The Passion of the Bunny

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Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ incites anti-lapin fervor in Glassport, Pennsylvania:

A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

People who attended Saturday's performance at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.

Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. "He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped," Salzmann said….

"The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey that Easter is not just about the Easter bunny, it is about Jesus Christ," [the show's organizer] said.

Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

"It was very disturbing," Norelli-Burke said. "I could not believe what I saw. It wasn't anything I was expecting."

Why isn't performance art–even other bunny-inspired acts–ever this entertaining?

Update: Peta declares "Easter Sucks for Chickens"

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  1. > have started calling it “Resurrection Sunday”
    > because I guess someone told them Easter
    > referred to a Germanic fertility goddess

    That’s a great idea, actually. Now I can celebrate Easter without being bombarded by the “true meaning of Easter” guilt trips. Now if only they moved all the religious holidays to different dates, away from the older pagan ones they hijacked, I could celebrate those in peace too.

  2. Okay, forgot all that crap. I just want to know, what the hell were they doing depicting a “drunken man” and, most importantly, a “self-mutilating woman?” I mean, seriously, what the HELL is that?! I can’t remember learning about any self-mutilating women in relation to Easter.

  3. This HAS to be an Onion Story. This is a prank right?

  4. Slippery Pete,

    Well, it falls within a Catholic holiday honoring the dead; Halloween as it is done in the US appears to mock such reverance. Or such is how my aunt describes her dislike of Halloween.

  5. dagny,

    Thanks for the pagan reference. Celebrating fertility, or spring, sounds like fun.

    Eric,

    Your explanation was superficial. Think deeper. I believe the most basic explanation involves abnormal psycology and authoritarianism.

  6. Our good buds at Landover Baptist are all over this holiest of holidays.

    http://www.landoverbaptist.org/

  7. Slippery Pete,
    “How can Halloween be a conservative’s favorite holiday?”

    My fondness for Halloween has absolutely zilch to do with my politics – I’m not the type that pushes politics into every nook and cranny of my life. I love Halloween because I love scary movies, scary monsters, and scary stories – Halloween encompasses all three and more. I decorate our front yard every year, my wife and I usually carve two pumpkins each, and we sit in our driveway with a table loaded with goodies and food. I also use a cheap remote-controlled spider to chase the kids. Last year, neighborhood kids raced around our yard, yelling at our Grim Reaper crouching in the bushes and the giant spider on top of our morning glories. They also knocked down several of my gravestones, the little cretins.

  8. Fred,
    “Your explanation was superficial. Think deeper. I believe the most basic explanation involves abnormal psycology and authoritarianism.”

    Just because you may think your explanation is deep and profound does not make it any less wrong.

  9. Slippary Pete:

    Writing from Austria, which is another Catholic Country, I can confirm that Halloween is not popular here – oftentimes for Religious reasons. In the paper you can read stories about poisoned candy and other urban legends in the US around Halloween-time. All Saints’ Day is a holiday here. And just as in France, Halloween was tried a few times and is a trendy club gimmick, but the tradition does not exist here.

    Shame we do not have it: Eric Christ – your description sounds like much fun. Considering the Viennese fasinaction with Death, it seems as the perfect holiday for here. A Propos: do You know the film “Nattevagten”, the Night Guard, or something. It is a very creepy horrorfilm. Bake some popcorn, snuggle on the couch with your Wife, and Enjoy!

    Regards,
    KK

  10. Dagny:
    Easter and Christmas are both Christian hijackings of pagan celebrations (Christmas was Saturnalia). I’m too lazy to look up the other ones, but I suspect that there are others out there. The Church hijacked existing holidays as a move to make conversion to Christianity more palatable to the heathen masses.

  11. Hmm, der Tod ist also ein Meister aus ?sterreich….

  12. Paul:

    Yes – he was an early Associate with WA Mozart. And I understand that Uncle Adolf as well borrowed heavily from his repotpoire.

    aus dem unermesslichen Jenseits,
    KK

  13. the real question being who did the pagans hijack their holidays from?

    probably some goddamn pre-celts. 🙂

    you do have to be something of a fucking maniac to think beating up the easter bunny in church is a good way to convince people you have a serious point to make.

  14. Karl Kraus,
    Thanks for the tip about the movie – I’ll see if I can track it down.

  15. Eric:

    It is a Film from Denmark, and a Google search should give the English Title.

