Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Here's an image that many Christians find offensive. It depicts the late Graham Chapman playing Brian, a spoof on our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the film Monty Python's Life of Brian. It is part of a long tradition of religious satire ranging from the doddery vicar in Dad's Army to Father Ted and the Vicar of Dibley. Christians, it seems, have always been considered fair game when it comes to humour.
Sadly, Chapman is now dead. I could go out on the streets waving a placard and calling for the other perpetrators of this image - Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and John Cleese - to be executed. But I'm not going to, because I happen to believe that the ability to poke fun at religion - or anything else - is an essential democratic freedom. And because even Christians need to be able to laugh at themselves.
February 7 update: Andrew Milloy has kindly sent me some more images which you would presumably never see in Arab newspapers. To view them, click here.