Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Night Live

"66% of Americans think that President Bush is doing a poor job in his handling of the war. The other 34% of people think that Adam and Eve rode Dinosaurs to church."

- Tina Fey



At 10/30/2005 9:39 AM, Blogger Andy said...

A friend of mine from Fort Wayne is in town this weekend and we were watching SNL when this came on. I laughed out loud, but then Josh and I started to talk about some of what was being said about Christians on the show that night. Here's just a rundown from The Weekend Update.

1. In a joke about harriet miers withdrawl... "in a shocking move the Christian Right participated in a 2nd term abortion this week."
2. There was talk about the "evangelicals" in a little skit with harriet miers where she talked about their desire to never have abortion be legal, but on the other hand the rich fat cat conservatives need it to be legel for their teenage daughters.
3. This dinosaur comment that was centered on the war.

I think it's interesting how ugly things are getting. My guess is that most Christians in America will take this as religious persecution, but I think it's clearly less about the war and all about politics. These are the jokes that are made all the time about political moves, it's just that the Christian Right has become a political entity.

Such a strong association with a political party could be a major downfall for the American church as the tides start to change.

I just want to know if it was ok for me to laugh at that?

At 10/30/2005 10:24 AM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

ok to laugh? I think the first concern here is that you think SNL is still funny when we all know, and even Jonny would probably admit this (and he thinks sitcoms are funny) that SNL is the least funny it has been ever. I would go so far as to say it is unwatchable. Anyway, Andy, you're pretty much right in your assesment, though i'm not sure what you mean by the tides are changing. You are right to say that coservative evangelicals will use this to fuel their persecuted sect vibe but in reality the conservative evangelicals run the US. Harriet Miers is a perfect example. She was appointed because she was a conservative evangelical but then pulled out because conservative evangelicals didn't like her! Sure there was preasure from the left but this occured with Roberts, who the conservative evangelicals endorsed on Justice Sunday. The Christian Right has been a political entity from the get go. a nd people have been making fun of them since Pat Robertson first ran for president. But they are winning, they've figured out how to do it well, and now these are like crappy jokes from the snoody kids who aren't doing anything against the starting football quarterback who's getting all the girls. Such a strong association with a political party is always a major downfall for the church. Even within the US church this association with evangelicals and republicans has been a disastorous step towards broad ecclessial unity. Mainline protestants and catholics spend most of their time articulating their difference from evangelicals or trying to start a Christian left. The point is this, what we saw on NBC dateline (if you saw it) is what happens when the church focuses entirely on politics and not on the gospel (which is in and of itself political). So, we go through a whole hour of interviews with little to no mention of Jesus Christ or the way he lived and what it means to follow him. instead, we get plattitudes and values derived from the air ("I care about the life of he unborn and the old") that are then ascribed to God (maybe via the imago dei argument) and there you have a political strategy. Sure, this quote was probably out of context, but Haggard did sum it all up when he said:
"People vote every sunday when they come to church and right now i'm winning the election."
And he's right, because right now evangelicals are winning all of the elections. The smart ones are kicking back and enjoying the ride because they know their on top while they sell everyone else the persecuted sect lines.

At 10/30/2005 9:38 PM, Blogger Dusty said...

The only thing I watch on SNL is Weekend update...Which is funny. Yes, you should laugh...Yes Christians are becoming the punchline, and we are the only ones who don't get the jokes...

Maybe Weekend update is better than the past several years because of Norm McDonald/Colin Quinn era...I hated them...Tina Fey I have a little comedy crush on...

Christians in this country truly have not experienced persecution..Did you hear about the Christian girls in Indonesia I think that were beheaded...That is horrible, but I have not seen Christians talking about that much...Maybe if Bush would make that an issue, or Africa, or anything other than the war and preotected all the rich, white Christians in the world, the right would not be on the way to the laughing stock...

I assume the trend Andy is mentioning is the fact that the Protestent/evangelical majority is Shrinking...I can get the stats from the last GSS survey and supplemental article.


At 10/30/2005 9:59 PM, Blogger Bryan Karas said...


can you point me towards the posts that would clear up two things for me:

"what happens when the church focuses entirely on politics and not on the gospel (which is in and of itself political)."


"that are then ascribed to God (maybe via the imago dei argument)".

