South Park and censorship

I'm sure by now most people have heard about the uproar over South Park's 200th episode. What I don't understand is how Comedy Central could cave so quickly and pathetically. I watched the first episode and it was the customary offensive humor. When the issue of Muhammad even came up they went to great lengths not to show anything that even closely resembled what Muhammad might look like.

But here's the problem. In the episode the boys visit the "super best-friends" to talk to Muhammad and we see Buddha doing lines of cocaine, Jesus surfing the internet for porn and other religious prophets in offensive and blasphemous situations. So that's okay, because Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Hindus don't threaten violence or death. Doesn't anyone else see the stupidity here?

There was absolutely no offensive act that Muhammad was doing. Everyone was extremely polite and careful about referring to him and when he did "appear" it was in a bear costume (which turned out to actually be Santa inside - don't ask). For this there are vague death threats and Comedy Central caves.

Sure, it's a stupid cartoon show on basic cable. No one under the age of 18 should even really be allowed to watch it because it is highly offensive, but this is getting out of hand. Countless times South Park has mocked and ridiculed Christians - particularly Catholics and Mormons - and every single episode they ridicule Jews in some way. This time though, they were actually making a point. It's okay to show Buddha snorting coke and Jesus looking at porn, but they can't even talk about Muhammad without getting death threats.

What is worse is that the network caved. You don't cave to fear and intimidation. Islam is not special. It is not - or should not be - immune to the jokes and ridicule that every other religion must endure. I don't like the Christian jokes; they are deeply offensive to me, but in our country they have the right to do it. I also have the right to call it tasteless and not watch it - which is exactly what most people who are offended by it do.

I'm not saying that is should be open season on tasteless jokes about Islam or any other religion. What I am saying is that you don't get to use death threats and intimidation because you can't take a joke.