South Park critic savaged in hilarious Easter blasphemy

Whether you like last night’s South Park episode will largely depend on your tolerance for blasphemy — and we’re talking serious blasphemy here, especially given the calendar. I explain after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

Personally, I thought the episode was freakin’ hilarious, but then again I am very rarely offended by anything, and I certainly am not so foolish as to give an unreserved endorsement — on a blog frequented by devout Catholics — to a cartoon that shows Jesus Christ Himself, newly resurrected after a blatantly over-the-top scene showing His gory death, throwing a ninja weapon at the Pope, who is graphically hemisected, killed, and promptly replaced by a new Pope… who happens to be a rabbit.

Basically, your reaction to the sentence I just wrote is pretty much determinitive of whether you’ll want to watch this episode. :) For those who are interested, it airs again at 10:00 PM on Holy Thursday, midnight on Good Friday, 12:30 AM on Holy Saturday, 11:30 PM on Easter Sunday, and 2:00 AM on Easter Monday. Also, it’ll soon be available for purchase from the iTunes Store.

Anyway, the reason I’m blogging about it is because it actually relates back to the Mohammed censorship controversy that I blogged so much about last year. One of the people who gets viciously lampooned in the episode is William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a conservative activist group. In the episode, the Catholic League fills same role as Opus Dei in The Da Vinci Code, as the “muscle” behind the Catholic Church’s efforts to suppress South Park‘s version of the Priory of Sion, which in this case is called the “Hare Club For Men.” (You see, instead of trying to hide the fact that Mary Magdalene was one of the Apostles and Jesus’s wife, here the Church is trying to hide the fact that St. Peter was a rabbit. The central character is a rabbit named Snowflake who is directly descended from St. Peter, and thus is the rightful Pope.) Donohue is portrayed as the ruthless, bloodthirsty, hypocritical, and ultimately power-mad leader of this sinister Catholic League. On several occasions, Pope Benedict chastises Donohue for doing things that are “not very Christian,” but Donohue is dismissive of his concerns. Eventually, Jesus Himself appears to condemn Donohue’s actions — to which Donohue responds, “Kill him! He goes against the Church, he must die!” When the Benedict objects, saying that killing Jesus is “definitely not very Christian,” Donohue says he’s “gone soft” and declares, “You are no longer able to fulfill your duties as Pope.” He steals Benedict’s mitre and declares himself the new Pope, then has Jesus, Kyle and Benedict thrown behind bars. (He refers to the first two as “these Jews.”) It is “Pope” Donohue who is later hemisected by a ninja weapon thrown by a resurrected Jesus (after Jesus insists that Kyle kill him, so that he can be resurrected and thus escape from the prison and save Snowflake).

What does any of this have to do with the Mohammed episode? At first, once I figured out who Bill Donohue is, I assumed South Park was just picking on him because he’s the sort of pompous, self-important censorious type who they generally love to hate. But then, thanks to the magic of Wikipedia, I discovered that it’s much more personal than that. Check out what Donohue said about the famous Mohammed episodes:

“The ultimate hypocrite is not Comedy Central — that’s their decision not to show the image of Muhammad or not — it’s Parker and Stone. Like little whores, they’ll sit there and grab the bucks. They’ll sit there and they’ll whine and they’ll take their shot at Jesus. That’s their stock in trade.”

I believe the moral of the story is, you take a shot at Parker and Stone, you’re asking for it. Not only is Donohue portrayed in about the most ridiculously unflattering light imaginable, but the episode even pointedly makes reference to that quote, as the Donohue character says of Stan and his dad, “These whores must be punished in front of everyone.” I italicized the words “whores” because Donohue definitely lingered over it, an obvious reference by Parker and Stone to that quote.

As for “taking their shot at Jesus,” I’m pretty sure having Kyle stab Jesus to death, at the Savior’s behest, in a bloody 10-second death scene, qualifies. Especially when the scene begins with Jesus saying: “And Kyle, Happy Easter.” Kyle responds, “Happy Easter, Jesus” — then stabs Jesus in the throat.

Love ’em or hate ’em, you gotta give the South Park boys credit for at least one thing: they definitely don’t hold anything back. :)

UPDATE: A commenter points out that Donohue was also involved in another previous South Park controversy:

Actually, Donahue also was active in temporarily removing “Bloody Mary,” another South Park episode about a statue of Mary that appears to be bleeding out of its ass (but, upon further examination by Pope Benedict, is actually bleeding out its snizz, which is not a miracle because ‘chicks bleed out of there all the time.’) So his criticism of South Park is not limited to ‘Cartoon Wars.’

He’s right; confirmation here, here and here.

I expect the condemnations from Catholic groups, including Donohue’s, to come pouring in tomorrow morning, just like they did after “Bloody Mary.” Especially given the timing, there will be calls for Comedy Central to pull this episode from further airings, replacing the above-mentioned Holy Week reruns with other episodes. Parker and Stone undoubtedly anticipated that, and are setting this up as another “Will Comedy Central puss out?” moment.

Personally, the biggest difference in my mind between the “Bloody Mary” episode and this one is, this one’s actually funny.

UPDATE 2: So far, there hasn’t been an outcry. Indeed, Donohue’s initial reaction was charmingly self-deprecating:

“I have no idea why ‘South Park’ creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker caricature me as a heartless thug. In any event, I stand convicted and have no defense. Now I have to get back to business—I hear someone just took some liberties with the Easter Bunny.”

Heh.

117 Responses to “South Park critic savaged in hilarious Easter blasphemy”

  1. Timugen says:

    Best. South Park. Ever.

  2. David K. says:

    Thank you for writing about this Brendan, it has now given me reason to never watch this show again, and quite likely Comedy Central as well. Not because they made fun of Catholics or Jesus, I respect their right to make fun of anything they want, but because it is being inetionally shown at a time of year. There is social criticism and satire, and then there is gratuitous and blatant disregard for the millions of believers world wide for whom this is a very very special time of year. Parker, Stone, and Comedy Central have crossed a line here which i think shows them as beyond distasteful but utterly despicable. To me this would be akin to them making fun of the victims of 9/11 and their families on the anniversary of 9/11. Sad and pathetic.

  3. Wobbly H says:

    Actually, Donahue also was active in temporarily removing “Bloody Mary,” another South Park episode about a statute of Mary that appears to be bleeding out of its ass (but, upon further examination by Pope Benedict, is actually bleeding out its snizz, which is not a miracle because ‘chicks bleed out of there all the time.’ So his criticism of South Park is not limited to ‘Cartoon Wars.’

    Donahue should be glad that he didn’t get it as bad as Richard Dawkins, the atheist evolutionist who was depicted having sex with ‘Mrs.’ Garrison with the aid of a dildo, penis pump, and ass beads in “Go, God, Go Part XII.”

    (Wobbly loves him some South Park. Not necessarily this episode, though).

  4. Wobbly H says:

    Davie,
    While I don’t necessarily disagree with you, doesn’t your indignation that they are showing the episode at this time of year necessarily presuppose that the material was offensive? What’s your opinion on the material itself?

    I didn’t love this episode either, mostly because I didn’t think it was terribly funny, but it seems to me that the timing is a red herring from what the real concerns of the episode would be.

  5. David K. says:

    I find the material offensive yes, and i very seldom watch South Park, but i also value criticism and satire, even of religion, as part of what makes America what it is. That said i believe there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed out of a basic sense of respect and decency. While i feel the have edged past the line in the past, the offensive material plus the intentional timing blows so far past the line you can’t even see it anymore.

  6. Brendan Loy says:

    Wobbly, obviously I don’t personally share David’s indignation, but I don’t think you’re right that the timing issue is a mere red herring. The timing is inherently part of the offensiveness, and makes the offensiveness worse (for someone who’s offended, that is), because not only have Parker and Stone chosen to air this material as an Easter episode, they’ve incorporated Easter itself into the material — including the most sacrilegeous parts — in a way that makes it perfectly clear they are trying very deliberately to, well, offend. To prove this point, you need look no further than Jesus’s death scene:

    JESUS: And Kyle, Happy Easter.

    KYLE: Happy Easter, Jesus. [Brief pause; then Kyle stabs Jesus in the throat.]

    It doesn’t get much more blatant than that.

    Oh, and thanks for the info about Donahue’s role in the “Bloody Mary” controversy. I’ll add that into the post.

  7. David K. says:

    So Brendan, how WOULD you react if they aired an episode lampooning the victims and families of 9/11 on the anniversary of the tragedy. Or say the Columbine shooting, Again i understand that as someone who doesn’t necessarilly consider Christianity to be true one might have less objections/no objections to lampooning Christianity in general, they lampoon pretty much everything. But here they are not only lampooning but doing so in the most vicious manner they possibly can. While i don’t object to their freedom to say what they want, and i wouldn’t expect you too either, i am somewhat surprised that you don’t find this at all distasteful, not because it personally offends you, but because its clearly meant to go above and beyond satire and social commentary but into outright hatred towards another group of people.

  8. Brendan Loy says:

    David, I don’t think the two situations are comparable. Lampooning victims of 9/11 or Columbine versus lampooning a religion? C’mon, that’s not even close to being a good analogy. Now, if they were lampooning victims of Catholic sex abuse scandals, that would be more comparable. But there is no obvious parallel between lampooning a faith/institution on an important day to that faith/institution, and lampooning specific individuals who were victimized by an event on the anniversary of the event. The fact that there’s a calendar-based connection is similar, but the similarity stops there, and it’s perfectly reasonable for me to say that the 9/11 thing would be more offensive without being inconsistent.

    Look, I’ve acknowledged that the timing is obviously meant to offend, but I still don’t find the source material personally offensive because I don’t have any “sacred cows,” if you will, about stuff like this. I can just see it and say “Haha, look at South Park being ridiculously offensive on purpose… basically, look at South Park being South Park… awesome.” It’s so over-the-top that I couldn’t work up a lather to be offended if I wanted to. I think it’s a little ridiculous for you to claim it’s “outright hatred towards another group of people.” Hatred? C’mon. The South Park boys are troublemakers, maybe even schoolyard bullies, but if they hated every group they “viciously” attack, they would have to be total misanthropes. Their whole entire shtick is to “push the envelope,” and this is just another example of that.

