‘Offensive’ Jesus remarks cut from Emmys
September 12, 2007
US Comic Kathy Griffin’s “offensive” remarks about Jesus at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards would be cut from a pre-taped telecast of the show, the US Academy of Television Arts and Sciences said today.
Griffin made the provocative comment on Saturday night as she took the stage of the Shrine Auditorium to collect her Emmy for best reality program for her Bravo channel show My Life on the D-List.
“A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus,” an exultant Griffin said, holding up her statuette. “Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now.”
Asked about her speech backstage a short time later, an unrepentant Griffin said: “I hope I offended some people. I didn’t want to win the Emmy for nothing.”
The speech drew fire from a leading Roman Catholic group, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which condemned Griffin’s remarks as “obscene and blasphemous”.
“It is a sure bet that if Griffin had said, ‘Suck it, Mohammed’, there would have been a very different reaction,” Catholic league president Bill Donohue said in a statement posted on the group’s website.
He called on TV academy president Dick Askin to denounce Griffin’s “hate speech” and on Griffin to apologise.
An edited version of the Creative Arts Emmys is set to air on US cable television’s E! Entertainment Network on Saturday, the night before the live Fox network broadcast of the main Primetime Emmy Awards.
“Kathy Griffin’s offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast,” an academy spokeswoman said today. An “abbreviated version” of her acceptance speech will air, instead, she said.
Griffin’s reaction to the imbroglio, according to a statement issued by her publicist: “Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humour?”
Are defining characteristics of God limitlessness, unchangingness and eternal existence?
If they are, then nothing we do or say can be considered blasphemy, because nothing we do or say can affect God (unchanging). There is nothing we can do or say that will offend God, because God is everything (limitless).
On the other hand, if infinity, unchangingness and eternal existence are not defining characteristics of God, then why does the Bible say they are? God is described as eternal in Deuteronomy 33.27 and Wisdom of Sirach 36.17. God is described as eternal and changeless in 1st Kings 8.57 and Hebrews 13.8. God is described as infinite in Exodus 18.11 and 1st Kings 8.23. God is described as "all-knowing" (infinite) in Exodus 31.3-5 and Exodus 35.30 – 35. God is described as "all-powerful" (infinite) in Joshua 4.24…
Outside of the grace of God, I fail to see how "christians" and I could gain such diametrically opposing points of view by reading exactly the same book (the Bible). Accordingding to the "christians", it is obvious that one or the other of us is wrong. They maintain that I am the one that is wrong, because their beliefs are based on centuries of tradition, handed down from one generation to the next. They claim that if I were not "spiritually blind" I would agree with them. They claim that "the devil" has blinded me, hardened my heart towards God, so that I cannot understand the "truth" of God’s word. They accuse me of blasphemy when I ask questions they don’t like, or when I point out the fallacies in their logic.
An example of this occurred when I went to a "christian" chat room on internet, asking if they believed that God is perfect. When they agreed that God is perfect, I pointed out that, implied in that perfection is a completeness that precludes the possibility of desire – since desire indicates a lack of completeness – and thus, if God had desires, He could not be complete. Their response was to say that God has desires, because the Bible says so. I then suggested that the Bible contains language like that because it is directed at an audience who might not be able to understand the purpose for a truly perfect, desireless God, who doesn’t really care whether we believe in Him or not.
At that point, they started talking about how Jesus is the only way to God, and how Jesus is "the only begotten son" of God, again, justifying their arguments "because the Bible says so". When I pointed out that Jesus himself never said he was the son of God, and never said he was the only way to God, of course, their first response was to pull out John 10.30-38 and John 14.6-7, claiming that Jesus was, in essence, confirming that he is the son of God and "the only way". I then pointed out the many places (including the entirety of John 10) where Jesus affirms that we are all sons of God (John 10.34), and that he is not the only way (John 10.16). At that point they started accusing me of "blasphemy", claiming that I am denying scripture by talking in such a way.
I don’t understand how clarifying one scripture by referencing another scripture could be said to be denying scripture, especially whenwhen their arguments make so little sense when considered in the context of the entirety of scripture. At the same time, it’s very easy to see how they could develop the opinion that one or the other of us is wrong.
They tried to convince me that they are right by telling me that I don’t understand, that I haven’t studied the scriptures enough. Obviously they have no idea exactly how much time I actually spend studying the scriptures, on a daily basis. The big difference is that I don’t accept their explanations of the parts of scripture that are normally difficult for people to understand. Instead of relying on someone else’s explanation, I have relied on God for my understanding, and I have never gone for very long without having a scriptural question answered for me, sometimes in very miraculous ways. I have found that frequently the answers I get, which are perfectly acceptable to me, have appeared repulsive and threatening to others — I try not to let that affect me.
God has always answered my scriptural questions through scripture, however, it is my impression that the "christians" rely on the frequently illogical and incomprehensible explanations of their "centuries of tradition" for their understanding rather than relying on God and doing the thinking themselves. They usually refuse even to be in contact with someone who disagrees with them, or who refuses to their explanations. I ended up getting permanently banned from the "christian" internet chat room, because I wouldn’t accept their assertions that what they were saying was "unquestionable truth".
The dictionary definition of "blasphemy" is "An indignity offered to God in words, writing, or signs", and the dictionary definition of the word "blaspheme" is "to speak of God or a sacred entity in an irreverent, impious manner" (from Greek βλάπτω – hurt, injure; and φήμη – fame, report). However, in this case, I suspect that the word "blasphemy" probably means "an indignity offered to those who self-righteously believe themselves to be God’s messengers in words, writing, or signs which are not acceptable by those who believe themselves to be God’s messengers", and the word "blaspheme" means "to speak of God in a way which is not acceptable to those who self-righteously believe themselves to be God’s messengers". This is a big reason why I prefer Hinduism.
Hinduism has no concept of blasphemy. There are no questions that are improper to ask; there are no questions that may not be asked. In fact, my experience with Hindus in general is that there is a certain amount of humour inherent in asking, and answering questions that would be considered blasphemous by self-proclaimed "christians".
I think it’s interesting that, instead of dealing with these questions which make them uncomfortable (primarily because they have no logical answers for them), the self-proclaimed "christians" will either attack my words as "blasphemy", at which point their debate turns into them trying to shout me down; trying to get me to shut up if I won’t agree with them, or they will take the opposite route, and defend themselves to the point of prohibiting me from talking to them at all. Neither of these approaches seems to be very much like what Jesus would have done in similar circumstances. Their response to what they perceive as blasphemy is not at all balanced. They either attack, or defend. They have no conception that an infinite God could be big enough to encompass two diametrically opposite points of view. To me, this amounts to "limiting" God to only what they believe about Him, and I sincerely doubt that it is realistically possible to limit a limitless being like God.
On the other hand, there are no instances recorded in the Bible (or anywhere else, as far as I know) where Jesus tried to get people to shut up when they said things with which he did not agree, nor are there any recorded instances of Jesus telling someone to leave him and never come back. These people, who claim that they have devoted their lives to being like Jesus, not only are not very much like him in most ways, but they believe that it’s not possible for them to be like him.
They base their argument that they are right on the fact that their beliefs are based on centuries of tradition which springs from Paul. Paul says to follow him as he also follows Christ (1 Corinthians, 11.1), however, if we look at this logically, we can see that Paul is not telling us to follow him. Rather, he is very clearly telling us that, if we are to be like him, we should follow Christ. Obviously, if we follow Paul, we aren’t following Christ except in whatever ways Paul may have followed him, and since we would be following Paul, instead of Christ, we would miss out on the blessing implicit in following Christ. Furthermore, since Paul is no longer alive, Christ (which lives within us according to Luke 17.21) is really our only option, unless we want to try to figure out what Paul was trying to say in his writings, which are close to 2000 years old, and have been translated and re-translated not a few times, into a variety of languages.
Self-proclaimed "christians" like Hank Hannegraaf (The Bible Answer Man on the radio, and president of The Christian Research Institute) say that it’s not possible for non-christians to go to heaven, because of the fact that God’s holiness will not allow Him to be in contact with anything short of perfection, and it is not possible for humans, by themselves (i.e. "outside of Christ"), to attain such perfection.
If this is the case, why does Jesus tell us "be ye perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect…" (Matthew 5.48)? Of course, the "christians’" argument here is that this is referring to "spiritual" perfection, not earthly, or fleshly perfection, but I don’t really see that such a distinction makes much difference.
Both instances of the word "perfect" are the Greek word τελειόω which means "1. Brought to its end, finished; 2. Wanting nothing necessary to completeness; 3. Perfect; 4. That which is perfect: a. Consummate human integrity and virtue; b.d virtue; b. Of men: 1. Full grown, adult, of full age, mature".
This scripture gives yet another example of how The Real God cannot possibly have any desires for the outcomes of the lives of humans other than exactly what happens, is happening and will happen REGARDLESS of whether that person is a Christian or not. If a being which claimed to be God wanted something for the life of a human that didn’t come to pass, that "god" would not be τελειόω, would not be "wanting nothing necessary to completeness" – such a "god", a "god with desires", cannot possibly be The Real God, because The Real God is τελειόω… The Real God wants nothing necessary to completeness.
It is also a very good example of Jesus’ actual teachings – Jesus didn’t want a bunch of sycophantic toadies whose most powerful reputation is that of the religion which became the largest in the world through the process of killing off everyone who disagreed with them. Jesus wanted people to know that, like himself, EVERYONE (meaning everyone including non-christians!) has the capability to know The Real God in an up-close-and-personal way that goes FAR beyond kneeling down and praying when the pastor tells you to, and believing what the pastor tells you the Bible means without ever thinking for yourself.
A lot of "christians" really don’t have any interest in your spiritual well being. In reality, they’re more concerned about their own well-being, and they have (probably unknowingly) subscribed to a belief that is so unbelievable that the only way they can feel as though they’re doing the right thing is to work very hard to try to convince as many people as possible to agree with them. They appear to have the idea that the more people agree with them, the more "right" they will be when they talk about their "god with desires". In reality, they are misrepresenting the true meaning of the message of the Bible – and doing so for the sole purpose of building up their own self-confidence. In reality, the true message of the Bible is one of a perfect God – one which has no incompleteness.
If you believe what someone else tells you about the meaning of the Bible, you’re heading for trouble. THE ONLY person qualified to interpret the Bible for you is GOD… If you rely on someone else’s explanation, all you’re doing is learning to see God’s kingdom through their eyes.
If blasphemy is denying scripture, and scripture is "true" (i.e. cannot contain lies) one must then draw one of two conclusions.
One is that everything written in the Bible is to be taken exactly according to the literal meanings of the words, and that the "god" described in the Bible is a liar. Obviously, "christians" would consider this conclusion to be "blasphemy".
The other is that the Bible is intended as allegory, not to be interpreted as literal fact, and was originally written to be read by people who might not be able to comprehend the concept of a limitless, unchanging, eternal God… And why should they be able to understand such a God? How can you use finite language to describe the infinite? How can you describe That which cannot be described? Such things are not possible. The only way to experience God is through personal experience, and that experience, by definition, cannot be shared with anyone else; it is impossible for a finite human being to accurately represent to another finite human being, an experience of the infinite.
This would explain why the Bible contains so many internal contradictions, and would also explain why the so-called "christians" and I could hold such diametrically opposing positions on exactly the same material. Unfortunately, it is my perception that "christians" consider this conclusion "blasphemous" and "denying scripture" as well.
Thus, it is my conclusion that when a "christian" accuses someone of blasphemy, it is not an issue of "speaking agaipeaking against God" as much as it is an issue of "speaking against whatever that "christian" believes is true, regardless of whether it’s actually true or not".