Dateline: LOS ANGELES--Dozens of churches in the United States are collectively suing the producers of Cosmos, the reboot of the television show previously hosted by Carl Sagan, for "stealing the Christian shtick."
The filed complaint was obtained by the press and it alleges that the first episode of the show portrays Giordano Bruno as a Christ-like figure, while the second episode sanctifies the DNA molecule.
According to the complaint, "Bruno, who contended that the universe is infinite and that it includes a plurality of worlds, is shown as being ostracized by church officials in Italy and elsewhere, just as Jesus was hounded by the Pharisees. Bruno's poem in which he speaks of spreading wings into space is used as a pretext to pose an animated representation of Bruno like Christ on the cross. Bruno is burned at the stake instead of crucified, but the effect is to make him a martyr for science.
"But martyrdom is our shtick," the complaint continues. "We may not have that whole dying-for-the-greater-good thing trademarked, but everyone knows that Jesus is our brand."
The second episode of Cosmos speaks of the nucleus in each cell as life's "sanctuary" and describes the genetic code as "ancient scripture." According to the lawsuit, "That's a half-assed comparison of DNA to the Bible. If you want the whole ass, you read the King James version, not a bunch of squiggly nucleotides."
In what many are calling a brazen move, the producers of Cosmos are countersuing the churches for failing to live up to their part of the social contract.
"These Christians are thinking too much," reads the countersuit. "Leave the thinking to scientists. The job of American Christians is to breed, not to think. Otherwise, we'll end up like France or Germany with a declining fertility rate due to the elite secular lifestyle.
"Religious folks in developed societies, who are otherwise woefully out of place, can even teach their children whatever supernatural nonsense they like. To get a job, those children will have to attend college and that's when their opinions will be corrected by secular experts. That's the modern deal.
"The only reason Christians are tolerated in the manifestly secular US is because they breed like rabbits, just as Muslims do. But the time they spend speculating about the meaning of a television show like Cosmos is time they should be using to keep our economy growing, by raising families."
Asked about the legal wrangling, the new host of Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson, said that atheistic writers have made impish allusions to God for decades. "Half of Stephen Hawking's book titles refer to God. The Higgs boson was called the God particle. Einstein said he wanted to know the mind of God. It's often just pandering to the American population, which is unusually religious.
"But those who've read Carl Sagan know that the universe is a wonderful place. We naturalists want to introduce Christians to a new religion, one that's based on science and on the sublimity of nature. That's what the show Cosmos is about.
"Of course, Christians will say that nature worship is Satanic. So there they go again, thinking-as if that's what they're good at. We settled that centuries ago, didn't we? The Age of Reason is the Age of Science. Leave the thinking to scientists, Christians, and just get on with keeping our birth rate above that of other nihilistic modern societies. Don't think so much. Just breed."