The "Christian Side Hug" video is going viral, but don't take it too seriously.
The video quickly loses its humor if you watch the whole four-minute spoof. Yes, it's a spoof, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Before the spoof was outed, though, The Huffington Post and other bloggers took it seriously. "I'm sick to death of these lunatic Christians giving [everyone] who follows the teachings of Christ a bad name," write LindseyLou on feministing.com.
It's a little disconcerting that anyone would take it seriously: The rappers sing that "no front hugs and no kissing" are allowed and includes a repeated line like "Democrats shouldn't be in Congress." As Steve Johnson wrote, the line, "When I hug people, I leave room for the Holy Spirit," could be the giveaway.
The Tribune columnist spoke with lead performer Ryan Pann, the 23-year-old Californian who wrote the song.
"We think it's hilarious because some people think (the video) is serious," said Pann, reached at The Father's House, a Vacaville, Calif., church that sponsors the Encounter Generation Conference, an annual Christian youth gathering at which the video was shot … "It's not a mockery of the faith," Pann emphasized. "It's a mockery of the act of the Christian side hug."
It's unclear why the authors put the video on the Internet. A joke in context at a Christian youth conference is very different from performing in front of the average YouTube watcher.
Satire is hard to do well in any situation, but satire directed at the Christian audience seems to be particularly difficult. For example, comments on the "Disclaimer" of the Wittenburg Door satire site often immediately begin discussing reasons the satire fails. It's difficult to join in the fun if someone is poking fun at beliefs you might hold sacred. To some extent, that's part of the territory of satire; if you're not making someone uncomfortable, you're probably not very funny.
Do you think the Christian side hug video is good satire? What would good satire directed at Christians look like?