!! I have watched it 2 times!! everything that they r saying is coming from an ignorant or politic oriented Point of View!!!!
    Please give us a break!!
    And the movie is one of its kind artistically!!
    In stead of banning every Lebanese Person should support!!!!!!


  3. You become the victim when you make yourself out to be one. I think the input from the priest in this article fascinating. He presents the total opposite of Tony Khalife who started the whole debaccle: they both didn’t watch the movie, one is offended and the other is not.


  4. what mockery? its based on the director’s personal, true story…he did not intend to mock the church…he was telling his parents’ story…the priest is his dad and the woman is his mom… where is that mockery that you speak of? The church as an institution is full of rotten holes by the way… priests molesting children etc etc… anyway you should read this article by Father George Massouh… I find him very smart and sane…and I’m happy that I share his opinion on this subject. When the church or the mosque are permitted to impose their ideologies on a secular nation like Lebanon, it is a huge step backward in the journey towards “freedom and liberalism”…Two words that we take for granted and use arbitrarily when we describe our country and lifestyle in Lebanon, to foreigners…But little do we know the true meaning of those two words… And yes according to our constitution, we are a secular state. we should fight all forms of censorship and oppression of thought. We are not more catholic than the pope…



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