    On the Lighter side, a potential relative of Yours was on “the Million Show” last week – do you speak your name with the “K” sound as well? She won 75.000 Eur. Did very well.

    mfg,
    KK

  16. Karl,
    Yes, I pronounce it krist, mainly so I’m not mistaken for divinity. 🙂

  17. 🙂 you may have some wealthier Austrian relatives, now.

    “Frohe Ostern”

    –KK

  18. I hope so – I’ll have to track her down.

  19. I’m an atheist and the last person one would expect to be sticking up for Christianity in any guise, but in all fairness the Christians who post on this site, like Eric, shouldn’t be held responsible for the actions of insane sects like the Assemblies of God, anymore than average Americans should be considered war criminals because of some assholes in Vietnam.

    When I was a Christian myself I had a saying: “The difference between miracles and hallucinations is that miracles happen in the Bible, whereas hallucinations happen to you.” Members of the Assembly of God and related sects do NOT make this distinction, but I’d venture to guess that Eric does.

  20. Easter and Christmas are both Christian hijackings of pagan celebrations (Christmas was Saturnalia).

    Christianity hijacked a bit more than that. December 25th was the birthday of Mithra, the sun-god, who was born of a virgin, baptized, and whose death and resurrection were celebrated at Easter time. His center of worship was what is now the Vatican Hill.

    Mithraism was a popular cult in the Roman Empire during the few centuries before and after the birth of Jesus. Fun facts to know and tell. 🙂

  21. “the birthday of Mithra, the sun-god,”

    The boy is still alive & well in India.

    http://www.niharonline.com/culture/2000/jan/ed1/cul_vedas.php

    “Rigveda mantras called rigs have a grammer of their own. Rigs are of 4 lined or 3 lined or some times even 2 lined verves. Number of lines depend upon the prosody of the context. There are a number of ‘Devatha sthothras’ in Rigveda. They were composed in praise of Gods. The Devathas that are mentioned in Rigveda are Agni, Indra, Varuna, Vushassu, Savitha, Poosha, Mithra, Rudra, Maruth, Parjanya etc.”

  22. Ah Christians…always good for a laugh at the holidays! Halloween drives the fundies rather crazy so it’s nice to see Easter being screwed up now.

    Whipping the Easter Bunny…I pray someone captured that on film. 🙂

  23. Silly rabbit…

  24. I KICK ASS FOR THE LORD!

  25. No. No. No. You have it all wrong. It was a civics lesson that illustrated Capitol Punishment: for this was a Killer Rabbit.

    -KK

  26. I just wanted to say… why can’t we all… just get along?

    *WHAP!*

    *BAM!*

    *OWW!*

    I’m turning the other cheek… stop kicking it!

    *POW!*

    *KICK!*

    *HURT!*

  27. Please, tell me that devil-bunny woman has an NEA grant. It would make my day.

  28. I am SO proud that my fellow Christians have presented an effective and inspiring method for communicating the true message of Easter.

    Doc,
    “Halloween drives the fundies rather crazy”

    You’re right that some, maybe many, conservative Christians hate Halloween. They’re just wrong. Halloween is this conservative Christian’s second-favorite holiday (behind Christmas). Check out the stories on my web site if you don’t believe me.

  29. Nick – Hef never whipped his bunnies. Though I’m sure his performance art included hassenpfeffer of sorts.

  30. I wonder if the people who put on this show were OUTRAGED about J.J.’s tit on the Superbowl half-time show.

  31. I can’t for their Christmas pageant

  32. I can’t for their Christmas pageant

  33. “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” fans will be reminded of “Sal the Wheat-Free Clown” and “Mary the Meat-Free Mime,” the “dietary-restricted comic” acts discussed on VCPR.

  34. Ah Christians…always good for a laugh at the holidays!

    Any religion is good for a laugh near its holidays. Mixing religious whacko with performance art whacko, now that’s pay dirt.

    Next up, re-enacting Hajj tramplings.

  35. This is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Obviously inspired by the Passion-mania that’s sweeping the nation, it also reminds me of the scene in Mallrats where Jay and Silent Bob kick the Easter Bunny’s ass, and someone yells at the kids: “THERE IS NO EASTER BUNNY!”

