Mockery & Impiety: Artistic Tools, or Unfair Offenses?
- Monday, April 11, 2011
Mocking the mocked seems cowardly and mean.
Safe to say mocking Mormons will cost a theater very little outside of very select regions.
When Broadway revels in impiety and offending Mormons, this disturbs me. It does not disturb me in exactly the same way as if a play mocked my own beliefs, but it breaks the Golden Rule. If I give blasphemy against Mormonism an easy personal pass, then I am not doing to another faithful man what I would have him to do to me.
Surely in a multi-religious society, this failure of the Golden Rule is dangerous.
It is also dishonoring to my Mormon friends if I ignore their pain. Why do I want to laugh at their cherished beliefs, even ones I think wrong? It is mockery that will not help them reconsider and will only harden them against my own views. God help me, but from Conan Doyle to this new play, they have been unfairly lampooned at every corner.
I would not use any stick to beat a dog and only a wicked man would use any rhetorical stick to beat on a neighbor with whom he had disagreements.
I am told this play, The Book of Mormon, is “affectionate” while blasphemous and brilliantly witty. The very name, however, rankles. My assumption will be that this is true, but in a society overrun with impiety, mockery, and sarcasm I find no need to fill my soul with more.
Even the Pythons seem less funny now, because when Disney films roll-the-eyes at the audience, we don’t need much more of their humor.
And so I protest this play, I hope it fails, though I suspect it will not. I protest the easy cursing and misuse of God’s name in spaces I cannot avoid. Freedom of speech, which I will grant any other man, also gives me the right to be offended.
Lord Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on me a sinner.
John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Professor of Philosophy at Biola University. In 1996 he received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester. John Mark Reynolds can be found blogging regularly at Scriptorium Daily.
Publication date: April 11, 2011
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