• Sweden edition

Swedes incur US anger over 'slacker' Jesus show

Published: 15 Jul 2010 16:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Jul 2010 16:31 GMT+02:00

Comedy Central, the US television channel which broadcasts South Park, has shown that it is not afraid of courting further controversy after buying in a Swedish idea for a show about Jesus living a regular life in New York, angering US Christian groups.

“After we reveal the vile and offensive nature of Comedy Central’s previous characterizations of Jesus Christ and God the Father, we expect these advertisers to agree wholeheartedly to end their advertising on Comedy Central and discontinue their support for unabashed, anti-Christian discrimination,” said Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, according to entertainment website flavorwire.com.

Swedish creators Jonathan Sjöberg and Andreas Öhman, are the men behind "JC" which is an animated series about the Christian prophet escaping the shadow of his domineering father and living the life of a regular mortal in New York City.

The series is reported to be a religious and social satire but US Christian religious groups have failed to appreciate the joke.

"It's not certain what is more despicable: the nonstop Christian bashing featured on the network, or Comedy Central's decision to censor all depictions of Muhammad," said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, according to entertainment blog TV Squad, referring to a decision to censor a South Park episode in April in the face of death threats.

The heated reactions have come as something of a surprise to the producers of the show as nothing has yet been broadcast and the pilot show is not due for completion before the end of the summer.

"We are not poking fun at Christianity at all. It is more of a heart-warming story about Jesus and his complex relationship to his father," executive producer Henrik Bastin said, according to the Aftonbladet daily.

Bozell, one of a number of conservative media personalities who have united against the show which at best has months from being aired, argues that the plans illustrate entrenched hypocrisy at Comedy Central.

“Why should they be supporting a business that makes a habit of attacking Christianity and yet has a formal policy to censor anything considered offensive to followers of Islam? This double standard is pure bigotry, one from which advertisers should quickly shy away," he said.

With 5,500 emails from religious groups reported to have found their way to Comedy Central telling the show's creators that they deserve eternal damnation, Jonathan Sjöberg has admitted to feeling some concern for his safety.

"I don't know what the Christian right is capable of. Our names stood in one of the articles so, yes, I became a little scared," he told Aftonbladet.

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Your comments about this article

17:42 July 15, 2010 by Kalyissa
Devout religious people really are idiots lol-
18:48 July 15, 2010 by omphus
Can't wait to watch this. Damn religious Americans suck.
18:57 July 15, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Quote: "argues that the plans illustrate entrenched hypocrisy at Comedy Central."

Unpossible! On a comedy channel?

"Goin down to South Park, going to have myself a real good time, I'm goin' down to South Park

Gonna have myself a time.

Friendly faces everywhere

Humble folks without temptation.

Goin' down to South Park

Gonna leave my woes behind.

Ample parking day or night

People shouting Howdy Neighbor

Heading on up to South Park.

Gonna see if I can't unwind

I like girls with big fat t_____, I like girls with big v____

Come on down to South Park and meet some friends of mine."
19:03 July 15, 2010 by redfish
"'I don't know what the Christian right is capable of. Our names stood in one of the articles so, yes, I became a little scared," he told Aftonbladet.'"

19:11 July 15, 2010 by concha de tu puta madre
Oh boy.. This time southpark screwed up big time. They messed with the wrong crowd. Now we have to see the news clips with those peaceful christians chanting Jesus Akbar burning cars and offering handsome rewards to anyone who could slit their throat.
19:27 July 15, 2010 by fikatid
Again and again, the religious people are angry. That's what religion does. It's all about anger, hatred and intolerance.
19:41 July 15, 2010 by redfish
fikatid, you sound like you're angry.
20:46 July 15, 2010 by vladd777
And on that day there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth..but it will be too late!

God is not mocked.
20:49 July 15, 2010 by shiraz
Look they are so excited to watch this show : all these people who skip church for one unfortunate reason or another. Either way I hope JC is a guiding light and a benign loving transformer for all because amongst the afro-asiatic there has never been anyone like him, unfortunately. I hope there are more like him (saving the life of adulterers, turning water into wine, being loving and kind even to his enemies and even those who ridicule/ persecute him).

All the smart people who see something wrong with Christianity should take hope that there is something better : the ancient Greek and Roman writings. Whatever it is that you follow or do I hope you love yourself, remain healthy and beautiful and wealthy and do the same for others.
21:16 July 15, 2010 by ironman294
Give me a break Christians dont kill or attack or burn or bomb people.

Comedy central is a bunch of hypocrites.

The swedes are afraid of what the Christian Right will do?

Keep listeing to the flase and bigoted european media who vilify Christians and conservatives but embrace and love the jihadists.

