February 24, 2015

“€œMartin Luther toy becomes fastest selling Playmobil figurine of all time.”€

Has anyone been keeping an eye on Germany lately? Because I think they”€™re getting even weirder than usual, and we all know what happened the last time (and the time before that).

“€œThe unexpectedly popular Martin Luther figure … sold out its first edition run of 34,000 within 72 hours,”€ according to the Independent.

Remember: We”€™re not talking about some beloved Disney or Pixar or Marvel Comics character. This is a long-dead old white guy”€”a religious figure, no less.

Playmobil’s little “€œHello Kitty”€-looking Luther has such an adorable wee face, you just can”€™t imagine him thinking mean stuff about the Jews. He wears a period academic gown and cap, and”€”cue Saturday morning commercial announcer’s voice circa 1972″€”comes complete with accessories: a white quill pen and an open Bible. I don”€™t read German, so for all I know, those squiggles read, “€œF—- the Pope!”€ and “€œI”€™m running off with a nun.”€”€™

“€œIs it possible that, after 500 years, uptight, no-fun Protestants are finally outgrowing their allergy to whimsy and (dare we to hope) irony?”€

Come on, lighten up. Wait, I forgot: Protestants aren”€™t allowed to. “€œSex might lead to dancing”€ and all that. It annoys me no end that when Jews make fun of “€œthe Gentiles”€”€”with their white bread and white mayo and white golf shoes”€”they dump us Catholics in with them.

I may be the world’s worst Catholic, but, as Hilaire Belloc said, at least we papists know how to party. Check out The Simpsons“€™ classic “€œCatholic vs. Protestant heaven“€ sequence”€”which, come to think of it, probably only Catholics find “€œfunny “€™cuz it’s true.”€ 

When we split up, we kept the best painters, writers, and, later, filmmakers, from Coppola and Scorsese to John Waters”€”plus the jokes, (most of) the booze, the smokes, and the food.

Protestants ended up with Thomas Kinkade, Jack Chick, grape juice, and marshmallow & Jell-O “€œsalad.”€ And, weirdest of all to us, they seem pretty goddamn (I mean, darn) self-satisfied about that arrangement.

Yep, Protestants even swapped out swearing”€”one of life’s under-sung delights”€”for a supposedly more edifying ejaculatory habit: quoting scripture chapter and verse with compulsive, military precision, like a drill sergeant with Bible Tourette’s.

That’s one of those dubious “€œtalents”€”€”like the ability to refer to flowers by their Latin names”€”that’s best kept under a bushel, if you ask me. (Or is that “€œburied in a field”€? If only I wasn”€™t using my concordance as a coaster …)

Twenty years after the allegedly hugely influential and deeply shaming The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, our cute little Protestant friends have managed to cough up”€”what?”€”Jim Bakker, “€œChristian rock,”€ and I can”€™t think of a third thing. (I won”€™t hear a word against Tammy Faye, mind.)

Yeah, I call them that. “€œOur Cute Little Protestant Friends”€ is one the oldest categories at my personal blog. It’s reserved for news stories like “€œProgressive Evangelicals Spot Anti-Christ Message in John McCain Ad,”€ or, more recently, that super helpful and compassionate reminder by and for Southern Baptists that those recently slaughtered Copts weren”€™t really Christians. (So, ha! Joke’s on YOU, stupid ISIS guys, I guess!):

Frankly, now is not the time to confuse for the entire blooming world what it means to be a Christian. We cannot consider the Coptics an unreached people group (…) one day and then call them Christian martyrs the next.


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