What do the Sex Pistols and the Bible have in common?
They’ve both been subjected to government bans.
In 1977 The Sex Pistols released their version of God Save The Queen, in ironic and chaotic celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the British sovereign.
The BBC decided to ban it.
The song went to #1. With a bullet.
Causation or correlation? I’d pick the former.
The BCC doesn’t learn. Down the years it banned many a song, and many a song went to #1 on the charts because of it. So many songs in fact that there’s a Wiki for it.
You can read the complete list here.
It’s a sure bet that if a government or authority decides to ban something from public consumption, then there are plenty of transgressive types who will make it their aim to get their hands on it.
Whether songs, paintings or books, there’s something about keeping something hidden from the public that piques the interest of the public.
Which means that China’s recent push through a White Paper direction to remove the Bible from online shopping in China is both naive and self-defeating.
You can read about the Chinese decision here on the ABC website.
As the ABC reports:
The white paper — titled China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief — said Chinese religious communities “should adhere to the direction of localising the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China’s national circumstances”.
The Bible doesn’t line up with Chinese values. And probably not British values these days either. And Australian values? Anyone’s guess.
For all their self-promoted knowledge of history, you’d think the Chinese government could start learning from history. Banning stuff just doesn’t work.
The BBC didn’t learn. China isn’t learning.
So there’s something natural about a banned item going #1 with a bullet.
But when it comes to the Bible, there’s something supernatural about it too.
St Paul is languishing in prison for proclaiming the gospel. He has been proclaiming the gospel – God’s Word – wherever he goes, and the Roman authorities, who like the Chinese and the British, are terribly nervous about the possibility their citizens won’t adhere to their values, look to shut it down.
What happens? #1 with a bullet:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. (2 Timothy 2)
And even more outrageous:
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[b] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. (Philippians 1)
Rome couldn’t shut it down.
China won’t be able to.
And British values means that the Queen can’t save God, only God can save the Queen.