    You know the famous quote (Eleanor Roosevelt, I think?) about how no one can make you inferior without your consent? Well, the same thing is true of being offended by obviously ridiculous and blatantly over-the-top satire. You can choose to be offended by something like this, or you can choose to just ignore it, because really, who cares? Parker & Stone are constantly saying, to just about every group of people imaginable, “I dare you to be offended by this ridiculous sh*t we’re putting out there. I dare you!” And people always take the bait. That’s exactly what you’re doing here: you’re taking the bait. I don’t blame you, exactly, but I really think that the best response for you would be to just ignore them, because getting all offended and righteously angry over a stupid cartoon is exactly what they want you to do… and their motivation isn’t “hatred,” it’s the simple impish desire to rile people up as much as humanly possible over something totally insignificant and ridiculous in the grand scheme of things.

  9. Brendan Loy says:

    P.S. To answer your question more directly, I don’t know how I’d react to “an episode lampooning the victims and families of 9/11 [or Columbine] on the anniversary of the tragedy.” It would depend on the actual content of the episode. I’d have to see it. There’s a pretty decent chance I’d think, wow, that’s in really awful taste, and also, really funny. On the other hand, if, like the “Bloody Mary” episode, it was both offensive and unfunny, then I’d be annoyed by it, but not overwhelmingly so… I’d just change the channel and move on. Getting mad at South Park for airing distasteful things is like getting mad at Howard Stern for being an ass about the whole Idol/Sanjaya thing… it only encourages him.

  10. Brendan Loy says:

    By the way, in regards to the schedule, it should be noted that EVERY new South Park episode airs at 10:00 PM Wednesday, midnight and 10:00 PM Thursday, midnight Friday, 12:30 AM Saturday 11:30 PM Sunday and 2:00 AM Monday. So it’s not like they’re specifically scheduling reruns for every day of Holy Week in order to piss people off even more. That’s just the nature of the beast.

    That doesn’t change the fact that they specifically chose this episode to air over Easter Week (though it wouldn’t really make sense to air it any other time, since it’s specifically about Easter… hence the rabbit and everything… the whole idea is that this explains why there’s an Easter Bunny), but just so you know, in case my listing of the holy days made the scheduling sound more sinister than it is.

    To be honest, I give this 50/50 odds on being pulled from the Holy Week reruns by Viacom, after the sh*tstorm of press releases and recriminations that will erupt tomorrow morning. They’ve caved to Catholic League before, they might cave again.

  11. kcatnd says:

    I understand the value of satire in very much the same way you do and am not offended by what I saw on South Park. However, I don’t find something funny or awesome just because it is offensive or brash or outrageous.

    I appreciate South Park for being fearless, but this doesn’t make it funny to me, which should be the most important thing, I think. Some episodes are funny, but to me, the pure shock of a controversial topic or depiction almost feels like a cop-out when it comes to real comedy.

  12. marty west says:

    That episode was amazing.

    I lost it when Jesus got stabbed in the throat.

  13. Joe Mama says:

    Hear! Hear! Awesome episode . . . Parker and Stone have proven their genius yet again. I couldn’t be less indignant, but I’m likewise pretty thick-skinned :-)

  14. 4-7 says:

    It’s par for the course. Donahue is a good man who lives an unpopular life by standing up for the one religion that everyone is welcome to scandalize whether justified or not. He could care less whether Parker and Stone make fun of him and I am sure he would prefer it. Trust that he will be upset with whatever aspects of the episode falsely charactured the Church.

    And who cares if the Catholic League goes after sponsors. You guys talk about the Mohammad episode and the Catholic episode as if they’re peas in a pod. Comedy Central censored Mohammad because of fear of violence. They think, but rarely do, “censor” the Catholic episodes for fear that people will be so legitimately scandalized that they will stop supporting those who support the show.

    I mean, you’re entitled to feel that the Church is worthy of lampooning, but you guys treat every apple from the very generous Catholic-hate tree as if it is the first drop of water in the desert. Hollywood villifying the Church is non-stop. Parker and Stone are not nailing their scripts to the doors of German cathedrals, they are part of one big party attended by Stigmata, Dogma, Da Vinci, James Cameron, and the list goes on.

    People may laugh at Scientology or Mormonism, but they HATE christianity, and they HATE catholicism, especially. The only reason I can think of why is not because they are forced to believe it (they are not by any stretch of the imagination) but because it is a strong competitive voice for change in a selfish world. Deep down inside your love for the abominable flouting of Catholic belief, is your appreciation of it. You could not appreciate the sound of discord if your heart was not mildly stirred by the harmony. Yes, vitriol for the Church helps you avoid the questions bubbling up from the inquisitive conscience, ‘what of this belief that has purchased 1 billion human souls, perservered for 2 thousand years, and always, despite its human failings, been surrounded with super-human works of beauty and charity’. No, says the vitriol-indoctrinated other half – this is just a joke that hasn’t yet gotten old – Buddy Christ, Bloody Mary, a false prophet, the Book of Thomas, a conspiratorial Church, a crucifix in a jar of urine . . . THATS your legacy Whore of Babylon, Catholic Church, Bishop of Rome – now die and let me live my life without hearing the stirring hum of your song in that place in my ears I can’t scratch without authentically listening.

    Anyway, I’m just 4-7. I’m an idiot. But I am deeply ashamed by the callousness of anyone who lauds another, yet another of many to come, Catholic-bashing-distorting-moneymaker S.P. episode. Your callousness only confirms that in a world of Evil, a hated religion is well recommended to people who don’t think their daily bread comes from the daily grist. 4-7 out.

  15. 4-7 says:

    btw. Bill Donahue spoke at the JLEPP media ethics symposium two years ago at ND. His off-the-cuff remarks were printed in the Spring 2005 issue. good reading. If you’re into that other perspectives thing. Of course, his fellow panelists comments are good reading too.

  16. If it’s Easter Week……

    …it’s Catholic-bashing Week at South Park…….

  17. Arul says:

    I’m boycotting South Park from now on. I should have done it earlier, after the “Bloody Mary” episode.

    Too bad Christians don’t have someone like Tom Cruise to remove really offensive episodes like this.

  18. jlegel says:

    Ninja-weapon? Nah, it’s the weapon from the movie Krull, silly!

  19. Vicki from NJ says:

    What I want to know is why does “determinitive” sound like a made-up word? I looked it up, and aside from the fact that you spelled it wrong, it is indeed a real word. That blows my mind. It’s just not right that I haven’t been using this word for ever! :)
    *
    Oh, and as far as the episode goes (which I haven’t seen because I don’t watch South Park), from your description, I don’t think I would be offended by it, but I can see why others might. I mean, stabbing Jesus is a pretty big no-no anyday, but Easter Week! Well, that’s just crazy! Anyway, I don’t get all that easily offended by TV/movies, in fact I can’t remember the last time I was offended by something I watched on TV (unless we count Sanjaya’s fauxhawk), so it’s hard for me to get into this debate. South Park seems to me to be all about offending people as much a possible on a regular basis, so I don’t see how this is a shock to anyone. I’m not saying people are wrong for being upset, I just think it’s a little naive to think that two people who’ve made their fortunes on a show that featured Mr. Hanky aren’t going to keep doing offensive things or to believe that they’ll show some sort of reverance for anyone else’s beliefs…

  20. Wade says:

    Outrageous, yes. Over the top, sure. These guys are equal opportunity offenders.
    Unlike the crucifix in the jar of urine my tax dollars did not pay for this vulgarity so they can insult anyone they choose.
    Oh, and having the jewish kid kill Jesus, priceless.

  21. On the bright side, the main target of this episode appears to be Donohue. Many Catholics are sick of his grandstanding. He is not a good representative of the Christian message of love, peace and doing good to those who do ill to you. And he is not a legitimate Catholic authority. We have a well-organized group of leaders already. They’re called bishops. And Benedict XVI is pope, not Donohue, which strangely enough, this cartoon appears to be saying. But yes, it is terrible that this obscene comedy show holds up images of our Lord and our Lady to mockery

  22. Frankly, I think the best way to handle blasphemous stuff like this is to explain why it hurts us and to refrain from violent language..

  23. Roguetrader2000 says:

    Woodland Critter Christmas was the most offensive and best South Park ever.

    South Park exists because these guys did a video Christmas card for a TV executive 12 years ago that had Jesus and Santa duking it out for control of Christmas.

    It was so funny they got their own show.

    Over 200 espisodes later its time to be really outraged?

    As for the self-appointed king of the Catholics, Mr. Donahue, I hope he joins Chef in the Super Adventure Club next week.

  24. Jack says:

    I don’t understand why artists think taking on Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular is cutting edge any more. The whole thing is so tirsome and trite. How about attacking Muslims? Now that would take some real guts and be real cutting edge. Oh, I forgot, the cutting edge here would be at the necks of the folks at Comedy Central.

  25. Sean says:

    Ah, South Park. My reaction while watching is usually, “Oh, you two are so incredibly ignorant about everything… but you’re so funny!”

    Actually, 4-7, the reason I turned away from Christianity is that I read the Bible, found that it read almost exactly like the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Norse, and Mesopotamian myths I’d already read and already knew never happened even though people really believed them, and, oh yes, found I couldn’t call the genocide and slavery and homophobia and child abuse and rape any kind of morality I recognized. But you go ahead and be offended by South Park, just as soon as your religious reference group gets portrayed as having feces come out of their mouths every time they express their opinion (making sure, of course, that they express their opinion in a way that makes it look like they’ve never spent a single second thinking about it.)

  26. Sean says:

    That’s right, Jack. Cuz nobody criticizes Islam…

  27. RedinaBlueState says:

    A couple of things, if I may.

    First, I LOVE satire. From the Marx Brothers, to the Three Stooges, to Woody Allen, to National Lampoon, this country has a long and rich history of producing satirical comedy.

    As has been noted in other posts here, I think the issue is not satire, but an expression of disgust, contempt, and as Brendan points out, Parker and Stone’s challenge to be offended. Also, as pointed out earlier, this is not a unique event, but one of many instances where Catholicism/Christianity are vilified in current “entertainment”.

    The double standard is obviously that in satirizing Christianity, Hollywood gets a pass. All they’ll hear are complaints along with press releases from religious groups and then it’s on to the next venue. If they lampoon Islam, they might find their studios burned to the ground or bombed the next day. That, to me, is the crux of the matter.. the fear that Islamists will react in 9/11 fashion to any slight, while Christians will boycott at most.

