I recently read an article at real clear politics where the author denounced Darwin Fish as a form of religious bigotry. You can read the article here. The author, Jonah Goldberg, basically says that displaying a Darwin Fish is an offensive, intolerant action, a PC form of bigotry. And, on top of all that, it's cowardly. He concludes by writing:
The Darwin fish ostensibly symbolizes the superiority of progressive-minded science over backward-looking faith. I think this is a false juxtaposition, but I would have a lot more respect for the folks who believe it if they aimed their brave contempt for religion at those who might behead them for it.
His point being that the Darwin Fishers aren't afraid to poke fun at Christians, but don't dare poke fun at Muslims because we're afraid of getting killed.
His argument bugged me on several different levels.
1. It doesn't seem to understand the nature of parody. The Darwin Fish is funny only because the Christian Fish is a very, very popular plastic symbol for people to affix to their trunk. Really, it's almost the only game in town. In 30 years of driving, I've never once seen a star of david or a crescent moon and star affixed to the trunk of a car. Nor have I seen a little plastic Buddha, or whatever the hell a Scientologist might display. (A little UFO over a volcano?) The Darwin Fish only works because it's poking fun of something that's instantly recognized. I doubt most Americans would even recognize a symbol of Islam, let alone the parody of it. You can make a lot of money selling plastic fish in America. You can make a little less money, but still turn a profit, making darwin fish. But once you get much past that, the economics of the situation just falls off.
2. In the hundred posts that followed this article, a significant number were from Christians who testified, yes brother! that they took offense whenever they saw a Darwin Fish. I don't know the intricacies of copyright law that would allow me to cut and paste whole comments here, but you can read them under the article link above. Darwin Fishers are accused of attempting to "tear down society" and "demean humanity." To which, I must respond, What the hell? We're talking about putting a pit of plastic on the trunk of your car! I suspect society, and humanity for that matter, may endure. So, to all the people who may be offended by the Darwin Fish, I would advise you to learn some good anger managment techniques. Some people turn to prayer to handle these feelings, or so I'm told.
3. It was also implied that the Darwin Fish is displayed primarily to insult Christians. I used to display them; I went through three, in fact. They kept getting torn off my trunk and broken... I think the commandment to vandalize other peoples car symbols might be in Deuteronomy. But, the whole reason I displayed it was because the first time I saw one, I grinned. I really didn't stick it on thinking, "Man, this will humiliate and demean those Jesus fishers!" If Christian's got to display the logo of their team, why shouldn't I display mine?
4. Isn't there a commandment against making a graven image that looks like an animal (this is a retorical question... it's right there in those ten commandments that people are always jabbering about). Arguably, the Jesus Fishers are defying their own holy book by showing the symbol. But, this doesn't bother me, obviously. Still, if you turn your faith into a bumper sticker, it seems to me that it deserves all the solemn respect due any other bumper sticker.
Finally, on about a dozen of the responses, there was a theme that said, "You're only making fun of Christians because Muslims would kill you if you made fun of them." And, it finally hit me what underlay all this anger: Jealousy. Somehow, this tiny subset of Christians are sitting around seething because they don't get any respect. They think, "Boy, if we were more like those Muslims, rioting and beheading in response to cartoons, then no one would mess with us!"
Luckily, I'm pretty sure this represents a fairly tiny minority among the larger Christian population. Still, if you're filled with anger over the Darwin Fish, you're in luck: They make a trunk logo that shows a Jesus Fish swallowing a Darwin Fish. Go buy one and stick it on the back of your car. Then, if I get stuck in traffic behind you, it will be my turn to stew in bile and rage as I stare at this stunning denunciation of my beliefs, set eternally in plastic.