Monday, March 28, 2005

Surfin' USA

Posted by Hello

I mean, this is kinda funny. That's supposed to be Jesus, not John Kerry.

Nothing that I wouldn't have drawn in the margins of my copybook during religion class. I might have given it its own page. It's from a graphic novel (that means comics for adults) -type thingee that just earned its creator an arrest warrant from the European Union.

Yup. Here in the land of museums showing crucifixes in urine (you know) and calling such asininity art, arresting someone for such a thing would be so 17th century. We're so hip in the stodgy ol' US, it makes me puke sometimes. But Europe, which is far hipper than us, wants to nail this guy.

Now, in the old days, blasphemy was a real art form in Europe. Americans today don't even know what "cursing" is, and why it was considered so bad. The English used to swear by divine genitals, and an Italian friend once taught me how to call The Master of the Universe a pig. Now that's some imagination. But the fun might be over in the Old World.

I did get a few things out of religion class. (One of 'em was taught by Sister Miriam Paul. Nuns used to take male names, for reasons I don't want to think about. We just called her Gronk.)

Ironically, Jesus Himself, capital aitch, would not have been so upset about being mocked like this. In Matthew 16, He says,

"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come..."

The Son of Man is Jesus, of course. (Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing the works of God to the Devil, or some say, to man.)

The reason for the EU arrest order is purely political, making a test case of Jesus. But if He was OK with it, what's the problem?

The real worry in Europe is the interpretations of Islam that dictate a death sentence for blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed, ala Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. The title refers to a legend that Mohammed dictated some (discarded) verses of the Qur'an under the influence of you-know-who. Since Mohammed is seen as working under the influence of the Holy Spirit, well, see above.

Rushdie found himself on the receiving end of a religious decree calling for all good Muslims to do him in. He hid out for years, although these days he shows his face now and then.

The EU is trying to set a precedent, because their Muslim population is skyrocketing. What you can say and what you can't over there looks to be in for a major shakedown.

The United States has dealt with the problem of Jesus, at least: we decided we won't stop anyone from putting Him in pee, but it's probably a good idea that the government not contribute any money to help museums exhibit it.

In Europe, the erstwhile Mecca of Really Great Cursing, freedom of speech has been taken for granted. With its nascent EU and growing Muslim minority, it has just entered a new frontier.

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