Chocolate Salty Balls
|So last week there was apparently a big controversy over an episode of South Park. For those who slept through the row, Comedy Central pulled from its schedule an episode which featured “a literally closeted Tom Cruise and a primer on Scientology.” Rumors circulated that the reason Comedy Central pulled the episode was because Tom Cruise threatened to sit out the publicity cycle for Mission: Impossible 3 (the film is being released by Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, as is Comedy Central). |
The episode, which first aired back in November, also resulted in voice actor/singer/Scientologist Isaac Hayes quitting the show. No one is quite sure why it took him four months to become offended.
The whole incident is interesting to me because it illustrates the complete opposite of something that Christians in the United States often say: that you can make fun of Christianity all you like, but you can’t make fun of any other religion or cultural group.
Admittedly, Christianity is often mocked in the public square. But, statistically, 75-80 percent of people in the United States are also Christians (followed by 15 percent who practise no religion at all). In that context, it makes perfect sense that Christianity would be the butt of a lot of jokes. After all, it’s the only religion that a large percentage of the people in the United States know anything about. (I can also think of quite a few reasons why we Christians deserve to be made fun of. But that’s probably beside the point.)
That said, however, if you really think that Christianity is the only religion getting ribbed, you really haven’t been paying attention. There are quite a few shows that pick on religions other than Christianity. Family Guy. American Dad. The Daily Show. The Colbert Report. And, of course, South Park.
As South Park co-creator Matt Stone noted in his response to Isaac quitting the show, he said, “In 10 years and over 150 episodes of South Park, Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim, Mormons or Jews. He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show."
Realistically, it’s not all that surprising that a lot of Christians in the States think they’re the only ones being picked on. Often these are the same Christians who, despite having control of the White House, Senate, House of Representatives, and Supreme Court, think themselves to be a persecuted minority.
Update: If you want to see what all the fuss is about regarding the episode of South Park, you can find the entire thing online at YouTube.