Media Skipping Over Al Franken's Acidulous Mockery of Christians

Katherine Kersten, that rare bird – a conservative columnist at the uber-blue Minneapolis Star Tribune – reported that while Minnesota Democrats endorsed that Harvard-smart Senate candidate Al Franken after he expressed regret for all the comic mileage he’s gotten out of rape and his "penchant for the pornographic," he did not apologize for his most offensive material aimed at religious believers, and Christians in particular. The press hasn’t noticed:

Why hasn't this been aired in public? We in the press are too busy searching through Sarah Palin's junior high yearbooks and tracking down the filing dates of Joe the Plumber's tax returns.

Meanwhile, Franken gets a pass for making a joke of the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Franken finds Christ's crucifixion to be a barrel of laughs. For example, in his 1999 book, "Why Not Me?" he wrote about his discovery -- as a fictional former president -- of "the complete skeleton of Jesus Christ still nailed to the cross" during an archeological dig. At the Franken Presidential Library gift shop, visitors can buy "small pieces of Jesus' skeleton."

"We would like to display Jesus' skeleton at some future point," Franken went on. "It's merely a matter of designing and building an exhibition space ... . Until then he's very comfortable in a box down in our basement near the geothermal power station."

Very funny. Anybody want to try a joke like that about Mohammed?

Franken also wrote a Saturday Night Live monologue for Jesus Christ that appeared in a magazine. After poking fun at Christians' belief that Jesus was both God and man, he had Christ speculate on having the hots for Mary Magdalene:

"If Mary Magdalene looked like Barbara Hershey, I might have thought twice about this celibacy thing. I mean, the real Mary Magdalene was about four foot two, 135 pounds. And with bad teeth yet."

In Franken's world, God has a mouth as foul as Franken's. In one book, he has God refer to books about liberal media bias as "total bullshit." Later, he describes God as having his head "up his ass."

But Franken saves his sharpest barbs for those weirdos, Catholics.

In 2006, he and a guest on his Air America radio show joked about Eucharistic communion wafers -- sacred to Catholics as the body of Christ -- and compared them to chips and guacamole. In "Dog Confessional," a proposed sketch for Saturday Night Live, Franken depicted "a series of dogs, played by cast members, confessing to a priest," according to the Washington Post. NBC refused to air it.

In another book, Franken described greeting a New York audience with the words, "Isn't Cardinal O'Connor an asshole?"

Franken's campaign did not return a phone call seeking comment.

If a 12-year-old kid spouted this stuff in a schoolyard, he'd be hauled to the principal's office and told to grow up. But in today's surreal political climate, a guy who lobs insults like these has a shot at one the highest political offices in the land.

We're used to slanderers of Christianity getting government arts grants. But Franken wants more. He's asking us to send him to what's been called "the most exclusive club in the world" -- and to serve us there until 2014.

Since Kersten only has so much space, she left a few examples lying around. MRC's Brent Bozell noticed some other ones in Franken's Lying Liars book in 2003:

The most visible example of tastelessness is the comic strip that runs from pages 313 to 323: “The Gospel of Supply-Side Jesus.” Franken’s fictional preacher explains to the masses in Israel that “the only way gain entrance to God’s kingdom” is to “become a Supply Side Jesus Pioneer and have access to me at our annual Yom Kippur ‘Break the Fast’ Dinner.” So there’s shades of Bush in this ersatz savior, and he’s about to be betrayed by an apostle “with a gambling debt,” which brings us to a caricature of “William Bennett Iscariot.”

If you didn’t like that example, there’s always Franken’s trip to Bob Jones University with a fake son (his real one wouldn’t play the gag) to try and trip up the wacky Christians and suggest that maybe they could bend their wacky rules for some major donations. Their college guide wouldn’t bend from his “path to Christ.” Franken summed up: “A good honest day’s work done, lying to God-fearing people. We’d sleep well tonight.”

This Franken clearly isn't just playing the prankster. He's displaying a real loathing. But that hardly puts him far from the liberal "mainstream."

It's amazing that journalists badly disguised as Democratic operatives (like Time's Amy Sullivan), who so energetically promote the preposterous idea that the the Party of Abortion and 'Gay Marriage' goes together with devout Christians like chips and salsa, aren't forced to stare material like this in the face.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis