This staggers me and at the same time, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
One of Germany’s leading opera houses, Deutsche Oper Berlin, announced Monday that it was cancelling a controversial production because of the likelihood that it might offend Muslims. The original opera, Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, makes no reference to Islam, but director Hans Neuenfels introduced a scene to his production that depicts the decapitated heads of the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, the Buddha and the Greek god Poseidon.
It caused outrage at the premiere in 2003. The opera company said it was cancelling plans to revive the show next month after advice from security authorities in Berlin that the performances posed an “incalculable” security risk.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to see an Opera not run that pictures the decapitated head of Christ for no better reason than to mock religion. I further completely agree with a private business opting not to endanger it’s patrons. However, I must confess to immense frustration that my Lord can be so mocked and there is no out cry at all. Admittedly, in Europe greater than 20% of the population is now Muslim and less than 1% has a personal relationship with Christ, so it’s no surprise that Muslim’s have a greater voice but what about here in the United States?
“That’s where we kind of agree with some of the people who’ve criticized our show,” Stone says. “Because it really is open season on Jesus. We can do whatever we want to Jesus, and we have. We’ve had him say bad words. We’ve had him shoot a gun. We’ve had him kill people. We can do whatever we want. But Mohammed, we couldn’t just show a simple image.”
During the part of the show where Mohammed was to be depicted — benignly, Stone and Parker say — the show ran a black screen that read: “Comedy Central has refused to broadcast an image of Mohammed on their network.”
Other networks took a similar course, refusing to air images of Mohammed — even when reporting on the Denmark cartoon riots — claiming they were refraining because they’re religiously tolerant, the South Park creators say.
“No you’re not,” Stone retorts. “You’re afraid of getting blown up. That’s what you’re afraid of. Comedy Central copped to that, you know: ‘We’re afraid of getting blown up.'”
I don’t think we need to start blowing people up, but I do think maybe we ought to insist people start treating our God with the same respect they would show to other religions.