I’d just gotten a new game that morning, I went down to the dungeon (what we call our tv room in the basement) I popped it in the PS4 and after a bit a message popped up on the screen saying it couldn’t reach the network. After checking our internet connection and verifying it was ok, a quick search revealed that they had been hacked. Not long after the claims of North Korean retaliation towards Sony surfaced.
If you aren’t aware of what has been going on the last few weeks, here is a recap. Sony made a movie called The Interview. The thing about this movie that sparked all this hoo-fer-ahh is the fact this movie makes fun of Kim Jung-un the supreme leader of North Korean albeit in a particularly gore filled way. 1
Sony received threats from North Korea over this here a while back. They escalated to the point of threatening a 9-11 type incident. Sony at first decided to pull the film from release due to these threats. Eventually though they changed their mind and despite the risk they released the movie.
Turns out the 9-11 type threat was a hack, one that shut down Sony’s networks on Christmas day. So my game was screwed up by world events. On the whole some pretty important world events too even if it was over a b-rated movie. Why is this a big deal to a lowly Fridge profet? Good question. Well other than the fact I love video games I believe in freedom of person and freedom of religion. I celebrate this event because it walks a line where these two freedoms conflict. Let me explain.
North Korea maintains tyranny over its people by controlling their free access to information. People in the country are raised to believe that Kim Jong-un is blessed and in some cases literally the God they should worship. To criticize and mock him as a leader is to mock God in their minds, risking eternal damnation. This strikes home for me because I personally made a covenant to never ‘speak evil of the lords anointed’ on penalty of death. I have also experienced contractors in Korea stopping what they are doing at 9 am in the middle of a conference call to pledge their fidelity to their leader.
I personally never even considered my pledges in the temple at the time anything other than voluntary. In hind sight though I realized that socially I was under duress, who gets up and walks out in front of family they love and respect even if it feels weird and creepy? I know I didn’t. I doubt that the majority of people in North Korea question the way things are because they simply don’t know it could be any different.
The thing about a repressive regime is for it to survive it must maintain the beliefs of its members at all costs. That is why this little video showing up on the Mormon newsroom bothered me. In the middle of it, it shows my ancestors leaving the US and eventually founding Utah for its religious freedom. It conveniently forgets to disclose the primary religious free exercise that blew up in their face in Nauvoo, that of polygamy and polyandry. Basically they weren’t allowed to marry who they wanted too. This is really ironic because this entire movement of the religious freedom act is about allowing people to discriminate against others because… you guessed it, of who they want to marry.
Do you see how personal freedoms and religious freedoms conflict now? Like supreme leader Kim, religions want special treatment. They would prefer it be against the law to criticize and mock them. The person that would make fun is coerced, threatened and despised by those who believe.2 Now is the church I used to revere at the level of Kim boy? No, thank Fridge. But if we aren’t careful it is my opinion that tyranny is natural end game of religion if we weren’t allowed to criticize and make fun of it. The founding fathers of our nation picked up on this early on and amended it to our constitution separating church from state, protecting our freedom of speech to criticize those that would put themselves beyond criticism.
So that is why I’m not mad at Sony for not having a hardened network and letting me down on Christmas morning. Because they reminded me that even though sometimes it is scary to do so, mocking others is one of things that makes America great. We make light of things, we laugh loud and point out our own silliness. We do it in spite of threats. We do it because that is what keeps tyranny in check and in the long run protects individual freedom.
In the end what this all means is you have the right to believe Elvis or Allah or Jesus or L. Ron Hubbard is the one true God, and I have the right to mock you for it. Belief is a right, but respect is not. You have to earn that.
- I haven’t actually seen the movie yet other than clips and trailers so forgive me if I haven’t described it right. ↩
- Korihor, the anti-Christ, ridicules Christ, the Atonement, and the spirit of prophecy, He teaches that there is no God, no fall of man, no penalty for sin, and no Christ, He gets arrested by the priests and brought before the chief, no forgiveness is shown and eventually he is trapped to death … Book of Mormon, Alma 30. Think about that and think about how ISIS is killing people that are not willing to declare Allah is the only God and Muhammed is his last prophet. Deeply held beliefs can do funny things to people. ↩