Scientology and South Park
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As most South Park fans know by now, Isaac Hayes who was the voice of Chef quit the show because of what he called "religious bigotry."
Now, South Park has been aired for nine seasons now, and from its inception, it has cast a highly critical eye on religion in all its varied forms. I have admired the way in which it has criticized religious ideas, religious leaders and religious hypocrisy while showing respect for the ordinary people who quietly follow religion in their everyday lives.
Isaac Hayes drew a healthy paycheck throughout those nine seasons, and there has not been a season in which religion was not attacked. However, in the ninth season an episode entitled "In the Closet" was aired which took an accurate aim at Scientology. Isaac Hayes is a Scientologist. All of a sudden, he decided to attack the show's religious bigotry?
Chef did his best to be honest with the kids. Too bad it seems the one who gave him his voice cannot show the same honesty.
In the past week, "In the Closet" was scheduled for a repeat performance. It was pulled from the air. It was reported in Friday's New York Post and in Variety that the show was pulled at the insistence of Tom Cruise, another Scientologist. Reportedly, he threatened Paramount Studios that he would forgo all promotional activities in support of Mission Impossible 3. Both Paramount and Comedy Central (the network that airs South Park) are owned by Viacom.
Islam and Scientology have one thing in common; they are both totally humourless about themselves. This is quite different from other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and even Hinduism. They can all accept a degree of mockery; even their various leaders will use self-mockery to make a point. Humour plays a part in their sacred texts. Islam seems different and humor has no place in it today. And Scientology, possibly the most ridiculous religious doctrine ever invented by man, cannot take a joke. Even though, in my view it is a joke. And I don't see how any reasonable person can view it otherwise.