Opinion Brief

Comedy Central's 'Jesus' joke

The cable station won't let "South Park" show a cartoon Prophet Mohammed, but it's ready to poke fun at an animated Jesus Christ?

Just days after Comedy Central censored "South Park" for depicting the Prophet Mohammed, the cable station announced it's developing an animated series about Jesus Christ. "JC," from the producers of The Office," promises to show Jesus trying to make his way in New York City with scant support from his "all-powerful yet apathetic father," a video-game addict. Is this, as the network says, a "playful take on religion and society," or evidence of a shameful double standard? (Watch some local reporters debate whether Jesus should be a cartoon)

This hypocrisy is no laughing matter: Comedy Central's decision to follow up its cowardly concession to angry Muslims with a show that mocks Christianity is just "not funny," says Bryan Alexander at NBC San Diego. The station's attempt to deflect criticism with a statement — "comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable" — rings hollow after its "dramatic capitulation" to the last group it made "uncomfortable." "Cowed by Mohammad, Comedy Central turns to Jesus"

Jesus can take it, but Comedy Central is pathetic: "As a Christian, I am unoffended" by this idea says Elizabeth Scalia in First Things. Jesus "has awfully big shoulders; he can take it." But can Comedy Central? The network reminds me of a "smart-aleck" kid who, bullied by others, tries to "re-establish his edgy bona fides" by taking it out on "non-threatening" bystanders. JC isn't daring, or funny. It's just a "bit pathetic." "'No, we’re fearless and edgy. Really.'"

Actually, this is a message to Muslims: This is "very clever" of Comedy Central, says Terry Kelhawk in The Huffington Post. After the "South Park" scandal, it's "showing the East how we in the West live." No doubt Christian groups will be offended by this new cartoon, but they won't "call for violence." Perhaps our enemies will realize that, when you have "freedom of religion," you needn't resort to "threats and violence" to preserve it."Comedy Central's prophet experiments"

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