On Christmas Day at my house a close family member (raised Catholic; unknown religious beliefs at this time) unwrapped a present from her non-Christian partner. It was a Green Day product – a DVD or CD – entitled Bullet in a Bible. I said (my reactions here were off-the-cuff and not well thought-out) something sarcastic like “Nice Christmas present” or “nice title” and the partner sheepishly said something like sorry, he didn’t look at titles. The recipient laughed and said, “Don’t worry, he [meaning my small son, I think] can’t read it.” I actually said, “You laugh?” and I said that I was offended, meaning it was not just about whether the children should be exposed to it. I didn’t say anything else about it while they were there because there was another, more irascible family member present and I wanted to avoid big blowups. But I was really down about it afterward.
Later I looked up this item on the Web and learned that the title came from a visit to a war museum where an employee asked if they’d like to see a Bible with a bullet in it.
What would you think/do if this happened in your house on Christmas Day? I’m glad that the band didn’t make the title up just to express aggression against Biblical religion, but it’s still a provocative thing to use as a title, and most people are not going to know the context on sight. As I later said in e-mail, I couldn’t imagine the relative laughing in regard to objection to the same title with “Koran” or “Torah” at the home of a Muslim or Orthodox Jew. I know that the person knows I take “orthodox” Catholicism seriously, and that we view Christmas as a religious holiday. I am just wondering whether people here would be a) openly outraged, b) shrugging, “Rock bands. Shock value. What are you gonna do? Fight with people because of the presents they get on Christmas?” or c) something in between. What would you say afterward, if anything, if you chose not to address it at the gathering?