  36. “Glassport Assembly of God”

    I believe that this is the same denomination that threw Jimmy Swaggart out of their church. I can’t think of any connection between that and beating up an easter bunny, but this story is so goofy I have to wonder if there isn’t some deep thread of meaning here that I, a godless athiest, can’t possibly understand.

  37. That rabbit had it coming.

  38. I like easter for the chocolate rabbits. Imagine my surprise when I came across a CHOCOLATE CROSS! Couldn’t resist. That was some tasty crucifixion.

  39. Reminds me of the fundie dolts taking their 8 year olds to see Gibson’s movie.

  40. Douglas Fletcher,
    “but this story is so goofy I have to wonder if there isn’t some deep thread of meaning here”

    What this church was trying to do is point out that for Christians, Easter isn’t about bunnies or egg hunts or candy, but the resurrection of Jesus. They just made their point in a ridculously silly and stupid way that only invites ridicule.

  41. Ridicule? Here?

  42. Not tring to shamelessly plug my blog, anyone- but I do have a post up on this today that contain’s my “artist conception” of the bunny scourging in question, as well as some a bunny-bashing news roundup. All interested are invited.

  43. The Onion has a good Jesus/Easter Bunny spoof every Easter – pictures of Jesus in bunny years, crucified rabbits, etc.

    In fact, a house down the road from mine puts crucified Easter bunnies up on their lawn every year. Stuffed bunnies literally nailed to crosses. It’s awesome, I love it.

  44. While this may be the most… newsworthy iteration, this is a major movement in the church. A lot of the churches around where I live (and, believe me, there are a LOT of churches around where I live) have started calling it “Resurrection Sunday” because I guess someone told them Easter referred to a Germanic fertility goddess (as do the bunny & eggs, for obvious reasons). This seems self-defeating to me, if only because the Christian Easter fits so well with the pagan one, since one celebrates Jesus coming back from the dead and the other celebrates pretty much the whole world coming back from the dead (winter).

  45. Hmm, PETA and Christians equall insane.

    Assembly of Bunny Despisers and Torturers!

  46. Eric Christ –

    1 – is your middle initial “H”? Just wondering. That would be pretty funny.

    2 – How can Halloween be a conservative’s favorite holiday? It consists of people running around, scaring their neighbors and demanding handouts under threat of retribution and riot. That sounds more Marxist/Leninist than American conservative. If conservatives ran Halloween, the kids would have to perform manual labor for their treats or be left for dead.

  47. France tried Halloween for a few years in the 1990s; it was popular for a few years and then waned. It can be construed as rather offensive Catholics I suppose.

  48. I don’t see what it has to do with Catholicism per se. It’s simply a pagan celebration of death that would probably be equally “offensive” to members of most religions – and only to those who are really, really looking for ways to be offended.

  49. Torturing bunnies makes Baby Jesus cry.

  50. I can remember the “Easter Bunny” bringing chocolate crosses along with the other goodies when I was a kidlet in the 1960’s. As for All Hallows Eve, Samhain, call it what you will, we Catholic School kids had no trouble dressing scary that evening, collecting as much loot as we could, then dragging ourselves to mandatory Mass on All Saints Day morning. The Good Sisters had explained the holiday’s history to us, druids and all.

    We also celebrated All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2, and while not required, going to Mass and saying special prayers for the souls in Purgatory, especially relatives, was encouraged. Nowadays, PC types emphasize the Mexican customs of that day, also called the Day of The Dead, though they might neglect to mention the Catholic feast day connection. Dia de Los Muertos is not “Mexican Halloween.”

    I can remember “Feast of The Resurrection” as the liturgical name for the holy day since at least ~1966, when I joined the altar boys. The charge that Christians “hijacked” the spring holiday for their own ignores the biblical placement of the crucifiction as happening during Passover. These are all moveable feasts, landing on different days due to use of different calendars.

    For pagan precursors, see:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/easter1.htm

    These days, I celebrate Easter Monday, when heathens like myself can buy goodies at half-price. ==[:)

    Kevin

  51. Day of the Dead? Are we back to zombie movies again?

    I want to see the Zombie Godfather movie: “Don of the Dead.”

  52. Christianity hijacked a bit more than that. December 25th was the birthday of Mithra, the sun-god, who was born of a virgin, baptized, and whose death and resurrection were celebrated at Easter time. His center of worship was what is now the Vatican Hill.