Why don't they show a complex relationship between Muhhamed and Allah?

Nah they know they will get killed for sure for that.

Cowards all of them.
21:52 July 15, 2010 by bob3000
#10 @ironman294

"Give me a break Christians dont kill or attack or burn or bomb people." - oh really? Pause, think about this....think some more.

Get to A&E, you're suffering from acute memory disfunction....or perhaps pig ignorance.

Think hard about some of the crusades (both historical and more recent) under the banner of Christian belief.

I think you will find many, Christian, Muslim and Jew alike have used their religion to justify plunder and genocide.
22:55 July 15, 2010 by Da Goat
@ vlad77 right on bro !

@ bob3000 yeah right, hole in ya neck guy, I have thought about what you said and you are wrong, any one who kills or attacks is definitely not a Christian " By your fruit you shall be known".

you are making the old mistake of assuming that catholic comes some where near equal to Christian. NOT!

God is not mocked he is a big Person he can look after himself, in fact he is so big he will forgive if you would like that. You Choose!

Bit hypocritical not to satire every religion equally, they just know that Christians are the only forgiving and true ones so are cowards/evil and attack !

funnily enough Jesus foretold this.... we are not surprised one bit!

Vengeance is mine says the Lord! He keeps your accounts (unless you ask him not too.)
23:54 July 15, 2010 by waffen
Why should anyone in Sweden care what the United States Christians think?

Remember, their so-called Christian right followed george w bush like dogs on a leash; an action that many of them afterwards regretted.

They have no credibility with the rest of the world.

Sweden should simply ignore them
00:07 July 16, 2010 by redfish

Its not just religion, ecoterrorists have killed for the sake of the environment, animal rights activists for animals, socialists have killed for their cause against capitalism. Any cause can be turned into a justification for murder.

But because we're on the subject of bias, lets have a discussion on why the Crusades started. What, in your opinion, started the Crusades? Christian intolerance towards Muslims? What, exactly?
03:18 July 16, 2010 by Larry Thrash
Any plans for a Mohammed show? Now that would be funny.
05:37 July 16, 2010 by Makoa
It's crazy to read this thread.

It's idiotic to believe everything you read/watch about any culture. It's crazy to believe that any one group represents ALL of religious America, and to assign personal hatred about a culture based on what you read/watch in the media.

As a American Christian, I have no problem watching South Park's depiction of Jesus. It does not offend me in anyway and I am happy with our freedom of speech. I'm sure the JC will be quite funny.

American Christianity that is most often portrayed in the media is by far the minority. It's Media! Darn it... entertainment. It's fun to listen to my European friends opinions of America based on "Desperate Housewives," and "Married with Children," or that their perception of Hawaii is based on "Dawg the Bounty Hunter." Yes! We are all stupid and filthy rich and drugged out of our mind. I laugh at the idea of bases my opinion of Sweden based on the movie "Kopps," "Slim Susie" and "Tilsammen." (great movies).

And tbh, I am thankful that I live in a place where I have the right to say "I hate religious Americans." I love it here!
06:38 July 16, 2010 by redfish

Its crazy alone to hate this one group of Christians, regardless of whether it represents religious people as a whole, which is my problem. So some religious people, who are quoted, are annoyed and feel that there's a double standard in who you can make jokes about, they have a right to feel that way if they want to. And others have a right to disagree.

And of course you also get the normal e-mails from people say stupid things when you do anything thats political.

But even the title of this article is hillarious because it feeds to a stereotype. 'Swedes incur US anger'! Oh my! Can you imagine a show that comically represented gay people, leading to protests from the Swedish gay community, being reported with the headline 'US incurs Swedish anger'. The headline makes it sound like every religious Christian who feels this way about Comedy Central is out on the street with a Bible in one hand and yelling 'repent, sinners!' And of course, thats followed by paranoid statements which question "what the Christian right is capable of".

Most of them just come from a different perspective and disagree, Jonathan Sjöberg isn't going to be targeted for assasination.
07:27 July 16, 2010 by sweco1
Crazy ones from the US who do not even know who their master is. More lab rats for Jesus.

I hate to give rats a bad name with likes of these people
07:29 July 16, 2010 by countrysidedrive

Just what everyone needs.

Now the Pope will issue a Fatwa and order all devout Christians to kill the blasphemers. Now everyone will see Christians chanting in the streets "Death to The Blasphemers". Now there will be riots in all the Christian Nations.Many will die. How could they be so insensitive?
08:16 July 16, 2010 by SarahRF
As a Christian myself I do find it annoying that it's okay to mock my faith but not mock someone else's. I can put up with South Park's stuff, in fact I laugh at a lot of Jesus jokes, but this whole double standard thing is stupid.

