If content can go “viral,” this Tweet from Religion News Service, 40K followers, has certainly made me sick. Does something look wrong in this Tweet to you?
— Religion NewsService (@RNS) December 15, 2014
The Tweet was supposed to promote an article at RNS, 10 Anti-Christmas Christmas Cards if You’re not Feeling Holly and Jolly. Patrick Madrid was the only popular Catholic voice to make comment on it.
@RNS Is this supposed to be funny?
— Patrick Madrid (@patrickmadrid) December 15, 2014
And it backfired somehow:
This is concerning for so many reasons.
It’s alarming to me that a religious website would have such an offensively natured image on their site. I’m all for finding and compiling content that mixes humor with our faith, and can even be somewhat edgy. On my own site, EpicPew, we’ve featured weird Nativity sets, hilarious Advent calendars, and even discussed whether or not there is an apologetic defense for Jesus having 6-pack abs. There is a big difference between edgy and disrespectful. Coming in the week of the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and one day after the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the “humor” is not humor, which is exactly what Patrick Madrid was interjecting. It was beyond disrespectful, it was a jab at the Mother of God, our mother!
Now, I know, this was supposed to be an “anti-Christian Christmas card” collection, and this was the choice card of ‘Atheists.’ Really, who approved this article? And who sent this Tweet thinking, “This is what our fans would like to see.”
Consolation could be made for this if they took these ‘cards’ in a list and then made some sort of correction to errors, or something apologetically creative. No-the article fails to correct or make right or even commentary.
Is it okay to joke about this sort of thing? Should we be offended or should we, “learn to take a joke”, as the Twitter user suggested? Patrick said it’s not funny, but I lean on the side of repulsed. Imagine a Christmas card that read a zinger about Jesus and Mary Magdaline. People would be outraged, right? I hope so! So why then can a religious news service make fun of Mary’s virginity? Tweet it without context? And fair to make amends when confronted?
The fact that it was posted as an “Atheist Christmas Card” doesn’t even make sense, and it’s offensive. Why would someone want to see these images when they’re not “holly and jolly”? As if teasing Christianity is something that supposed to get us in the Christmas mood? It doesn’t really matter, though, if I’m offended. What matters is that this irreligious content doesn’t glorify God, which is what the Church indicates is the purpose of the media.
The Church recognizes that these media, if properly utilized, can be of great service to mankind, since they greatly contribute to men’s entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God. The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss. (Inter Mirifica, 2)
But hey, according to the site, RNS, “strive[s] to inform, illuminate and inspire public discourse on matters relating to belief and convictions.” I don’t think they’ve done that very well.