CBC had an article on Jan 8 about the Montreal Gazette publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons and their unwillingness to do likewise. Here’s what they had to say about that:
“This is not a ban, and it isn’t censorship,” David Studer, CBC’s director of Journalistic Standards and Practices, said in an email on Wednesday, reminding news staff of CBC’s long-established policy.
“We are being consistent with our historic journalistic practices around this story, not because of fear, but out of respect for the beliefs and sensibilities of the mass of Muslim believers about images of the Prophet. Similarly, we wouldn’t publish cartoons likely to dismay or outrage mainstream followers of other religions.”
Apparently the definition “mainstream followers” must be pretty broad because I did a quick search of cbc.ca for pictures that Christians might find offensive and came across three within seconds.
Piss Christ is the worst but another article on Chocolate Jesus specifically mentions that Roman Catholics protested that it was sacrilegious: “The Catholics objected to the nudity, to the casting of the statue in chocolate and to the display of the work during Holy Week, the week before Easter.” I don’t think that portraying Steve Jobs as Jesus quite passes the test either if you use the same criteria.
What’s the true issue here? Mainstream Christians are not truly offended or Christians don’t threaten journalists and carry through on those threats with this kind of violence? Surely anyone can see that there is a double standard when it comes to not offending religious sensibilities. However, as Christians, we leave it to God to judge. Specifically, we believe that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. I certainly choose not to mock him because I love him as he first loved me and died for me. We have a responsibility to warn others that God will judge them for their actions but only insofar as they understand them. Clearly someone willing to mock God already lacks a relationship with him and that condemns them already (John 3:18). The wise man also remembers Proverbs 26:4 “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him” and the Streisand effect :).