Letter to the Editor: Can’t Christians take a joke?

On February 22nd, during the first week of Lent, an article was published in the satire section of The Bucknellian that depicted Jesus as a debaucherous drunk, and many Christians took offense to such a portrayal — ourselves included. People of faith on this campus, both students and faculty, have addressed this article as irreverent and disrespectful. The offense has been forgiven. What’s troubling is the general chorus to our complaint: “Can’t you take a joke?”

As students in the English Department, we can appreciate works of satire. Perhaps our grievance with the article seems petty. Its author probably didn’t intend to affront anyone. He was just trying to be funny. So, why can’t we, as a Catholic Christians, lighten up and take a joke? We believe that such a question is the result of a gross misunderstanding of who Jesus actually is.

For Christians, Jesus Christ of Nazareth is not a distant life in history, an icon of our religious sect, or a mere, symbolic figure. He is real and living presence, the beloved Savior of humanity. He is the second person of the Trinity, consubstantial with the Father, the Incarnation of God, the Divine Word made flesh sent to earth in love to restore communion with the Father. He is the Comforter, the Giver of Life, the blameless Son of God who, indeed, “literally died” for our sins — everyone’s sins. He is the living spring our souls are longing for, just “as the deer panteth for the waters” (Psalms 42:1).

The beauty of Christ’s teachings, his death, and resurrection is not something Christians hold thoughtlessly.

Our response to the satire piece isn’t about identity politics as Christians on campus or about representing our faith. (Such a disdainful portrayal of Christ is an insult to all faith groups on this campus, not just Christians.) This is about defending the name of someone we love and cherish as the Light of the World and Son of God.

As we encourage and support The Bucknellian’s right to print satire, we hope the general response to this incident will become an opportunity to grow in respect as a campus by reaching a better understanding of our diverse faiths and non-faiths, and learning from each other with open minds and hearts.

Adam Walker (graduate student in Literary Studies) and Carolyn Marino (English Literature Major)

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