The history of comedians goes at least as far back as the court jesters of old...although I think when God created the platypus He was ROFLOL.
Partly because of that background of speaking truth to power (veiled in laughter), today's comedians - and stand-up comics in particular - have no problem in expressing their opinions. After all, that's pretty much what most stand-up routines are...a person gets in front of people and tells them things that he thinks are ridiculous: "This is what I think. Isn't it crazy that the world is like this? Look at such-and-such. That's so stupid!"
It's not a huge leap, then, for a person to start thinking his thoughts about things ought to be agreed to by everyone. [Of course, I recognize that I think that about the thoughts I express here, too.]
Case in point: an episode of Jerry Seinfeld's Web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in which Jerry is having a conversation with Ricky Gervais. Most of it was fairly interesting and mildly amusing, but there was one little interchange between the two men that I haven't been able to ignore.
RICKYI really think the death penalty is too depressing to even think about. I don't - I mean I don't agree with it that the state can show that sort of form of violence.
JERRYWhat about abortion? Do you agree with that?
RICKYYeah, but that's different, isn't it.
* * * * * * *
First of all, the period at the end of "that's different, isn't it" is intentional. He wasn't asking a question. He was making a statement and assuming agreement.
Secondly, just so there's no misunderstanding, I, too, don't agree with the death penalty. I know there are philosophical arguments in favor of it, but they don't persuade me. The moment I take someone's life, I take away that person's opportunity to choose Christ...which is exactly the opposite of what I ought to be about.
Thirdly, and most importantly, yes, Mr. Gervais, abortion is indeed different from capital punishment. In the case of abortion, we are 100% sure that the person being killed is absolutely innocent.
Truth is...there is a stereotypical alignment of attitudes about these two issues. On one side, it seems that those who support the availability of abortion generally think capital punishment is wrong, and on the other side, pro-life proponents are typically viewed as being in favor of capital punishment. It seems to me that either of these stances is illogical.
As a side note, it may interest you to know that Seinfeld responded to Gervais in a way that I thought was going to bring the whole episode to a screeching halt: "I guess, uh, you can just arrange things the way you like them...when you're rich...famous...like you."