Sunday, August 03, 2008

Nice Try

Picture this: some loser with a cable TV show dares a friend to fly a "Mohammed sucks" banner behind an airplane over a densely populated city just to see how offended people get.

Based on the reactions you've seen in the news to previous offensive actions against Islam, can you predict how many human rights complaints will be filed against the pilot, the cable show host, and the network on which it aired?

Too many to count, I'm sure.

OK, you've got me: this never happened (or if it did somewhere, I've yet to learn of it).

But this did happen:

So Vancouver resident and Christian believer Dean Skoryeko has filed a human rights complaint. It all started with TV shock-jocks Kenneth Hotz and Spencer Rice, of the idiotic "Kenny vs. Spenny" show. The show's format has them compete against each other in various stupid contests weekly, like who can endure the most electricity, or who can light the most blue angels. In this particular installment, the contest was to offend the most people.

Here's the funny part.

Originally, Hotz wanted to fly a banner saying "Heil Hitler," or more tamely, "Guys are stupid." But the airplane owners thought that was crossing a line and refused. "Jesus sucks" is, as you know, far less offensive. Especially when the airplane company buys the lie that he was actually talking about his Hispanic friend hay-ZOOS. And when asked how he would respond to a Christian actually taking offense, Hotz put on his theology professor's cap:

I think that Christians have been persecuted throughout history and they’re very good at defending themselves and a true Christian would turn the other cheek. I’ve studied the Bible a lot, I’ve done religious studies. So, I think for true Christians, it would only increase their faith.
But wait, wait... it gets funnier.

Hotz clearly states that the goal of this week's episode is to see "who can piss off the most people." But when the National Post blogger (ibid) started to turn up the heat, Hotz said, " I really hope nobody takes offense." That almost sounds like remorse.

But I'm not offended. Like Hotz says, Christians are used to this kind of stuff; Jesus himself promised us it would happen, and told us to rejoice in it. Pardon me while I have a flashback to junior high... OK, I'm done.

The point Skoryeko is making with his human rights complaint is that "that the human-rights system applies double standards, favouring only minority interests." Blogger Ezra Levant, no stranger to being pulled in front of the human rights commissions himself, theorizes:

...he wants his case to be thrown out, so that he can prove what we all know to be true. In Canada's human rights industry, only certain political and religious views are protected from hurt feelings -- and Christians aren't one of them.

It's not even like insulting Jesus is daring anymore. It's like trying to insult somebody by saying, "Your mother wears army boots." We Christians have become so desensitized to sacrilege in our society that we're rather numb to it, unless it's really creative.

And even then, I won't dispute the right of people to damn themselves to Hell if they so choose. It breaks my heart to see it though. When I see slogans like "My body, my choice" spray-painted on a memorial to the unborn outside a church, I feel saddened for the poor, hurt soul who was so out of touch with her pain that she lashed out in anger at the one place to which she could turn for genuine help. But I can't change how she feels; that's a job for the Holy Spirit.

The proper response of the Christian in the face of scorn or persecution is to pray for our tormentors. But that requires a heart filled with God's love. To receive his love, we must open ourselves up to his grace and drink him in (easy to say, hard to do).

So while I empathize with Mr. Skoryeko and fully understand why he'd want to make this point about Canada's human rights abuses, the better response would be to pray for Kenny and Spenny. Remember:

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.


  1. Dear Doogie: I agree; praying for this type of person is a proper Christian response. But praying is only part of a proper Christian response. The instructions contained in Matthew 18:15-17 are also part of a proper Christian response. Would you not agree?

  2. How did Jesus treat the pagans and tax collectors? He invited them to follow him; he interceded in their lives.

    He's hardly advocating hating them or suing them. He places them outside the kingdom, to be re-evangelized. This passage you quote is instructions for a "brother" who sins against you and refuses repentance. It's like excommunication today, which is not a punishment but an act of mercy, and a clear call to restoration with the body of believers.

  3. With anon, I think we need to do both, pray and speak out (respectfully). Just as we need to do the truth with charity (variously translated speak the truth in love). I've been thinking a LOT about this lately, how real love, real mind you not pie the sky come on people now, everybody get together love is not somehow devoid of truth. The hard part is that means both inside the Church and out there in the public sector.

    Great post, thanks for encouraging thinking.


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