Hollywood's Crazy Relationship With God
By Jo Piazza Posted Nov 5th 2009 10:47AM
It hasn't been the greatest month to be God. The supreme being has been getting attacked from all angles out in Hollywood and no single faith is being spared. Larry David, Sarah Silverman and Sir Ian McKellan are among the offenders who have all individually joined in on the faith-bashing. Scientology has even been getting more bad press than usual, and from some of their own. After the jump we take a look at why Hollywood has been hating on the higher power lately and whether or not religious fans are going to feel shunned by the tinsel-town trash-talking.
First comedienne Sarah Silverman launched her tongue-in-cheek viral video campaign to save the world's poor on HBO's 'Real Time with Bill Maher'. Sweet idea except that her plan to end world hunger included exhorting the Pope to sell the Vatican in order to save the world.
"You preach to live humbly, and I totally agree. So now maybe it's time for you to move out of your house that is a city," Silverman said. She also remarked that if only the Pope would do what she says he would get, "crazy p-sy." Oh, that's dirty.
Catholic League President Bill Donahue was among those Church leaders who were pretty peeved about Silverman's rants, but HBO only stepped up the dialogue when it aired an episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' that featured star Larry David accidentally urinating on a portrait of Jesus.
The plot involves Larry's midriff-showing assistant believing that her mom's painting of Jesus is crying because of Larry's bathroom backsplash.
Donahue said the episode proved that David's best days of comedy are behind him and he should quit the series.
Jesse Oxfeld, Executive editor of Tablet magazine, the online Jewish mag, says Silverman and David's jokes have nothing to do with hating on religion it's just that in the red state, blue state divide the blue staters (of which Hollywood is a part) think religion can be a ready-made joke.
"There are plenty of celebrities who are proudly religious--but they're red-state celebs, your country stars and all that. But the celebs we're talking about here live in coastal, blue-state America--which means not that they're anti-religious but just that they're a-religious," Oxfeld says. "That makes religion something equally as comedy-worthy as politics or airplane peanuts. Larry David and Sarah Silverman don't hate God; they're just mocking him the way they mock everyone else."
HBO said as much in their statement regarding the show: "Larry David makes fun of everyone, most especially himself. The humor is always playful and certainly never malicious."
Kevin Roose, author of "The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University," says everyone knows that evangelical Christians can be an easy target for comedians and screenwriters, but as someone who spent a semester studying at America's most holy Christian college, Liberty University, Roose says we shouldn't assume that Christians aren't at least a little in on the joke.
"What I don't think people generally understand is that evangelicals aren't humorless, and they can laugh at themselves most of the time," Roose says. "So I don't think these instances of God-mockery will make much of an impact."
Yet another hit on religion came when the openly gay Sir Ian McKellan admitted to Details magazine that he defaces the bible every time he stays in a hotel room that has a copy of the Good Book. He methodically tears out the section of the Old Testament that decries homosexuality.
The 'Lord of the Rings' star says he rips Leviticus 18:22 -- every time he finds one in his hotel room. The passage reads: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
And even though Hollywood usually loves to love its pet faith Scientology, they have been getting wrung through the ringer as former member and 'Crash' director Paul Haggis releases a letter calling the Church "morally reprehensible."
"Hollywood isn't turning anti-scientology just yet," explains cult expert Rick Ross, founder of the Rick Ross Institute who has served as an expert witness in numerous trials involving Scientology. "Many folks in Hollywood are still members of Scientology or have friends who are members. What I think has happened is Scientology's bad behavior and mistreatment of its own members is finally catching up with the organization."
So it seems the hating on faith is less hate-filled and more playfully mean-spirited. Hollywood isn't attacking god, it is simply giving him or her a noogie.
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