Tag Archives: satire

Even after its offices were bombed in 2011, Charlie Hebdo kept its sense of humor

The Charlie Hebdo cover immediately after the 2011 bombing of its offices.

If your offices had been bombed by Islamic extremists, what would your choice of cover be?

The first cover after the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris were bombed by Islamic extremists in 2011? “LOVE IS STRONGER THAN HATE.”

The cover included, as you might have noticed, a Charlie Hebdo satirist and a Muslim man engaged in a very juicy kiss. You might not have noticed the background, where apparently the remains of the office smolder.

That’s devotion to satire as a cause.

Today’s attack on Charlie Hebdo‘s offices brought nausea to my stomach and tears to my eyes. In the minds of some, the only response to a satirical attack of paper and ink is a violent claim of authority made with bullets and bloodshed.

A violent, horrific, murderous claim of authority.

France hasn’t always been the best example of a free society, but perhaps the existence of Charlie Hebdo shows a reasonable concern for freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are barriers against overreaching authority. Satirists seem concerned with nearly all claims of authority — at least the social impact of authority.

For example, this morning, an analyst on MSNBC’s Morning Joe said Charlie Hebdo has targeted everyone with its humor: not only Muslims, but Catholics, Jews, and atheists.

That “equal opportunity joking” won’t hold value for some people, and that’s reasonable and OK because satire doesn’t make Truth claims.

Instead, satire looks at social realities and social experiences — and blows them out of proportion so we can more easily see them.

Or, inverts them so we can more readily confront them.

Satire is a cause, and I might go so far as to say it’s  a noble cause, despite the crude and offensive covers on Charlie Hebdo over the years.

A free, pluralistic, democratic society depends upon satire that tells us when the emperor has no clothes.

Satire is brave. Satire is a corrective. Satire is the best way to tell the truth about some matters.

Satire can even tell us “LOVE IS STRONGER THAN HATE” — and show us an unlikely scenario in which a wronged character is loving his enemy.

Four Ways to Celebrate Reformation Day

As always, Reformation Day coincides with Halloween. But as our Catholic brothers and sisters know, Christian celebrations and leftover paganism work together quite well.

Here are some thoughts on how to wed Halloween and Reformation Day.

1. Instead of playing Ring-and-Run, try Nail-and-Run.

You remember the old ring-and-run trick: sneak up to someone’s doorstep, ring her doorbell, run, hide, and watch the hapless lady of the house come to the door and look around.

To celebrate Reformation Day, take a page from Martin Luther.

Instead of ringing the doorbell and running away, nail some profound thoughts to the door and then run away.

2. Give Reese’s Theses to trick-or-treaters.

Using your home printer and PhotoShop, recreate the Reese’s Pieces bag as Reese’s Theses.

Now open a few bags of Reese’s Pieces. Count out 95 candies and insert them in a Reese’s Theses bag. Seal and set by the front door.

Image how cool it will be if someone comes to the door dressed like the Pope.

3. This year, try the un-costume

As many Protestants believe today, robes and mantels and cassocks are all Romish trappings.

Roman Catholic priests wear these offensive costumes of robes as a statement against justification by faith.

There is only one fully adequate, completely satisfactory act of defiance in the face of these vestments.

You guessed it. You must dis-robe. You can’t be justified by boxers — or briefs.

4. Instead of handing out evangelistic tracts, preach sound theology.

When you hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, tell them, “This is an example of unmerited favor.”
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Happy Reformation Day! Happy Halloween!

Church sign: New series on God’s code

A church sign near my new residence reads: “The 21 Most Effective Prayers of the Bible.”

I am so grateful for this new series.

God, being without personality, is like a machine into which we may type our requests, and if we punch in the right codes, we’ll get all kinds of cool stuff.

Some people even say we could have anything we wanted — if we just get the code right.

We know from the Old Testament, for example, that King David entered into the Holy of Holies — and was not struck dead — because he had just uttered The Prayer of Jabez. Clever guy.

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God misses opportunity to spank U.S. for Obama, Middle-East Peace Process

There’s a fellow named Sid Roth who runs a ministry called “Messianic Vision,” and he recently had author John McTernan as a guest on his “It’s Supernatural!” program. (See the video here.) McTernan has written a book arguing that each time the United States has taken a stand that was unfavorable to the modern state of Israel, God has sent us Americans either a stock-market crash or a hurricane or some other problem.

So image my surprise when Hurricane Paloma battered Cuba and then veered off into the Atlantic.

It didn’t hit Florida. It didn’t lathe its way up the East Coast or smack into the Gulf.

But it should have.

At the time, Condoleezza Rice was in the Middle East, trying to bolster the “Peace Process.”

Furthermore, it was only days after Barak Obama was elected president, and Roth’s constituency (like many neo-conservatives) would insist that Obama is not a supporter of Israel — or at least that our new president is too willing to negotiate with Israel’s opponents.

Two American-born affronts to Israel were happening simultaneously.

And God let that hurricane go off into ocean.

What a missed opportunity. God already had a hurricane, right there, and he could have turned it into another Hurricane Andrew and plowed it into Florida.

I wonder if McTernan considered examples of tough times in America when no U.S. policies or diplomatic efforts were attacking Israel.

In my English 101 class, I teach students about argumentative fallacies, including “card-stacking,” in which a person is guilty of using selective evidence to make his or her case.

Of course, I’ve used selective evidence to make my case against McTernan’s position. Maybe Hurricane Paloma was an example of God giving us just one pass.

So those of you who have money in the stock market, and those of you who live in Florida or on the Gulf Coast — you’d better look out. Obama will be sworn-in on January 20.

-Colin Foote Burch

How a politician can defend Mormon beliefs

This is an admittedly silly parody of Mitt Romney’s recent speech defending his Mormon faith, and probably not for anyone who demands his humor to be sophisticated. Read “What Mitt Romney Should have said.”