In honor of Book of Mormon, here's a pop history of religious satire
"I believe that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America/I am a Mormon, and a Mormon just believes," sings Elder Price in Matt Stone and Trey Parker's iconic musical, The Book of Mormon. And while the theological irreverence of a song like "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream," or the existential send-up of self imposed ignorance in "Turn It Off," may seem gut-bustingly revolutionary, Parker and Stone are building on a tradition of god-mocking that is as old as belief itself. From Chaucer and Voltaire, to Kevin Smith and Bill Maher, comedians have continued to pull from the bottomless well of religious satire, which never seems to run dry. And while we could spend all day sifting through the vast libraries of chuckles-at-god's-expense, here's instead a microwaved version of what's been going on in the world of spiritual sarcasm in just the last forty years.
Monty Python's Life of Brian
In ancient Israel, public stonings were not only a necessary form of capital punishment for breaking the laws of Yahweh, but a common social ritual like tennis or cruiser bike rides. Though there were ABSOLUTELY NO WOMEN ALLOWED, as we learn in this hilarious parody of a ritual that, when you stop to consider the logistics, must have been an exhaustingly gory and time-consuming affair. Surely at least once in history some poor soul, after throwing his twenty-seventh rock to no avail, must have exclaimed "goddamn this is taking all day!" in which case he would find himself next in line for geological execution.