Bloody Mary offends Christians

Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:24

Originally written: 26 February 2006

The television cartoon show, South Park, in one episode or another, has probably offended almost everyone who has seen it. Catholics in New Zealand, following in the footsteps of many religionists around the world, have been offended. Their offense is prompting them to protest, so far peacefully. Protest is a necessary part of free speech. A lawyer for Catholic Action called the Bloody Mary episode “a hate crime,” and said it was a blasphemous libel prohibited by the Crimes Act.

Bishop Denis Browne, the President of New Zealand’s Roman Catholic Bishops Conference, intends to promote “a campaign” against the television channel which aired the show. Lindsay Freer, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church, called the episode “gratuitously offensive” to Catholics.

Intelligent people can only hope that the Catholics in New Zealand, and around the world, remain much more restrained than their counterparts in Islam.

It is useful to compare the Muslim and Christian responses to offence.

Cartoons of
Offensive to Muslims.Offensive to Catholics.
Muslims kill people and destroy buildings.Catholics protest at TV station headquarters in Auckland.
Muslims say their objection to images of Mohammad is to prevent idolatry.Protesters gather around a statue of the supposedly virgin Mary. Idolatry is promoted.
Muslims in Calgary consider a civil lawsuit.Catholic lawyer calls the program a “hate crime” and a criminal act.
Imams tell their followers to kill the cartoonists, and boycott Danish products.Catholic bishop intends to start a sustained campaign against the TV station.
Some Muslim preachers believe the Muslim response is unreasonable, extreme, and not consistent with Islam.Relative silence suggests that many Catholics consider it a tempest in a teapot.
It is likely that most Muslims, including the imams who pronounce death sentences, have not even seen the cartoons.Reasonably likely that many of the protesters have not seen the Bloody Mary episode. The episode attracted six times the normal viewers of the show in New Zealand.
Muslims said Christians would be upset about disrespect of Christian religions.Catholic Christians are offended by disrespect of their religion.

It must be made very clear that cartoons, comments, skits, and movies criticizing or mocking Christian religions are somewhat common in “Christian” countries. By and large the allegation, from some Muslims and their supporters, that Christians are as easily upset, as much as Muslims, by irreverence directed at Christian religions, is false. On the other hand, political leaders in Canada and the United States often make a point of being seen as religious. So although it is considered almost acceptable to criticize and mock the Christian religions, getting elected probably depends upon being seen as religious, or at the very least not anti-religious.

The attack on the freedom to mock religions comes from both Muslims and from Christians. The difference, so far, is that the Christians have not burned people at the stake for some years now.

A spokesman for the United States State Department is quoted as saying, “We all fully respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable.”

Jack Straw, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, said that there “is freedom of speech, we all respect that.” … “I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary. It has been insensitive. It has been disrespectful and it has been wrong.”

In other words, the politicians supposedly protecting our freedom of speech, exclude the freedom to say something, or publish cartoons, which would upset people who would kill to avenge their hurt sensibilities.

Straw’s comment specifically references “republication” of the cartoons. If there had not been a campaign against the cartoons, they probably would not have been republished. If they had not been republished, very few people would know how Muslims would react. Republication has brought a very important issue to the fore. Straw’s comment suggests that he believes free speech is okay, as long as nobody knows that somebody said something.

It was not, and is not, the “western” media “inciting religious or ethnic hatred.” The incitement of ethnic and religious hatred has come from those who clamour for revenge-killing, from those who are willing to kill for revenge, and from those who command their followers to kill for revenge.

Lest it be thought that only Muslims have been on killing rampages recently, please note that in Nigeria, over the past two weeks Muslims have been slaughtering Christians, and Christians have used the opportunity to slaughter over 100 Muslims in revenge.

It is like a deadly game of musical chairs. The last one left alive, wins.

There are a great many (leftist) people in the “west” who believe that the “western ideals” of “democracy and free speech” are no more appropriate than any other set of beliefs. These people believe it is not appropriate to attempt to impose these “western ideals” upon other cultures. They are correct when they use the word “impose,” but they are absolutely wrong beyond that. Oppression is not as good as freedom.

There are no free countries on the planet, and “western ideals” of “democracy and free speech” are horribly circumscribed. Religionists, Christian or Muslim, or any other, who believe that being offended justifies legal or murderous sanction against those who they find offensive, are opponents of freedom. The limitations upon freedom in countries such as Canada and the United States, pale in comparison. Those limitations need to be removed, but under capitalism limitations will remain.

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