Just about everybody assumed religious groups would be outraged by Saturday Night Live's Quention Tarantino parody, "Djesus Uncrossed," starring this weekend's host and Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz. Thing is, just about everybody thought the sketch would offend Christian organizations. But apparently it offended at least one Islamic anti-defamation group a little more.
Playing off Quentin Tarantino's unique brand of hyper violence and revenge fantasy, Waltz played a Jesus out for revenge on the Romans who wronged him. Easter is not a pleasant holiday in this telling. The only forgiveness being offered was bloody forgiveness. It was a well done, still appropriate for TV imitation of what a Tarantino take on Jesus would look like.
The sketch certainly inspired some good ol' fashioned righteous anger from the religious right, but it also inspired an essay on the religious site Patheos entitled "Why I'm Not Outraged by Saturday Night Lives' Blasphemous Skit on 'Djesus'".
The Council on American-Islamic Relations didn't find it so amusing, though. Executive director Nihad Awad released a statement to a wide swatch of the media on Tuesday afternoon decrying the sketch's portrail of Jesus as a sword-swinging, gut-cutting, machine gun-toting seeker of revenge:
"Such misrepresentation of what Jesus, peace be upon him, stands for is extremely offensive to Muslims and to all those who believe in his message. While we understand the use of shocking imagery and bizarre juxtapositions to provoke a humorous response, we believe such a distasteful portrayal of a religious figure revered by billions of Muslims and Christians worldwide crosses the comedic line.
"We strongly support free speech rights for all, but one would hope that common decency and respect for the beliefs of others would help avoid such unfortunate depictions."
Before we get too confused about our prophets here, remember that Muslims are still OK with Jesus, too, and Awad notes he just wants everyone to be as respectful as possible. That's his main complaint here — that someone made a joke about Jesus, and Muslims still see Jesus as a messenger of God. So the Council on American-Islamic Relations is officially disappointed in Saturday Night Live on behalf of their Christian friends — or at least a little more loudly than their Christian friends.