03 September, 2008

Blasphemy here, blasphemy there, blasphemy everywhere

I've noticed a rash of denunciations of blasphemy here, there, everywhere. The most recent include:

  • In Brazil, the bishops complained that a famous actress held a Rosary over her bare skin in a Playboy shoot. The issue subsequently sold out in newsstands across the country, despite the bishops' obtaining a court injunction against sale of the magazine.
  • In Italy, a rather ridiculous image of a crucified frog holding a beer mug has attracted negative attention from none other than His Holiness, Pope Benedict.
  • In Britain, a museum has placed on display an image of the crucified Christ who—how do I put this delicately—apparently took Viagra shortly before his arrest. In this case it isn't the bishops denouncing it (this is Britain after all) but an ordinary Christian who has pressed charges under the nation's laws against religious discrimination (this is Britain after all).
Look, guys, I'm on your side, so I mean this most sincerely. Don't you have better things to do?

Don't get me wrong. I find the Playboy shoot offensive, too, more because it's a Playboy shoot than because there's a rosary involved. The frog I don't find offensive, merely ridiculous.

I'm old and experienced enough to know that trying to ban things like this is only counterproductive. You may succeed at getting it removed (the frog has been taken off display, and the British lawsuit has a good chance of winning if I understand correctly) but is it really worth the ill will that you generate? And look what happened in Brazil to boot. How many times do we repeat this story before you use some imagination instead?

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