Is Christian Satire Ungodly?

When Mark Driscoll was revealed for his book shenanigans I started coming up with a string of quips under the hashtag DricollSchoolOf Ethics:

Remember, it’s not plagiarism – it’s flattery, because imitation is…well, you know.

Remember, when accused of plagiarism the best defense is, “Well, great minds think alike.”

Remember, when accused of plagiarism always come back with, “But I didn’t write it. Blame my ghostwriter.”

Before long, an atheist/former pastor who followed me jumped in and commented that I was acting inappropriately.

“u do realize that u are publicly attacking a fellow brother in Christ? Is that what Jesus would want u to do?”

This issue has reared its head again recently, when a blogger went after the satirical Christian news site The Babylon Bee. Jonathan Hollingsworth notes that the satire site is popular due to its “ability to pass bigotry off as satire.”

I don’t think I’ll be able to sway anyone to agree with me, but I did want to take a couple seconds to address the issue and tell you why I think Christian satire and pointed mocking is appropriate.

1. The Bible DOES talk about handling grievances privately between individuals. The biblical guidance for such behavior is between people who have a damaged relationship. The goal of going to the “brother” is so that relationship can be repaired and restored (see Matthew 18 as an example). HOWEVER…

2. The Bible DOES give us multiple examples of Jesus (and others) calling out poor behavior in a public setting.

– Upset with money-changers taking advantage of worshippers, Jesus tears through the temple flipping over tables and whipping men with a cord.
– Upset with the super-religious, John the Baptist calls the Pharisees and Sadducees “you brood of vipers.”
– Upset with the super-religious, Jesus calls them “you brood of vipers.”
– Jesus repeatedly publicly calls out religious leaders as “hypocrites.”
– Paul has to call out Peter for his poor behavior regarding unfair treatment of Gentiles in the church.

While not every instance of publicly calling someone out in the Bible is a mirror image of today’s situations, there is still a strong case to be made for publicly addressing and calling out those who want to claim righteousness yet blatantly disregard God’s call to holiness. Jesus himself used sarcasm and satire to drive his point home.

Publicly tearing people down for no reason other than to hurt is never right. Using sarcasm or satire to drive home a point about the behavior of those who claim to be God-followers is well-supported in the Bible.

How about you? What do you think? Where should we draw the line when it comes to public rebuke?

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