Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Bleep" bless you--Editing God Out

If you have ever traveled some distance by plane then you have likely seen an in-flight movie. Because the plane is filled with people of various ages and values airlines hire media companies to edit movies so that they are suitable in language for all audiences. That technically means editors search for and delete and/or bleep profanities and blasphemies.

Jaguar Distribution is one such media company that is employed by Delta Airlines to edit their movies. Currently Delta is showing on some if its flights The Queen, an Oscar-nominated movie about Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the week following Princess Diana’s death in 1997.

Surprisingly all mentions of God are bleeped out. In one scene in the movie a character is speaking to the Queen and the viewer hears “(Bleep) bless you, ma’am”, as the reference to God is deleted. Jeff Klein, president of Jaguar Distribution, says that it was a mistake, committed by an “overzealous and inexperienced” employee. Klein said that they are editing the movie again and leaving the references to God in.

I’m not picking on Delta or Jaguar Distribution. Mistakes happen. They are working to correct mistakes. I’m just wondering what’s going on in someone who is editing out profanities and hears the name God and in his zeal decides that God should be edited out.

Yes, I know that some people use the name God and Jesus Christ like swear words and frankly I’m offended when I hear people do that. One of the 10 Commandments forbids us to use God’s name in such ways. Some who are devout take that command so seriously that they won’t even speak God’s name at all for fear of uttering His name in a less than reverent way. However, to speak a blessing, as in “God bless you, ma’am,” cannot possibly be construed by a film editor as a questionable use of God’s name.

One is only left to conclude that this “inexperienced” editor has an opinion of God (and perhaps God-followers) that seems profane or offensive to him. Therefore it was an automatic reflex to hit the delete button when hearing God’s name.

The film editor has been exposed in his effort to edit out God. However, many of us edit God out everyday without others knowing it and many times without our knowing it. God is constantly pursuing us, whispering something of His love, His wisdom, and His guidance to us several times a day, every day.

When I was a kid I used to go visit my grandmother. When spending the night I would be awakened several times during the night by the sounds of trains that would speed past her house. The next morning I would ask, “How do you sleep here with all of the trains that pass through in the night?” My grandmother would just smile and say, “I’ve learned not to hear it.”

I’m afraid many of us learn not to hear, to sense, or to acknowledge God. We edit Him out. There’s not a lot of consequence to editing God out of a movie. There is an eternity’s worth of consequence to editing God out of your life.

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