Religion Reporter Hits Media Double Standard on Mocking Faith

"Would the media laugh at a nude chocolate Mohammed?"

So asks Arkansas Democrat-Gazette religion editor Frank Lockwood with the headline to a October 16 blog post hitting fellow journalists for a double standard in reporting insults to religious faith.

Reacting with disdain towards a flippant Associated Press article about a confectionery rendering of a naked Jesus Christ, Lockwood answers with a resounding no:

Can you imagine the national media laughing it up about an anatomically-correct chocolate Mohammed, on display in Manhattan with his genitals on display? They'd be too afraid to print the pictures. They don't have the nerve to print artistic renderings of the Prophet with his clothes on!

You can find the full post at Lockwood's Bible Belt Blogger, but here's an excerpt to put Lockwood's post in context (emphasis mine):

I'm not a Catholic, but I'm tired of artists who belittle people's faith -- publicity hogs who dunk crucifixes in urine and craft images of saints out of elephant dung.

I'm also disappointed by U.S. news organizations that have a double standard when it comes to religion: They're more than happy to mock evangelical or Catholic Christianity, but they're somewhat leery of offending Judaism and they're down-right terrified of offending Islam. Muslims absolutely deserve respect as do Jews and people of all faiths -- even Christians.

Here's the lead of a story that moved on the AP wire today (along with a photo):

"Chocolate Jesus is resurrected.

'My Sweet Lord,' an anatomically correct milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ that infuriated Catholics before its April unveiling was canceled, returns Oct. 27 to a Chelsea [New York City] art gallery, its creator said Tuesday."

If the story sounds familiar to you, it's because the national media pounced on it during Easter week -- the first time Chocolate Jesus was unveiled. Now it's back for round two.

In the latest story, the sacred cornerstone of Christianity, the resurrection, has been reduced to a journalistic punchline ["chocolate Jesus is resurrected..."]. Isn't that witty and urbane? And people wonder why newspapers can't hold onto readers.

NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained about the same journalistic double standard on the August 29 "Fox & Friends," responding to the controversy over the Washington Post censoring "Opus" cartoon strips that mocked radical Islam.:

Here you have a cartoon that takes a swipe not at Muslims but at radical Islamists, and they deem that to be inappropriate, and yet the very same paper runs this not only a cartoon attacking Jerry Falwell and his followers, but on a regular basis attacks Christians, it attacks Catholics, it attacks priests, it attacks bishops. It's run cartoons I've seen-- this is a shout-out to the Catholic League which has done a report on this-- it's even run cartoons desecrating images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That's okay. That's free speech. They wrap themselves around free speech when it comes to attacking Christians. But when it comes to attacking radical Islamists, suddenly they have standards. It's not a standard, it's a double standard.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters