Are Jokes About Religion A Sin?
Let’s be honest, Pete Davidson’s recent SNL joke comparing R Kelly and the Catholic Church was as obvious as it was funny -but more importantly it was dead-on-the-nose accurate. The same can’t be said for all of Davidson’s material particularly some of his recent missteps where he joked about a war veteran’s eye patch.
This brings us to an important distinction between what was said about the Church and the use of stereotypes for dog whistle politics. Following Davidson’s appearance the Catholic Church, sensing the opportunity to play the victim for once, immediately issued a statement condemning the jokes as dangerous and disrespectful.
In most cases this would be a fair criticism if it were not for the fact that the links between the Catholic Church and child abuse are well known. Also unlike the dangerous stereotypes that link a persons race or gender to some perceived personality trait, nobody is born a Catholic (or any other religion), they choose to join that community and in so doing tacitly admit some affinity with it’s stereotypical behaviour.
On the other hand when people make jokes based on sexuality, race, nationality or gender they are doing it to perpetuate a societal myth that exists solely to oppress a marginal group. Nobody can choose to be black, homosexual or transgender and as a result it’s impossible to escape the oppression. If on the other hand someone is uncomfortable with a joke about their religion because it plays on widely-held truths about their church then it is probably best that they just ignore the joke, or better still reconsider their membership of that organisation.
Any thoughts? Leave a comment below…