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The Fifth Gospel


A Trip to Lourdes

extract from the BBC television documentary "The Fifth Gospel" written by Nabil Shaban.


NABIL THE VICAR IN THE PULPIT.

You know, in the Gospels, Jesus didn't do us, disabled, any favours when he cured the halt, the blind and the lame. I think there should have been a fifth Gospel which tells this story...

"And on the third day in Cana in Galilee there was before him a great multitude of sick and impotent folk that were taken with divers diseases and torments, of blind, halt, lame, withered, waiting for him.

"And Jesus asketh unto the multitude, What is it that they desire? And they cried out as one, Make us whole, Cast out our torments and disease, Make us see and walk, cure us.

"You have no need of miracles. You are complete as you are. God gave the fowl of the air wings and the fish of the sea fins, yet man, who hath not these things, thinks no less of himself.

Verily I say unto you, you are not impotent because you are different: you are impotent because you have believed the lies that the world has told you. Your differences are God's gift for the everlasting enrichment of the world.

I will cure no one for I wish not to sow seeds of discontent, I wish not to sow seeds of self-hate. Love the Light in Thyself and that is Cure enough." '

This docu-drama was produced and directed by Nigel Evans in 1989 for the religious affairs programme EVERYMAN and was broadcast in the following year.


Tina Leslie, star of "The Fifth Gospel"

The FIFTH GOSPEL starring Nabil Shaban and Tina Leslie, a disabled woman who had no hands and a face severely scarred as a result of a fire when she was a tiny baby at just 12 days days, and went to on a trip to Lourdes in the hope the "miracle waters" would remove the scars from her face and give her back hers hands. Needless to say, Tina was not cured.


Tina and our baby son, Zenyel

The aim of the programme was to reveal the effects of religion and more specifically, Christianity, on society's attitudes towards disabled people and on disabled people's own self-image.

Basically, this "Tele-polemic" condemned Christianity with it's "faith-healers" and it's Lourdes and other so-called centres of "healing" and it's patronising notions of "charity", for engendering a negative perception of people with disabilities.


Tina and Zenyel

another extract from the original script written by Nabil Shaban....

TINA HAS ARRIVED AT LOURDES. HER EYES ARE GLEAMING AMIDST A SHINING FACE. TODAY IS A DAY FOR MIRACLES.

SHE GOES INTO A DRESSING ROOM TO PREPARE HERSELF FOR THE HEALING WATERS. SHE SEES A HUGE MIRROR AND LOOKS WITH DISGUST AT HER REFLECTION. SHE SCOWLS AT THE SCARS ON HER FACE AND CURSES HER ARMS AS SHE WONDERS FOR THE BILLIONTH TIME WHERE HER HANDS HAVE GONE. MUTTERING ALOUD SHE DRAWS CLOSER TO HER REFLECTION.

TINA REAL : Ugly bitch. Uly, ugly, ugly fucking bitch. Jesus will sort you out, you disgusting, smelly hag!

SUDDENLY HER REFLECTION TAKES ON A LIFE OF IT5 OWN AND TALKS BACK AT HER.

TINA MIRROR : You're not going to get a cure today.

TINA R. : Oh but I will if I really believe.

TINA M. . God doesn't even exist. I feel a great emptiness around me.

TINA R. : He does exist. I feel His pulling power continually. Sometime I can almost see Him. Sometimes I delideratelv curse Him to make Him angry so that He'll appear before me.

TINA M. You've got problems, kid. You need to see a Shrink. No good will come of it. Just bitter disappointment.

TINA R. : The moment I touch that water I will be cured.

TINA M. : Grow up! Stop believing in fairy tales. You've been praying to Him, all your life and He hasn't done a thing for you.

TINA R. : Maybe I didn't helieve enough before. -. Maybe I didn't have enough humility. Maybe there was still too much badness in me. I don't know.

TINA M. : But you know you're not bad. Deep down you want to be kind and gentle to everyone. If you see a baby crying you want to help it. Why can't God be like you?

TINA R. : God is different. We don't know the whole picture. He does. I'm sure He did thls to me to teach me a lesson. My problem , I don't know why and so I suffer. But if I believe in God and try to understand His lesson and accept it and be good, and stop hating the world because the world hates me because of my ugliness, then maybe God will reward me and cure me.

TINA M. : But why should God give you a much harsher and crueller lesson to learn than the vast majority of others.

TINA R. : Maybe because my soul when I was born was more evil than most other peoples souls. Maybe before I was born I did something wrong and I was n't going to make amends unless I had this done to me. Mayte it was because as a baby I didn't believe enough.

TINA M. : Listen you only 9 days old when your cot caught on fire? Do you believe that all the other babies that didn't suffer like you, didn't do so because they had a greater belief in God than YOU AS A BABY? How can you expect a baby to believe an God?

TINA R. : Why not? Who knows what a baby is able to believe without being taught? I believe from the moment we are born we can choose to acknowledge or ignore him.

TINA M. : So you think that all beautiful people are beautiful because they chose to acknowledge Him when they were born?

TINA R. : Oh, I don't know maybe I've got a special mission. I've got to be good in spite of my looks. But it's hard. If the beautiful woman does good everyone recognises her good. But if I do good they don't appreciate it, because they think I'm ugly, and ugly people don't do good things. I want to do good but I can't because it's not valued. I keep thinking it's waste oF time because nobody will like me for it because of the way I look. So my soul is doomed. It will always be bad because it's not given the chance to be good.

TINA M. : You're mad. IF you are good, you're good regardless of what people think. If you save someone from starving then that should de reward enough, you don't need to be told you're a good person, you don't need a knighthood to know this. The hungry person knows it, and God knows it, that's all that matters.

TINA R. : But I will not know it unless I've got a beautiful face and hands. Then I'll know if God has forgiven me. Now go away. I won't be cure if half of me doesn't believe in God.

Copyright 1989 Nabil Shaban

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