Monday, March 19, 2007

Jesus-/Bong-Lovers Unite

Had to comment on this story from today's NYTimes:

"Bong Hits 4 Jesus"

It was supposed to be a Jackass-like stunt, led by bored and frankly uncreative high school senior Joseph Frederick of Juneau, Alaska. He wanted to "get on t.v." So in 2002, when the Olympic torch passed through town on its way to Salt Lake City, good ol' Joe thought it would be funny to hold up a massive banner carrying the funny line he'd seen on someone's snowboard.

It is kind of funny, in a Jackass kind of way.

His principal didn't think so, though. She ordered him to take the banner down. When he didn't, she flew into a bit of a rage, tore it down herself, and suspended him for a couple of weeks.

So Joe decided to do what Americans do best: he sued under free-speech legislation. The Bush administration, via the Supreme Court, sided with the principal and the school board of course.

So far, pretty straightforward stuff. Except then the religious right got involved.

"Bong Hits 4 Jesus"--not exactly a quote from the New American Standard or the St.James bibles. Yet--prepare to have your mind boggled--the religious right is siding with wee little Joey boy.

Here's the clincher: they're doing so because they want Christian kids to be allowed to worship/talk about/promote Jesus in school.

In a way, their position makes sense. As the religious right moves further into the fringes, they are increasingly occupying the "dissident" space and, as one law expert put it, "The status of being a dissident unites dissidents..."

On the other hand, uh...hellow? Religious right? Tell me you aren't siding with him because the word "Jesus" appeared on his banner? Look me in the eyes and tell me you really see this kid as a "dissident." Tell me you don't see a political opportunity here and are willing to brush aside the very convictions you say you're trying to protect in order to win.

Here's a question for the religious right: which is worse? Insulting Christianity and the name of Jesus and associating it with bong hits...or siding with someone who does so in order to achieve a political end? Because that's what this comes down to for the Christian right: a political position. And it seems to me that they have chosen political power over spiritual rectitude. I mean, don't you think they sold out, just a little?

This is a case of an inextricable medium and message. If Joe Frederick had decided to write "Gay Rights Now" or "Legalize Marijuana" on his banner, there would still have been an inherent tension between his position and that of his far-right supporters (they probably wouldn't have supported him in fact)--but it wouldn't have involved blasphemy. But he chose "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," and last time I checked that message resides somewhere along Blasphemy Boulevard.

So if there was any doubt that the religious right is more concerned with man's laws than God's...well, they're the ones who are always talking about the "slippery slope."

It seems Jesus isn't as important as the right to use his name.


Blogger Fat Sparrow said...

Dude, you'd have to be high to be in the Religious Right, man.

And there's nothing in the Bible against (or even about) marijuana, so obviously it's all good.

Anyhow, from reading that article, the kid was off school grounds, so what's it to his principal, anyway? Since when do principals get to have a say on what kids do out of school? And who thought it was a good idea to let the little monsters out of their cage, just because someone was carrying some fire through the town? Albeit, it is Hicksville, Alaska, but I'll bet they've seen fire before. You know, it's that hot thing you fire up your bong with.

11:19 AM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

FS: How the hell are ya? How's the ol' kidneys? Hope you're all better.

What bothers me most is they really missed the main point of the story: "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" just isn't that funny. Unless you're high. Or a member of the Religious Right. Then it's hilfreakinglareeous.

3:02 PM  
Blogger MairĂ©ad said...

What next!

4:26 PM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

Mairead: I hate to guess. Stephen Hawking embraces "The Secret"?

5:40 PM  
Blogger jackp said...

i'm scared. i like to go straight down the middle.

12:42 AM  

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