It is only a few weeks since Ricky Gervais mocked the image of Christ on a magazine cover in order to make a further payment on his mortgage. Apart from a few bloggers, myself included, not a peep was heard from any sensible Christian anywhere.
This morning brought with it a news story of a French satirist whose offices were rendered to charcoal because he made a mocking representation of the Prophet Mohammed in his own magazine.
In essence, the same action by two 'funny' men caused diametrically opposing responses from faith organisations. One of those responses was conspicuous by its absence, the other conspicuous by its excess.
Surely there is some middle ground. It seems, at times, that Christians are only satisfied when attacking their own (the archbish, for example). The other lot are busy weeping into their crocheted hankies about how we are "Christians of the persecution" in Britain - and you all know what I think of that preposterous agenda. Oddly, we seem incapable or unwilling to step up and speak out about those who would seek to mock our own Saviour, which makes us the focus and butt of much comedy and insult. Equally, I am a blogger who avoids any and all talk of the Prophet Mohammed. Why? Because I fear the response by some of the more extreme of my Muslim brothers (and sisters). It is a considerable imbalance between the faiths that to my mind is difficult to swallow.
I would love to see more Christians become gusset-rotated about some of the christocentric humour that permeates our media. I would love to see Christians stand up for their faith not in the flaccid way we see in the hands of those who simply want to impose their personal theologies. We can't even blame being British, because the world of football and rugby engenders so much loyalty and self-defensiveness. By the same token, I would call upon my Muslim brothers and sisters to not be so easily compelled to violence by the foolishness of comedians. No-one prevails in the wake of an over-reaction, any more than they do in the silent wake of passivity.
This is a place where many people of different faiths can learn from one another. To those of us who hold it, faith is important enough to cherish and seek to protect. I am sure that every Christian parent would turn rabid in the defense of their children, just not their family in faith. Equally, I doubt that a single member of any other faith group would burn the house of the headteacher following a difficult report about their little ones. Let us all work out the middle ground, and maybe even (just maybe) find a way of defending faith in all its expressions.