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MTV To Air Pope-Bashing Cartoon in Germany, With Crucifixion-Mocking Ad

Posted by ssbg on April 15, 2006

Posted by Tim Graham on April 13, 2006 – 11:55. International Editor Patrick Goodenough reported Thursday on MTV's Jesus-mocking in Germany:

Christians around the world prepare for Easter, magazine readers in Germany were confronted this week by full-page advertisements depicting Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns but descended from the cross, enjoying a television program.

"Laughing rather than hanging around," (Lachen statt rumhaengen) reads the tagline of the ad, which has drawn strong protests in Germany, where two-thirds of the population identifies as Christian.

The ad promotes MTV's plan to broadcast a cartoon lampooning the pope and Vatican hierarchy. The series, Popetown, was considered too controversial to be aired in Britain, and it caused an uproar in the one country where it has appeared, New Zealand.

See the official site, with the DVD cover of the pope brandishing a machine gun. The promotional copy reads:

This is Popetown, where money, power and corruption are the name of the game, and everyoneís playing. With an all-star cast, Popetown takes you into the side-splittingly surreal world of the Vatican as the long suffering and good-hearted Father Nicholas struggles to walk the narrow path of righteousness, whilst surrounded by money grabbing cardinals and a pogo-stick-riding infantile pope.

There's an episode guide here. There's another brief snippet of the story on a site called Now Playing Magazine:

Popetown is about one Father Nicholas, a priest who is in charge of the back office of the Vatican and must corral the whacked-out pope and his cardinals. The show was pulled by the BBC in 2004 because of similar protests, but MTV is describing the program as a satire, albeit one that’s not for everyone’s tastes, and will therefore air it as planned.

Goodenough reported some Germans thought a double standard was afoot and that Muslims would not have been skewered in this way:

The Deutsche Welle broadcaster quoted Joachim Herrmann of the Christian Social Union party as saying that MTV would have thought twice before poking fun in a similar way at Muslims.

"It is not acceptable that the Christian faith in particular is dragged into the dirt just because it is easier and less dangerous," he said, calling for MTV to pull both the series and the "tasteless" ads.

He also reported how the show was greeted when it aired in New Zealand:

The one country where the series has been shown is New Zealand, where a youth-oriented channel, C4, shrugged off protests by Catholic bishops and aired it last year.

In an unusual move, the Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) urged the country's half a million Catholics to boycott C4 and other stations owned by the Canadian broadcaster CanWest, and also to target companies advertising on the channels.

In a letter read out in parishes across the country, the bishops said the pope was depicted "as a cretinous, dirty, spoiled brat, and the curial cardinals as venal and dishonest," according to a statement made available by Catholic spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer Thursday.

The letter also said the program implied that one Vatican-based priest had "a predilection … for exotic animals in a way that suggests moral degeneration of an appalling kind."

C4 said it did not believe the series was offensive to a significant proportion of the population, and continued to air it. is a division of the Media Research Center.  From:


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