Media: 'Christians are fair game, but Muslims are sacred'

When it comes to religious mockery, attacks, and persecution, the media lives by a double standard: one group is fodder, the other is forbidden.

I noticed a story about various newspapers refusing to print a recent “Opus” comic strip because it poked fun at radical Islam.

See the controversial comic here.

According to the story, this same comic strip series poked fun at the late Jerry Falwell “without incident one week ago.” Allow me to simplify this: newspapers ran an Opus cartoon making fun of a Christian leader but refused to run one making fun of radical Islam. The logic: Christians are fair game, but Muslims are sacred.

This does not surprise me. It’s not uncommon for the secular world to mock Christians. Remember the controversial painting depicting Jesus in a jar of urine or the picture of Mary, mother of Jesus, covered in elephant feces? Christians cried out against these so-called peices of artwork and rightly so. Much of the world came to the defense of the artists claiming their freedom of expression.

As an American I cherish the constitutional right of artists to speak out using their art form. As a Christian I deplore the images of Christian figures, especially Jesus the Messiah, smothered in bodily waste products. So, how do I balance them? Simple. The artist has the right to express his or her views using their art form, but that does not mean that the piece respects others or makes its point in a decent manner. Further, those artists have the right to make those deplorable, disgusting pieces of so-called art, but that doesn’t mean the museums must display them.

What does this have to do with the cartoon and media hypocrisy? I believe the cartoonist had the right to make that cartoon. Furthermore, newspapers have the right to publish or not publish the cartoon. My difficulty is not with the refusal to publish the cartoon, but with the blatant hypocrisy and double standard in deciding what to publish and what not to publish.

The logic of the newspapers is this: it is permissible to mock Christians and their faith, but it is forbidden to mock Muslims and their faith. As I said, they believe Christianity is fair game, but Islam is sacred. If they claim not to believe this, then why do they practice it?

To say one religious group can be mocked and another cannot is to hold to a double standard. At this point, I can hear the shouts of those who may disagree with me.

  • It’s about respecting the Muslim faith, not unfair treatment. However, if refusing to run cartoons mocking Islam shows respect, doesn’t it show disrespect to run cartoons mocking Christianity?
  • We’re just practicing political correctness. However, is it politically correct to respect one faith and disrespect another?
  • You’re just offended because you’re a Christian. However, does that make it right to offend Christians while ensuring no Muslim is offended?
  • This isn’t about faith, it’s about decency. However, is it decent to ridicule one religion while mocking another?

When it comes to mocking Christianity, whether other faiths are mocked or not, it is not surprising that the secular world would oppose or even hate Christians. Jesus said:

Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. (John 15:20-21, NASB)

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. (John 3:19-21, NASB)

When Christianity is mocked by the world, we should have three responses:

  1. Remember the word of Christ.
  2. Pray for those people to come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
  3. Share the gospel with the world with more boldness.
About John L. Rothra
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