Ike Quits South Park (and I'd have done the same)

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According to news reports, Isaac Hayes has quit South Park, citing objections to the show’s strong anti-Scientology stand. I’m no Scientologist, nor am I a Scientology apologist. I, personally, am an aetheist, but I do work at a church, and if you made a list of religions, Scientology would be one of the few that I had more negative than positive feelings about. And I have generally positive feelings about South Park, which I think is typically a very bright (though crude) satire.

That said, I’m a bit disspointed by the early reactions to the story, which have come down strongly against Ike. The South Park team has pointed out that Hayes had no apparent problem with skewering other people’s religions in the show – after all, the short film that landed South Park on TV centered on a fight between Jesus and Santa. They say South Park has made it a policy to skewer everything on the cultural landscape, without exception, and Hayes is drawing the line now due solely to self-interested.

I buy that, pretty much completely. But I still respect Hayes’ decision. Since when is it unreasonable to value your own religion more highly than others when it comes to decisions about your own life? Hayes isn’t starting a war, or even advocating censorship. He just doesn’t want to participate in a show that has demonstrated contempt for his faith (nutty though it may be).

South Park is a brilliant show, but it’s also very mean-spirited, and Hayes is a significant part of its public face. If I were in his position, I probably would have quit, too.

The Sound of Young America: "Southern Soul" MP3 Link (includes much discussion of Hayes)