    And of course it wouldn’t be fundamentalist Islam’s fault… the media will paint it as another instance where we need to “understand” their point of view. Granted, this is speculation, but I think you know what I mean.

    I only wish Hollywood would grant the same “understanding” to Christianity

  28. SoDamn Insane says:

    The South Park guys have pretty much lampooned every religion, so the whole “Hollywood attacks Christians” thing is kind of lost when you listen to what Trey Parker and Matt Stone say about religion in their interviews. They are actually fairly religious, Republican guys. The whole reason they do this kind of thing is to demonstrate the double standard you guys are harping about.

  29. Irishmatt says:

    Seiously, does anyone take this seriously? It is offensive because it is designed to offend. Look at it for what it is, a cartoon. Everyone who gets pissed about this is about 2 steps from killing Danish cartoon artists. Relax. I don’t think Godis offended, and if he is, he will handle it.

  30. spodbox says:

    I’m not sure that this episode was quite as anti-catholic as it may seem. For example, it was largely focusing on one person, Donahue, and his perceived excessive grandstanding. The real Pope, Benedict XVI, is portrayed in a positive, if somewhat feeble, light. That might be a comment on the current weakness and lack of influence the papacy has over modern catholics (especially western catholics). I dunno.

    More importantly, the Jesus death scene is actually a subtle affirmation of the message of Easter week. Essentially, Jesus is willingly killed (by a Jew, even) in order to be resurrected and save everyone. Isn’t that the essential christain message? While Easter has not been commercialized anywhere near as much as Christmas has, there is a certain amount of forgetting what it is really supposed to be about. This episode, in its very subtle way, has managed to remind us of that.

    Frankly, if you are offended by the Jesus death scene, you are likley one of those who has forgotten what Easter is supposed to be about. Upon sober reflection, I don’t think that this episode is actually anti-catholic at all.

  31. Sam says:

    The interesting thing about this episode is that I thought it didn’t target Christianity, or even Catholicism as a faith (say what you will about the series, but in the South Park universe, Jesus is real and is holy) but instead used satire to point out Stone and Parker’s opinions about the flaws in the system. A perfect example is at the end of the episode, when they’re waiting for the new “Pope” to tell them how to live their lives, and the rabbit says nothing (as rabbits are wont to do) – implying that people should not look to arbitrarily appointed men for divine instruction. Now, as a Catholic, you might be offended by this criticism of the *structure* of the church, but it doesn’t seem to me to be discrediting any of the core beliefs – in fact, the show goes out of its way to show Jesus’ divine nature (he is able to ressurect). As I saw it, the prime targets of the episode were Bill Donohue and the commercialization of Easter thru chocolate and the Easter bunny – both of which are perfectly valid targets. (An interesting side note: this seemed to be the point of “My Sweet Lord” – the 6 foot sculpture of Jesus made of chocolate that Donohue criticized earlier in the week.)

  32. Sam says:

    Spodbox beat me to the punch. Ditto.

  33. Oligonicella says:

    These two don’t share Hollywood standards in either their messages or their real-life life styles.

    I believe the whole point *is* the cowardice of the Hollywood set in backing down to Islam and not Christianity. The point being made is that Christians *won’t* rage and burn.

    The more times people see this, the more of them will come to realize just who the real threat is in all of this.

  34. Sydney Carton says:

    Sam: “Now, as a Catholic, you might be offended by this criticism of the *structure* of the church, but it doesn’t seem to me to be discrediting any of the core beliefs…”

    Catholics believe that Peter is the First Pope, and that Jesus meant it when he said that Peter was given the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and that what is bound on earth is bound in heaven, or what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.

    The episode basically suggests that religion should say NOTHING about how people live their lives. It’s directly an attack on the Papacy, and indirectly an attack on ALL religions.

    Bill Donohue is lampooned in the episode, but their attack is FAR broader and serves as a weapon against the Pope specifically.

    And it doesn’t help matters that Jesus is shown murdering someone.

  35. Sam says:

    “It’s directly an attack on the Papacy, and indirectly an attack on ALL religions.” Well, I don’t see how it’s an attack on religion itself, but to your first point, I agree that it was a shot at the papacy – hence my comment about “criticism of structure.” But if an attack on the legitimacy of the structure of the Catholic church is considered hateful towards Christians, what do you call Protestants? Questioning whether a man who was selected by a panel of bishops can be the sole conduit of God on earth above all other men may be offensive to Catholics who accept that structure without such question, but doesn’t make those who question it “Christian haters”.

  36. Griff says:

    Brendan- great blog post!
    First, Jesus and the Roman Catholic Church can handle jokes from a cartoon. what kind of Catholic isnt secure enough in her faith to worry that this is gonna hurt it?

    More importantly, they are going after Bill Donahue- a man who has clearly inserted himself into the public sphere and has gone after Parker and Stone. A man who wastes time being offended, grandstanding on CNN, and crusading after a cartoon, rather than going out and doing charitable works. And he’s supposed to represent us Catholics? Pope Benedict cartoon version had a point with the whole “not very Christian” thing.

    Further, the “offensive” stuff with Jesus and Benedict are incidental and par for the course for south park- Religious groups and their the jews got it in the Passion of the Jew episode, the athiests got it in go god go, the Muslims have gotten it repeatedly (from hardly boys to TV wars), protestant evangelicals got it when cartman became a preacher.

    And remember that Bloody Mary was taking shots at AA, the statue thing was something that was supposed to be funny and failed in the eyes of most, but the point of it was to show that Randy should take his drinking problem into his own hands because “he racked disciprine.”

  37. Anonymooose says:

    Let’s have Kyle stab Mohammad in the neck and see what happens. When Parker and Stone (along with Comedy Central) air that episode, then I will accept their “satire” of Christianity. It gets old after a while.

  38. Austin Mike says:

    While inspecting DaVinci’s Last Supper for evidence St. Peter is a rabbit, the boys are admonished to “Look Closely.” When they don’t see anything, they are told to “Look Closely-er.”

    I don’t care who you are, that’s funny….

  39. SoDamn Insane says:

    Anonymoose-

    I’m sure if Comedy Central would let them, Parker and Stone would have a horse fly out of Mohammed’s ass.

    If you saw the episode that Comedy Central censored, Stone and Parker responded by ending with Jesus crapping all over George W. Bush to highlight the hypocracy of what Comedy Central was doing.

    If you aren’t a regular viewer of South Park or if you haven’t heard what Parker and Stone have to say, you won’t get what they are trying to do.

  40. 4-7 says:

    Whether parker and stone are equal opportunity offenders doesn’t necessarily eliminate the double standard argument – that Catholic bashing is easy pickens and loved by too many. I think it’s a cop out actually. A go-to so people don’t have to be as embarassed for their revelry in parker and stone’s scandalous treatment of the Church. It also doesn’t excuse anything. A satirist is judged on the merits of his craft, not on the diversity of his targets.

    Yes, we’re all drones, we Catholics, . . . follow the leader, don’t think for yourself, where’s the shepherd, need earthly figures to guide us. Hello ? Tired much ? How about the fact that some of the most brilliant minds in history (politically and spirutually) come from the ranks of belief and orthodoxy.

    If we could open our minds a bit beyond these penny-worthy suppositions about religious belief, you might see that there’s something liberating in belief (and I don’t mean the liberation of letting someone think for you, put that penny down, mister!, and listen!) and something terribly confining in dogmatic skepticism.

    Now, let’s table the discussion, think on what I’ve said, and not say anthing contrary for the rest of the day. I say this not out of censorship, but as a desire to get some flipping work done today.

  41. Jack says:

    Sean, with the exception of the production of Idomeneo in Germany depictions of Muhammad in the Western elite art centers are universally positive. You think not? Please give me the gallary name or theatrical venue that currently exhibits a work that mocks Islam or the Prophet. Personally if South Park wants to do this stuff I say let them. But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking they are breaking new ground here or are courageous in any way. Bashing Christian beliefs has been going on for a couple thousand years and, frankly, it is boring.

  42. Sydney Carton says:

    Sam,

    I did not use the phrase “Christian Haters”, and no one else in this thread did. I specifically said that their cartoon was an attack on the Papacy, meaning Catholicism. It is also indirectly an attack on ALL religions, because the message at the end of the cartoon is that a religious leader shouldn’t tell people how to live their lives (I guess greed, lust, and all the other 7 deadly sins are now ok!).

    You ask: “But if an attack on the legitimacy of the structure of the Catholic church is considered hateful towards Christians, what do you call Protestants?”

    An attack on the legitimacy and structure of the Catholic church isn’t hateful towards ALL Christians. It is hateful TOWARDS CATHOLICS. Don’t you understand that Catholics are SPECIFICALLY being attacked here?

    You go on: “Questioning whether a man who was selected by a panel of bishops can be the sole conduit of God on earth above all other men may be offensive to Catholics who accept that structure without such question, but doesn’t make those who question it “Christian haters”.”

    No, but if done in the offensive way that South Park did it, it is offensive towards CAtholics. And that, I think, is 4-7’s point: people seem to have no problem specifically attacking Catholics or the Catholic church.

  43. johnny says:

    The ultimate point of this episode was the ridiculousness of how the Easter Bunny and all its trappings became a stand in for the true meaning of Easter. Just like the real point of their Muhammed/Family Guy episode was the ridiculousness of feeling like you can’t show an image of Muhammed. Those points don’t seem to stray too far from the very points of the people who feel the show is offensive.

  44. Sydney Carton says:

    Also, Sam, I think it’s unfair and frankly a smear for you to say that Catholics “accept that structure [the Papacy] without question.” There are plenty of Catholics, of people who grew up as Catholics, or as Protestant/Evangelicals who converted to Catholicism, who understand exactly what the Papacy is, means, is for, and how it is compatible with Christianity. You seem to be using words that suggest you accept some of the unfair characterizations of Catholics.

  45. marty west says:

    If you were offended by this you are more than likely an asshole. Get a sense of humor.

  46. Ranba Ral says:

    I saw a lot more anti-“stupid people who believe everything in the Da Vinci Code is real history” sentiment than anti-Christian sentiment, personnaly.

  47. Andrew says:

    Actually, 4-7, the reason I turned away from Christianity is that I read the Bible, found that it read almost exactly like the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Norse, and Mesopotamian myths I’d already read and already knew never happened even though people really believed them…

    Did you even get past Chapter 5 of Genesis then? It sure doesn’t sound like it. And basing your opinion of Christianity on the first five chapters of Genesis is a pretty bizarre way to analyze a religion.

    and, oh yes, found I couldn’t call the genocide and slavery and homophobia and child abuse and rape any kind of morality I recognized.

    First off, much of the Bible is essentially a historical text, a narrative. When David sends a man off to battle to be killed in the front lines so he can take his wife as his own, is the Bible lauding that? No, it’s telling a story. Methinks you need to go back and read the Bible with a tad more intelligence. Beyond that, it’s rather circuitous logic to deride a morality as being not one you “recognized” simply because it doesn’t overlap completely with your own.

    People may laugh at Scientology or Mormonism, but they HATE christianity, and they HATE catholicism, especially. The only reason I can think of why is not because they are forced to believe it (they are not by any stretch of the imagination) but because it is a strong competitive voice for change in a selfish world.

    4-7, the reason Catholicism is so reviled in pop culture is because the vast majority of celebrities were raised Catholic and are reacting viscerally to what they were forced to endure. Beyond that, Catholicism is elephant in the room, and to most non-Christians, when you ask them to think of church and Christianity, Catholicism is what they envision. Even for Protestants, much of our identity as Christians is defined vis-a-vis the Catholic Church. So the reason the Catholic Church is poked fun at and lampooned so much has nothing to do with whether it is a “strong competitive voice for change in a selfish world” or any other positive characteristic you might like to attach to your Roman faith. It has solely to do with the massive place the Catholic Church occupies in Western society.

    So Brendan, how WOULD you react if they aired an episode lampooning the victims and families of 9/11 on the anniversary of the tragedy. Or say the Columbine shooting,

    David, your comparison is spurious. I would not be surprised whatsoever if South Park lampooned, say, the 9/11 families who were using their place in history to attack Bush’s agenda and sue for millions of dollars from the airlines. I would not be surprised whatsoever if South Park lampooned Columbine victims who then went on an all-out cultural crusade against violent video games, Goth culture, and Hollywood movies that glorify violence like The Matrix. Satire is not funny when it’s reduced simply to making fun of objects or people, it’s funny and effective when it is attacking hypocrites and/or those who otherwise use their place in society to moralize others. I haven’t seen this particular episode, but I would hazard to guess that what makes it so funny is that it attacks the moral grandstanding of people like Donohue (attacking the papacy and other bizarre, silly, and/or non-biblical Catholic practices has been fun for non-Catholics for hundreds of years). I mean, come on, a statue of Mary bleeding out of her ass or “snizz”? That’s just comedic genius right there!

  48. Merry says:

    Haven’t seen the episode myself, so I’m just going by what Brendan wrote. I used to think SOuth Park was a “free for all” — meaning they were equal opportunity offenders. And for that, I admired them. But now they have an exception: Islam. If it’s okay to mock some of the most sacred aspects of Catholicism, why not Islam? And why not on Ramadan? Holy Week is the most important week in the Catholic Church. It just seems like South Park is two-faced.

  49. Brendan Loy says:

    Merry, it isn’t South Park that has an exception for Islam, it’s Comedy Central (a.k.a. Viacom). Not sure how closely you followed the controversy last April, but apparently not closely enough, if you think Parker and Stone are the ones creating the double-standard. I mean, for heaven’s sake, they made an extraordinarily public show of lambasting their own bosses for refusing to air any images of Mohammed. That was the whole point of the Mohammed controversy! If you’re interested, you can read my blog posts about it here.

  50. Brendan Loy says:

    P.S. I apologize if my above comment reads as being harsh — I don’t mean it to be. You’re certainly under no obligation to have followed the controversy closely. :) Anyway, this post is particular explains things pretty well:

    Parker and Stone were angered when told by Comedy Central several weeks ago that they could not run an image of Muhammad, according to a person close to the show who didn’t want to be identified because of the issue’s sensitivity.

    The network’s decision was made over concerns for public safety, the person said.

    Comedy Central said in a statement issued Thursday: “In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision.” Its executives would not comment further.

    More here:

    In an interview Thursday evening, South Park Executive Producer Anne Garefino revealed to me that the show was faced with two options: deliver the episode as written and animated with Mohammed shown and then allow Comedy Central to censor it, or edit out the disputed scene and write their own language explaining why Mohammed was not being shown and whose decision it was. “We wanted everyone to understand how strongly we felt about this,” said Garefino. Although the decision to omit Mohammed was not theirs, they wanted the language of the censorship disclosure to be their own.

    Along with South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker (who are also Executive Producers of the show), Garefino was heavily involved in the negotiations with Comedy Central. She made clear that the reason for Comedy Central’s decision was “fear”: “We were happy that they didn’t try to claim that it was because of religious tolerance.” She thought that South Park’s arguments and influence might have had something to do with the candor of Comedy Central executives on this point. …

    When asked whether Comedy Central was responding to any specific threats of violence if it showed Mohammed, Garefino replied, “Not that I know of.”

  51. Trev says:

    It was so funny to come accross this blog – I started watching the SP episode last night before bed and shut it off about 10 minutes in. I’m a huge fan of the show but last night’s episode frusterated me from the beginning. Being a Catholic myself I can’t stand when people think they’re so smartly pointing out the hypocracy of Christmas and Easter – fine, call them out for commercialism, but drop the “what’s santa/easter bunny have to do with christianity” stuff.

    The theology and actual “religion” of christ merged in the first millenium A.D. with the pagan celebrations and pseudo religions that had been practiced for many generations. Hence we get Christian theology mixed with pagan mediteranian/western and northern european celebrations. The coming of spring = bunnies and bright colors and the winter season = decorating trees and hanging lights and so forth. I hate this phrase, but come on, it “is what it is”.

    Religion does not now, nor ever did exist in some sort of vacuum. Cultures from Rome to the U.S. and everything in between have shaped Christianity.

    So not seeing the rest of the episode I can’t comment on this Catholic League dude, but it sounds like he got it good. That’s par for their course and good for them. South Park should never let anyone off the hook. But I cant shake this vision of Trey, Matt and the writers sitting around going, “yeah, the Catholics are so hypocritical, I mean, what does the easter bunny have to do with the resurrection of Christ?” Well, if they took the time to read some late Roman Empire and dark age history, they would know. But then I guess they wouldn’t have had a pretext to slam the Catholic League dude. So oh well.

  52. Sam says:

    Also, Sam, I think it’s unfair and frankly a smear for you to say that Catholics “accept that structure [the Papacy] without question.”

    Isn’t that what “faith” means? Accepting something without questioning it? No offense was intended, and to identify that particular phrase as a “smear” seems a bit oversensitive to me.

  53. SoDamn Insane says:

    Andrew-

    I can’t speak for Sean, but creation stories aside, it seems pretty obvious that the Romans co-opted Christianity the way they did the Greek gods to serve their own needs. They took a compelling and popular belief in a young teacher who died trying to show the Jews a different way of looking at their beliefs, gave him the attributes of Apollo and made him Divine to meet their own needs. Frankly, if Paul hadn’t made Jesus kosher for non-Jews – and thus kosher for the Romans – I doubt we would be talking about him now.

  54. Bunker says:

    To all those that say they would love to see South Park insult Islam:

    Jesus is a Prophet to the Muslims. His image is also sacred and not to be depicted (in art or by actors).

    Making a chocolate Jesus or a comic about Jesus is almost as offensive to Muslims as doing the same thing to Mohammad (they would probably kill you in Saudi Arabia or Iran if you did).

    The thing is, most of the people who do the Chocolate Jesus type stuff have no idea they are insulting Muslims while they are trying to go after Christians. They probably would soil themselves if they knew.

    I think the South Park guys (Parker and Stone) are a little more educated than your average Lefty provocateur and probably do know they are hitting both Islam and Christianity.

  55. Matt says:

    I’ll start by saying I haven’t watched the episode in question, nor do I intend to. I’m also a practicing Catholic who loves my church very much. I suppose I should be indignant on hearing of their picking on my church, but I’m simply not. I suppose that would be tantamount to taking them seriously, which is something I’d be foolish to do. I was a big fan of this show, and still watch some of my favorite episodes when I surf across them, but I haven’t watched most of the past three or four seasons. It strikes me that the format of this show has basically run its course and the only way to continue to pull in viewers is by trying ever harder to shock the audience. Why else would you pick on the Church during Holy Week? The audience at large, however, has grown use to the vulgar fourth-grader shtick, but since Parker and Stone are so successful at continuing to pull in ratings and since Comedy Central hasn’t come up with the “next big thing” yet, the show continues on past its prime, despite the fact that it’s essentially obsolete.

    If the show continues as it has been, I predict they’ll gradually alienate more and more of their audience, as they’ve admittedly done with me, and ratings will continue to gradually fall away until Comedy Central stumbles onto their next cash cow. At that point, South Park will get relegated to non-prime, low-ratings time slots as reruns only and will eventually be syndicated in order to squeeze that last little bit of profit out of it. I hope that, for their sake, Parker and Stone see the light before this happens and move on to bigger and better things, as Mike Judge moved on to create “Office Space” and “King of the Hill” after “Beavis and Butthead” started to fade.

  56. 4-7 says:

    Andrew said “forced to endure”. This is representative of how little people understand or even try to understand of Catholic faith. We don’t wear camel-hair shirts or flog ourselves in the modern faith. Kids raised catholic aren’t forced to “endure” anything. Whether skeptic, agnostic, or questioning, why are people so zealously committed to these unrepresentative boilerplates in their minds of what religion is. I just don’t get much out of arguing with someone who lives by these boilerplates: religion is for sheep, Christianity is just an amalgam of this and that, your belief is a baseless abstraction cemented only by time, tradition, and coercion. C’mon people. You can think harder than this. (And I bet 99% of people who live and breathe by these mental constructs consider themselves open-minded). It would be an amusing contradiction if it weren’t so tragic an obstacle.

    You just can’t engage people in meaningful conversation when this kind of junk is the starting point.

