It's been two months since Comedy Central censored Mohammad out of their cartoon "South Park." Even the utterance of the name was bleeped. The blog Revolution Muslim quoted the world's most notorious terrorist as an inspirational figure. "As Osama bin Laden said with regard to the cartoons of Denmark, 'If there is no check on the freedom of your words, then let your hearts be open to the freedom of our actions.'"
But there has been no ceasefire in Comedy Central's war on Christianity. The attacks on Catholic Americans just keep coming. On "The Daily Show" on June 17, fake correspondent Samantha Bee interviewed two priests and two nuns who are watchdogging Goldman Sachs for a liberal interfaith group.
Jon Stewart started the Catholic-bashing in his introduction: "Sometimes it's easy to spot the villain in a story. Sometimes it's not." Bee joked to the priests and nuns: "Jesus wants us all to be rich. The Pope gets it. Have you even seen his ceiling?" Later, she joked that these "churchies" are "maybe not the best messengers." When they suggested Goldman Sachs needed more transparency, Bee stressed with a laugh track: "Hold on. The Catholic Church wants more transparency." Referring to this spring's round of media investigations and church statements on priest sexual abuse, she said, "Wouldn't it be better to just lay low for a little while?" She narrowed her eyes and lectured a financial analyst: "Goldman Sachs is losing a PR war to the Catholic Church. That is not easy to do."
Christians should and do allow themselves to be the objects of good-natured comedy, but there is clearly a nasty, even vicious undercurrent here. In an interview on the National Public Radio show "Fresh Air" on June 2, Bee revealed that she loves the church-mocking as a "terribly lapsed" Catholic. "So it is joyful for me to do that. That is pure pleasure for me, I will say."
The comedians appearing on Comedy Central are also piling on Catholics. On June 11, the Catholic Church was mocked in a special featuring comedian Paul F. Tompkins. "Things started to just kind of unravel for her, and it made less and less sense," Tompkins said of his mother turning to atheism. "She said, 'One day, I woke up and I realized it was all just s--t.' Very eloquently put, mother dear."
He described the steady, subtle erosion of faith. "And so years and years go by and then one day, you wake up and say, 'Hey, what happened to all that crazy junk I used to believe in? Boy, I sure like having my Sundays back.'"
That was mild compared to the comedian calling himself Louis C.K., who appeared on "The Daily Show" on June 16. Jon Stewart promoted him as "one of my all-time favorite comedians." Late in the segment, as they were joking about being bleeped by censors, Louis said, "I was going to say that the pope f---ed boys, and I didn't have time." After the laughs, he insisted he was serious: "I do think he does. Can I defend that before we go away? ... Well here's the thing. He lets other people do it," and you are either outraged, or you are participating in it.
In this bigot's mind, and many virulent anti-Catholic minds, Pope Benedict's myriad of apologies and denunciations don't display an ounce of outrage.
He was not kidding. On YouTube, there's a five-minute video he made for his own website LouisCK.com where he interviews a fake "church spokesman" in priestly garb. The man declares, "The Catholic Church is an ancient, worldwide organization dedicated to the constant goal of f-ing young boys."
Louis C.K. presents a fake letter from the pope that says "We at the Catholic Church f--- boys all day long. That's all we ever do. Signed, the Pope." The "spokesman" he was interviewing proclaimed that "we're very thorough" and the priests have raped every Catholic boy who's come through a church door. With a smile, this alleged comic, a lapsed Catholic, "remembers" that why, yes, he was raped.
You don't make a skit like this for laughs. You make it to propagate a lie and unleash your personal hatred.
But these Catholic-bashing comedians aren't even controversial or "edgy." Apparently, smearing the global leader of the world's largest church just makes you a "truth" teller. Louis C.K. had a sitcom on HBO, and he's now publicizing his new one for FX. He is so mainstream that CBS News just used him for a largely warm and fuzzy Father's Day commentary on their show "Sunday Morning."
That's how acceptable anti-Catholic bigotry has become.