24 May 2006

Those Poor, Defamed Catholics

Note from the LuapHacim, 11/14/2012: The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect my current beliefs and convictions. Even if they do, I would almost certainly express them in different words today. Time changes people, and I am not exempt. Nonetheless, because of its historical value, I will not modify or remove this post. It tells you (and me) something important about where I've been. Read on at your own peril.

An Op-Ed in the New York Daily News laments the plight of that historic underdog, the Roman Catholic Church:
The bias against Catholicism is palpable. No other segment of society is continuously the target of vicious jokes by the likes of Penn Jillette or Bill Maher. No other segment of society is subjected to the obscene assaults like those "South Park" delivers over and over again. And no other segment of society is routinely held up to derision on college campuses.
I beg to differ: I would argue that Scientology is at least as hated as Catholicism -- perhaps more hated!

Seriously, how can anyone argue that an economic and political engine like the Roman Catholic Church is being oppressed by free speech in the form of artistic expression? The columnist cites other examples of "oppression," including Madonna's new show that involves a mirrored cross and a crown of thorns, Kanye West's Rolling Stone cover in which he used Christ iconography, and The DaVinci Code. Yes, apparently the entire book.

There are several problems with these claims.

First, a socioeconomic organ as influential as the RCC should not be surprised if it provokes imitation and mockery, especially if the mockery has a basis in actual institutional problems.

Second, the RCC does not have a monopoly on Jesus. I believe in the historical Jesus, and I'm not an adherent of the Pope. I don't really have much of a problem with any of these depictions of Christ or Christianity because I recognize them as just that... depictions. I would even argue that there is value in them and that the church should pay closer attention to how their message is coming across to people outside the faith.

To say that Catholicism is being oppressed is like saying that modern masculinity is being stifled -- it's simply untrue.

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