Christians aren't going to issue death threats. If they do then they've totally misunderstood the message of Christianity. Unfortunately a lot of the world has misunderstood it, which is why we have things like the Crusades. But just because the normal and sane Christians won't issue death threats about the show doesn't mean it's okay. I'm all for freedom of speech, but a little respect thrown in there would be nice too.

Christianity shouldn't be the exception to all the respect rules regarding entertainment. You don't make fun of mentally handicapped people. Why not? Their families will be outraged. You don't make fun of the gay/lesbian scene. Why not? They'll be outraged.

If you're going to make fun of people, do it all to the same level. Censoring one faith leader's face/appearance and then openly mocking another faith leader is not the same level. The movie "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" does a great job of extracting giggles over two physical handicaps without it being derogatory to either one. Comedy Central should watch it.

On the other hand, if the show was about Jesus coming back today and living among the Christians and how messed up he thought they were, it'd be a wakeup call for many, one I would watch and support.
08:24 July 16, 2010 by here for the summer
This shows the hypocracy and self loathing of the west. They refused to show something that would anger Muslims but now act concerned about peaceful Christian protest.

Not saying the show shouldn't be kept on just wishing more people would recognize the difference between peaceful protest and the muslim reaction as evidenced by the viks story here in the local.
09:15 July 16, 2010 by Uncle
Interesting - no death threats, no cutting throats, no burning homes. no riots on the streets, no throwing stones at policemen.

I am sure it is because islam is so peaceful and loving that it influences christianity to take better ways and have an open discussion. Who knows?
10:52 July 16, 2010 by cogito
@ Uncle: "no death threats, no cutting throats...."

The brave Christian haters commenting here would be too cowardly to utter a word against the "religion of peace."

The Swedish government (Leila Freivald) closed down a website for publishing the Mohammed cartoons?
12:18 July 16, 2010 by crofab
Sounds great, can't wait to see the pilot. Religious nuts need to learn to accept that others are more than free to criticize and poke fun at their silly beliefs. I do agree that Comedy Central should not censor Mohammed, though. All religions should be fair game.
12:47 July 16, 2010 by jonathanjames61
You dont need to fight for God Just read deuteronomy 32 verse 35 and also read 2 peter 3 verse 3, So more of this will come,I am not supprise that majority of swedes dont beleive God exist,so this type of comedy should not be a point of big debate,is like taking a stone from from the river bed and placing it on dry land, a stone remains a stone,en until its be crushed to be someting else.
13:17 July 16, 2010 by Audrian
I agree with Jonathan

I do not understand why the Christian fundamentalist think they need to defend Christ or God. By their definition God is powerful enough to punish anbody here on earth and in hell after death. Can somebody tell them that they are violating their own definition of God?
13:27 July 16, 2010 by Zero
So why not make a show about Muhammad?
13:50 July 16, 2010 by Swedesmith
Maybe they could have a dopey character named Muhammad that works in a dog kennel.
13:58 July 16, 2010 by SarahRF
With the whole "God can punish anyone, he can defend himself" argument, you're getting into the theology of it and that's a whole different can of worms. The protests about the show aren't about the theology so much as it is the constant use of Christianity as a source of entertainment. The fact that almost every comedy show has some jabs at Christianity, and that "Jesus Christ" is a swear word is what pisses Christians off. Why not use "Muhammad" or "Buddha" or any of the Hindi gods? The double standard is the issue. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

As far as theology goes, the idea of Jesus trying to "get away from his domineering father" is all wrong too, but whatever.
13:58 July 16, 2010 by cogito
Comedy Central prides itself on being an equal-opportunity offender. But that's not true. Last season, a South Park episode depicting Muhammad in a bear suit was edited to appease Islamists who threatened violence against the show's creators
14:58 July 16, 2010 by dobermann
It's interesting why those religious people do not react too strong when one of those priests rape some kid?? Then it's ok even in vatican, but if there is a show about fiction person, then it's outrages..
17:20 July 16, 2010 by tadchem
In my experience "religious tolerance" is a bit of an oxymoron; the most religious are often the most intolerant. These humorless Christians should discuss the relative merits of populist prophets with the Muslims who seem believe their prophet was (or should be) invisible, and let the rest of us get on with our own lives.
17:32 July 16, 2010 by mkvgtired
redfish, I dont know when the crusades began being used as a tool to vilify Christianity. They were a response to Muslim aggression on then Christian lands. At the time Muslims would invade Christian cities and take the men as slaves. The crusades were a response to ruthless Muslim aggression on the Iberian Peninsula and in Southern Italy.

