Game of Thrones: Northern Ireland's shame
By Andrew McDonald - Posted st The Protestant Standard:
Over the years Northern Ireland has been famous for a number of reasons. Once described as the last bastion of Protestantism in western Europe, it was for many years known for its adherence to the historic Protestant evangelical faith, with churches on every corner and a gospel heritage unequalled in most parts of the west world. As the birthplace of the Titanic and the home of Van Morrison, Joey Dunlop and George Best, their achievements have caused its name to echo round the world. Sadly it has also been synonymous with terrorism as a result of the violence laden years of 'the troubles'. In recent years however it has obtained another association, that of the hit HBO television series Game of Thrones. Due to Northern Ireland providing a number of filming locations it has become widely associated with the program, and is now a popular tourist destination for its fans. Although the series is undoubtedly a profitable marketing tool for Northern Ireland's tourism industry it must surely be the case that the association which Northern Ireland now has with Game of Thrones should not be a matter of pride, but rather one of shame. In Jeremiah 3:2 the Lord rebuked the people for their sinfulness saying that 'thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness'. Rather than being something to celebrate, Northern Ireland's link with Game of Thrones is a pollution on our land, and a cause for great sadness.
To oppose anything popular on the grounds of biblical morality will quickly attract the scorn of the world, comparisons will be made with Mary Whitehouse's attempts to clean up television during the 70s and 80s, and the inevitable accusations of puritanical censorship will follow. Yet the case of Game of Thrones is surely so clear that no believer can have cause to celebrate their country's association with it, or to in any way personally endorse it. Rather it must be our lament that for a country once steeped in the gospel, this is now Northern Ireland's most significant claim to fame.