You may have noticed recently a few (hundred thousand) Muslims rioting over some cartoons published in a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Muhammed modelling a very fashionable turban with a bomb in it. If you don't know about these cartoons I'll publish one on this blog as soon as my life insurance is sorted out.
Anyhoo, there was mass outrage in Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, Utzbekistan, Indonesia, and some other places that may or may not end in 'stan. Over 100 people were killed, flags and embassies torched (Danish embassies, I presume, although I'm sure a few American ones were burned for good measure because they were on the way). Someone even torched an effigy of Ronald McDonald. Scary stuff. I didn't know Ronald was Danish.
This all happened because imagery of the Profit Muhammed is forbidden in Islam, apparently. This doesn't explain the problem, however, because the people who did the cartoons weren't Muslims. So it isn't forbidden for them.
However, that's some impressive devotion. No pickies allowed of Mo, even though he presumably had a face. Does this mean nobody is allowed to mention the thing about him marrying a 9 year old girl? Even though it happened?
Muslims have been painting pictures of Mo for around 1400 years, ever since he rode the back of a mythical beast from Mecca to Jerusalem at supersonic speed and stood atop a temple that wasn't there at the time. Here's one that was done in Italy. At the time, there were no reports of any plastic clowns being mutilated:
The Danish cartoons were actually published four months before the riots. The Saudi government drew worldwide attention to them, for some reason, shortly after a stampede in Mecca killed over 400 pilgrims. Not far from where some schoolgirls were killed in a school fire in 2002 when they weren't allowed out of the burning building because they weren't wearing the correct virtuous headgear. Not far from where they hold frequent public beheadings if they spring someone listening to music or any other hideous wrongdoing like that.
But back to more important things- the cartoons. Once the rest of the Muslim world found out about them (having not actually seen them), predictably, there was hellfire to pay.
No, tell us how you really feel
Here in Australia, naturally, Muslim leaders condemned the violence. For about three seconds. Then they spent weeks telling us how unfair and disrespectful that these blasphemous cartoons were, and how they will encourage people to stigmatise Muslims, terrorists are only acting out of frustration, etc....something about Israel, etc..etc...
Ah yes, of course. Like when you abuse a child, the trick is to convince them that it's actually their fault.
So I decided to investigate those incidents of violent protests every time someone uses Jesus Christ's name as an expletive on telly, or when stand up comedians ridicule Christian worshippers, or the endless array of slanderous Christian stereotypes in popular culture, or the use of "controversial" theories about Jesus (meaning incorrect, but great for publicity) by unremarkable authors to help kick start their ordinary careers. Yikes, the Da Vinci Code movie is coming out soon. No doubt there are plans to assasinate Tom Hanks and blow up some cinemas. Which would be a pity. I really liked him in Castaway. And I may never find out if the movie will have a slightly clearer ending than the book.
Tom Hanks looking like Charlton Heston looking like Moses
Surely there are some nightly beatings outside the Adelaide theatre performing the play based on Peter Goldworthy's rather cleverly crafted 1993 book Honk if you are Jesus. It contains some juicy God-botherer stereotypes, as well as some weird but interesting ideas (would cloning Jesus be wrong?!) The author said "everybody should trash religion now and then". Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. How true. Hang on...all religions, or just the ones that don't bully you?
Even Neighbours have stepped over the line, depicting dear old pacifist Harold becoming homicidally violent after noticing some bits in his Bible about death and fighting. I asked Grundy and Network Ten how many death threats they'd received. They said none, but they did get congratulated "for dealing with this important and controversial issue". Indeed. Let's face it, when it comes to religious extremism, there is no greater problem in the world than an old fat Salvo with a Bible and a highlighter pen.
(Or so Sharon told me. I don't watch Neighbours)
A Salvo Arabian
And remember the mass violence following Serrano's famous "Piss Christ" exhibition? No? That might be because there wasn't any.
So what is it with these Christians?? No Molatov cocktails through windows, no waving crucifixes chanting "death to non believers", "death to America" and "Death to Israel" (wha..?there's that Israel thing again). No burning embassies or plastic clowns. And you'd think, since Christians never have sex or watch TV, they'd be itching to volunteer for some suicide missions.
However, nobody has picked on the Pope since he pimped up his ride
Okay, I did recently see a couple of "Jews for Christ" outside a brothel*, attempting to have civilised conversations with some of the perve, er, patrons. The media reported it as religious fundies violently terrorizing and harrassing respectable patrons of a popular Melbourne Gentleman's Club. But this was pure flattery. There were no fatal beatings.
Then there was that very pornographic billboard for a Geelong brothel recently. The response should have been loud, scary, traffic-stopping mass Jesus-freak hysteria and demands on the government to pass laws that women must wear tents. But what did the local church groups do? They wrote a few letters. Pathetic.
Sigh. So much blasphemy, so little time. I am feeling a little stigma myself. I've been stigmatised. I am a stig-martyr.
So there you go. White men can't jump. Women can't read maps. Christians can't protest.
Well, I for one am outraged by this lack of outrage. I was all raring to go, clad in my balaclava, sporting rocks, matches, bottles of 180 proof, weilding placards with poorly-spelt slogans like "Death to...(insert enemy's name here)", itching to beat up some artists and authors, and burn a few plastic clowns. A terrorist without a cause. But I ring up the local Baptist union and they tell me they haven't made any plans but they'll be sure to let me know.
So, does the world only start paying attention to your "cause" when you start lopping bits off people? If you're gracious and forgiving about bad stuff, will people just keep doing it?
Really, say what you think about what you like. Say that Jesus wasn't God because you read a conspiracy book. Say that he was gay, an alien, or a little black duck who was killed and eaten for Sunday roast. Make movies suggesting I have been suckered by a worldwide conspiracy. Draw pictures of Jesus covered in urine. Go for it. The worst I will do is dislike, disagree, or debate. But I will not bully you out of having the freedom to say it. I rather like that freedom.
*No I wasn't actually at a brothel. I read about it. Really.