Monday, 07 June 2010

Religious Leaders Target Sacrilegious Cartoon Project

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A coalition of religious and pro-family leaders has taken aim against an animated series now being developed by the Comedy Central Network that would denigrate Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ. During a June 3rd press conference the group, calling itself Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (CARB), announced that it would be contacting potential advertisers in an attempt to persuade them not to sponsor the cartoon program JC, now being developed by Comedy Central.

According to a recent Associated Press article, the animated series would portray Jesus Christ as a “regular guy” who moves to New York City to escape his overbearing father. The AP story reported that Christ’s father would be depicted as “an apathetic man who would rather play video games than listen to his son talk about his new life.”

“This is an animated show that is designed to mock, and designed to ridicule, and designed to be offensive to Christians,” said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center and one of the group’s participants. “At this point, we say enough is enough. We know that [the show’s creators] are jumping up and down with glee, feeling that they are getting all sorts of publicity because of our efforts. On the other hand, we are not going to remain silent on this anymore.”

Bozell said that any company spending advertising dollars on the show “would be a sponsor of anti-Christian bigotry. We feel quite confident that once they see what exactly they would be sponsoring, that no decent company is going to want to have anything to do with this.”

In a letter to potential Comedy Central advertisers, CARB invites company executives to visit its website (www.CitizensAgainstReligiousBigotry.org) to view some particularly distasteful and blasphemous clips from other Comedy Central cartoons, noting that the JC cartoon concept promises to be just as offensive, not only to the majority of Americans “who identify themselves as Christians, but also to many non-Christian groups who have also signed this letter.”

The four-minute video includes a brief scene from the Comedy Central cartoon South Park, in which one of the characters stabs a cartoon “Jesus” in the neck, as well as another Comedy Central clip that depicts Christ defecating on President George W. Bush.

“As a sponsor, you have the power to act upon your corporate values and send a clear message to Viacom and its channels that this type of blasphemous programming has no place in our homes,” the letter continues. “It cannot be an effective use of sponsorship dollars to underwrite content that is certain to offend and alienate viewers. And of course, the damage to our children is virtually immeasurable. No sponsor could possibly say they would be proud to be associated with such insensitive material.”

The letter includes a strongly worded request that potential advertisers respond to CARB with a promise not to sponsor the offensive program. “On June 17 our coalition of like-minded organizations will hold a national press conference where we will identify which sponsors have responded to this effort and have agreed not to sponsor Comedy Central,” the letter concludes. “If you fail to respond to this letter before that time we will assume that your company is open to sponsoring the kind of religious bigotry on display by Comedy Central. We look forward to hearing from you directly.”

In addition to Bozell, the letter is signed by many high-profile religious and family-values leaders who have joined as CARB participants, including Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians; Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association; Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America; and Mohamed Elibiary of the Freedom and Justice Foundation.
 
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins noted that Comedy Central has demonstrated a curious double standard in its denigration of religious faith, including material that is blatantly distasteful and blasphemous to Christians, while editing out anything that might be considered irreverent to Muslims. For example, following a violent threat posted on an Islamic website, the producers of South Park bleeped out references to Muhammad in an episode broadcast in April, and blacked out cartoon images of a Mohammed character.

“The double standard is shocking,” said Perkins. “When Christians attempt a serious discussion over our theological or political differences ... we’re called intolerant. Why does Comedy Central give such deference to Islam while mocking Christianity?”

Bozell said that the double-standard aside, the coalition would still be taking a stand against the irreverent filth that Comedy Central broadcasts as entertainment. “The double standard just jumps off the page,” he said, “but I think that all religions ought to be treated with respect.”

Rabbi Daniel Lapin of the American Alliance of Jews and Christianity said that it is important for Jewish Americans to take a firm stand in defense of Christianity. “As an orthodox Jewish rabbi, I know that nowhere in the past 2,000 years have Jews enjoyed as lengthy, as prosperous, and tranquil a stay as here in the United States of America,” he said. “And I believe passionately that this is not in spite of the vitality of Christianity in America and its centrality in American civilization.”

 

Photo: Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family (in 2008) has joined as CARB participant: AP Images

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