Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Righteous outrage and outrageous behavior
Jonal entry 947 | Friday, February 3, 2006
Since Wednesday's post on "the irrationality of believing," a major story related to "hate speech" and laws to curb it has occupied the top of European news pages and websites and has become a buzz topic on the American news channel talk shows. Actually, the "story" has been kicking around since last October, but it seems only now to be on the verge or creating an international incident and probably a breakout of more Islamist terrorism. It concerns a series of 12 caricatures of "Muhammed" that ran in a Danish newspaper and, because they have been "outraging" Muslims in Europe and the mid-East, more and more European newspapers have been reproducing them, and every time they do, it causes even more furor. But as the American conservative paper Human Events, which is also reproducing them, says, "These cartoons are less offensive than what is routinely printed in every American newspaper about politicians."
Meanwhile, NBC, the wonderful network that gave us "The Book of Daniel" is back at it again, with plans to air an anti-Christian and blasphemous episode of "Will and Grace" on the eve of the western churches' Good Friday, on April 13. According to a report on CNS News, "wire reports [say] that Britney Spears will make a guest appearance on the April 13 'Will and Grace,' playing a conservative Christian sidekick to Sean Hayes' homosexual character, Jack. When Jack's fictional TV network, Out TV, is bought by a Christian TV network, Spears hosts a cooking segment called 'Cruci-fixin's.'" It's interesting to contemplate NBC's mockery of the Son of God in the holiest week in the Christian calendar alongside the representations of the prophet Muhammed in Danish and, subsequently, other newspapers.
But my thoughts today are not about outrages against Christianity, Islam, and other religions as much as the freedom to do so, despite the fact that I find such programming as NBC's totally reprehensible and deserving of boycotting by all Christians and their sympathizers. But boycotting NBC is a far cry from bombing its Rockefeller Center or Burbank headquarters or turning to any form of violence to express the righteous rage its insensitivity provokes. What it is doing is wrong, but then for my money the whole existence of "Will and Grace" is immoral and to be censured and not watched, so there's not much more I can do about this specific over-the-top episode, except to plead with others to wake up and let their feelings be known. That's the most any Christian can do on this issue. Anything beyond it would be itself an ugly distortion of the Gospel and the love demanded by the Savior, who has already been crucified and won't suffer anything new or unexpected from attacks like these. As I said in responding to NBC's latest in my Xnmp blog, quoting Jesus, "In the world you shall suffer persecution, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Though I believe that some forms of violence are morally defensible, such as police using force to quell lawless activity and wars to provide justice for oppressed people by overthrowing their oppressors, such violence is only the prerogative of duly constituted government entities, never the prerogative of individuals acting on their own behalf or of nongovernment institutions like the church. Violence against abortion providers, for example, is at least as reprehensible as violence against the unborn carried on by abortionists. But expressing outrage, even demonstrating it through marches, demonstrations, pickets, and other consciousness-raising activities, is as "Christian" as the Old Testament prophets getting in the faces of corrupt rulers of Israel.
I thought it ironic that as discussed here on Wednesday, British comedians like Rowan Atkinson were petitioning for an exception for comedians to ridicule religions and their practitioners under the hate legislation being promoted in their parliament. It's ironic because we're all comedians; we all have the right to find things funny, in many senses of the word, when we consider the activities of anyone regardless of their religion or irreligion, who strikes us as strange, over the top. Free men and women have always demanded that most-human right, expression of opinion; it's a basic assumption of the Judeo-Christian ethos.