The Debate On Tempo Magazine Cover

Posted (binsar) in Article, Christianity, Opinion on February-9-2008

This cover of Tempo Magazine edition 4-10 February 2008 depicts the late former president Soeharto having dinner with his six children in the same composition as Da Vinci’s painting. Apparently there’s a Angkatan Muda Pemuda Kristen (The Alliance of Christian Students and Youths) group that did not agree with the intention of the magazine. They thought that the cover is a blasphemous act against Christian symbols that was originally potrayed by Leonardo da Vinci in this Last Supper picture. The group demanded that Tempo shall publicly apologize and asked the Press Council to punish the magazine. Marselius Simarmata, a spokeperson for the group said, “We want the law enforcers to withdraw copies of the magazine from shelves nation-wide for hurting the Christian and Catholic communities.”

Toriq Hadad, the executive editor of Tempo magazine publicly apologize to Christian community and hopes that the matter would be considered over. He said that the magazine has no intention to insult any religion with the picture. Tempo executive editor Wahyu Muryadi said he hoped to settle the case through dialog or, if the protesters were not satisfied, through mediation with the Press Council.”We had no intention of insulting the Christian community, but we can not stop any group that wants to take legal measures against us. Tempo has consistently upheld freedom of religion,” Wahyu said.

‘        In response to the lawsuit, Benny Susetyo of the Indonesian Conference of Bishops said the country’s Catholic leaders were calling on the public not to blow the cover out of proportion. “The Catholic hierarchy considers the case settled following Tempo’s apology,” he said.He added the legal measures did not necessarily represent the desires of the Christian community in the country.

‘        Now let us analyze the lawsuit. In my opinion the move to put lawsuit on Tempo magazine is totally ridiculous. Why would you suit someone who change Leonardo da Vinci’s picture on the Last Supper with the reason that they have insult Christianity? If anyone should be offended, it should be the da Vinci’s right representative for being violated on his intellectual rights. There’s no connection whatsoever that the picture insults Christianity. It is art. It pictures what da Vinci thought about the Lord Supper, which is in fact not correct. The Jewish community at Jesus time did not have table for dinner. They would sit on the floor and have a waist low table made out of stone or wood. So the picture was an interpretation of what happened during the Lord Supper. Someone then decided to change the picture with Soeharto and his 6 children. Has the picture became a very important symbol of Christ that it can’t be touched for any cause other than Christian’s?

‘        I would say that the decision on charging a lawsuit over this case is more of a trend rather than the feeling of being insulted. Lawsuit based on religious blasphemy is quite a trend lately in Indonesia. People think that they should defend their religion and God. Tempo magazine said, “Over the last few years, religious blasphemy charges in the country have commonly been leveled at Islamic sects or individuals regarded as “heretical” by mainstream religious groups.”

‘        So why do you defend your religion? What is your basic argument to defend it. If your basic argument is God, then I have some news for you. God did not create religion. God gives God’s grace, love, and commandments, and human reacted to it. As a form of their response towards God’s love, human thanked God and try to create the best way that they thought would be the best way to honor God. Religion is an organized institution of people who respond to God’s calling in their life. A blasphemous act towards religion is actually an attack against human response towards God’s love and not necessarily against God. God does not need our defense. If God is not powerful enough to defend him/herself, then I don’t see any use for us to worship God.

‘        Thus, let us become wiser and think about our actions, especially if we give religious reasons for our actions. The picture on Tempo Magazine cover did not hurt Christianity. If anyone claimed that it did, then they should put it as an insult towards their group that considered the Last Supper picture as a symbol of what their group thinks as a religious symbol. There, I’ve said it.

Read some other comments on Jakarta Post here

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Wazeen on February 11th, 2008 at 7:14 am #

yup I agree that this kind of protest is not part of being insulted but it’s more like trend to show to public, just like protest toward ahmadiyya and other religious cases here in Indonesia, and it’s interesting to know that the painting is only interpretation of Da Vinci, I thought before, it’s also part of the Christian teaching.

Bro I think you should recheck again your link above to Jakarta Post, it keeps changing from time to time, now the news turns to general election cases in Maluku.

bea on February 11th, 2008 at 12:47 pm #


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