It’s not clear from the story whether this is a full-blown bid to knock blasphemous material off the air or merely an attempt to get CC to drop its Muslim/Christian double standard towards blasphemy. I’m hoping that it’s the latter but assuming that it’s the former. This is precisely the scenario I was dreading in that post about Apple removing an anti-Islam app from its iTunes store: Once you start censoring yourself out of fear of Islam, you’ll inevitably be asked to censor yourself further in the interest of “even-handedness” towards other religions. How long, I wonder, before “South Park” has to black out images of Jesus in the name of fairness?

Brent Bozell (president, Media Research Center), Tony Perkins (president, Family Research Council), Michael Medved (talk radio host), Bill Donohue (president, Catholic League), Rabbi Daniel Lapin (American Alliance of Jews and Christians) and, of course, Tim Winter (president, Parents Television Council) are joining forces to form the Coalition Against Religious Bigotry…

Comedy Central’s “JC” is currently in development, which means it’s still a couple steps away from becoming a Go project. The show is about Jesus trying to live as a regular guy in New York City and wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” (more details here). With Comedy Central having recently censored frequent parenting group target “South Park” for trying to portray the Prophet Muhammad, some Christian leaders see the development of a Jesus cartoon as exhibiting an offensive double standard…

“After we reveal the vile and offensive nature of Comedy Central’s previous characterizations of Jesus Christ and God the Father, we expect these advertisers to agree wholeheartedly to end their advertising on Comedy Central and discontinue their support for unabashed, anti-Christian discrimination,” Bozell said in a statement. “Why should they be supporting a business that makes a habit of attacking Christianity and yet has a formal policy to censor anything considered offensive to followers of Islam? This double standard is pure bigotry, one from which advertisers should quickly shy away.”

Via THR, here’s a lowlight reel from “South Park” released by CARB to illustrate the problem. If the goal here isn’t really to torpedo the show but rather to highlight what fantastic hypocrites Comedy Central executives are, then full speed ahead. And maybe that is the intent; it occurs to me that if this was an anti-blasphemy group in earnest, they might have included some Muslim members to present a united ecumenical front. As it is, in the unlikely event that CC backs off on Mohammed, CARB can say, “Okay, then we withdraw our objection,” which it probably couldn’t do if Muslims were involved. But, er, what if CC actually agrees to their demand and cancels the show in order to be “even-handed”? Would CARB accept that or would it object that the remedy it wanted was for parodies of Mohammed to be shown, not for parodies of Christ to be censored? With Tony Perkins and Bill Donohue involved, presumably cancellation is acceptable. Which is an ominous precedent.

The group’s holding a presser on Thursday so reserve judgment until then. You’ll be pleased to know, meanwhile, that Facebook has finally caved to Pakistani demands by removing the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” page, along with assurances that “nothing of this sort will happen in the future.” Presumably “Everybody Draw Jesus Day” pages will also soon be forbidden, assuming they aren’t already.