Religion ends satire, or satire ends religion?

Attention South Park conservatives! (And this probably applies to South Park liberals as well....)

The Chef has quit. Well, his voice, that is. Isaac Hayes refuses to continue doing the Chef voiceover any longer, because of what he considers the show's disrespect for religion:

Hayes, who has played the ladies' man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

His concerns are not over Islam or Christianity, or Muhammad cartoons, mind you. South Park went too far when it made fun of Scientology:
"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem and he's cashed plenty of checks with our show making fun of Christians."

Last November, "South Park" targeted the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, in a top-rated episode called "Trapped in the Closet." In the episode, Stan, one of the show's four mischievous fourth graders, is hailed as a reluctant savior by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won't come out.

Trapped in the Closet? Doesn't that also have a homophobic ring to it?

I'm sorry to see the Chef go. I know satire has its limits, but these Scientologists sound like a particularly intolerant bunch. When I previously took a peek at Tom Cruise's statements, I honestly didn't know where to begin. I mean, what's to satirize about stuff like this?

The hundreds of billions of captured thetans were taken to a type of cinema, where they were forced to watch a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" for 36 days. This implanted what Hubbard termed "various misleading data" (collectively termed the R6 implant) into the memories of the hapless thetans, "which has to do with God, the Devil, space opera, etcetera". This included all world religions, with Hubbard specifically attributing Roman Catholicism and the image of the Crucifixion to the influence of Xenu. The interior decoration of "all modern theaters" is also said by Hubbard to be due to an unconscious recollection of Xenu's implants.

In addition to implanting new beliefs in the thetans, the images deprived them of their sense of identity. When the thetans left the projection areas, they started to cluster together in groups of a few thousand, having lost the ability to differentiate between each other. Each cluster of thetans gathered into one of the few remaining bodies that survived the explosion. These became what are known as body thetans, which are said to be still clinging to and adversely affecting everyone except those Scientologists who have performed the necessary steps to remove them.

The question in my mind isn't where satire ends, but where religion begins. I try to take everything seriously and I try to be respectful within the limits of . . ah, never mind!

Sorry, but I think the body thetans have gotten the better of Mr. Hayes.

posted by Eric on 03.13.06 at 06:33 PM


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Religion ends satire, or satire ends religion?:

» "Chef" Leaves South Park from Letters from the Bostonian Exile
In the words of George Carlin, "Let's not have a double standard. One standard will do just fine." Over the years, the show has satirized Catholics, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists, and probably other religious groups that immediately... [Read More]
Tracked on March 13, 2006 7:12 PM


One of my favorite South Park episodes of all time.

Nicole: [knocks on the closet door] Tom? Tom, It's Nicole.

Cruise: Ah hi Nicole.

Nicole: Tom, don't you think this has gone on long enough? It's time for you to come out of the clsoet.

Cruise: ...I'm not, I'm not in the closet.

Nicole: Yes you are, Tom. And you need to just end this and come out. [silence] I'm not gonna think any differently of you. Kaite's not gonna think any differently of you. You don't need to be in that closet anymore, Tom.

Cruise: I'm not in here, though.

Nicole: Yes, you are.

Cruise: I'm not, ...I'm not in the closet.

Nicole: Then how am I talking to you, Tom? [silence] Tom, you can't hide forever just because the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard doesn't like your acting. Come out of the closet, Tom. You're not fooling anyone.

Cruise: I'm, I'm not, I'm not in here.

And later:

Travolta: Tom! Hey Tom, this is John Travolta.

Cruise: Oh hey John.

Travolta: Tom, you've gotta come out of the closet. Oh my Gahd.

Cruise: L. Ron Hubbard doesn't think I'm a great actor.

Travolta: Mm-maybe you took what he said out of context. Okay, 's like, if you don't come out, can I at least come in and talk to you?

Cruise: Oh... Okay, but no tricks.

Travolta: No tricks. [gives the group standing out in the hall a thumbs-up. The door opens and John goes into the closet.] Hey, it's really nice n here.

