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Did a SNL spoof go too far and mock God?

A general view of atmosphere is seen at the Premier Exhibitions Opening Night Party - SNL: The Exhibition on Thursday, May 28, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Brian Ach/AP Images for Premier Exhibitions) Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but it sure doesn't feel like it in the moment—especially when it's done to get a laugh. This past week, Saturday Night Live (SNL) featured a parody film preview about an "oppressed" Christian wedding cake baker who refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex couple. Spoofing the recently released film God's Not Dead 2, SNL depicts a baker battling a same-sex couple who wants her to "spit in the face of God" by baking a cake for their wedding.

The dramatic, baritone narrator adds to the hyperbole when he interjects that the film is about "liberal elites run wild." Self-proclaimed Jewish ACLU attorneys demand Beth, a "small town baker without a care in the world," say, "God is gay." Feeling the burden of the fight, Beth turns to her black co-worker and notes, "Christians are the most oppressed group in this country."

Not receiving support from her co-worker, Beth interrupts the governor's meeting with advisors. In dramatic and exhausted fashion, she says, "I want to deny basic goods and services to gay people." Though his advisors describe their state as being "the poorest state in the country, we are last in education, second in obesity, third in teen pregnancy," the governor declares, "This is priority now."

The parody concludes as the narrator describes the film as coming "from the makers of God on the Run and Angel in Denim: The Kim Davis Story, it's God Is a Boob Man, coming this fall to a stuffy church basement near you."

This SNL clip has taken off, generating more three million views alone on YouTube. Some have set their hopes on SNL actually making this into a feature film; others expressed their outrage, seeing it as mocking both God and their beliefs. But the sheer number of people who have seen it and their response to it show it is resonating – for better or worse.

Why is it resonating?

Because there are elements of truth and exaggeration within it. Yes, it is true that some bakers would like to decline offering their services at a gay wedding. But SNL's exaggeration is a simplistic explanation for the complex rationale. It is more than a denial of services, but rather a refusal to endorse the ceremony due to their religious beliefs. Much like you cannot judge someone's patriotism as to whether they wear a flag pin on their lapel, you cannot label some as prejudiced just because they will not bake a cake at a gay wedding. Though it should be noted that they will bake a cake for a gay person.

There is truth in the claim that Christians are experiencing concentrated interest in the public square—and it seems to be increasingly negative. But oppression may be an exaggeration. China is imprisoning pastors. Iraq has ISIS fighters who are martyring Christians. Boko Haram in Nigeria is raping Christian women, enslaving children, and killing men. In Qatar, Christians are being enslaved to make preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

Yes, Christians in the United States are facing difficulty. But for years, Christians have been blessed with positions of privilege in the American public square.  Today is a different story. Those privileged seats at the table have been few and far between. Those benefits, such as the laws of man and laws of God coinciding one with another, are becoming sparse. But in this different story, sometimes equality can look like oppression when you have been sitting in privileged positions.

Though we may not be in such positions and experience such benefits, the goal was never to win the culture but to be faithful to the Creator. It may be harder, but his grace is always sufficient.

I am not sure God needs someone to fight for him as much as he wants someone to fight with him. And in this fight, the enemy is not the person who mocks God. After all, we know God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Mocking often comes from an insecure mouth that is trying to both shield and hide some hurt.

Hurt people hurt people.

They mock because they do not fully see his beauty (2 Corinthians 4:4) and haven't experienced his restorative completion (Colossians 2:10). Their eyes have been veiled by the gods of this age (2 Corinthians 2:4–6). And that is the real enemy—not the people but their gods (Ephesians 6:12).

So we can be outraged at the SNL spoof, retreating off to our stuffy church basements and simplistically shaking our fist at them. But then we would be doing the very thing they have done in their dark TV studio.

Or we can fight. Not as hurt people, but healed people. Perfectly broken yet put together in order that we might reflect the Father of all lights (James 1:17) with our good works (Matthew 5:13-16). Extending kindness, showing love, and laughing it off. You can imitate us, but we will imitate Him (1 Corinthians 11:1).

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