  57. Dirty Mike says:

    I think the main point of the episode was summed up when the rabbit said nothing, “the way Jesus intended” leaving their lives uninterrupted by hateful people who advocate bombing of abortion clinics like Bill Donohue

  58. Brendan Loy says:

    Dirty Mike, I’m no defender of bombastic censorious types like Donohue, but if you’re going to accuse him of “advocat[ing] bombing of abortion clincs,” you’d damn well better have something to back it up. So, dish.

  59. russell says:

    Three teenage schoolgirls were decapitated by people who honor and respect the Prophet Jesus:

    JAKARTA, Indonesia: Three Muslim men have been charged in connection with the beheading of three Christian school girls last year in an Indonesian province fraught with sectarian tension.

    Being mocked by South Park loses much of it’s sting by comparison.

  60. Andrew says:

    4-7, I went to a Christian school through the 4th grade. I was “forced to endure” it insofar as, being a child, my parents had total say over where I went to school. Be that as it may, I do not have any bitter memories of that experience, save for the many paddlings I received in 1st grade and prior for being a troublemaker (which I was … and still am on occasion). However, that is my perspective, and it is tethered by the fact that I went to a public school starting in 5th grade and therefore didn’t have to deal with the Christian school experience as it relates to sex, school dances, and the like. However, having gone to USC, I know a great many people who went to Catholic and other Christian high schools who now hold resentments, and from their perspective, yes they were “forced to endure” Catholicism or Christianity. Perhaps one day they will grow and embrace a more tolerant memory, but many others hold onto their bitterness and rage against the religious institutions with which they had no choice but to engage and endure.

    My point is simply that you will never successfully engage such people if you consider their starting point “junk” and don’t allow them enough respect to consider their viewpoint legitimate. Your history of faith and the Catholic Church is not their history of faith and the Catholic Church, and they will never cross the bridge to respecting your religious POV if you don’t first respect theirs.

  61. anita says:

    Why would any self respecting person want to watch such a vile show. Those of you who do watch and are offend deserve what you get. You have no class. You know what these people are all about. They are sick and repulsive. Watching this show just incourages them. Get a life sickos.

  62. Wobbly H says:

    Is “anita” Toni’s new alias?

  63. Korla Pundit says:

    This episode wasn’t a slam against Catholics or Christians. It was mocking the utter stupidity of The DaVinci Code, which some people think is a documentary. If anything, they show a greater understanding of the ideas of sacrifice and victory over death that Easter is supposed to convey. In a vulgar way, obviously. But the main message is “why do people take such a retarded work fiction so seriously?”

  64. David K. says:

    You know the famous quote (Eleanor Roosevelt, I think?) about how no one can make you inferior without your consent? Well, the same thing is true of being offended by obviously ridiculous and blatantly over-the-top satire. You can choose to be offended by something like this, or you can choose to just ignore it, because really, who cares?

    Frankly I think the whole “You are letting yourself be offended” defense is bullshit. Its bullshit whenever Alasdair brings it up as an excuse and its bullshit when you do as well. Yes we can choose how we react to things, but someone intentionally doing something to focus hate on you or what you believe is not something most people can just switch off. I’m sorry Brendan but if you truly believed that you can choose to be offended by or choose to ignore something someone else says you never would have banned Coach Leahy from this blog. Reasonable people can disagree about where the line should be drawn and how much one should put up with beofre they reach a threshold of being offended, and i’m willing to admit that here i may be more sensitive than others because of my closeness to the issue. However to dismiss it as being my fault for being offended because I “LET” them do it to me? Sorry no, I don’t buy that argument at all.

  65. Pervy Grin says:

    “Basically, your reaction to the sentence I just wrote is pretty much determinitive of whether you’ll want to watch this episode.”

    My reaction to that sentence is my usual reaction to South Park: Is that supposed to be clever?

    “Ah, South Park. My reaction while watching is usually, “Oh, you two are so incredibly ignorant about everything… but you’re so funny!”

    I think it’s the reverse. Parker and Stone are actually pretty knowledgable about their targets, but their satire is ham-handed, juvenile, and simply not funny most of the time.

  66. David K. says:

    Isn’t that what “faith” means? Accepting something without questioning it? No offense was intended, and to identify that particular phrase as a “smear” seems a bit oversensitive to me.

    No, thats not what “faith” means at all. Faith is accepting something without having to have it proven to you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t question what it is teaching. I accept God and Jesus on faith, there is nothing you or anyone can do to empirically prove they exist. But I accept my Catholic faith having examined the teachings of God through the church. But if the Pope suddenly declared that all red heads must be killed, well that would obviously cause me to re-examine the Catholic teachings and my place in the Church, but that is different than whether i need proof to believe in Jesus.

  67. David K. says:

    I think it’s the reverse. Parker and Stone are actually pretty knowledgable about their targets, but their satire is ham-handed, juvenile, and simply not funny most of the time.

    EXACTLY! Its easy to be course and vulgar. Its easy to constantly play on broad often untrue stereotypes. Its easy to insult groups that are historically the butt of jokes as is.

    Its hard to do social satire and social commentary in a meaningful way.

    South Park relies a whole hell of a lot on the former, and occasionally achieves the later, but because its “edgy” it gets a lot of credit and applause from anti-establishment folks.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Andrew,
    I feel soo bad for your poor friends that had to suffer through a catholic education which is much better than anything they could have gotten at a public school and is probably one of the very reasons they were admitted to an institution such as USC. I feel soo bad for your poor friends who actually had to be exposed to religion and morals where the rest of society is taught to simply do what is best for them.

    Boo hoo. This nation is slowly turning into a nation of entitled cry babies.

  69. anita says:

    who the hell is toni?

  70. Anonymous says:

    So is this episode worse than the giant chocolate Jesus? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11669242/

    I can only begin to imagine the eucharist jokes that could come out of this exhibit.

  71. 4-7 says:

    Andrew, if someone has a legitimate substantive grievance against their Christian roots (and they aren’t just grinding a self-important axe), then I guess I shouldn’t be dismissive of their grievance. But Parker and Stone are catering to the baseless boilerplate arguments – the talking point, cookie cutter, juvenile arguments about religion being for the led, the followers, crusaders, intolerant, blah blah blah. I am actually respecting that latent intellect in others that can reach higher than these easy saccharine attacks against belief. It’s this sweet but unsatisfying, easy on the mind, hard on the facts, arguments that are a dime a dozen on S.P. episodes, and axe grinders like Kevin Smith and Dan Brown.

    It’s probably always going to be ships passing in the night, isn’t it. Parker and Stone have absolutely no interest in engaging in a critical analysis. There is no fruit behind their attempt at satire. They are pornographers of scandal and that’s where they focus their appeal. Not in every episode, sure, but when they are at their “best. ever.” for most fans. It is a disgrace to people who do truly want to engage in a critical analysis of religion, whether through comedy, satire, or serious discussion, that South Park gets propped up as the standard bearer. So I hope you can see a legitimate distinction in what I call “junk” arguments.

    I don’t see why people can’t agree with Donahue on the “whores” point. Parker and Stone are not trying to earn a living at satire (few would think they’re particularly good), they are trying to make money by exploiting the person’s vulnerability to base entertainments, i.e., shock value humor. And we supposedly are to forgive them because next week it will be our neighbor or sacred places bleeding to the cheer of the masses. Is there something better on ?

  72. Sean says:

    Actually, Andrew, I read the entire Bible, cover to cover. (I’ve also read the Koran, the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, the Kitab I Aqdas, the Apocrypha, and some of the Rig Veda.) Are you, um, telling me that the Pentateuch doesn’t count? I know David and Bathsheba is just a story, and he was even punished for it. But what about when God gives the orders to do something? Like genocide? Like instructions on how best to sell your daughters into slavery? Like praising Abraham as a hero because he was ready to kill his own son? Like praising Jephthah for actually killing his daughter? (That last one’s in Judges; still OT, but not the Pentateuch.)

    Jack, do you think that fewer people question Islam because it isn’t as prevalent? (Although I have seen disrespectful treatments of hijabs, and I’ve read an alternate history in a fantasy magazine where Rome lasted longer and a Roman exile had Mohammed killed.) Christianity is the major religion here, so if you’re going to go after religion, you’re probably going after Christianity. I could point out the immoral act of Gilgamesh killing Humbaba, but who would care… or know what I was talking about?

  73. Jordan says:

    Sean, you might want to read the book “How to remove the pole from your ass!!”

  74. Jack says:

    Sean, it is not a matter of questioning here. We should all question our beliefs (religious and otherwise) from time to time as we grow. It is not even a question of blasphemy for me. It is a question of the honest art of parody and satire and what the intellectuals and elites in our society believe is worthy of the wink and nod of condescension, the roll of the eyes upward, the sly smirk, the knowing shake of the head that one self described intellectual gives to another when a perceived Luddite or rube shares an opinion. Certainly there are plenty of tenets and principles of Islam worthy of parody. As a rube I believe this is so, yet the intellecuals among us simply do not. By the way, thanks for not calling me names as we disagree.

  75. Daniel says:

    I see no one made the connection that the person/charicature that replaced the first Pope was Karl Rove.

    Sheesh.

    And you guys are critical of what? Again?

  76. Brendan Loy says:

    Frankly I think the whole “You are letting yourself be offended” defense is bullshit. … Yes we can choose how we react to things

    You’re right, and I should have been more careful in my choice of words. You can’t help it if you are offended by something, it’s how you react that matters. More on that in a second, but first, let’s be clear about a couple of things.

    1) I specifically acknowledged in my post that devout Catholics are going to be offended by this episode and probably shouldn’t watch it for that reason.

    2) I also said to you specifically that “I don’t blame you” for being offended, so you’re simply wrong when you claim I “dismiss[ed] it as being [your] fault.”

    Again, I understand that this episode was legitimately offensive to people who find blasphemy offensive. You seem to want me to go a step further, though, and be personally offended by it. (At least, that’s my reading of our exchange in comments #6 and #7.) Sorry, not gonna happen, and I don’t think I should be criticized for not being offended by something. I’m saying it’s OK for other people to be offended, I’m just not. So what’s the big deal?

