Baylor ridicules Muslims; No, wait, not Muslims…

Baylor ridicules Muslims; No, wait, not Muslims…

A comedy troupe at Baylor University, a Baptist school in Waco, Texas, has caused some controversy by depicting a Muslim imam stumbling around drunk and eating a ham sandwich. The university administration said the comedy troupe was prone to taking things too far, but the best way to handle it was to laugh at them.

Oh wait, did I say a drunken, ham-eating Muslim imam? No, what I meant to say was that they depicted a pregnant Catholic nun. Because, after all, offended Catholics aren’t going to burn down your school in retaliation.

I would have thought that the days of such blatant anti-Catholicism were behind us, especially at a large and respected institution like Baylor, and that the university president would at least express official disapproval, not counsel laughter.

On the other hand, I think Bishop Greg Aymond of Austin was a bit off in his response. He claimed, “While we have freedom of speech, this does not mean freedom to offend or to ridicule another person or his religious tradition.” Actually, it does mean that. Just because something ought not to be done morally, doesn’t mean it’s not allowed by law. So, while he’s right to criticize the university, the comedy troupe, and the newspaper that put the photo on the front page, I think he undermines his argument.

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  • Perhaps this is a sign that the dialogue between Baylor and Notre Dame is making progress. Both Baylor president Dr. John Lilley and Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins can agree that if it is offensive to Catholics it must be tolerated in the name of diversity and good fun.

  • We disagree.  Were we to adopt the relaxed standards you seem to advocate in ‘free speech,’ then we should stop protesting abortion, which is ALSO Constitutional, eh?

  • Uh no, I’m saying that you can’t prevent it by claiming that it’s illegal. Bishop Aymond is wrong to say that freedom of speech doesn’t allow one to mock or criticize religion. But that’s not the same thing as saying such mockery is moral.

  • Dom, remembering the NoZe Brotherhood from when I was at Baylor, I’m willing to bet they probably *have* made fun of Muslims . . . we just haven’t heard about it. Their satire on Baptists is even tougher than on Catholics or Jews (all of which they made fun of when I was at school). They almost always went beyond the bounds of taste but that was the whole point—they didn’t care. They were a sort of id-expression for the rest of the student body, stuck there in the “Baylor Bubble”. Everything and everybody (including themselves) is fair game.

    I’m not justifying, just explaining.

  • Let’s be clear: It’s not just that this group did something tasteless that’s at issue. There will always be those who want to do something tasteless in the name of humor.

    What’s really at issue is the lack of reaction by the university administration and that the local newspaper put the photo on the front page.