NCC Issues Fatwa against Maher
By Bill Britton
The National Council of Churches (NCC: http://www.ncccusa.org) has issued a fatwa, in the form of a death sentence, against Bill Maher (http://billmaher.com) for his 2008 production of the film, “Religulous” (http://lionsgate.com/religulous). NCC president, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, said in a news conference, held at Armenian Orthodox Church of America headquarters, that the unusual step “was necessary to hinder the movement of Americans away from religion and toward secularism.” The most famous recent fatwa was that issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 when the Muslim cleric pronounced a death sentence on Salman Rushdie (http://www.subir.com/rushdie.html), author of The Satanic Verses.
When asked if the NCC member congregations were altering their fundamental doctrinal tenets to align with Islam’s sacred text, the Qur'an, Archbishop Aykazian said, “Oh, yes. It’s our effort to become a more multicultural organization. What better way than to embrace a tactic from our Abrahamic brothers by ending the life of this spokesman for atheism while simultaneously reaching out to other apostates?”
Liz Robbins of the New York Times asked Aykazian if Maher’s hand might instead be severed as a symbolic act or if “he was, in fact, to be assassinated?” The archbishop responded that “The details haven’t been worked out” but that “the media would be given ample notice. We are also giving consideration to modifying the edict to a mere stoning, a tradition found in both Christian and Islamic histories.”
Maher’s reaction was swift: “My agent is in negotiation with the council. She’s suggesting waterboarding instead of either death or stoning. Even former Vice president Cheney feels that this would be the more humane approach. Either that or send me on holiday to Abu Ghraib.”