MINNEAPOLIS, June 23 (UPI) -- A pastor in Minneapolis has condemned HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, taking issue with the show's use of nudity and calling Christian fans "hypocrites."
In an opinion piece written for online Christian magazine Desiring God, Baptist pastor John Piper chastises Game of Thrones creators, actors and fans, going as far as to accuse all parties of "recrucifying Christ."
In response to his own question "Am I re-crucifying Christ [by watching Game of Thrones]?" Piper writes, "If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue impurity, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus's side."
"Seeing naked women -- or seeing naked men -- causes a man or woman to sin with their minds and their desires, and often with their bodies. If Jesus told us to guard our hearts by gouging out our eyes to prevent lust, how much more would he say: 'Don't watch it!'"
Piper does not take issue with the fantasy drama's perpetual violence -- including castration, season-long torture and almost regular disembowelments -- because unlike nudity, it is simulated.
"Nudity is not like murder and violence on the screen," Piper explains.
"Violence on a screen is make-believe; nobody really gets killed. But nudity is not make-believe. These actresses are really naked in front of the camera, doing exactly what the director says to do with their legs and their hands and their breasts. And they are naked in front of millions of people to see."
Piper goes on to compare the actors who willingly portray Game of Thrones to criminal sex offenders, saying, "Men and women who want to be watched in their nudity are in the category with exhibitionists who pull down their pants at the top of escalators."
Piper's harsh criticisms were not reserved for Game of Thrones' Emmy Award-winning production team, but also its Christian viewers, whom he calls "hypocrites" for supporting women who make career choices they presumably would not approve of for their own daughters.
In the eyes of the Minneapolis preacher, being Christian and enjoying Game of Thrones are simply mutually exclusive.
"I dare anyone to watch nudity and turn straight to God and give him thanks and enjoy him more because of what you just experienced."