    Link?

    Forgive me for being a bit skeptical, but the *official* reason for Christmas being on the date it is is the miscalculation of Christ’s birthdate as by a Christian historian in the early centuries of the Church (500s I think). It was close enough to the Roman festival of Saturnalia that the Church decided to “baptize” that pagan festival, as it did to the Celtic ancestor of Halloween. (Of course, the astronomical phenomena accompanying Christ’s birth in the Gospel of Matthew actually point to September of 7 BC.)

    And Vatican Hill has the significance it does in the Catholic Church because it is believed that St Peter, the first pope, was crucified upside-down there.

  53. Somewon finally got that wascally wabbit.

    E.

  54. Ha ha, it’s different so its funny! Having a soul is for suckers.

  55. Good point, Doc. Polite deference to stupidity and evil is FAR superior to finding the humor in it.

  56. the *official* reason for Christmas being on the date it is is the miscalculation of Christ’s birthdate as by a Christian historian in the early centuries of the Church (500s I think)

    Snopes has a good explanation here. I’m not sure what you mean by “the official reason”, since I learned in Episcopal Sunday School that Christians celebrated Christ’s birth on December 25th because the Roman holiday on that day gave them cover for it.

    It isn’t like there’s such a thing as “an official explanation” in Christianity anyway. That would require an Official, the only one of which got nailed to a cross two thousand years ago. 🙂

    If by “official”, however, you mean “Catholic”, there’s a good discussion of it (and some mention of the Mithraic use of the Vatican Hill, too) in this Catholic Herald article.

    And Vatican Hill has the significance it does in the Catholic Church because it is believed that St Peter, the first pope, was crucified upside-down there.

    It could very well be an eerie coincidence that a different born-of-a-virgin, died-and-rose-again god used to be worshipped there. All I said was that it used to be the center of Mithraic worship in Rome, which it was.

  57. Easter is all about my rising from the tomb, alive and well Jesus

  58. Dan:
    True story: I grew up in the Fundamentalist white-trash part of the South, and remember reading a book given me by a Sunday School teacher. The book explained mysteries like “How did the Sumerian Epic of Gilgaesh plagiarize the story of Noah’s Ark, a thousand or years before the Flood?”

    Answer: Satan has the power of time-travel. I kid you not. So here’s what happened: Jesus was born, did stuff, died, and THEN Satan went back in time and invented Mithraism.

    Religious people are cute, so long as they’re kept powerless.

  59. Gilgaesh=Gilgamesh.

  60. Oops. Pedant. Didn’t mean to call you an ornimental object, Keith.

  61. But in the case of Jesus and Mithras, unlike the case of Gilgamesh and Genesis, the question of “Which came first?” is a viable one.
    Mithras as a relatively minor Persian deity definitely dates back to the sixth century B.C. or earlier, but “Mithraism” as the fad religion of the Roman officer corps seems to be about the same age as Christianity. The belief that December 25 was the birthday of “the Unconquered Sun” (a god frequently identified with Mithras)cannot be dated back any further than A.D. 275.
    The truth is, we know very little about Mithraism. It was clearly dramatically different from Christianity in some ways (e.g., it was all male, and it had seven degrees of initiation based on the seven planets known at the time). This is the first that I have ever heard anyone claim that Mithras was supposed to have been born of a virgin, or that his center of worship was on Vatican Hill. As for whether he died and rose from the dead, that is also quite uncertain. There are cryptic references in surviving documents to a Mithraist that the world had been or would be redeemed through a bloody sacrifice, but Mithras seems more likely to have been the killer than the killed. (Surviving Mithraist artwork generally depicts Mithras in the act of killing a bull.)

  62. Have to put on my pedant hat here.

    The Ivy-league word for this pheonmenon is “syncretism”. Adopting pagan rituals into another religion is syncretic.

    Via dictionary.com:
    “Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, especially when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous.”

  63. Thanks, Pendant Keith. I always like to use the appropriate word. My favorite in this context is latitudinarian: “liberal in one’s views; permitting free thought, esp. in religious matters. I’m a Presbyterian elder so it comes in handy.

  64. getting crazy for a person,for a thing or a dream, there is at least one time in your whole life.

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