With the re-make of Footloose now out in the cinemas, I thought I’d watch the original 1984 version tonight so that if I go next week with a friend I can get a feel of the different times’ attitudes and see the differences, and of course check that I like it before I spend money on a ticket!
I enjoyed it.
Footloose, the original film at least, takes the viewer into a small town in America which is rife with “bad religion.” People step up and fight (metaphorically speaking) for what is right. Ren even backs himself up with inspirational passages from the Bible when faced by the “Bible-bashing” negative Reverend who is convinced that dancing is a perilous sin.
“Even if this was not a law, which it is, I’m afraid I would have a lot of difficulty endorsing an enterprise which is as fraught with genuine peril as I believe this one to be. Besides the liquor and the drugs which always seem to accompany such an event the thing that distresses me even more, Ren, is the spiritual corruption that can be involved. These dances and this kind of music can be destructive, and, uh, Ren, I’m afraid you’re going to find most of the people in our community are gonna agree with me on this.”
Oh the film had me cringing for most of it. “Bad religion” is too present in our world. Christianity that judges, Christianity that throws “Burn in Hell” bricks through the bedroom windows of tiny young girls, and the reality of the events around us: of a person from my AS year of Religious Studies whose Church has now banned homosexuals, and the wider and horrific examples of Kunonga’s role in the Church – 6 hours ago, Jason Moyo in Harare Zimbabwe wrote about Kunonga’s actions, past and present. Now, after our Archbishop of Canterbury’s loving visit, Kunonga is currently refusing to see what love is. “This is my throne,” he declared. “I am in charge. He [Williams] cannot come here.”
Someone asked me yesterday why we do not simply form a split. Split the Anglican Church further. I’d been thinking about it myself for a while, and realised that that is simply not an option. To do that would be to abandon the persecuted people in Zimbabwe. To do that would be to give up on unity, and leave “bad religion” to do as it wishes. To get even more power. To destroy even more lives. And heck we have so many splits in Christianity all ready.
Whilst one of the people in my first year of AS Religious Studies has collectively with their congregation banned homosexuals from their church, one person, and friend, has converted from a fundamental Baptist who believed non-believers would spend eternity in fiery flames, to a strong agnostic. And how I am thankful for that. She might not be sure if she believes in God, but she no longer believes in the angry, vindictive, Hitler-like man in the clouds. She believes in peace. And that my friends, is what Christ embodies. Thank the heavens for my friend’s current agnosticism.
Whilst cringing for a lot of Footloose, the hope that came from the people who changed at least a few ill hearts, opened a few peoples’ eyes, and stood for what they believed was right, stood for love, had me smiling in the end. The Reverend changed…
“I’m told that the senior class at the high school… has got use of the warehouse in Bayson… for the purpose of putting on a senior dance. Please… join me to pray to the Lord… to guide them in their endeavors.”
Will Kunonga change? Will we for our part?
Thankyou Dean Pitchford. Thankyou Herbert Ross. And thankyou to everyone else involved.
May the 2011 version be equally inspiring, in a new way.
Remember, the Latin religio = “to bind”…