March 14, 2006

A Sudden Case of Religious Sensitivity

I heard about this yesterday and found the statements pretty interesting ...

Singer Isaac Hayes is to stop providing the voice for a character in cartoon South Park because he objects to its "inappropriate ridicule" of religion. Hayes, 63, who is the voice of the lustful Chef, has been a regular on the show since its US TV debut in 1997.

But co-creator Matt Stone said Hayes had "never had a problem" until the Scientology Church, to which Hayes belongs, was parodied. The show was insensitive to "personal spiritual beliefs", said Hayes.

"There is a place in this world for satire but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs begins," he said.

Co-creator Stone said Hayes would be released from his contract and had the best wishes of the South Park team. Stone said: "In 10 years and over 150 episodes of South Park, Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim, Mormons or Jews.

"He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show."

I have to say the episode that most likely prompted this was hilarious (if a bit unkind,) and South Park is rarely ‘sensitive’ so I’m not sure what Isaac was smoking. Matt is exactly right, he’s being hypocritical.

The episode was very critical of Scientology but how it was guilty of ‘intolerance and bigotry’ I’m not sure. Why should the creators of South Park be ‘sensitive’ to some thing they don’t believe? As Christians we should be sensitive, and not engage in bigotry (that sure doesn’t mean we can’t disagree,) but the creators of South Park can’t be held the to same standard.

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