Makoa, "It's fun to listen to my European friends opinions of America based on [American TV]"

I agree. It seems as if the trashiest (with some exceptions) American TV is popular in Europe. It does kind of paint a bad picture. I tell them that you can not use ANY reality TV show to size up American life. My best friend's wife is German. Her youngest brother wants to move to the US because of the urban culture, i.e. what he has seen on MTV cribs, et. al. The other wants to move to Malibu because of what hes seen on other TV shows. I just have to laugh.

Uncle, you forgot, embassies are still intact.
18:34 July 16, 2010 by redfish

Yea its funny that Bay Watch had low ratings and was barely watched in the US, but was popular around the world. Europeans also seem to pay attention to American scandals more than we do. UK tabloids pick up every scandal and obsess about it.

Muslims were taking Europeans as slaves well into the 19th century, the Barbary Pirates. But yes, the Crusades started right after the Byzantine Emperor sent a letter to the Pope asking for help. Muslims had been invading the Byzantine Empire, and had invaded up through the Iberian peninsula -- so, from the European perspective, they were being surrounded from all sides by an aggressor and had to be pro-active in defense and push the invaders back. Its just strange that people who talk about the Crusades & Christianity don't really understand how it started.

The thing that has to be condemned about the Crusades, of course, was that when the crusaders arrived, many of them engaged in massacres in the name of Christ. To the credit of the Muslims of the time, they offered mercy to people in the cities they conquered, even if the conquered citizens became dhimmis. Of course, the Papacy disapproved of the massacres, which has to be taken into account also.
20:33 July 16, 2010 by boston20
The new Christian Right Wingers are all Fascist

Websters :

a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control
23:29 July 16, 2010 by Andersson
How about "red heifer" in animal porn industry... If someone can pick my idea?
05:35 July 17, 2010 by Rebel
"Christian prophet?" What, has Islamatization hit the pages of The Local?
09:13 July 17, 2010 by nahiaali33
Supper bro supper..........................
13:29 July 17, 2010 by rufus.t.firefly
I'd like to see the show. A burning question for millions is "what would Jesus do?" Since the two creators are Swedes, why isn't Jesus in Stockholm? Isn't there a lot for him to do here? Alas, I don't get Comedy Central w/my cable package.

I agree with those here who pointed out the weakness of CC in banning references to Muhammed. First I've heard of that. A bad precedent.
02:03 July 18, 2010 by Essjay
Are you ready for Jesus?

Uh huh





Well, I like this

Let's Go

They're 5 miles high as the crow flies

Leaving vapour trails against a blood red sky

Moving in from the East towards the West

With Balaclava helmets over their heads, yes

But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming

Honey you've got another thing coming

If he ever finds out who's hi-jacked his name

He'll cut out his heart and turn in his grave

Islam is rising

The Christians mobilising

The world is on its elbows and knees

It's forgotten the message and worships the creed

It's war, she cried

It's war, she cried

This is war

Drop your possessions all you simple folk

You'll fight them on the beaches in your underclothes

You'll thank the good Lord for raising the Union Jack

You'll watch the ships sail out of harbour

And the bodies come floating back

Watch the ships sail out of harbour

And the bodies come floating back

Get the gun, get the gun, get the gun"

"Stay away from the gun, stay away from the gun"

If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today

He'd be gunned down cold by the CIA

Oh, the lights that now burn brightest behind stained glass

Will cast the darkest shadows upon the human heart

But God didn't build himself that throne

God doesn't live in Israel or Rome

God doesn't belong to the yankee dollar

God doesn't plant the bombs for Hezbollah

God doesn't even go to church

And God won't send us down to Allah to burn

God will remind us what we already know

That the human race is about to reap what it's sown

Islam is rising

The Christians mobilising

The world is on its elbows and knees

It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds

The world is on its elbows and knees

It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds

Armageddon days are here again

Armageddon days are here again

Armageddon days are here again

Armageddon days are here ?
04:58 July 18, 2010 by Swedishtaco
How sad...Christians don't retaliate. They pray for those who persecute them.
15:07 July 18, 2010 by billyb362
Isn't it the height and depth of hypocrisy that these two Swedish creators, Jonathan Sjöberg and Andreas Öhman, find it amusing and entertaining to create a satire about Jesus? I'm sure they hate all 'religion' equally, but when they mock Christianity they know they have nothing to fear but complaints.

What makes this issue so sickening is that these two spineless wimps are restrained only by fear - they'd love creating a mocking satire of Muhammad and Allah...but they know they'd end up getting their asses blown into pieces, literally.

Make no mistake, 'religious intolerance' is alive and thriving here in Sweden; but Jonathan Sjöberg and Andreas Öhman will only target those religious groups whom they do not fear. Are these two writers attempting to infuriate Christians to violence? In which case, their satire of Jesus should be considered hate speech.
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