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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Did SNL cross the line by portraying Jesus as vengeful man slaughtering Romans?

My tolerance is fairly high for all sorts of parodies and spoofs, including those that cross the line.

Often, the best parodies cross - or seemingly cross - the line. I'm not yet sure of what I think of Saturday Night Live's skit depicting Jesus Christ as a vengeful man hell bent on slaughtering the Romans who crucified him. If you haven't seen the latest Quentin Tarantino movie, "Django Unchained," it might not make sense.

In that movie, a freed slave gets revenge on slave owners and their supporters in a quest to free his wife from her "master." By the end of the movie, a ton of them are slaughtered by Django.

The SNL parody builds on that, but it is not a good fit. There were instances of black slaves rising up and killing or trying to kill those involved in the slave trade. They were not all passive slaves, taking their crucifixions and bondage in stride. Jesus, of course, did take his crucifixion in stride, except for a brief moment on the cross when he cried out. His entire existence, according to the traditional view of Christianity, was to be sacrificed for the sins of the world.

Is the SNL portrayal offensive? As always, that depends on the person digesting the material. But I think the best parodies often don't just cross the line but line up well with that which is being parodied. In this case, it didn't. 

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