TRT refuses to imagine world without religion, censures Lennon song at Olympic ceremony


A presenter for Turkish state broadcaster TRT omitted part of iconic British musician John Lennon’s lyrics that call for “no religion” during the broadcasting of the Olympic Games’ closing ceremonies, NTV reported on its website.

One of Lennon’s most famous songs, “Imagine,” was included in the Aug. 12 ceremonies and was translated into Turkish by the TRT presenter as it played in the background.

The verses of the song which called for people to imagine a world with no countries and no reason to kill or die for were correctly translated into Turkish, but the presenter skipped the part where Lennon sang for “no religion.”

The presenter translated the remainder of the lyrics correctly.

Written By: Hurrityet Daily News (Turkish with articles in English and Turkish)
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  1. That’s the problem with religion it’s monolithic ,authoritarian ,dogma which involves extremist censorship.
    At one time the Catholics had a forbidden to read list.(I think they called it their index)

  2. I’d like to think enough turks are aware of John Lennon’s work to realise their TV station has just admitted imagining no religion was not a viable option in their country

  3. Why are the Turks so much more tolerant of Christian drivel than atheism?  Surely from his point of view both are infidels.  Surely they are both “wrong” from his point of view.  Has it anything to do with where the competition is coming from inside Turkey?

  4.  For the same reasons two kings find it far easier to accept each other than to accept someone who challenges the concept of monarchy as a whole.

  5. Index Librorum Prohibitorium:… I was a catholic kid (and altar boy) when they finally discontinued this in the 60’s.  Memory is hazy but I think the list actually got me started reading some great books, as soon as I found that some books had been banned by the church I immediately wanted to check them out. 

  6. Yep, skipping makes things go away — an action as old as the dark ages, and more.


     @roedygreen:disqus –  Why are the Turks so much more tolerant of Christian drivel than atheism?  Surely from his point of view both are infidels.

    I think this has something to do with it!

    Christianity has a long history in Anatolia (now part of the Republic of Turkey), which is the birthplace of numerous Christian Apostles and Saints, such as Paul of Tarsus, Timothy, Nicholas of Myra, Polycarp of Smyrna and many others.

    Two out of the five centers (Patriarchates) of the ancient Pentarchy are in Turkey: Constantinople (Istanbul) and Antioch (Antakya).

    Today the Christian population of Turkey includes an estimated 45,000 Armenian Orthodox[1], 17,000 Syriac Orthodox, 8,000 Chaldean Catholic, 3,000-4,000 Greek Orthodox[2], and smaller numbers of Bulgarians, Georgians, and Protestants.

    Istanbul is the seat of the patriarchate, one of the oldest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. –

  8. Didn’t some American radio station censor this song as well, a few years back…?

  9. Why are religious people perfectly OK with imagining there’s no heaven, but they don’t want to imagine a world without the R-word?

  10.  Worse, ClearChannel, a mega-corporation that owns thousands of stations banned it after 9/11.

    I think this is great, shooting themselves in the foot. Now Turks will hear about religious censorship and have yet another example of the threat they are under.

  11. It was refreshing to hear this song at the closing of London 2012. And guess what – as soon as I heard it I just knew that dogmatic primitive morons the world over would be complaining about it or censoring it. Totally predictable and no surprise. 
       Bolt thanked god after his races. Did I get upset or did anyone censor the words? No – we just let it go. But when religion or god is challenged publicly the religious fanatics squealed with indignation. How pathetic and how contemptible. 

  12. Stranger still was a song extohling the virtue of no countries being played as a sentimental anthem in a stadium which contained more state flags on display per square inch than anywhere else on the planet at the time.
    Now that’s what i call irony.

  13. Cee Lo Green sang the song a few months ago and replaced “and no religion too” with “and all religion’s true”. Normally I love Cee Lo, but when I read that I was like, Fuck You :-).

    But it’s not as bad as the very silly Christian who rewrote the words after 9/11, making the line “and one religion too”. It’s sinister, but also rather stupid because surely that’s what the 9/11 terrorists were hoping to achieve. With the original words, “Imagine” was a great song to sing after that horror.

    At the Olympic Games closing ceremony, I noted that Eric Idle sang “life’s a piece of shit”, but Roger Daltrey left out “why don’t y’all f-f-f-fade away” and “I hope I die before I get old”. 

  14. Yeah, I also heard there was a Christian version of the song that went “… and one religion too…”. Nice!

  15. What happened was someone singing Imagine onstage with the words “all religions true” instead of ‘No religions too”.

  16. It’s usually the line about “possessions,” not “religion” that makes people cringe when they hear it. Particularly because he’s singing it while sitting at his grand piano in his extremely posh MANSION IN WEYBRIDGE.

  17. Wow! So weak is their faith that they are worried that a long dead Liverpudlian might shake it. I think they acted correctly

  18. Yes, that part is often misunderstood. Having no possessions doesn’t mean no-one has anything, or that no-one has access to anything nice, it means that things don’t belong to particular people or organisations. Even putting that aside, there’s no reason why everyone couldn’t live in a mansion like his, though it would require a smaller population. It’s not inconceivable, or shouldn’t be. That you couldn’t imagine it is quite ironic in this context.

  19. Do they think they have a right, or a chance? Mightn’t it be a way to apply pressure for reforms?

  20. CC is the network that broadcasts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannitys’ radio shows, BTW. 

  21. Can’t see a problem myself as the opening ceremony featured Jerusalem and Abide with me, two of the best Christian Hymns ever written. Off topic a little,I loved Madness and Eric Idle and thought Liam Gallagher was bloody awfull!!! Currently getting stressed trying to get paralympic tickets. 

  22. When you are born to a world covered in bullshit it takes some imagination to consider a time when you no longer will be required to cease from shoveling it or finding a route through it. When something is everywhere, one either eats it or shifts it around on an escalator to nowhere in particular. Ones legacy includes a majority dose-holding in the stuff that ought never to have been there. Is this due evolution or in spite of it and does it even matter? Some avoidance hey: Purple Rain?

  23. Just as well Eric Idle was live.

    Imagine what would have happened if they had used the clip from the Life of Brian.

  24. The American broadcaster of the Olympics, NBC, has been justifiably castigated for their coverage of the Games, notably their butchering of the Opening Ceremony.   So during the Opening Ceremony, when the Lennon section began, it crossed my mind that NBC might edit ‘Imagine…no religion’.   But no…..

  25. Once the song began I immediately pricked up my ears to hear that line and was pleased it stayed in.I enjoyed both opening and closing ceremonies but as a singer Liam Gallagher makes a good postman!

  26.  “
    And as imagination bodies forth

    The forms of things unknown, the poet’s

    Turns them to shapes and gives to airy

    A local habitation and a name.

    Such tricks hath strong imagination,

    That if it would but apprehend some

    It comprehends some bringer of that

    Or in the night, imagining some fear,

    How easy is a bush supposed a bear!

  27. That’s true. I remember when I was a school boy in Spain, during Franco’s dictatorship, we were told, in the religion class, to buy only the books marked “Nil Obstat”( nothing opposes, in Latin) which meant that the Church had given its approval. Funny, Hitler’s Mein Kampf got the nil obstat.

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