Jesus Christ: Beer, Cigarette and Indian Laws on Blasphemy

Brian H. Gill for Catholic Citizen America

The image of Jesus Christ, holding a beer can and a cigarette, reminds me of the weird but (I trust) well-intentioned efforts in the sixties to make Christianity like, you know, relevant.

It’s not. The image is in a handwriting workbook published in India.

The company that made and distributed that book made a really, really big mistake. India is one of those countries where deliberately offending someone’s religious sentiments is illegal.

Which may or may not be a good idea.

Anyway, here’s an excerpt from the news:

“Christians in India’s northeast are outraged after a picture showing Jesus Christ holding a beer can and a cigarette was discovered in primary school textbooks.

“The image appeared in a handwriting book for children in church-run schools in the Christian-majority state of Meghalaya, where it was used to illustrate the letter ‘I’ for the word ‘Idol’….

“…Police said they were hunting for the owner of the New Delhi-based publisher, Skyline Publications, who faces charges of offending religious sentiment, local police superintendent A.R. Mawthoh told AFP.

“The Roman Catholic Church in India has banned all textbooks by Skyline, while Protestant leaders called for a public apology.

“The state government also denounced the publication.

” ‘We strongly condemn such a blasphemous act. Legal action has been initiated against the publisher,’ M. Ampareen Lyngdoh, an education minister in the Meghalaya government, said….”

(myFOX New York) [emphasis mine]

The rest can be found HERE. Do be aware, while part of the article is about beer, it is written from a Catholic perspective and also deals with Catholic topics as well as beer.