Can you imagine a television program airing in America that portrayed Muhammad as a foul-mouthed pothead? Given that earlier this year ABC canceled Alice in Arabia—a show about an Arab-American who goes to live with her grandparents in Saudi Arabia—because CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) complained that the show relied on stereotypes of Muslims, it seems highly unlikely. Yet Black Jesus –the latest reminder that Christianity is the only major religion it is universally permissible to denigrate—began airing August 7 on Adult Swim.
Why did this show make it past the network censors while a similar show about Muhammad never would have? Probably for the same reason P*ss Christ—a 1987 photograph of a crucifix submerged in the "artist's" urine—was exhibited in the Stux Gallery in New York and won an award for visual arts from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. And the same reason Madonna could perform her single Live to Tell wearing a crown of thorns while suspended from a giant cross. In America, mocking Christianity has gone from being considered a sign of poor taste to the mark of artistic courage.
Although Megan Kelly was nearly "crucified" for affirming that Jesus was white, this series takes the issue of Jesus' ethnicity to the point of absurdity. Black Jesus began as a series of shorter skits on YouTube, where its antics fit well with the millions of hours of similarly amateurish material. The show has one joke: a black man in Compton dresses in robes suitable for a middle school play and calls himself Jesus. He's a nice enough guy, but he spends his days drinking forties, smoking joints, and dropping the f-bomb. And if you don't think that's just hilarious, then according to Robert Lloyd of the Chicago Tribune, you are an uptight religious fanatic who needs to relax. Lloyd writes: more >>
I recently had an exchange with a Duke Divinity School student regarding many of things I've written at the Acton Institute over the past 12 years. The student said this about me:
When it comes to speaking comfort to power and castigating the most vulnerable in our society, there is perhaps no public theological voice more eager than that of Anthony Bradley's. His body of work is a textbook in blaming the victim and reducing problems to pathology.
Not only had the student actually not read most of the things that I have written but the comment exposes something that Jonathan Haidt explains well that I've talked about before: ideological "tribalism." more >>
A Satanic group that is scheduled to perform a "black mass" in Oklahoma City next month has returned some consecrated communion bread to the Catholic Church.
Last week, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City filed a lawsuit against the group, claiming that their acquisition of the Eucharist could have only been via theft.
Filed Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court, the lawsuit described the host as being the product of only the "sacred ritual" of Catholic mass and consecrated by an "ordained priest." more >>
There is a myth of church success in America that says, "The bigger the building, the bigger the budget, the bigger the attendance, the more successful you are."
In the sight of man, this might equal success, but in the sight of God, it might have nothing to do with success. In fact, it might simply be the beautiful façade hiding all kinds of spiritual rot and decay.
To be clear, I have had the privilege of preaching in some of the finest mega-churches in America, replete with large buildings, big budgets, and multiplied thousands of attendees. And I can personally attest to the fact that some of these churches are healthy in many ways: focused on Jesus, reaching the lost, making disciples, and giving themselves to prayer. more >>
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions." – 2 Timothy 4:3
Dear false prophets, false teachers and Christian apostates of every stripe:
We've all heard this phrase: "You know who you are!" It's an expression typically levied in the context of some corrective admonition, intended for some person or persons, busy about some misbehavior. While sent via certified mail, this is one of those rare open letters to whom the preponderance of intended recipients have, somehow, managed to convince themselves, and one another, that they're not even home. Most of you decidedly do not know who you are. You're living on Deception Lane. more >>
Christian couples should marry sooner, an ethicist and a pastor with the largest Protestant denomination in the United States argue.
Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Jon Akin, senior pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, made the argument in a column for the Baptist Press earlier this week. While not advocating a specific age for marriage and noting the diverse situations for people, young people should still look toward marriage sooner, they said.
"We do not advocate a specific age; rather, we believe that young people should make themselves 'marry-able' younger," wrote Walker and Akin. more >>