For some time now, the Jerry Springer Show has featured a character called the Rev. Shnorr. Supposedly a Christian minister, he carries around a Bible that has a yellow cover. Rev. Shnorr is drunken and disheveled. He sports about two days worth of beard growth and uncombed hair. He usually appears slightly drunk and often burps. He performs wedding ceremonies that are meant to be comical in which he quotes titles of various soap operas.
I believe the creation and regular appearance of this character displays bigotry against Christians in general and Christian ministers in particular. As it happens, I myself am an atheist. However, my work for The Caribbean Star newsmagazine and other venues has led me to interview many Christian ministers. I have found them to be, as a group, intelligent, articulate, polite, thinking, caring – and sober.
One may wonder why anyone should even care what is put on the Jerry Springer Show. It is the trashiest of the tabloid programs and even brags about being “the worst television show on the air.” I would like my readers to think about what public reaction would be if a character similar to Rev. Shnorr appeared on the program but was a Jewish rabbi or a Muslim mullah. Would there not be a great public outcry against the prejudice and misleading stereotyping represented by such a character? If the answer to this question is “yes” – and I think it is –then there should be protest against the lampooning of Christian ministers represented by the Rev. Shnorr.