Even in Death, George Carlin is Battling the Catholic Church

George Carlin never let up on the Catholic Church — or religion in general — in his stand-up, and it looks like the two sides are still doing battle:

Although Carlin is gone, comedian Kevin Bartini wants to ensure that he lives on — by naming Carlin’s childhood block in his honor.

Here’s the petition Kevin created:

Name the 500 block of West 121 Street in honor of George Carlin

George Carlin, brilliant and prolific comedian lived and went to school on this street. He [loved] this street and crafted many of his most famous routines around it.

We the legions of fans, admirers and fans of george Carlin believe that a street should be named in honor of the greatest comedian of all time in his hometown, the greatest comedy city of all time!
—————-

Sincerely,

[Your name]

On October 6th, Kevin presented this idea at the District 9 Community Board Meeting… but he was greeted by about 20 members of the Catholic Church:

“The Corpus Christi community is opposed to the renaming because we feel that George Carlin and his comedy do not accurately reflect the values we uphold,” Connor Hailey, vice-chairman of the church’s Parish Council, and a freshman in Columbia College, says. Indeed, Carlin had included his rejection of the church’s values in routines, describing his time at school there as “nourishing him in a direction where I could trust myself and my own instincts. … They gave me the tools to reject my faith. … It’s a wonderful fairy tale they have going here, but it’s not for me.”

And the problem with that is…?

Karen Joseph Adcock at The Eye explains one of the potential issues:

It’s easy to understand why someone might not want a street in their neighborhood named after someone whose most famous work has been deemed unsuitable for children by law…

She doesn’t oppose the George Carlin street, but let’s be honest. Between Carlin and the Church, only one has caused lasting damage to any child.

There’s a lot that still has to happen before the street sign becomes a reality:

… Bartini’s petition must go before a council member, who will take it to the council board, where they will vote it either up or down, taking into account what they feel Carlin contributed to the community. However, Bartini must first meet with an appointed person from the church’s side, to discuss their reasons for dissension.

Good luck with that…

Can you imagine, though, the stories and publicity the folks at Corpus Christi Catholic School would receive if they only put out a statement like this:

We don’t agree with everything Mr. Carlin said, but there is no doubt as to his impact on our society. He spent his life fighting for free speech and advocating critical thinking. We believe those ideas are worth defending, too, and those are values we teach the students at our school. Mr. Carlin left a positive impression on all of his audiences, and we believe that if students read and understand the Bible, they’ll see that Jesus Christ can have an even greater impact on their lives. Mr. Carlin influenced untold numbers of comedians and activists. We believe our teachers do the same with our students.

We obviously disagree with his religious views, and we’d be happy to sit down with anyone to explain why he got it wrong. In fact, we do it every week, on Sunday mornings. But in the meantime, we will not stand in the way of a street sign that seeks to honor someone from our community who made a name for himself doing what he always loved. We hope others will be inspired by Mr. Carlin’s hard work and longevity in the business. Mixing those qualities with the guidance and rigor that we feel only Catholic instruction can provide will render our graduates capable of changing the world in extraordinary ways.

Too bad they’re too short-sighted to do anything like that…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Stephan Goodwin

    George Carlin wasn’t appropriate for children?  Except for…

    - Cars

    Fillmore
    (voice)

    - Tarzan II
    (video)

    Zugor
    (voice)

    - Mr. Conductor’s Thomas Tales
    (TV series short)

    - Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends
    (TV series short)

    Narrator (US)

    - Shining Time Station
    (TV series)

    Mr. Conductor

    /
    Mr. Conductor’s Double

    People like to forget he reached out to children as well.  I guess that’s not worth anything to Catholics though.

    • Burger

      Because he didn’t touch them! :P

  • Anonymous

    Regarding his appropriateness for children.   I assume they are referring to his use of foul language in his comedic routines.      Funny, but me and many of my friends listened to Carlin, even his “worst” stuff as children and we turned out just fine.

    I really don’t like naming streets, bridges and buildings after people.   Most of the time its politicians getting their names stuck on things they didn’t contribute one dime towards building.    Notice how they don’t stamp their names on the failures like the big dig.   

    Now if they were to form a private organization and raise the money themselves I wouldn’t have a problem with them putting their name on a project (or anyone else’s name).  That would be up to their contributors.      The Robeling bridge would be an example of something I wouldn’t have a problem with.    Hell they can name things after saints and cartoon characters for all I care just so long as they don’t take my money.

    • StoneTop

      If your friends didn’t turn out “good Catholics” then the Catholics would probably say that they didn’t turn out just fine.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

        Depends on your definitions of “good”, “just” and “fine”. Oh, and “Catholic”. Ha …

  • Tilley

    “However, Bartini must first meet with an appointed person from the church’s side, to discuss their reasons for dissension.”Er why? Of course individual catholics have the right to oppose this but why is Bartini having  to meet with the church? Have I read this wrong is this not a public street?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mujica.alex Alejandro Mujica

    “The Corpus Christi community is opposed to the renaming because we
    feel that George Carlin and his comedy do not accurately reflect the
    values we uphold.” You know who else doesn’t accurately reflect the values of the Catholic Church? It’s the Catholic Church! A bunch of “sodomites” playing at being butt-hurt.

    • http://silveroutlinedwindow.wordpress.com/ Shannon

      I totally laughed out loud… not lol… but literally laughed out loud to your comment. 

  • oambitiousone

    They must feel the threat of his influence or they wouldn’t care. This hullabaloo is a compliment to his work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TopherKersting Topher Kersting

    For the purposes of irony, when I quote Mr. Carlin I refer to him as “St. George of the Seven Holy Words.”  I just wonder how he would feel about this, as he always seemed a bit anti-government to me.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      *thumbs up*

      I’ve been calling him St. George, myself, but I think I’ll upgrade to your version. May I?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

    “When Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children, come unto thee’, that’s NOT WHAT HE MEANT!” Hahaha what a great bit… “Leave the poor kids alone, Reverend!”


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