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the first, and i'm not sure what the argument you refer to in the second is.

anyway, my only thought after reading andy's comment is this. if Christ says "blessed are those who are persecuted for their beliefs," then is it a curse to live in a place where persecution is unlikely?

and if that is true, then what can be said about the value of establishing a system where we are not persecuted?

At 10/30/2005 11:20 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

Hey brian:
I'm not sure if there is a particular post I had in mind on these. Perhaps I should write one on the first, even though this has served as a presupposition to everything I've posted on here. This would probably be a helpful thing to further clarify. In brief, I would argue that the practices of the church, whether it is communion, baptism, communal discernment, or even common prayer are in and of themselves political acts. Politics defined most broadly as acts within the polis, or society, makes every act we do inherently political. when it comes to the practices of the church, then, these actions take on a particular politic, mainly the politics of Jesus, making the question of Christianity and politics superfluous. Also, I would argue that the practices of the church as political have implications for what is often considered obviously political (social welfare, war, economics) and therefore the Christian's political allegiance is to the church, not to any secular nation-state. Christians wanting to be "politically active" should do better at the sacraments and discipleship, following these through to the implications of care for the poor, economic justice, truth telling, and care for creation rather than forming a lobbying group or running for office (or voting or saying the pledge of allegiance...) So, what I'm saying is that any association with a particular political party is inherently a step away from faithful discipleship, as such a move denies the political process of the church for the political process of a secular construct, placing abstracted, secular values over the life of discipleship. While at times these may appear to be the same, Christians should be happy to acknowledge that from their place in the church rather than signing up with a party. This deserves further clarification which I promise to do in a full post soon. Also, with proper credit to the true expert on this, John Howard Yoder.

The imago dei bit was in reference to a particular argument in defense of human life, wherein one starts with the presupposition that the life of the unborn and the elderly is to be protected and then apply the imago dei principle (humans created in the image of God) to defend this position. While using imago dei to justify defense of life is appropriate, if one were to really start from an imago dei position it would be necessary to defend all of human life, thus requiring a vigorous defense of the poor and those who suffer under the judgment of the global free market. The liberal version of this comes from those who defend the later based on imago dei and are mum on issues of abortion.

I would say that we, as Christians, should actually be happy that we're not persecuted. I mean, Christians are required to not seek after martyrdom. The problem that we're all trying to name is that in a non-persecution setting Christians are more likely to concede to the powers at the expense of fidelity to the gospel. What is important, instead, is for Christians to faithfully follow the Gospel, enacting the politics of Jesus described in brief above. Inevitably this would bring the church into a state of conflict with any competing power, whether that be U.S., China, or Rome. At this point, where persecution to come than the church must accept this, however if for whatever reason it does not than the church should celebrate this as well, but again refraining from any shred of patriotism or allegiance to the state.

I wanted to make a brief response to Dusty. I think that Christian's have been the punchline forever with shows like SNL. There's nothing new to this. And weekend update under McDonald and Quinn was great, I think. Far less predictable than now. Who cares about Bush? Certainly we should not expect him or anyone else in the US government to give a rip about anyone but the US. This is not a race thing either, it is nationalism. Bush's job is to secure the US, not defend the rights of Christians in other countries. The Christian/non-Christian divide is meaningless for this policy. Finally, I'm not sure what reports you're talking about, but I think it would be a hard argument to prove that the evangelical powerhouse is losing any sort of control on America. They still set the political, economic, and social agenda, by and large. The Miers case is the perfect example, as I already said, because she was appointed and withdrawn both primarily because of the evangelical powers that be! It doesn't matter how many people claim this title, the powers of those who do don't seem to be slipping at all...

At 10/31/2005 9:58 AM, Blogger Dusty said...

Mcdonald and Quinn was totally predictable...Everytime I watched them I knew they would not be funny. But I kept watching. that was when I watched all of the show still, too...And the show was better then, but Update SUCKED. I have watched re-runs of it and Norm and Colin are actually worse than I remember.

Tina Fey is more funny and better looking. Even Jimmy Fallon was better those two schmos...

I will go find the article for you regarding the protestant shrinkage...It was written by dudes in your neck of the woods...University of Chicago I think.



Post a Comment

<< Home