Keeping an eye on the media today, the whole Jerry Springer thing has got more and more high pitched and out of hand. There have been demonstrators outside the BBC, and even threats made against senior executives following a posting of their contact details on a website. However the director general of the BBC, himself a practising Christian has said that having seen the show there is nothing in the show which he believes to be blasphemous. (See here for a summary)
However, the Oxford Diocese has posted a news item about the show, an item from a Christian (Toby Scott, Media Relations Officer for the Methodist Church) who went to see the show, and even counted the swear words. You can read the whole news item here. However I will repeat two paragraphs that describe the controversial aspects and put them in context.
“The show does portray Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Adam and Eve and God as characters on stage, in a scene in which the Devil has forced Jerry Springer to try and arrange a reconciliation between heaven and hell. None of the characters of Jesus, Mary, Adam and Eve or God are shown as sexual deviants. The scene does contain profanity, at least one instance coming from the Jesus character, but the entire tenor of it is, oddly enough, largely in keeping with mainstream theology. When Jesus is accused of being absent from key events, he asks in return why people were absent when he was on the cross. In the end, the Devil’s inability accept that he is wrong and unwillingness to change means that he must remain in hell, while Jesus is clearly identified as the saviour of humankind.”
“There is clearly material here that will cause offence to some. However, the show overall is not deliberately and specifically offensive to Christians. Its barbs are aimed at the society that allows and the people who take part in shows such as Jerry Springer, and support it by watching the channels that show it and buy products from the advertisers who buy time slots. In other words, the satire is aimed at pretty much all of us. Springer’s descent into hell and meeting with the holy figures is a dramatic device that allows him to realise some of the error of his ways. Whereas the opening chorus sings “I want to be on TV, choose me Jerry please,” at the end the closing lines include “Take care of each other, and yourselves.” It is in some ways a journey from selfishness to concern for others.”