Generally, I’m in the “all religions should get along” camp. But I’ve noticed something that’s kind of bothered me, and I need some direction as to whether I should be offended or not.
I’ve been working my way through all of the Curb Your Enthusiasm DVDs, and I’ve noticed how often Larry David, who is Jewish, uses the phrase “Jesus Christ!” to express shock or disgust.
Traditionally, people say “Jesus Christ!” when they really want to add a little kick to their expression of disbelief. This is especially true, albeit wrong, for Christians - since they are taking the name of their Savior in vain. This has led to such well known sayings as “Jesus Christ – that camel is going to eat my whole Cinnabon!” and “Jesus Christ – his nose is so hairy, it looks like he inhaled a bunny rabbit!” In fact, I regularly work the Lord’s name into new and exciting 18 word phrases during Packer games.
But for non-Christians, the phrase doesn’t really pack the same punch. Since Jews aren’t really big on the whole “divinity of Christ” bandwagon, they could literally pick anyone to use as an interjection and it would be equally as effective. They could say, for example, “Burl Ives, why can’t our mother wear underwear in public?” and it would have the same impact. So why do they get to choose our guy JC?
So basically, non-Christians get to use the Christian Savior as a punchline without having to do all the sucky crap that good Christians have to do (go to church, contribute financially, threaten abortionists, etc.). It’s kind of like when people within certain ethic or religious groups can make jokes and use disparaging words about their own people – because in the end, everyone knows that they are still in alignment with that group.
But when a member of any group steps outside and begins making comments or using words used by another group, there tends to be trouble. For instance, I would never say something like “Oh, Mohammed! That enchilada gave me fire ass!” See, that would be offensive – and I don’t see how it would be any different for a Muslim to say the same using Jesus’ name.
I am willing to find common ground on this. As a concession, I am willing to relinquish Christian control of such popular religious sayings as "For the love of God," "God dammit," and "Turd burglar."
I hate to get all Mel Gibson on this, but it did kind of bother me a little. Incidentally, look for my new film, “Chocalypto,” which tells the harrowing story of how Count Chocula was able to fend off invasion by the white milk.
And on the scale of things that irritate me, this is low on the list - well behind people that throw cigarettes out their car windows.