The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Larry laughed, Jesus wept

Larry David has had his moments of brilliance.

But this wasn’t one of them:
curb4_500.jpgComedian Larry David is under attack from critics who say he pushed the mocking of religion and Christian belief in miracles over the edge in the latest episode of his HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which the cable network defended as “playful.” 


On the show’s most recent installment, which aired Sunday, David urinates on a painting of Jesus Christ, causing a woman to believe the painting depicts Jesus crying. 

Deal Hudson, author and publisher of, said he doesn’t find any humor in the episode. 

“I don’t think it’s funny,” Hudson told “Why is it that people are allowed to publicly show that level of disrespect for Christian symbols? If the same thing was done to a symbol of any other religions — Jewish or Muslim — there’d be a huge outcry. It’s simply not a level playing field.” 


Hudson said an apology from the show’s producers and writing team should be issued. 

“Somebody should [apologize],” Hudson said. “When is it going to stop? When is common sense going to dictate that people realize this willingness of artists to do to Christianity what they would never do to Judaism or Islam?” 

In a statement to, HBO downplayed the controversy. 

“Anyone who follows Curb Your Enthusiasm knows that the show is full of parody and satire,” the statement read. “Larry David makes fun of everyone, most especially himself. The humor is always playful and certainly never malicious.”


Meantime, The Anchoress puts all this in context:

It takes no courage for an rich, unbelieving “artist” to piss on Christ. After all, that’s been done before. And Jesus voluntarily submitted himself to much worse, which means nothing an “artist” does to any image of Christ can do anything but reflect on the spiritual poverty of the “artist,” himself.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted October 28, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I do have a taste for irreverent humor and I have laughed at plenty of things on Curb Your Enthusiasm and I have cringed at others. This one goes too far. I would die before suggesting such a thing, but I doubt that anyone would urinate on a Torah on TV in any “playful” way. I even feel uncomfortable writing that but it is analogous.
God have mercy on us all.

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posted October 28, 2009 at 8:02 pm

The Christian ADL sends forth its representatives into the world…
They note Larry David’s mocking defamation causes pain. Pain causes hatred. Hatred causes violence.
Given they are Christians they do not wish for violence but rather peace and compassion among men.
Therefore, Larry David, they ask, respectfully, please explain what it was in your heart that drove you to defame Christians.
They ask: Was there pain in your heart that caused you to mock and ridicule the faith of another? What caused that pain and how might we heal that wound?
They ask: Was there hatred in your heart? If so, what causes and conditions brought about that hatred? How might that hatred be transformed into compassion? How do you usually go about transforming your hatred?
They continue: Given others have expressed pain and hurt as a result of your mocking defamation, Larry David, what might you do to make sure you are not an agent who brings pain, hatred and violence into the world?
Or is it your heartfelt desire to cause pain, hatred, violence? Do you, Larry David, see yourself as an agent of pain, hatred and violence, or do you see yourself as a decent man, a man of compassion?
They pursue the conversation: Tell us more about the feelings stirring in your heart.

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Roman H.

posted October 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

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posted October 29, 2009 at 12:56 am

Apparently “Curb Your Enthusiam” must not be doing too well if Mr. David already feels the need to fall back on the old reliable strategy of attacking Catholicism in order to get publicity for his show.
I disagree with the Anchoress when she says this can only reflect on the spiritual poverty of the “artist.” It also reflects on the spiritual poverty of our culture when this sort of “humor” is defended as “playful” and “never malicious”.
No doubt there will be a chorus of Catholics who accuse those offended of being humorless, rigid, and needing to “lighten up”.
Certainly Mr. David needs our prayers, as do all involved in this attack on Christian faith. But they also need to be told that enough is enough, and this is far too much.

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posted October 29, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Let’s see if Larry David has the chutzpah to similarly treat Islamic or Judaeic icons. Creativity does not mean that standards of respect, reasonableness and common sense should not be observed.How pathetic that “Christian Bashing” intellectually rationalized as sick humor is protected by the 1st Amendment.

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A Vistor

posted October 30, 2009 at 3:18 am

It is not possible to “urinate on Jesus”, or “piss on Christ”. That person departed from this world almost two thousand years ago. According to his followers, he rose to Heaven, and will remain there until some indeterminate future time. He can not be “defiled”, nor even “insulted”; he is transcendentally beyond such human actions.
What is portrayed in the TV episode in question is a piece of canvas with pigment on its surface — that is, a wholly human artifact, a painting.
Can a given member of the audience be offended by a satirical portrayal of the accidental mistreatment of such a painting? Yes.
Can another given member of the audience be offended by the mere idea of visual representation of a deity? Yes.
Does one person’s idea of offensiveness have automatic, unquestioned priority over another person’s? No — just as with each person’s political, economic, esthetic, and culinary preferences.
The greatest danger TO religion in our time is also the greatest danger FROM religion: The unexamined assertion that religion is somehow exempt from freedom of speech, including discussion, examination, analysis, argument, humor, satire, bad taste, and even offense.

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