A Little Gedanken Experiment to Demonstrate a Point I Made Below
Here’s a news piece courtesy of Justin Katz, concerning a skit done by Penn and Teller that has offended some:
The skit, performed last week in Las Vegas, included Teller, dressed as Martin Luther King, in blackface, standing on a balcony. According to the column, a midget dressed as Rosa Parks “performed a simulated sex act on the near-naked Teller.” Penn, in a Klu Klux Klan costume, unveiled the scene by opening a window modeled after that through which James Earl Ray fired his rifle.
People need to lighten up and not be so sensitive. You have to admit that those darn Negros sure take King too seriously. I mean, he’s dead. Get over it.
Oh. I’m sorry. I got the story wrong. Apparently this is what really happened:
The skit, performed last week in Las Vegas, included Teller, dressed as Christ on a full-size cross, entering the room on a cart. According to the column, a midget dressed as an angel “performed a simulated sex act on the near-naked Teller.” Penn, in a Roman gladiator costume, unveiled the scene by pulling away a “Shroud of Turin” that covered the cross.
People need to lighten up and not be so sensitive. You have to admit that those darn Christers sure take Jesus too seriously. I mean, he’s dead. Get over it.
In our culture, both the first version of the story *and* the language I used to downplay it would tar anybody that used it as a moral leper unfit for human society (and rightly so). It is a form of blasphemy since it attacks something our culture still manages to understand as sacred: the image of God in the human person no matter what color his skin.
In the second sample, both the story and the language I used to downplay it are regarded as mildly unconventional but nothing to get your knickers in a twist about. Certainly the idea of boycotting Penn and Teller or of striking the cretin who defended them off a speaking roster at a Democratic convention for such views would never be entertained. Reason: it’s not blasphemous since our society does not hold Christ to be sacred.
Now the interesting problem which will face our culture in the future is this: The only reason “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” is because of the Judeo-Christian heritage people like Penn and Teller piss on. There is zero empirical evidence for belief in human equality, and therefore, for the work of Dr. King, by Penn and Teller’s lights. It is purely mystical, a remant of the Christian worldview they and thousands like them are laboring to destroy. It will be just a matter of time before somebody (no doubt a brilliant skeptic with a clever pen) points out that, from an empirical standpoint, nothing is less evident than the equality of human beings. Human vary in strength, intelligence, character, abilities, and a thousand other things. Spit on the revelation that human beings are in the image of God and the mystical truth that “God is no respecter of persons” and you annihilate the only basis there has ever been for belief in human equality. All that’s left after that is the rule of Might Makes Right.