    Returning to the “it’s how you react that matters” point… when someone says something that is intrinsically offensive to you, you’re right, you can’t control the initial emotional reaction. You can, however, control what comes next. Do you simply ignore the person and walk away? Do you erupt into righteous moral outrage? Or something in between? The best strategic reaction depends on the situation. If, say, President Bush says or does something offensive, it’s probably best to speak out and be outraged, because you know what, he’s your president and he needs to know if you’re offended because ultimately, he answers to you. On the other hand, if blatant provocateurs like Parker & Stone do something that is deliberately intended to provoke an outcry, but has no actual intrinsic significance beyond itself, I don’t think it makes much sense to give them exactly what they were looking for. I realize you’re just leaving outraged comments on a blog, not writing them letters or anything, but at the same time, you are contributing in some small way to the latest South Park controversy — and that’s exactly what they want. It will only encourage them. They’ll laugh at you and write something even more outrageous. As I said, that’s their shtick. So really, all I was trying to say is, it would make more sense to just say, okay, I’m offended, I’m not going to watch the show anymore, and leave it at that, not start throwing around accusations about how they’re being “hateful” and anti-Christian and so forth. That’s just the sort of (over)reaction they love. Again, it isn’t that you don’t have the right to be offended, or express that you’re offended, it just doesn’t make too much sense to get this up-in-arms about something so inherently unimportant (a cartoon) when by getting up-in-arms, you’re “letting the terrorists win,” if you will. :)

    Anyway, I sincerely hope this isn’t going to cascade into another flame war between you and me. I don’t have a serious problem with anything you’ve said, well except for the analogy to 9/11 victims and the use of the word “hatred” to describe Parker & Stone’s motivations, but otherwise I think you’ve expressed your position well, and I think it’s a reasonable position, I just don’t happen to be offended by the episode because I think it’s nothing more than sheer rampant silliness and over-the-top provacativeness, and I think that’s a reasonable position too.

  77. Brendan Loy says:

    Daniel, huh? Are you talking about the Da Vinci painting?

  78. David K. says:

    Sean, reading the Bible at face value and not considering the context in which it was written or the messages it was trying to impart is not going to get you any closer to understanding religion than reading the DaVinci code. I’m not saying you are necessarilly wrong, but there are reasons that tehologians have spent lifetimes examining the Bible. Personally, I think of the Bible in a similar way in which a parents actions are often inexplicable to a 2-year old. Just because we don’t understand God’s reasons doesn’t mean they aren’t consistent, it just means we might be limited and yes sometimes have to accept things that ON THE SURFACE appear contradictory. I’m not trying to explain this to convince you to change your mind, i doubt you will. I just want to point out that reading the Bible once through like any other book is kind of missing the point. I could read through on of Brendan’s law books, or one of Mike’s biology books and I gaurentee you i’d be confused as hell by it.

  79. David K. says:

    Again, I understand that this episode was legitimately offensive to people who find blasphemy offensive. You seem to want me to go a step further, though, and be personally offended by it.

    Although i personally find it offensive because of the way it treats Catholics/Christians, that alone isn’t what bothers me so much. Yes its blasphemous and i don’t care for it, but i accept that as part of the free society we live in. What really gets to me is the intentional timing of the episode, to maximize the insult, to take the holiest time of year for Christians and make as big a mockery of it as they possibly can. Its not enough for them to insult Christians, they have to do so in the worst way possible. And for what? Is there really any valuable critique going on here? Do you honestly think they went into this trying to stimulate any kind of meaningful discussion on religion? Or did they instead find an easy target that they could insult purely for shock and ratings purposes? There have been times where even i mildly defended the show because it seemed to have some satirical value, but more and more i think they are just what Donahue (who i don’t necessarilly agree with on other things) claims they are, whores. And certainly they have the right to be so. They have the right to try and sell a product that if enough people want to pay for they can make a living off of. But I think its a detriment to society that people aren’t more offended by this, especially reasonably mature people like yourself, again not because they are mocking the Church, but because they have choosen to do so at this particular time, to intentionally spread a message of hatred or at the very least disdain for a group celebrating a time that emphasizes such “awful” concepts as self-sacrifice and repentance. Yeah, we Christians are such horrible people allright.

    Andrew, and you, are both right, the 9/11 and Columbine examples aren’t very good comparisons. The best I can come up with off the top of my head though would be if they were to make an episode mocking Dr. King and air it on or around the anniversary of his death or his birthday. I think you, and I, and many others would consider such a choice of action to be despicable regardless of their right to engage in it. And while we might consider it to be in poor taste at other times of the year, that particular choice of dates wouldn’t be meant to advance public discussion, but to engage in sensationalism and/or disdain for others. Its not simply that they did something distasteful, its the level to which they have stooped and their reasons for doing so.

    I’m with the others who have said its time we stop giving them a pass or hold them up as examples of cleverness. What they are doing doesn’t take much talent, they are the jokers who think its ok to insult, tease, and pick on others just because it entertains them and their friends.

  80. least says:

    It’s much more than Catholic bashing — it’s an assault upon the sensibilities of all of us who have a regard for Jesus Christ and all His works.
    Parker and Stone can freely put out their “satire” when their target is Jesus Christ or Christianity — certain other “Religions” have been less than peaceful when their beliefs are assaulted. We Christians will protest and (I hope) protest loudly, but there won’t be riots, bombs and aiplanes crashing into buildings.
    All the usual talk about artistic freedom, artistic license and all the other bupkis mean nothing.

  81. Brendan Loy says:

    Well, fine, fair enough, but we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I can accept your viewpoint without thinking anything less of you; I hope the same is true in reverse. A huge sticking point is that I simply do not accept that their goal is “to intentionally spread a message of hatred or at the very least disdain” for Christianity or Catholicism. Again, if what they’re doing here constitutes “hatred,” then it follows that they must hate pretty much every group on the planet, because they do this sort of thing to everybody. I don’t think it’s motivated by hatred, I think it’s motivated by sensationalism, and the reason I “give them a pass” is because I think they’re funny. And I’m not going to sit here and intellectually defend my sense of humor. As for the timing, it once again bears repeating that the plot revolved around Easter specifically (it started with Stan asking why we celebrate Easter with eggs and bunnies, which lead to the revelation about St. Peter Rabbit and everything that followed from that), so while it’s undeniably more offensive to air this episode now rather than at some other time, it also wouldn’t make very much sense to air it at some other time. Anyway, I don’t think there’s too much more to say about this, we just have different viewpoints and different gut reactions. My gut reaction boils down to, “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it, what’s the big deal.” I don’t begrudge those who feel otherwise, but I certainly am not going to feel obligated to join their outrage.

  82. Brendan Loy says:

    P.S. To make a weird analogy, I guess I think about offensive content on South Park in much the same way as I think about smoking in bars. You don’t go to a bar to be healthy, and you don’t watch South Park to NOT be offended. It’s different when something offensive appears someplace you wouldn’t expect it, but if you’re watching South Park, you should pretty much expect that absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, is sacred… and if you can’t accept that, you shouldn’t really be watching South Park. I guess that’s where I’m coming from, and why I don’t really see this sort of thing as a big deal.

  83. Kenny says:

    I thought the villain was Rove until they named Donohue. About as good as the ‘American Dad’ episode involving George Washington Carver,and the Secret REAL inventor of peanut butter,with the hidden vault under the Lincoln Memorial, and Jimmy Carter. Which did have the wonderful final line of ‘Where can I release a theory with no supporting evidence whatsoever for the whole world to see?’ As the kid puts the theory on the Internet, or Wikopedia.

  84. Terry says:

    Actually, Andrew, I read the entire Bible, cover to cover. (I’ve also read the Koran, the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, the Kitab I Aqdas, the Apocrypha, and some of the Rig Veda.)

    For Christ’s sake Sean. With all that reading, how do you find time to work? Oh yeah.

  85. Timugen says:

    OK, I’ve stopped reading the posts essays after number 60 or so, but I just wanted to toss something in here.

    It’s a f**king cartoon, people. A f**king cartoon created by a couple of assclowns that satirize everything under the sun.

    How many times has Cartman knocked Jews?
    How many times has the show stereotyped homosexuals?
    How about ridiculing people with disabilities, Timmy?

    Almost every single episode I can recall has something extremely non-PC, so what the hell makes this one so damn special in that regard?

    It’s a cartoon that does this type of material on an almost weekly basis, with an extremely vast variety of “targets.” In the spirit of the show’s (normal) anti-PC flavor: Get your panties out of a bunch, remove the sand from your clit, and move the f**k on.

  86. David K. says:

    Gosh, Tim, you are so right, how dare i speak out against something i disagree with, i shoudl just sit down, shut up , and let people say whatever they want about me and other people. People who stand up for what they believe in are stupid and never do any good, we should get rid of them all…

  87. Wobbly H says:

    That’s the Davie we all know and love.

  88. Kevin says:

    Best line:

    Eric Cartman can never know about this.

  89. Spam! says:

    Speaking of being offended–
    Fact: Muhammad was a genocidal child-fucker. A child-fucker in the sense that he stuck his penis into the vagina of a girl no older than 9. Imagine…a third-grader.

    Stone and Parker are only prohibited from displaying the image of Muhammad. They’re not prohibited from satirizing Islam in general. We need more South Park episodes satirizing Muslims. They’re so ripe for it. Satire’s target is hypocrisy. The muslim advocacy group CAIR is a perfect example of hypocricy. They love America, but want to see shar’ia law trump the Constitution? They denounce terrorism, but won’t denounce any specific Muslim terrorist attacks or organizations? They rail against “Zionists” and yet compare themselves with Jewish suffering? They claim that they are the moderate representation of Muslims in America, yet have had 3 senior officials jailed for funding terrorism, including a founder of CAIR.
    They can use this Easter episode as a template. I promise it would be a landmark episode. The jokes practically write themselves.

  90. Andrew says:

    Actually, Andrew, I read the entire Bible, cover to cover. (I’ve also read the Koran, the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, the Kitab I Aqdas, the Apocrypha, and some of the Rig Veda.) Are you, um, telling me that the Pentateuch doesn’t count? I know David and Bathsheba is just a story, and he was even punished for it. But what about when God gives the orders to do something? Like genocide? Like instructions on how best to sell your daughters into slavery? Like praising Abraham as a hero because he was ready to kill his own son? Like praising Jephthah for actually killing his daughter? (That last one’s in Judges; still OT, but not the Pentateuch.)

