German Catholics call for censorship of seemingly considerably less offensive portrayal of Pope than the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Muslims are supposed to take Muhammad with a bomb in his turban in stride at the same time that Catholics are up in arms over the Pope on a pogo stick. It kind of says it all, doesn’t it?
Now, I should note that I don’t have a problem with Catholics pressuring MTV to drop the series. Judging by the stills on the website, the programs seems irreverent, if not downright demeaning to the Vatican, so I can’t blame Catholics for taking offense. And the fact that it’s been shown on a youth-oriented channel like MTV is doubly problematic. Most importantly, in a free society worth the name we all have a right to protest things that offend us even if others don’t understand what’s bothering us.
I do have a problem, though, with the seeming double standards at work. A Simpsons-style parody of a religious institution is prompting calls for a ban only months after Muslims were expected to meekly suffer open and intensely politicized attacks on their religion. (I’d also like to know, just out of curiosity, whether the bishops in question spoke out one way or the other on the cartoons.)
Let’s see how many pundits who until recently were sancitmoniously preaching to muslims about free speech and the legitimacy of satire in a free society will condemn the bishops for their seeming repudiation of those supposedly absolute values.
It seems to boil down not to principles of freedom but whose ox is getting gored.
Catholic leaders in Germany have acted to try to prevent music channel MTV from showing the controversial cartoon series Popetown.
The first episode of Popetown – which features a Pope on a pogo stick – is due to be aired in the country.
But bishops from Pope Benedict XVI’s home state of Bavaria say the satirical series is insulting to Catholics, and have filed a legal injunction.
Popetown was commissioned by the BBC in 2002, but later dropped.
BBC bosses were concerned the 10-part animation, set in a fictional Vatican, would offend Catholics.
It shows an elderly Pope bouncing through St Peter’s in Rome on a cross-like pogo stick and satirises religious ceremonies.
Update (2006-08-01): Fixed some typos. Also changed the title (which was "German Catholics offended by cartoon of Pope on pogo stick").