SAN DIEGO, February 22, 2013 ― A recent Saturday Night Live skit mixes Jesus Christ with Quentin Tarantino in a satirical movie trailer for a film called, Djesus Uncrossed.
The spoof starts with Jesus rising from the dead, pushing aside the boulder that blocked his burial tomb. With a devious smile, he utters the words, “Guess who’s back.” What follows is a vengeful killing spree against the Nazarene’s enemies, including his Roman executioners and the traitor, Judas Iscariot.
Public reaction was swift and predictable. According to the Los Angeles Times, some are calling this “the single most offensive skit in ‘Saturday Night Live’ history.” One reader commented, “Any Christian who finds Mocking Christ as ‘funny’ has never read the bible and is ignorant to their own religion … If you do not understand history you are doomed to repeat it. Prejudice and persecution grow from apathy and mockery.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson described the SNL skit as an example of “anti-Christian bigotry that is just disgusting.”
As a Christian, I have often felt that my fellow believers need to lighten up a little. Everything is susceptible to humor. When Monty Python’s Life of Brian came out, I was one of the few Christians who defended the film. To me, it was hilarious. I saw little evidence that the filmmakers were trying to be sacrilegious. Laughter seemed to be their only objective.
What then, is the problem with Saturday Night Live? Two words: Double standard. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Saturday Night Live to make fun of Mohammad. They are smart enough to know that staying alive is more important than ratings. Even if they were spared a fatwah, the directors might be in danger of imprisonment from the Obama administration. Such was the fate of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian American who made an unflattering video about Mohammad, only to discover that our First Amendment no longer has any teeth.
Fortunately some Christian leaders were smart enough to point out SNL’s hypocrisy rather than merely expressing disdain.
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America said, “Today, SNL would NEVER have the nerve to mock Islam as it did Christianity. They would never be brave enough to run a skit mocking Mohammad at any time — let alone during Ramadan.”
Pat Robertson made a similar comparison: “If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off and bodies on the street.”
Ever since 9/11, Islam has become the pet religion of America’s politically correct. The popular spin is that this otherwise peaceful religion has been unfairly hijacked by a few nut case terrorists who have misled us into thinking the Koran commands violent Jihad.
Actually, the Koran does issue such an order: “Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them “(Surah 9:73). People argue otherwise and insist that such passages are taken out of context, but actions reveal true beliefs.
Who are we kidding?
The reason people treat Islam with such awe and respect is that they are afraid of Muslim retaliation. No such fear exists for Christianity. Ironically, those who feel the freedom to ridicule Christianity unintentionally compliment the religion. Nobody expects the Pope to issue a fatwah. Neither can they imagine a group of nuns bursting into NBC studios with machine guns, or Vacation Bible kids learning how to construct bombs during Arts and Crafts. In fact, the only thing that makes SNL’s skit funny is the absurd image of a peaceful man like Jesus doing violence.
Christianity does have a checkered history. The Crusades, the Inquisition, and various wars of early Protestantism are nothing to brag about, but for most of these examples we have to reach back centuries, and we see in these events behavior clearly contrary to Jesus’ teachings. He did not want His gospel spread by force.
“‘Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’”
Christ’s followers are commanded to offer the gospel peacefully. Those who choose to convert do so voluntarily, not out of fear.
Not every humorous depiction of Jesus is blasphemy, as long as other religious figures are also fair game. That doesn’t mean SNL should feel obligated to show Mohammad doing violence; it wouldn’t be as funny. Mohammad, after all, really did wage war, and commanded his followers to do likewise.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Bob sometimes selects reader’s comments and responds to them on his radio show. Details of his program can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.
Author’s Note: Where as some believe in a Second Coming of Jesus, in which He returns as a warrior to set up His kingdom, future prophecies about Christ were not placed in Scripture as cues for Christians to justify violence.
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