Two and a half years ago, the country of Malaysia was all a-twitter when an image of Jesus Christ holding a can of beer in one hand and a cigarette in another appeared in a newspaper. Cries for swift government retribution filled the air, because after all Jesus is too weak to defend Himself! Wait, no, that didn’t come out right. The image was censored because Jesus was more of an oenophile… yes, that must be it.
In India this month, after the local appearance of this Beer and Cigarette Jesus picture, Christians took to the street, forced merchants to close their shops, looted those shops, torched some motorcycles, and tried to set fire to some buildings… because Jesus would have wanted us all to turn the other cheek into a flaming wall of mayhem. The police beat them up, a Hindu mob responded by setting fire to Christian churches, the person who printed Beer Jesus was hauled off to jail, and the government censored the image, promising to respond to future insults against any religion “with an iron hand.” Local Christian leaders Albert Dua and Father Joseph brought followers to block bridge traffic. Father Joseph called for Christian rioters to be released from jail and the jailed Beer Jesus printer to be put to death:
It is not right to make fun of any religion, whether it is Hindu or Christian, as it hurts the sentiments of devotees. Therefore, whoever tries to create tension among communities should be severely punished.
Death, fire, mayhem, censorship, Jesus, beer, religion. Shake and stir for a lovely cocktail!