Saturday, January 05, 2008
Stephen Colbert on Protestantism
Stephen Colbert, that faux conservative commentator who has his own Comedy show 'The Colbert Report' has now published a book 'I Am an American (and So Can You!)'. Yes, you read that right.
My son the pundit gave me this book for Christmas, and I must say-- it is rather hysterical, whatever your views on politics and religion.
In real life Colbert is both a Catholic and a Sunday School teacher, and he has been known to take on the likes of Bart Ehrman on his show-- and skewer him pretty good!
So the following excerpt from his book comes with a warning label--- BLAME HIM, NOT ME FOR THESE REMARKS.
Chapter 4 of the book is devoted to 'Religion' and begins auspiciously with a quote from a Doobie Brothers song' Jesus is just alright with me.' To this is added Colbert's retort-- "But are they alright with Jesus? Drop the reefer boys, and pick up a Bible!"
His discussion of denominations begins with the reminder that the Roman Catholic Church is 'the church'. He adds "Catholics have many advantages over other Christians. One is marble. For the buck I put into the collection plate, I want some production value. That means a church, not some community center that doubles as basketball court. Also Catholics have saints-- more than 10,000 of them. They're like God's customer service reps, and each of them has a speciality." (p. 53).
But then he gets down to brass tacks with Protestanism, here defined as "This is a variant form of Christianity, or 'heresy'. " He adds "Protestants don't make me angry as much as disappointed. Unlike the world's crazy made up religions, they're so close to getting it right. They're a single Pope away from reaching their full potential." (p. 53). He says that now that Protestants have had their little 490 year protest, its time to move on and stop dwelling in the past. Here's his blow by blow account of various Protestant denominations.
Episcopal Church: " Why don't Episcopalians just come out and say it-- their Anglicans! A bunch of Tory Loyalist Brito-philes...waiting for the day America let's her guard down and they can reinstate Henry VIII"
Methodist Church: "What, the Church of England wasn't heretical enough for you?"
Presbyterian Church: "Presbyterians are identical to Methodists except that one of them says 'debt's instead of 'trespasses' in the Lord's prayer. Hundreds of years of bitter armed conflict has failed to resolve this difference. How many more lives must be lost?"
Baptist Church: "I'm a pious guy but even I have my limits. I draw the line right around spending eight hours in church every Sunday. Church should be a solemn 45 minutes to sit quietly and feel guilty, with donuts at the end to make you feel better. I don't go for a full day of singing, dancing, and rejoicing, no matter how nice the hats are. I prefer my Gospel monotonously droned to me from the pulpit, thank you very much."
Quaker Church: "There folks produced only two things I like--Oatmeal and Richard Nixon."
(all the above is on pp. 54-55).
I will spare you his comments on Unitarians, Mormons, and Jews. He defines agnostics as "Atheists, without balls.".
He also provides a svelte commentary on the nature of the Bible, for example stressing "After Jesus showed up, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." (p. 57).
So if you are in need of more enlightenment of this variety, by all means rush out and buy this fine book published last year by Grand Central Publishing, which has a silver seal on the cover informing us this book won "the Stephen Colbert Award for the Literary Excellence" (and you thought he was the grammar police).
If religion is not your thing, not to worry-- there are chapters on sex, sports cars, politics and a plethora of other subjects-- bon appetit.