Arts and Culture

In honor of Book of Mormon, here's a pop history of religious satire

"I believe that ancient Jews built boats and sailed to America/I am a Mormon, and a Mormon just believes," sings Elder Price in Matt Stone and Trey Parker's iconic musical, The Book of Mormon. And while the theological irreverence of a song like "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream," or the existential send-up of self imposed ignorance in "Turn It Off," may seem gut-bustingly revolutionary, Parker and Stone are building on a tradition of god-mocking that is as old as belief itself. From Chaucer and Voltaire, to Kevin Smith and Bill Maher, comedians have continued to pull from the bottomless well of religious satire, which never seems to run dry. And while we could spend all day sifting through the vast libraries of chuckles-at-god's-expense, here's instead a microwaved version of what's been going on in the world of spiritual sarcasm in just the last forty years.

See also: -An atheist visits The Thorn Passion Play -Reader: The Book of Mormon is twisted and fabulous! -The Book of Mormon really is that good

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Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse