One of the challenges that veteran God-beat reporters face is finding a way to send something new and fresh to their editors during the annual holiday seasons. Now, you could get away with quirky and strange stories during the Christmas season because, you know, that’s a cultural thing. But journalists have tended to play it straight during Holy Week and Easter, along with the heavy seasons in the other world religions. Seen any funny Yom Kippur or Ramadan stories?
With that introduction, let me assure you that numerous GetReligion.org readers have sent us copies of the following Associated Press story. Yes, we have seen it. No, we have nothing that we want to say about it, other than what I just said. Clearly, the rules are changing for Holy Week and Easter coverage. Here is a chunk of that AP report from Glassport, Pa.
First, the Passion of the Christ. Now, the torment of the Easter Bunny?
It may not have been as gruesome as Mel Gibson’s movie, but many parents and children got upset when a church trying to teach about Jesus’ crucifixion performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs.
People who attended Saturday’s show at Glassport’s memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, “There is no Easter bunny,” and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.
Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. “He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped,” Salzmann said.
Patty Bickerton, the youth minister at Glassport Assembly of God, said the performance wasn’t meant to be offensive. Bickerton portrayed the Easter rabbit and said she tried to act with a tone of irreverence.
I think we will cut things off at that point. Although, now that I think of it, AP clearly showed restraint in the reporting of this story. Obvious questions remain that journalists would want to know. With what was the wabbit whipped? What color was the bunny suit? Was the bunny in chains?
This blog item is brought to you without art, for obvious reasons.