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Comedy Central Shows Religious Sensitivity ... on South Park?

A recent episode of the Comedy Central cartoon South Park was run with the disclaimer ‘Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammad on their network’ shortly before the Prophet was scheduled to make a cameo. The same episode featured an image of Jesus defecating on the President. A Comedy Central spokesman has confirmed that the network censored the image, and that the show’s creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, intended Mohammad to be shown in the episode, although there are rumors swirling around the blogosphere that the entire controversy has been staged.

This is the second conflict between Parker and Stone and Comedy Central over the issue of religion on South Park this year. Previously the network refused to rerun the now-infamous episode that mocked Scientology and caused Isaac Hayes, a Scientologist who voiced the Chef character on the show, to resign in protest.

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If this was indeed not a staged event, then it was certainly not an example of religious sensitivity, but fear. The destructive Muslim protests over the cartoon images of Mohammed have effectively cowed the ‘artistic’ community into submission. In effect, the message is loud and clear – violence gets results. All the while, the South Park staff impudently assails the figure of Jesus Christ here in the holiest week of the Christian calendar, despite the fact that a sizable portion of America believe Him to be none other than God Himself. Yet that is easily overlooked because Christians will not riot nor will they kill anyone over the show. But Muslims across an ocean throw fits and the entire world takes cover, despite the fact that most Americans believe him to be nothing more than an imaginative desert raider of bygone years.

So what am I too learn from this little episode? It seems that American has developed an unhealthy hatred for its own traditions, beliefs and values. Furthermore, Comedy Central has taught me that violence and unrestrained agitation are the only means to affect tangible ends and that this particular media outlet believes in its right of free speech insofar as it will not cause too much tumult. Apparently I should learn that civility goes unrewarded, but violent force yields everything. Observe as we sink back into barbarism.

Our First Amendment Right to Free Speech is in it’s twilight, and we’ve only ourselves to blame. We’ve been chipping away at the altar of Free Speech for years now, using the hammer of Political Correctness and the chisel of Sensitivity, and now those tools are being used against us as weapons. When the whole Danish Cartoon brouhaha broke out, every major media outlet in America refused to show the Dreaded Cartoons of Blasphemy- out of "sensitivity", they said. Yeah, I’m sure our Muslim friends interpreted the blackout as "sensitive" and not "fearful". Not one major media outlet in America stood up for Free Speech. Not one. Even our own government timidly said they "understood" why those cartoons were offensive. Now, even South Park has been castrated by the very network that it has put on the map.

For years Christians have had to suffer the slings and arrows of people who have criticized, and derogated and blasphemed against their religion, and always the response to their indignation is "freedom of speech." So it was. But from here on out, anyone who degrades or defames my religion to the exclusion of all others (especially Islam), who claims Christianity is a plague on mankind, is evil and vile and dangerous- I call you a coward and a liar. I call you a low, stinking bully, who only picks on those who you know are easy targets. At the very least, the South Park creators take shots at everybody and don’t play favorites. To those who sneer about those Self-Righteous Christians but say nothing about anybody else, STFU. STFU until you grow the cajones to produce Piss Mohammad, or write the next thriller about discovering the "truth" about Islam’s greatest secrets, or make a brand of jeans displaying a backwards facing crescent, or a prime time TV show about an Imam who talks to a "young, hip" Prophet while having several pill-popping wives, slutty daughters and gay sons. Until you have the guts to do any of those things, you can kindly shut up about my religion.

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Official Reply by LordDilly

Comedy Central’s form letter explaining their decision to censor South Park:

Dear Viewer,

Thank you for your correspondence regarding the “South Park” episodes entitled “Cartoon Wars.” We appreciate your concerns about censorship and the destructive influence of outside groups on the media, entertainment industry and particularly Comedy Central. To reiterate, as satirists, we believe that it is our First Amendment right to poke fun at any and all people, groups, organizations and religions and we will continue to defend that right. Our goal is to make people laugh and perhaps, if we’re lucky, even make them think in the process. Comedy Central’s belief in the First Amendment has not wavered, despite our decision not to air an image of Muhammad. Our decision was made not to mute the voices of Trey and Matt or because we value one religion over any other. This decision was based solely on concern for public safety in light of recent world events. With the power of freedom of speech and expression also comes the obligation to use that power in a responsible way. Much as we wish it weren’t the case, times have changed and, as witnessed by the intense and deadly reaction to the publication of the Danish cartoons, decisions cannot be made in a vacuum without considering what impact they may have on innocent individuals around the globe. It was with this in mind we decided not to air the image of Muhammad, a decision similar to that made by virtually every single media outlet across the country earlier this year when they each determined that it was not prudent or in the interest of safety to reproduce the controversial Danish cartoons. Injuries occurred and lives were lost in the riots set off by the original publication of these cartoons. The American media made a decision then, as we did now, not to put the safety and well being of the public at risk, here or abroad. As a viewer of “South Park,” you know that over the course of ten seasons and almost 150 episodes the series has addressed all types of sensitive, hot-button issues, religious and political, and has done so with Comedy Central’s full support in every instance, including this one. “Cartoon Wars” contained a very important message, one that Trey and Matt felt strongly about, as did we at the network, which is why we gave them carte blanche in every facet but one: we would not broadcast a portrayal of Muhammad. In that regard, did we censor the show? Yes, we did. But if you hold Comedy Central’s 15-year track record up against any other network out there, you’ll find that we afford our talent the most creative freedom and provide a nurturing atmosphere that challenges them to be bold and daring and places them in a position to constantly break barriers and push the envelope. The result has been some of the most provocative television ever produced. We would like nothing more than to be able to look back at this in a few years and think that perhaps we overreacted. Unfortunately, to have made a different decision and to look back and see that we completely underestimated the damage that resulted was a risk we were not willing to take. Our pledge to you, our loyal viewers, is that Comedy Central will continue to produce and provide the best comedy available and we will continue to push it right to the edge, using and defending the First Amendment in the most responsible way we know how. Sincerely, Comedy Central Viewer Services

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