.- Isaac Hayes has resigned as the well-known voice of the Chef on South Park, citing as a reason the cartoon’s "inappropriate ridicule" of religion.
The 63-year-old singer, who belongs to the Church of Scientology, was with the program since its debut in 1997. A recent episode spoofed Scientology. In the plot, one of the characters did so well on a Scientology test that church members thought he was the next L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
"There is a place in this world for satire but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs begins," Hayes said in a statement.
"In 10 years and over 150 episodes of South Park, Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslim, Mormons or Jews,” noted the cartoon’s co-creator, Matt Stone.
For example, an episode from a few months ago, called Bloody Mary, parodied the Catholic religion and featured a gross depiction of a bleeding statue of the Virgin Mary. Catholics in the U.S. had criticized the program.
“[Hayes] got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show," Stone said.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue said that it “is nothing short of amazing” that Stone is charging Hayes with intolerance and bigotry for not complaining earlier about all the shows South Park did making fun of Christians and other religions.