In the World

About that Bible-and-Playboy photo illustration

This post by GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly is
a classic specimen of the genre: some great media criticism, with sprinkled
asides of conservative boilerplate. Before detailing his mixed reaction to
Ashley Fantz's article on evangelicals and pornography,
Mattingly offers this take on the article's controversial photo illustration, in which a man hides a
copy of Playboy in his Bible:

staged illustration didn't freak me out, truth be told, although I must admit
that I share many readers' doubts that CNN would have run the same photo with a
Playboy inside a Koran.

Of course they wouldn't,
but it's not the same thing. There's a difference between offending the
majority and offending the minority--power differentials matter. More
importantly, Muslim reverence for the physical artifact of the Qur'an is of a
whole different order than Christian reverence for the Bible. Replace CNN's
Bible image with a Qur'an and the implications are significantly changed--just
like the Danish cartoon controversy was a much bigger thing
than the (unintentionally?) ironic Jesus-With You Always drawings.

Of course, some Christians
revere the physical Bible more or differently than others. I found that the CNN image made me slightly uncomfortable, but
I can't articulate any real problem with it--and it certainly illustrates the
story effectively. What do you think?

Steve Thorngate

The Century managing editor is also a church musician and songwriter.

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