Christian Experts: Conan O'Brien's Homophobic Singer No Shocker

WASHINGTON – Christian leaders were dismayed last week to hear the lyrics of Conan O’Brien’s “homophobic country western singer,” but said they were not shocked.

“It is not shocking when non-believers don’t understand Christian or religious themes,” said Michael Cromartie, vice president at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, to The Christian Post on Saturday. “They are mostly baffled by anybody religious so they make fun of what they don’t understand.”

A skit aired on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” on Thursday featuring a character called “the homophobic country western singer.”

The character sang: “Oh I love you Jesus, but only as a friend. You touched my heart but I hope that’s where the touchin’ ends. You’re always lookin’ over me, when I need a higher power. But you better look at somethin’ else, when I’m in the shower.”

Faith McDonnell, director of religious liberty programs at The Institute on Religion & Democracy, was also not shocked upon hearing about the homophobic singer because incidents on television mocking Christianity and Jesus are a “familiar situation” now, she said.

In December, actor Charlie Sheen on CBS’s Two and a Half Men changed the lyrics of Christian Christmas carols to include sexual activities.

A few month’s earlier, Rosie O’Donnell, co-host of ABC’s The View, had made remarks comparing “radical Christianity” to radical Islam.

Cromartie noted that sometimes “sadly” Christians give reason for non-believers to call them intolerant and depict them as homophobic, as in the Conan O’Brien’s country western singer character.

“Those kind of people are out there but in the minority,” commented Cromartie, who is also vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). He gave as example a “church” that holds up signs around the country that reads, “God hates fags.”

IRD’s McDonnell, although not shocked by the most recent incident, found the homophobic singer offensive. She disagrees with some of the skits supporters who argue that it was just a “joke” and that God and Christians should have a sense of humor.

“God has a sense of humor but not about Jesus being a homosexual – and that is the inference in the song,” responded McDonnell in an interview. “It would be one thing if it is just making fun of Christians, but to say such a dishonorable thing about the Lord Jesus Christ is beyond the pale.”

The director of religious liberty programs at the Washington-based institute said that she personally enjoys the British comedy Monty Python which gets “pretty raunchy and makes fun of Christian people,” but she emphasized that there is a difference between making fun of Christian people and mocking Christ in “such a polar opposite way to what we believe in the Lord.”

“I believe in free speech and I believe if they want to do these things let them do them,” concluded McDonnell. “But we are going to respond with our disapproval."