Just like Bill Maher, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane is discovering that atheist ridicule of Jesus Christ and Christianity draws nothing but yawns from today's media elite. If you want an angry media mob, you need merely spit out "Barack Hussein Obama" at a McCain rally and watch the Guardians of Social Taste bring out the torches and pitchforks. But mocking Jesus? Ho hum.
On Oct. 5, Fox's Sunday night cartoon debuted an episode titled "I Dream of Jesus," a play on "I Dream of Jeannie." Get it? Jesus is a fairy tale, like a genie in a bottle. The title character, Peter Griffin, wanders into a record shop, where he finds Jesus Christ minding the store. Jesus lies to Peter, trying to deny who he is, until Peter threatens to urinate on the albums of Christian artist Amy Grant. Jesus comes clear on his identity and explains he came to Earth "just to get away from the family ... my dad just quit smoking, and he's a little on edge." What follows is an entire story that chronicles, in rather amazing fashion, how this lying, slacker Jesus is even dumber than Peter, the greatest idiot on animated television today.
Our Guardians of Social Taste would probably shut "Family Guy" down if it featured Peter Griffin as a demented Buddha, or maybe featured a drunken Mohammed, or God forbid -- made fun of Barack Hussein Obama. But Seth MacFarlane hasn't crossed the Anti-Defamation League, or the Council for American-Islamic Relations, or Obama's "Fight the Smears" web page.
Millions of parents see TV critics of the major media as a sort of early warning system, alerting them to programming that would be unsuitable for children. So where were the TV critics in the face of this ugly anti-Christian bigotry? No one noticed, not the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Time, Newsweek or NPR.
These media outlets probably would enjoy how Seth MacFarlane interrupted his story for a political aside. Peter asks Jesus to take him to the White House, where President Bush is proclaiming, "The American people may have turned against the war, but I answer to a higher power. I answer to the power of Jesus Christ." Peter jumps in and replies "That's funny, because I happen to have Jesus Christ right here." Jesus proclaims, "I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work. How you ever got to be president of anything is totally amazing." Speaking for the show's creator, Peter then says, "Boy, wouldn't it be great if life were like this?"
Peter insists Jesus shouldn't merely hang out at the record shop unrecognized. "The world needs you, Jesus. It needs you like a guy who can't get it up needs a distraction." Jesus the Slacker then goes on "The Tonight Show," becomes famous and lets the fame go to his head.
Soon, Jesus Christ is appearing on the MTV Video Music Awards with the Pussycat Dolls, wearing gold chains and sunglasses like a rapper. He jokes to the MTV crowd about the singing group behind him. "It's a pleasure to be here with you six interchangeable women. Last time I was down here, I only hung out with one whore."
Then Peter watches the news and hears, "Tonight's top story: Local record shop employee Jesus Christ was found in Mary Kate Olsen's apartment this morning, face down and unconscious. Police revived and arrested the disoriented Jesus, who was quoted as saying Jews are responsible for all the world's wars." This is an obvious slap directed at Mel Gibson, creator of "The Passion of The Christ."
Jesus calls Peter to bail him out of jail, where our idiot gets to lecture God the Son: "Jesus Christ, look at you. You had it all -- money, fame, eternal life -- and you blew it. You let it all go to your head." Jesus says, "I know, Peter. I guess it turns out that I'm just as human as anyone else." He claims, "This world's not ready for me yet, and I'm not ready for it. I don't know. Maybe I'll come down in another thousand years, when I'm more mature."
It's amazing that this kind of junk is on national television. McFarlane's script isn't exactly engaging the Bible narratives. It sounds exactly like the brain droppings of a school-skipping 12-year-old brat playing by himself in a closet with a plastic action figure. MacFarlane would claim his plot doesn't demonize Jesus -- he merely demystifies him, scrapes off his divinity. The people at Fox Entertainment clearly don't care one iota about offending the millions of Christians who see Jesus as the central figure in their hopes for eternal salvation. To them, God is just an empty punchline.