The Delight of Mocking Christ and Christianity

The Delight of Mocking Christ and Christianity December 2, 2011

Rex Murphy has a powerful piece in the National Post on the veritable institution of Christianity-mockery.  It begins thus:

To be a serious Christian in modern Western culture is to be the favoured easy target of every progressive thinker and every half-witted comedian. It is to have your sensibilities and your deepest beliefs on perpetual call for taunts, mockery and desecration. At a time when all progressives preach full volume for inclusivity and sensitivity, for the utmost care in speech when speaking of others with differing views or hues, Christians, as Christians, are under a constant hail of abuse and disregard. There is nothing too low or too vulgar.

He refers to Russell Peters’ “Christmas Special,” in which Pamela Anderson is tapped to play the Virgin Mary, and then goes on to mention the Occupy Wall Street movement:

Meantime, overseas, their occupy brethren in London were found to be defecating (I could use the vulgar term here as it so matches the act, but let us retain some respect) within — not on the steps or in the precincts, but within — St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s — in ancient times the cathedral where John Donne preached, where Lancelot Andrews, one of the fathers of the King James Bible, was dean, a cathedral arguably second in importance in Christianity only to the Vatican — treated as a sewer.

A report for the cathedral summed up the mischiefs and abuse: “Desecration: Graffiti have been scratched and painted on to the great west doors of the cathedral, the chapter house door and most notably a sacrilegious message painted on the restored pillars of the west portico. Human defecation has occurred in the west portico entrance and inside the cathedral on several occasions.”

In short, they turned St. Paul’s Cathedral into a public toilet and used its sacred walls as a crude bulletin board. However, there was no vast outcry at the appalling disrespect, the deep contumely such acts represent. Put out a “sacred fire,” set in the first place mainly to provoke, and it’s shock and petty scandal. Defecate in St. Paul’s, and I’ll bet this is the first time many reading this have heard of the outrage.

Of episodes of this kind there is no end, and it will surely be accounted a kind of prudery or humourlessness to make objection to them. Let it be so. However, there is a radical inconsistency to the treatment afforded to Christian believers and that of most other religious groups and it is not idle to insist on this point. It would be rather nice if so many people, the Christians of the West, who offer respect, tolerance and regard for beliefs other than their own, could be treated with equal civility and courtesy.

What do you think?  Is Murphy over-reacting?  Does he need to learn to take a joke?  Or is he precisely right, that there’s a tendency amongst the oh-so-tolerant to express the crudest mockery of Christianity and expect Christians to suffer the insults in good humor?  What is it within us, even within us Christians, that seems to take such delight in mocking and demeaning what is holy and meaningful?

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