US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Simpsons vs. Donohue: Who's gone too far?

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Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is protesting The Simpsons once again, and for once, I think he may be right that the show has gone too far.

In "Don't have a cow, mankind," a segment of this year's Halloween episode, Krusty The Clown introduces the "burger squared," made from cows that have been fed beef. When humans eat it, they become zombie cannibals. Bart, however, turns out to be immune and is declared the "chosen one." But when the Simpson family reaches the "safe zone," the guard declares that all they have to do is eat Bart to be safe. And that's when Marge says the offending line:  

"What kinds of civilized people eat the body and blood of their savior?"

When we polled our readers about humor and religion, 45% said jokes about the Eucharist are never funny. But even though a slight majority find room for humor in the Eucharist, depending on the context, this line lacks all subtlety. It's just not that funny.

Still, I'm not convinced that this is evidence of some grand conspiracy on the part of FOX and their liberal secularist friends against Catholicism. Donohue reacted with spite ("What kind of civilized people work at FOX?") to this little, dumb joke. See his guest post, filled with venom, at On Faith to see his stance on the culture wars.

John Gehring responded with a post at On Faith, asking the media not to turn to Donohue as the spokesman of Catholicism and describing the true "public expression" of faith: "comforting the sick, welcoming the strangers among us and seeking peace in a world torn by violence."

Instead of anger, perhaps a better response to a bad joke on the Simpsons would be to simply explain what taking the Eucharist does for us. It might not save me from zombies, but it does help me live like Christ with compassion for all.

ht to In Good Faith