I was invited to participate in a teleconference featuring a lot of socially conservative heavies who want to complain about the new anti-Christian show on Comedy Central, “JC.” Here’s a rundown of the participants:
Bozell will be joined at a Thursday press conference to protest the show by Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president; Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host; Bill Donohue, Catholic League president; Tim Winter, Parents Television Council president; and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, The American Alliance.
Now admittedly, South Park has always been pretty hard on Christians — but, South Park, being South Park, is pretty hard on everyone. I might not agree with the show or like the shots they take at Christianity, but at least it’s fair — except when it comes to Muslims.
Comedy Central not only refuses to allow Muslims to be treated like everyone else on the show, they actually refuse to even show Muhammad on screen. Yet, the same network is putting together an ENTIRE SHOW to make fun of Jesus.
At some point, Christians just need to say “enough is enough.”
What follows are the notes, not quotes, from the teleconference.
Brent Bozell: Comedy Central won’t do anything that’s offensive to Muslims in any way. But, for years it has mocked Jesus and Christians. The latest show is “JC.” It’s designed to mock, ridicule, and offend Christians.
(4 minute pause for clips from JC — I thought they were going to play it, but apparently, they just expected us to go to the website and listen to it — that was a bit odd).
93,000 of our readers have signed a petition in just a week asking Comedy Central not to run this.
Michael Medved: This is hypocritical. Are Christians being punished for being non-violent? Imagine a show called the “Big Mo,” placed in New York, where he marries a 9 year old. Even if there was guaranteed to be no violence, I don’t think Comedy Central would do it because it’s so offensive and mean. So, why doesn’t that apply to Christians?
People say, well you haven’t even seen it. Why don’t you just let it go? Let’s say people were doing a show called “The greedy Goldbergs.” It showed them as big nosed bankers. Greedy. First off, Comedy Central wouldn’t run it. But also, people would scoff at the idea it should just be ignored. It gets out to kids.
Bill Donohue: I think that Comedy Central backs off of Muhammad because they’re afraid of violence. I think Comedy Central is doing this as a trial reaction to see what the reaction is. I don’t get involved in boycotts unless I think I can win and I think we can win this. I don’t want Christians to ever get to the point Muslims have and have to threaten violence to be treated with respect.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin: I like Colbert and The Man Show. I think they added something to the culture. Jews have been treated well in America and that’s because of Christianity. Thank God America is a Christian nation. That’s why it’s extremely important to Jews to protect Christianity in America. To say Islam is the only religion we can’t criticize is ridiculous.
Tim Winter: We’re not a faith based organization, but we don’t like the idea that people are forced to purchase Comedy Central in a bundle. If you’re offended by Comedy Central and don’t want it coming into your home, you can’t refuse to buy it without refusing to buy a lot of other channels as well.
Brent Bozell: Not everybody here supports a boycott.
Tony Perkins: The double standard is shocking. When Christians try to register our concerns about the spread of Islam, we’re criticized. Are they mistaking civility and tolerance for weakness? If so, they’re making a mistake.
The Q&A Session
Q for Medved: Do you think there’s a double standard to….ehr…not sure I understand exactly what he was driving at here.
Medved: There are tons of double standards in our culture.
Q for Bozell & Medved: What if Comedy Central had chosen to show Muhammad?
Bozell: Well, it wouldn’t be a double standard then, but it would still be offensive.
Medved: Imagine the reaction to a comparable show about Muhammad. If there were a show that targeted Jews like this, it would be huge.
Q for Medved: A lot of anti-Christian sentiment shows up in cartoons. Is this aimed at going after children?
Medved: It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a consensus. 83% of people describe themselves as Christians; but those people are profoundly under represented amongst people who craft our entertainment.
Q for Brent & Medved: Suppose you get your own way and Comedy Central pulls the show. How far should we go?
Bozell: I think there’s room for good natured comedy about religion. Showing Jesus defecating on George Bush isn’t funny.
Lapin: I don’t think all religions are equal. Christianity has created this crucible of civilization in America and they are treated worse than any other religion.
Donohue: Criticism of religions is fine, but Christians and Catholics get it non-stop. When in doubt, let it go. But, we need to show a reaction.
Medved: People who know American culture, know anti-Catholicism has been ugly in this country before. Now, the only kind of open religious bigotry that is sanctioned is anti-Catholic bigotry. It should be a concern to all people of good will.
Q for Winter and Bozell: Do you believe that you can keep this show off the air by hitting advertisers?
Bozell: The Reagans and a show Fox had in development, that had a girl masturbating on a horse — those were pulled. So, it has happened.
Q for Bozell: There seems to be a disconnect in Hollywood from their viewers.
Bozell: Everything is niche marketing today. You can go for extremes and capture a small percentage of people and be successful. They may be saying, 99% will hate it, but 1% will like it and we’ll do well.
Perkins: I think this is evidence that Hollywood has gone beyond reflecting America to recreating America in its own image.
Medved: As free marketers, we believe in the pursuit of profit. But, we also believe in having certain lines you don’t cross. Is there anything these people think should be off limits? Well, the answer is yes. Muhammad is off limits. What’s their standard? If someone threatens to blow you up, you won’t do it? That’s pathetic.
Q for Donohue: Isn’t Comedy Central just trying to push your buttons?
Donohue: Yes. We have artists that call the Catholic League and say, “Look at our offensive art.” If it’s small time, I don’t bother. But, if it’s big, we have to stand up. If we won’t, then we need to go home.
Q from me to Tony Perkins & Bill Donohue: In Europe, for example, Islam seems to be rapidly growing in areas that seem to be almost post-Christian. I think one of the reasons that may be is because, extreme or not, Muslims come across as being fervent about what they believe while Christians too often, unfortunately, come across as lukewarm about what they believe. Tony, you mentioned people mistaking tolerance for weakness. Do you think Christians have simply let too much pass in the name of not rocking the boat? Should we be doing a lot MORE of things like this?
Donohue: The mass begins by asking whether we’ve offended anyone is the past week. Turning the other cheek is fine, but we shouldn’t be a pinata. Violence is off the table, but I do think we need to teach Catholics, Christians, and Jews that an attack on one is an attack on all. If they had a gay bashing cartoon on Comedy Central, I would protest that. You’ve got to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s not aimed at you. The left-wing Catholics don’t care much about this stuff.
Perkins: Christianity has a foundation of truth in love, not in violence. I don’t think there’s any fear of violence from Christians or riots in the streets over this. I think we have because callous to come to this point. But, I think it’s reaching a point that there is an awareness that this is reaching a dangerous point. There’s an effort to marginalize Christians and target children. We are reaching a turning point and I do think the time has come to address these issues.
Medved: I think we all have to be very careful to judge the intentions of the people in this show. We don’t have to go there. What if this is done in a funny, well natured way — it can’t be. The premise of this show makes it impossible to do it tastefully.
Q to everyone: Has Comedy Central talked to any of you?
Donohue: I have talked to them. I get told ”artistic freedom.”
Q from Hot Air for Bozell: If you’re going to advertisers and pressuring them, isn’t it a threat of a boycott?
Bozell: Our message to advertisers is: Don’t sponsor this. We haven’t threatened to boycott if they do.
(At this point, the teleconference was still going on, but we were an hour and fifteen minutes in and that’s a little past my deadline on teleconferences.)