Apologies in advance to everyone who thought I was talking about the band.
My future-brother-in-law says that the movie Four Christmases was pretty awful. His main complaint, however, wasn't about the hokey script, cliched plot, or flat jokes. What ticked him off was a Christmas pageant scene near the end that "makes fun of Christians." I haven't seen the movie personally, so I can neither agree nor disagree with him. But as he said this, I could only thing of one thing: "As long as they're making fun of Christians and not God, then what's the big deal?"
While it's true that the Bible says the world will hate us, I think Jesus was talking about more than just the media making fun of us. Since we have religious freedom here in the States, American Christians usually don't face the kind of persecution that Christians in China or Iran would face. So for many America Christians, "persecution" means "some one on TV is making fun of us." Many conservative pundits rant about the so-called "politically correct age" where, supposedly, you're not allowed to talk negatively about anyone except Christians. However, that's not entirely true. On shows like "South Park" and "Family Guy," they poke fun people of all religions. I think it only seems like Christians alone are the butt of jokes because Christianity is the most well-known religion in America. I'm sure if "Family Guy" took place in India, there would be a lot of Hindu jokes.
Besides, Christians do some pretty ridiculous things sometimes. We've got our own language ("Christianese"), mega-church cliches, badly made movies, poorly written books about Armageddon--come on, we've got plenty of material!
While I don't have a problem with people making fun of Christians, I personally don't like it when people make fun of God. For example, there was an episode of "The Sarah Silverman Show" where she sleeps with God. I usually love Silverman, but that was taking it too far.
Maybe the reason why many Christians are offended by potshots is because, ultimately, no one wants to be stereotyped. While fundamentalism has tainted Christianity's image for most people, not all Christians subscribe to that extreme way of thinking. And yet for many critics like Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher, there is no difference between the moderate believer and the extreme fundamentalist--both are dangerous nutjobs.
The critics will say what they want. Sometimes they're on the ball, and sometimes they grossly stereotype. If they bother you, then the best thing to do is to just ignore them and live your life. We've already got enough to worry about; Peter Griffin shouldn't be one of them.