Like most Christians, and like most sensible people, I would think, I cringed when I heard comedian Kathy Griffin say “Suck it, Jesus!”
Griffin’s statement was made during her Emmy Award acceptance speech. She was mocking those people who come up and thank Jesus (although I think they usually thank “God”) for their awards. She went on to say Jesus had nothing to do with her award, made the above statement, and added “this award is my god now!”
Some Christians have stated their offense. One group of Christian entertainers even took out a full-page ad decrying Griffin’s speech. At least she’s still alive — for example, she didn’t ridicule Mohamed while in Denmark.
I didn’t like her Emmy speech, but I liked her explanation of what she said on CNN’s Larry King Live last night. And while many believers will protest that nothing justifies degrading the God of the universe — and I would agree — she made some worthwhile comments to Larry King.
Griffin explained her Emmy speech by saying she thought it was ridiculous that athletes and Hollywood types thank God for helping them win awards, as if God exists to help privileged people succeed while Darfur is going to hell in a hand basket, and other parts of the world remain in constant crisis.
I can’t imagine not thanking God is such a situation, and yet when Griffin talked about how Jesus had nothing to do with that award, and when she questioned God’s role in helping Western folks become successful, she was going in the right direction. For one thing, if you take a certain view of redemption and salvation, you could say the unredeemed are completely on their own, merely using their natural talents in the temporal order without any help from God.
For another thing, the Bible, the alleged guide for the offended parties, is full of commands and instruction on individual duty, especially in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. That book is full of statements with a formula: if you do this, then that will happen; if you don’t do this, then that won’t happen. Human efforts and their rewards are entirely located within the individual; there is little (if anything) about God’s enabling the individual to be disciplined or responsible or moral or ethical. Strictly within the context of the Proverbs, success or failure is entirely up to the individual.
As for her statement that the award is her god now, wouldn’t you expect such a thing from a comedian, who works within satire and parody? Does anyone really believe Griffin worships the award statue?
Still, saying “suck it, Jesus,” is offensive, inflammatory, gut-level blasphemy. So, no one should really be surprised at the outrage it has produced.
And yet, when Roman soldiers used far worse instruments than words — specifically, nails and a cross — Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
-Colin Foote Burch