Saturday, April 19, 2014

Recent SNL skit crosses the line

The renowned comedy show’s parody commercial depicting Jesus Christ as a vigilante murderer was a classless display

Imagine this: a television show depicts the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a renegade murderer, parading around and ignoring what good tenets the Islamic religion has.

No laughing matter — It is hard to imagine Jesus appreciating Saturday Night Live’s skit. YouTube screenshot

Now, imagine the reaction that the general public would have after that episode aired. Muslims and many others would be outraged, completely incensed by the fact that a show would dare blaspheme a man they consider to be the central figure of their faith.

A similar situation has occurred in real life, yet the reaction has been shockingly subdued. Saturday Night Live (SNL), one of the longest-running comedy shows in television history, decided to attack Christianity during their Feb. 16 episode, blatantly mocking Jesus Christ.

During the program, the cast decided to make a parody commercial of the recently-released movie entitled “Django Unchained.” For those who do not frequent the movie theater, the R-rated film focuses on the story of a freed slave during the Old West era. The central character, Django, crosses the country in search of his wife, seeking bloody revenge against those who get in his way or threaten to harm his love.

SNL’s parody commercial was for a fictitious movie called DJesus Uncrossed. In the two-minute spot, Jesus is portrayed as a resurrected man searching for retribution against those who wronged him. The character steps out of his tomb to proclaim, “Guess who’s back,” carries a cross on his back and wields knives and machine guns as he murders Judas Iscariot as well as countless Roman soldiers.

“He’s preaching everything but forgiveness,” the commercial’s narrator said.

While a few Christian news sites spoke out to call the skit, among other things, “the most blasphemous skit in SNL history,” the controversy had mostly died down within a few days.

Now, go back to that same situation with Islam. In 2006, and more recently in 2010, Comedy Central’s notoriously raunchy show South Park depicted Muhammad in an unsurprisingly unfavorable way. In the days following, countless outlets said that South Park had gone too far. Islamic groups everywhere were outraged, and Comedy Central refused to show the episode without featuring a black bar over the character’s image and bleeping any references to his name.

The question is, why the double standard?

One can only deduce that Christians are not vocal enough about how intolerable this type of humor is. God frequently warns us of the dangers of blaspheming him. Even the most basic of instructions in the Bible, the Ten Commandments, tells us not to take the Lord’s name in vain.

While it is unlikely that the formation of a petition or a boycott would cause the show to be canceled, or even cause change for that matter, this is no excuse for apathy. Television executives think twice before insulting Islam because they fear the backlash, but it seems that Christians do not get upset enough to make NBC headquarters bat an eye. When shows like SNL pull a stunt like this, they insult our religion and they dare us to respond.

In a world that seems to increasingly demand that every culture, hobby and lifestyle choice be respected, I think it is time for Christianity to get its fair share — or at least an apology.

Until then, SNL will have to deal with having one less viewer.

Hey, it is not much, but it is a start.

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