Wednesday, October 04, 2006

South Park Creators Say 'Open Season on Jesus,' but Not Mohammed

From the Christian Post ... South Park Creators Say 'Open Season on Jesus,' but Not Mohammed. Give Matt and Trey credit, they're crude and immature -- but they recognize hypocrisy when they see it. In full ...
A Christian religion and media expert agreed with the creators of “South Park” that the Christian response to disrespectful portrayal of Jesus has been “far tamer” than the response from depictions of Mohammed.

“The Christian response to the disrespect shown for Jesus has been far tamer obviously than the response of sacrilegious depiction of Mohammed,” said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center and director of the Religion & Media program on Thuesday.

“While Christians are bothered by these depictions of Jesus, you don’t see anybody issuing threats of violence and if there are any protests they are protests of non-violent form – namely boycotting products or something like that,” Cromartie noted. “But it is never the case that these people threaten violence because we do believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”

South Park, a hit animation on Comedy Central which has been described as crude and disgusting, has poked fun at a wide range of religious figures, politicians, and celebrities including Jesus, Mohammed, President Bush, and Tom Cruise.

The creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, were recently interviewed on ABC “Nightline” about the show and its upcoming 10th season.

“That’s where we kind of agree with some of the people who’ve criticized our show,” said co-creator Matt Stone on Sept. 22. “Because it really is open season on Jesus. We can do whatever we want to Jesus, and we have.

“We’ve had him say bad words. We’ve had him shoot a gun. We’ve had him kill people. We can do whatever we want. But Mohammed, we couldn’t just show a simple image.”

The creators said when Mohammed was supposed to air on the screen, Comedy Central replaced the cartoon with a black screen that read: “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”

Following the Mohammed cartoon uproar earlier this year, several networks had refused to air images of Mohammed, even during coverage of the Denmark cartoon riots, claiming to observe religious tolerance, said the South Park creator.

“No you’re not,” Stone countered during the interview. “You’re afraid of getting blown up. That’s what you’re afraid of. Comedy Central copped to that, you know: ‘We’re afraid of getting blown up.’”

Most recently, more than ten churches in Nigeria were burned or destroyed in late September over a dispute between a Muslim and Christian woman, according to Voice of the Martyrs sources in Nigeria. Muslims had accused the Christian woman of blasphemy against the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Barnabas Fund’s International director, Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, had said he hopes that “Muslims [will] have the courage now to address this part of their faith and stop these attacks on Christians,” following the Nigeria church attacks.