Comedy Central's Prophet Experiments

Good comedy is clever. Comedy Central is very clever in both the idea and timing of the development of their new cartoon series JC. In a new show they plan to feature an insecure, bug-eyed Jesus fumbling through New York while evading his gamer-boy father.

Last month there was such an outcry against a depiction of Mohammed in an episode of South Park, they decided it was less hassle to clean up the episode than clean up after a bombing.

Maybe Comedy Central doesn't really mind bombs. Perhaps it is all an ingenious psychological experiment in cahoots with the sociology department of some Ivy League University. Having proven Muslim activists' devotion to one prophet, they are now testing to see how consistent they are to the teaching of their faith.

If you have spent much time talking to Muslims, you will doubtless have heard, "We respect all the prophets, we must as Muslims. We make no distinction between them." This is sound Islamic theology. The next to last verse of the second and longest sura of the Koran instructs them so.

Having called their bluff, could it be that Comedy Central has no intention of airing JC? They are simply waiting for the next outraged Muslim bomb threat before they cancel it?

If the JC after Mohammed sequence is not a grand experiment, it must be that Comedy Central is showing the East how we in the West live. Most of us would predict that the Christian Right will complain over the caricature of their "Savior", but it goes without saying that their leadership will not call for violence.

Ah, what a grand idea! In our quest for a better society, one which combines the double greatness of the East and West, for once, maybe the East might learn from the West.

We have freedom of speech. We have freedom of religion. But we do not have the right to enforce our worldview by threats and violence. Nor do we see this as civilized. Entities like Comedy Central may cave in under threats of violence, but in Western thinking, such threats splash back on the faces of those who speak them, and bring disrepute to their cause.