I don’t think G.K. Chesterton and Larry Pickering had much in common.
But the former did once say:
“It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”
And the latter very irreverently had a go at them all. Personally, and in public, they all came under the withering fire of his wit and his pencil.
I think this will be Larry’s great lasting contribution to Australia. His sacrilegious approach to all religion has outed exactly which ones can take a joke. And which ones can’t.
Islam definitely falls into this category.
In 2015, Larry was placed under protective surveillance by counter-terrorism police because of a cartoon he drew of Mohammad. He was not the first cartoonist to have his safety threatened for lampooning one of history’s great warlords. And he won’t be the last.
If G.K Chesterton is right that the test of a good religion is whether you can joke about it, Islam was put on trial by Larry and found wanting.
Strangely enough, however, Islam is not the religion that Larry really outed, given his atheistic world view.
The religious adherents that really pouted up about Larry are politically-correct, new age humanists. You know the type – sycophants who would rather fawn before the Anti-Discrimination Board than tell a joke.
These people are soulless and smileless.
And Larry flattened them with his humour. They made themselves the subject of ridicule and Larry made sure they knew it.
The virtue signalling politically-correct religion of identity politics cannot take a joke, perhaps even less than Islam can.
Its adherents pretend they are only happy when they are wailing. But the truth is they mostly take joy in the misery of others, as their comments now filling the Twittersphere about Larry show:
Personally, my own Catholic faith came under fire from Larry. He knew my views and would rib me about them. But that didn’t stop him having a chat with me over wine and a smoke, or cracking a joke. And I was honoured that he would call me his mate.
I like to think that he had found a religion where even those who disagreed with him could laugh with him while debating over a bottle of wine.
And he always had a smile.
It was an infectious smile and that is what I will always remember about the man.
I will also remain grateful for his support. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to express Catholic beliefs in public, I always knew that the anti-religious Larry Pickering defended my right to speak. So much so, he even ran some of my articles on his webpage.
Indeed, it was not our shared concern about Islam that first led Larry to contact me. It was my opposition to abortion.
This man, who did not believe in God and who had multiple relationships, was still able to recognise the blinding truth and miracle of life present in the womb and to passionately defend it.
It is the kind of diversity that so confounds the politically-correct, which is why they are so intent on destroying it.
The last time I saw Larry I gave him a brown scapular. He didn’t really want it but he took it anyway, while swearing at me under his breath.
I have no idea whether he kept it or tossed it in the bin.
But I do pray now:
Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.