Cruise: Yeah, see?

Travolta: I feel really safe. Oh my Gahd.

Randy: [knocks] Hello? [tries to force the door open] Hey, come out of there!

Harkonnendog   ·  March 13, 2006 9:07 PM

I don't know why Chef would quit now instead of BEFORE this episdoe aired- unless the evil Scientologists FORCED him to after the saw it.

Which just goes to show they are still controlled by the Thetans... or whatever.

Harkonnendog   ·  March 13, 2006 9:08 PM

I remember reading that he sat out that episode because of the Scientology issue, but I think he would have said something a bit before now.

It's incredibly obvious Hayes is just upset because Parker and Stone finally made fun of *him* instead of everyone else in the world, including themselves. Hayes had no problem being bigoted towards gays, Christians, atheists, Republicans, Catholics, Democrats, Hollywood stars, Muslims, Hispanics... etc... but its only when Scientology comes up that he quits.

Sort of like the people who laughed through the Scientology episode but got the Catholic episode the week after banned.

Adam   ·  March 13, 2006 10:11 PM

Ever see the Mormon episode? I had a mormon co-worker. I'd been trying for a long time to get him to watch South Park, as he was somewhat libertarian and I thought he'd enjoy it. That wound up being the first episode he ever saw.

He loved it.

The next day at work, he recounted the entire episode, over and over, to each of his Mormon co-workers (we had just integrated the Salt Lake City office into our Houston office--hence all the Mormons). They all thought it was great too. For some strange reason, my Mormon coworkers' ability to laugh at themselves and some of the rather sillier aspects of their religion increased my respect for Mormonism all together.

Adam: what's this about a banned Catholic episode? I'd never heard about that...

Beck   ·  March 14, 2006 8:16 AM covers the Scientology phenomenon. They're not particularly favorable, but given the anecdotes they've got, it's no wonder.

B. Durbin   ·  March 15, 2006 12:32 AM

I am a Scientologist of 30 years and very proud to be so. The aforementioned South Park show was a grossly inaccurate representation of the Scientology philosophy and it's tenets and applications. (They couldn't even pronounce Thetan correctly...or perhaps that was a deliberate attempt to be "funny".) It is one thing to satirize something based on fact, and then exaggerate for the sake of comedic impact. But this was nothing more than an irresponsible distortion based on lies (half-truths at best) and conjecture and...someone else's misinterpretation of studies and activities they obviously never even took the time to research with an unbiased point of view. I will bet that if the show which satirized the Mormons (or any other religion South Park has chosen to bash) blatantly and outwardly referenced their religion as a worldwide "scam", they wouldn't have been so favorably entertained as to "laugh at themselves".

(A sidenote: Did the producers and writers believe themselves to be so expert and ordained in the teachings of Scientology as to be empowered to include their caption "This is what Scientologists really believe"?)

I won't bother to waste anyone's time defending what I know to be true and accurate. Rather, I would advise anyone to be so naive as to believe this extremely negative picture of Scientology, to take the time to go to the official web site ( and click on the "World Activities" link to get the facts about the organization and it's contributions worldwide. One can also get an accurate and historical picture of L. Ron Hubbard: his history, books, and the many accolades he has recieved globally for his accomplishments in the field of social betterment. Most importantly, there are the basic books for those who would venture to get the true picture of the Scientology applied religious philosophy.

Satire is defined as:
1. A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.
The branch of literature constituting such works.
2. Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.

Those who have benefited greatly by Scientology (I being one) can attest that it does NOT fall under the category of "folly, vice, or stupidity". It is also my belief that if one must attack or criticize, even for the sake of wit or entertainment, that more than a mere sketchy knowledge of his or her target be attained beforehand, and from reliable sources. Otherwise it becomes a blind and irresponsible attack resembling little more than defamation and an attempt to misinform and decieve.

Craig Marsden   ·  March 23, 2006 5:15 AM

April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits