Saturday, October 25, 2008

God doesn't have a sense of humor apparently.

They say emulation is the highest form of flattery, but apparently impersonation is in bad taste ... especially if it´s of imaginary characters. In an article reported by The Seattle Times three days ago, a DJ named Revin John was fired from his job for a sketch released over Virgin Radio Dubai in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates. According to the article:

The Arabian Radio Network said in a statement Revin John had been "let go" over a sketch Monday on Virgin Radio Dubai in which he quoted an article about a U.S. court throwing out a lawsuit against God.

John then pretended to act out a telephone conversation with God, prompting complaints from listeners of "diverse faiths and nationalities," said a statement written in reponse to questions from The Associated Press.

"He intended to be funny, not to offend anybody," said Arabian Radio Network Chief Operating Officer Steve Smith. "However, what he did was highly offensive to the Muslim and Christian community in the UAE."

Apparently impersonating fictitious characters is only allowed if you're doing a sketch on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, pink unicorns, etc. In fact, I don't believe equal opportunity is shown to all deities here - I wonder: if he impersonated Zeus, Ra, or Quetzalcoatl would he have been fired? I reckon all gods are not created equal.

Mariam Zarouni, a 20-year-old chemical engineering student at the American University of Sharjah, said she was so offended by John's comments that she formed a group to protest the incident on the social networking Web site Facebook. It had 569 members by Wednesday evening.

"When somebody crosses the line, then you have to defend your religion," Zarouni said. "Honestly ... how can he do this? We're in a Muslim county. But even Christians would take offense to that. You can't insult God."

First off, when you create a facebook group, if you have less than 1,000 members you can hardly call yourself 'protest' group. A group on facebook called "Gay Marriage Killed the Dinosaurs" has almost 40,000 members. Secondly, if a 20-year-old chemical engineering student has time to be offended, she's not studying hard enough.

My favorite comment is "You can't insult God." Really? REALLY? To begin with, I was not aware that impersonation was in fact necessarily an insult. I figured that if we really wanted to insult god, it would take the form of, "Hey, god, your mom is so ugly, when she goes to the beach, cats try to bury her." No? Not appropriate? How about, "Hey god, while you were out last night killing all the first born, smiting the gentiles, and cutting the foreskin off of other babes, I was banging your wife." You're right. That's over the top. I'm gay, so I would probably bang god's husband, not his wife ... only if he was hot ... who I'm kidding, he's married to god, of course he's gonna be hot ... and probably a catcher, not a pitcher. After all, god is supposed to be omnipotent, that's got to come in handy sometimes.

I'm lucky enough to live in a country that truly believes in free speech. And I intend to practice that right until the day I die. There is no such thing as blasphemy. No topic should be off limits. When we decide that some things can't be said, that some things should never be discussed, we lose our freedom of speech and begin sliding down a slippery slope to fascism. When we make topics off-limits and cut ourselves off from free scientific inquiry, we end up with periods of history called the dark ages ... just ask the victims of the medieval inquisition or the salem witch trials.

And for any of you who may think that my views as an atheist are offensive, just remember what the people can do to a man or woman with a dissenting opinion. I'm sure you've learned about the holocaust at some point in your life ... the holocaust was a horrible, horrible stain on human history and I hope that it is not repeated, especially on that scale. Unfortunately there are people in this world who deny that the holocaust ever happened ... sick bastards. I bet you don't like their views either, just like me. But what should we do about it? Should we educate others about the truth? Should we oppose them in open public debate? Should we arrest and put in jail those people who claim the holocaust never happened? Right now, on October 25th, 2008, holocaust denial is explicitly or implicitly illegal in 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland.

Does that scare you? I mean, I whole-heartedly disagree with flat-earthists and creationists but I would never promote legislation that would INCARCERATE them. Being free means you have the freedom to be smart AND stupid.

Don't forget that.

On a final note, Dubai is supposed to be the most liberal of the seven UAE states. The age of enlightenment began almost 400 years ago. Will it be another 400 hundred before the rest of the world catches up? 1000? The answer is up to us.


1 comment:

flixthecat85 said...

hey matthew! it's been a while since we last chatted...but wanted to say that from a Christian perspective, I totally agree with you. If you can be offended by a comment like that, you don't have much faith in your God. weak. i mean, seriously.