    I’m less experienced with the Eastern writings, but I am fairly familiar with the Near Eastern texts. While most people revere the Bible as this ancient text, I find it fascinating to read the Bible in the context of it being a collection of books that were written in a historical context wherein the myths and stories of neighboring peoples are referenced and alluded to because the original audience already knew the culture(s). Thus, Job is fascinating for how it departs from the earlier Sumerian story with the same theme of the righteous sufferer; and the Genesis creation story mimics the Sumerian creation story and even alludes to one of the Sumerian gods, though its author uses the familiar plotline and cultural references to then explain to the Jews why the Sabbath is holy (Indeed, if I could only get through to every Bible literalist and explain to them that the author of Genesis 1’s primary purpose was to justify the holiness of Shabat — not to outline a scientific explanation for how the world came to be…).

    Yet its obvious from your comments that, while you’ve read a great many historical texts, your depth of knowledge and understanding of the texts is quite shallow. To go back to an original example that you raised, do you really think that men of faith have never pondered how in the world a moral God could order Abraham to kill his own son? There are books of Jewish and Christian scholars that go into the intricacies of that story, delving into the particular words used in the text and relating it to other passages to draw some very startling conclusions. Consider but one point: Earlier in the Bible, God makes clear to Abram and Sarai that he will be the father of many nations (hence his name change to Abraham, and through his son Isaac, God would have a people and a covenant with them. So when the later order comes to sacrifice Isaac, how can God possibly keep this promise if Isaac is dead? The Jews have their own genius understandings throughout the Talmudic writings and elsewhere, and Christians who approach the text with Jesus and the New Testament see yet additional revelation. To reduce the message of the text to “the Judeo-Christian God is illogical and irrational because he ordered Abraham to kill Isaac” is to completely blind yourself of the deeper wisdom and mysteries that take more than just a quick readthrough to understand. Your other citations of slavery, genocide, and Jephthah likewise misunderstand the passages and their context and intent. The Torah especially is not written like a book from Plato, wherein a perfect society is described and prescribed; the thumbprint of ancient Near Eastern cultures and societal structures are all over the text, and much of the rules set forth are for a time, place, and people — not eternal diktats for every audience. God certainly meant to set apart the Jews from their neighbors, but God never intended the Israelites to go from a near barbaric state to Victorian civilization overnight. Even for someone who is omniscient and omnipotent, the second you allow humans their free will, you should not be surprised at the extent of God’s pragmatism.

  91. SoDamn Insane says:

    Andrew-

    The simplest answer for the mysterious nature of God is that God – as we know Him – doesn’t exist.

  92. least says:

    #94:
    In light of your comment, your nic is quite appropriate.

  93. anita says:

    Happy Easter. Christ is Risen. Hope reading that makes you want to do something nice for someone. Like shooting out your TV screen when “Southpuke” is on.

  94. dcl says:

    David, you know what I find offensive? People going around saying you can’t possibly understand the Bible unless… Or that somehow you need to have some fanciful divine knowledge to get “some deeper meaning” as if you are but a child and the thing was written by some higher power that we could not possible understand when we ALL know that that is bullshit. That sort of thinking and reasoning I find to be patiently offensive bullshit.

    Any person capable of rendering a critical reading of any work of fiction or nonfiction is capable of reading and understanding the Bible in a critical context–you know why, the thing was written by mortal man living in a certain understandable and identifiable circumstance. It’s like saying I can’t understand Herodotus because I’m not what, Greek? That’s just dumb. Or that I can’t render an ethical judgment about what happened in Herodotus from our present position and say, you know what people just don’t do that anymore even if it was acceptable back then. In a relativistic way we can understand why certain things happened then and the fact that it was a different world back then, and perhaps we then don’t judge them too harshly for their transgressions–but you know what, we are not trying to set current ethical moires based on Herodotus. Some people are stupid enough to try and set their entire ethical standards based on exactly word for word what is in the Bible and check their critical thinking at the door. That sort of silliness is what leads to the obscene gesticulations about how well you know we don’t fully understand the message, or it’s an allegory, or its this that or the other thing. You know what, some of it was but also some of it flat out was not. It was fully accepted practice at the time the thing was written. The Reasons Religions change and and get passed over and turn into myth and legend (anyone who believes that if I curse Neptune before I hop on a boat and sail to Bermuda will cause me any sort of difficulty, please raise your hand–didn’t think so.) is because they cease to be relevant in the present context. These gesticulations to bring the Bible in line with current thinking are simply efforts to maintain a certain relevance in modern morality. However, you must accept that the Bible simply cannot have all it’s defects explained away. The reason theologians spend lifetimes on the subject is because some of it simply can’t be done–you are trying to place into a modern context something that simply can’t be placed there. And the reason there are defects is because it was written by mortal man in identifiable circumstances. The Old Testament makes a heck of a lot of sense in the context of Judea circa 500 B.C.E. The New Testament makes sense in the context of Rome circa 200 C.E. But then trying to cling to this stuff long past it’s sell by date leads to stupid crap like the Crusades and the Dark Ages in which religion acted as an anchor halting civilization and moral progress for centuries. Or for that mater the Jihad’s of Islamic fundamentalists.

    Be that as it may, it does NOT mean that there are not highly valuable lessons and ideas in the Bible. Jesus was a wise man and enlightened thinker (assuming the historical Jesus ever actually existed, and doesn’t represent an amalgamation of ideas) who tried to bring Judaism back in line with its spirit. (Actually, one of the more interesting thoughts on getting into Heaven, if we actually go by what Jesus taught and not what Paul made up, basically would be you MUST be Jewish to get in. Other apostles added that you must also accept Christ as savior (though they don’t all specifically identify him as divine) Now if that’s the case, the only people getting into Heaven are Jews for Jesus. It also makes history rather ironic). Where was I, oh yes, I don’t necessarily object to the spirt of what Jesus was trying to teach people to do assuming critical thinking in the present moral context. His message of loving kindness and unconditional love are indeed of great value. But I do object to all the silliness and bullshit people tend to throw in such that they don’t have to think critically about the situation they are babbling about.

    That not withstanding, I agree with much of what Andrew has to say, strange as it might be.

  95. TallDave says:

    I think Stone and Parker have taken their shots at Islamic foibles. They probably don’t do it as often just because it isn’t as relevant to their audience. Muslims are a pretty small minority here.

    I thought it had a good message though — men can’t be trusted with authoritarian religious power, because such power corrupts us. That was more or less the point of the Enlightenment.

  96. David K. says:

    David, you know what I find offensive? People going around saying you can’t possibly understand the Bible unless… Or that somehow you need to have some fanciful divine knowledge to get “some deeper meaning” as if you are but a child and the thing was written by some higher power that we could not possible understand when we ALL know that that is bullshit. That sort of thinking and reasoning I find to be patiently offensive bullshit.

    Wow, Dane, glad YOU have all the answers. I suppose you are going to be holding a press conference next week where you disprove the existence of God, layout the Theory of Everything, finally unifying the four forces and explain quantum physics, hand us a complete mapping of the human brain and a 100% accurate explanation of consciousness. Oh and explain why Sanjaya is still on American Idol. Acting like you have all the answers is the real bullshit here.

    when we ALL know that that is bullshit
    Really? We ALL know that everything that anyone who isn’t you believes is now bullshit? Well glad we cleared that up. You are just as bad if not worse then the relgious absolutists you so often criticize.

    If you took half a second to read, rather than just fly off the handle in a militant atheist rage you might have noticed a few things about my post: Personally, I think of the Bible

    So apparently i’m no longer allowed in your world to believe in alternate ideas?

    Lets think about this for a second, what is so patently offensive about the idea that there exists some text which cannot, at the very least, be currently understood because the knowledge that is necessary to understand it is simply not at the readers grasp? I ask you again to consider the idea of me taking a text book, say one on quantum physics, travelling back 100 years and handing it to a 15 year old who had gone through basic education at that time. He reads it through and is very confused by it, and i tell him that its not his fault, he simply doesn’t have the background and level of knowledge to understand it.

    Now if one accepts that there is a God, its not at all unreasonable to consider the idea that we are incapable of understanding completely the full meaning and plan of His works due to the vast difference in level between us and Him. This is simply taking the above analogy and raising the knowledge differential a couple of orders of magnitude, and in fact is completely and utterly comprehensible even to those who don’t believe in a higher power. The easiest example to give is to compare Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, or Newtonian and Einsteinian physics. Things in one frame of reference seem to be completely against what we know until you look at it from a higher frame of reference. In Euclidean geometry a triangle has exactly 180 degrees of interior angles. Its impossible in that frame of reference to have a triangle that exists in any other way. Yet you move to non-Euclidean geometry and suddenly a traingle (depending on curvature) can still exist and yet have either more or less than 180 degrees of interior angles. Show this to someone who is only capable of understanding euclidean geometry and they will tell you your nuts, but you know and I know that it is indeed possible, it is merely the limitation of understanding that is preventing the other person from being able to see the whole picture.

    This is just as reasonable to consider as a POSSIBILITY for a comparative picture between ourselves and a higher power such as God. It does not in anyway PROVE his existence and it does not in anyway have to be the SOLE explanation, however unless you are an arrogant millitant atheist who goes beyond simply not believing in God to the arrogant belief that they KNOW God can’t possibly exist, there is absolutely nothing offensive about the possibility that our understanding is too limited to see the whole picture.

    So really, which of us is the one spewing bullshit:

    1) Me, positing that ONE possible explanation for percieved inconsistencies in the Bible MIGHT be a limited ability to understand the message of a being whose knowledge vastly exceeds our own

    2) You, who declares that any explanation that doesn’t fit your world view is bullshit, declaring that we all KNOW with 100% certainty what is and isn’t true

    If you picked 2, then you are the winner! If you picked 1, and yet claim to be any better than religious extremists in believing that they have all the answers, then you are a flamin hypocrite.

  97. nice hat says:

    well at least they were correct in pointing out that the mitre (Papal hat) would make a lot more sense if it was made for a rabbit. (rabat?) good pics at:
    http://www.holywhapping.blogspot.com/

  98. Sandy Underpants says:

    Anyone that thinks this episode was blasphemous supports Pope Bill. The episode was about how religions (specifically the Roman Catholic Church) are hijacked by groups with interests other than the religion. Anyone notice the resemblence between Karl Rove and Pope Bill?

    Anyway, Bible Bumpers should relax. Jesus won in the end, and got a snazzy pair of shades to boot.

  99. Jesus says:

    Guys!

    Chill out. Today is my death day. Stop fighting and dye some eggs this weekend. Eat some ham and watch Jesus Christ Superstar….starring me.

    You all need to chill the F out.

    Happy Easter!

  100. Andrew says:

    The simplest answer for the mysterious nature of God is that God – as we know Him – doesn’t exist.

    That may be the “simplest” answer, but accepting that answer raises a whole slew of uncomfortable philosophical and moral problems which have led to all sorts of contradictory approaches. Nietzsche, Marx, Rand, Sartre, Russell, and many others have started from the “simplest answer” that there is no God and have ended up at all kinds of wild places — few of them happy. Often, the most logical outcome is a shotgun blast to the head a la Ernest Hemingway.

    Personally, I find it easier to accept the mystery of the Godhead and, from there, retain a very coherent and cohesive worldview that doesn’t change every decade or when a new philosopher comes along but rather has remained stable and consistent for 2,000 years now.

  101. SoDamn Insane says:

    “Personally, I find it easier to accept the mystery of the Godhead and, from there, retain a very coherent and cohesive worldview that doesn’t change every decade or when a new philosopher comes along but rather has remained stable and consistent for 2,000 years now.”

    Cohesive world view, eh?

    Gnostic gospels
    Unitarianism
    Protestant Reformation
    Spanish Inquisition
    Puritanism
    Mormonism
    Second Vatican
    Passion Plays
    The Holocaust
    Northern Ireland

    Yeah. That’s a cohesive world view for you.

  102. SoDamn Insane says:

    By the way, Andrew. Your Ernest Hemingway comparison is very weak. Hemingway converted to Catholicism and while he later left the Church, I don’t think he was a proclaimed athiest. Besides, Hemingway killed himself because he was suffering from Depression. Finally, your argument might make more sense if there weren’t tons of priests and ministers out there who have blown their brains out over time.

  103. Sandy Underpants says:

    The “simplest” answer is that God does not exist? Huh? And the more difficult answer is not asking any questions of this world and instead accepting that god must’ve just done it and it’s a mystery.

    That’s hysterical. People who believed that way would still be living in caves eating fruits and nuts, while those with a thirst for knowledge and understanding find the answers and explain lifes “mysteries” to those who don’t.

  104. Andrew says:

    SDI, more than half the items you list there are either events or event markers, or expressions, or manifestations of Christian behavior. In particular, nothing about the Protestant Reformation changed the core theological tenets of Christianity; the Spanish Inquisition has nothing to do with theology and was a political event; and Northern Ireland is just a place where two peoples violently disagree. Hitler and Stalin were both atheists and yet clashed violently — but their clash had nothing to do with the philosophical tenets of atheism. Expanding on that, The Holocaust was a Nazi-driven event, and the Nazis were largely anti-Christian and atheist, so that belongs on your religion’s list, not mine.

    Only Gnosticism, Unitarianism, and Mormonism are clear departures from standard Christian theology, yet all three are very minor systems of thought when compared against historical Christianity, so they really don’t buttress your point either.

    Religions like Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam would not withstand the test of time of they were not cohesive. Atheism has been around for as long as any religion, but it has never taken a stable philosophical form that has endured the test of time.

    As for suicidal priests, we’d have to get into specific examples, but I used Hemingway as a clear example of someone who was a noted existentialist and whose worldview–in my opinion–contributed greatly to his battles with depression. At some point being Sisyphus you want to give up and just let the rock roll back down the hill and collapse on you and end all the pain. Despite what others may say.

  105. dcl says:

    Just a philosophical point of order, but Siddhārtha Gautama proposed a philosophical world view in which God did not exist. Moreover went on to argue that the existence or non existence of God or gods was an irrelevant question. His philosophical teaching; however, did not end up in some bizarrely evil place, but rather in a world view that has proven to be quite stable, useful, and peaceful for a great many people. And has been such for some 2500 years. To presuppose evil as the only outcome of not believing in god is rather silly.

    As to David, I believe our misunderstanding of one-another’s position has been ironed out offline? My primary argument simply being that non belief in God does not mean that one cannot have a critical and full understanding of the Bible–even if that critical understanding does not mesh with Church teaching or if that understanding serves to straighten non belief in Christianity.

  106. Mad Max, Esquire says:

    “People who believed that way would still be living in caves eating fruits and nuts, while those with a thirst for knowledge and understanding find the answers and explain lifes “mysteries” to those who don’t.”

    It’s called Science. People who do try to explain everything by believing in the supernatural DO live in caves.

  107. Mad Max, Esquire says:

    Andrew-

    The Protestant Reformation provided the basis of pre-destination and opened the door for the idea of being “Born Again.” Catholics don’t really believe you get a pass like that.

    Hitler actually built many churches and often used Jesus and God in his speeches.

    The Irish violently disagree based on their take on Christianity. That’s why the Catholics and Protestants fought. DUH. Are you just making shit up now?

  108. Andrew says:

    Dane, I think you’re mixing the concept of pantheism and atheism. Buddhism is clearly pantheistic, not atheistic. Furthermore, I am not presupposing that evil is the only outcome of not believing in God, I am simply stating that removing as a premise the concept of a God does not simplify the philosophical path to a stable worldview but rather complicates it and leads to many contradictory conclusions. So while it may be simple to conclude, “I cannot see or otherwise directly experience God with one of my five senses, therefore he does not exist”, the ramnifications of that conclusion are quite perturbing to philosophical development.

    My primary argument simply being that non belief in God does not mean that one cannot have a critical and full understanding of the Bible–even if that critical understanding does not mesh with Church teaching or if that understanding serves to straighten non belief in Christianity.

    I don’t disagree whatsoever. As a religion minor, I had profs who certainly were agnostic or atheist but nevertheless had respect for the Bible as a tremendously important and culturally vital book that advanced a worldview which must be greatly respected even if not accepted. My responses here are primarily to Sean, who seems inclined to stand by his superficial understandings of the Bible as a sufficient basis to reject and belittle its contents.

    The Protestant Reformation provided the basis of pre-destination and opened the door for the idea of being “Born Again.” Catholics don’t really believe you get a pass like that.

    The same Protestant Reformation also gave birth to Methodism and their diametrically opposite conclusion that one can lose one’s salvation if one is not engaged in good works and an active faith. Both are different than Catholicism, but nevertheless, the fundamental tenets of Christianity are the same whether you’re evangelical, fundamentalist, Presbyterian, Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox. Most of the arguments are around peripheral stuff like baptism and the role of good works vs. being “born again — important discussions to have and understand, but not vital to grasping and communicating the Christian worldview.

    Hitler actually built many churches and often used Jesus and God in his speeches.

    And Pat Robertson frequently refers to Satan and the devil in his speeches. So what? Hitler was out to manipulate Germans for his ends, he wasn’t necessarily out on a mission to eradicate religious belief like Stalin was. That doesn’t mean Hitler and Nazism was any less atheistic.

    The Irish violently disagree based on their take on Christianity.

    [HONK!] Try again! The Northern Ireland problems are not driven by religious belief, they’re driven by political control. Unionists vs. Republicans, and the parades that spark violence, hinge almost entirely on the question of whose majority counts — that which answers to Dublin or that which answers to Belfast and Westminster — and whose history do we celebrate: The Irish resistance, or the colonialism of William of Orange. In addition, to the extent that street violence continues, it is almost directly tied to drug trafficking and control of the black market (and the income it provides for the underworld thugs who keep the violence going). It is quite similar to FARC in Colombia, which is less about Marxism and more about maintaining an income from the drug cartel operations.

    Beyond the specifics, you obviously by into the false notion that much of the world’s violence stems from our differences. In fact, most violent clashes between states and peoples are driven not by great differences but by very subtle and minor differences. The more we study intra-regional conflict, the more the story is how goddamn similar the two sides are in ethnicity and culture, and yet the smallest of differences are pounced upon as justification to say, “They are not us; they are bad and we are good!” The problem is not that the two sides do not know each other and need “greater understanding” so that can peacefully coexist. The problem is the factions are intimately familiar with their foes, and that familiarity breeds contempt as a basis for drawing lines and defining identities, good and bad, etc.

  109. dcl says:

    Andrew, Buddhism is neither atheistic nor pantheistic nor monotheistic — the question of theism is simply irrelevant in their view properly understood. To say that Buddhism is a pantheistic religion is to misunderstand it. Likewise to say that it believes in reincarnation is to misunderstand the philosophy. Not to say that there are not Buddhists that believe in reincarnation or a god or gods. Simply that these things are outside the teachings of the Buddha.

  110. David K. says:

    It’s called Science. People who do try to explain everything by believing in the supernatural DO live in caves.

    Um, ok, but that completely misses the point that was being made, namely that there is nothing mutually exclusive about believing in God and also believing that humans can seek to gain knowledge of the world He has granted to us. Many many great thinkers, mathematicians, physicists, doctors, scientists etc have believed in both God and science.

  111. mark says:

    Frankly, I am glad that South Park went after Donohue. He makes an industry out of being outraged and offended. All in all,I do not recall in the NT an any comparable office/charism for pouting/foaming at the mouth about the world’s misunderstanding and roughness.

    Perhaps as Catholics should instead focus during the lenten season on how the fallen aspect of the Church gives the world to many legitimate causes for outrage. We as United States citizens could focus on/repent for the virual free pass that our Church leaders gave to Bush-Cheney in regards to this most unjust of wars. Yes, the bishops issued a statement that got lost in the shuffle, but that is a far cry from real backbone and moral courage. As our theologians of the court sing pretty songs that the Republican party loves to hear, the our nation’s poor are scandalously neglected, the world’s oppressed suffer needlessly more and the international family has to endure the tantrums of a self-proclaimed, obstinate zealot. Remember those males in the past who served as offerers of pleasant tunes to courtly ears: they lost their most vital organs in their wining such a role. Weigel, Neuhaus and all you neocon Catholics, you offend more than the South Park creators ever could in their feeble powers.

  112. Derek says:

    I agree with some of the earlier comments that is Stone and Parker were really “cutting-edge”, they go after Islam as directly as they have done with this episode. Otherwise, they are old hat and unoriginal. Attacking the Papacy goes back 500+ years as does anti-Catholicism itself..

  113. Black Oasis says:

    Who
    Fucking
    Cares!

    Either watch it, or don’t watch it and have a nice cup of stfu.