Secrets of 'South Park'

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South Park and Atheists?

In addition to garnering the show tons of media attention, the episode caused a disturbance within the "South Park" family. Musician and actor Isaac Hayes, who played the character Chef and is a Scientologist, quit.

"We knew that that was a possibility and we were sad that he decided to quit," Parker says. "We held off on doing a Scientology show for years because of Isaac's personal religious belief. And after a while, we were like, you know, we've made fun of everything else. There's just too much funny stuff there. We have to do it. And if he quits, that's his right, and then he did so."

Stone, who was raised Jewish, says he's not religious. Parker says he considers himself religious, but it would take him a long time to explain it. Both say they believe in God.

"I believe there's something going on that we don't know," Parker says. "That's as far as I can go."

"Recently, atheists and people who hate religion have, like, really glommed on to our show because we make fun of a lot of religions," Stone notes. "But neither one of us is anti-religious at all. I mean, I'm fascinated by religion."

"All the religions are superfunny to me," Parker adds. "The story of Jesus makes no sense to me. God sent his only son. Why could God only have one son and why would he have to die? It's just bad writing, really. And it's really terrible in about the second act."

But Parker says atheism is more ludicrous to him than anything else.

"Out of all the ridiculous religion stories -- which are greatly, wonderfully ridiculous -- the silliest one I've ever heard is, 'Yeah, there's this big, giant universe and it's expanding and it's all going to collapse on itself and we're all just here, just 'cuz. Just 'cuz. That to me, is the most ridiculous explanation ever," he says. "So I think we have a big atheism show coming."

The two offer mock-apologies to anyone offended by their show.

"Part of living in the world today is you're going to have to be offended," Stone says. "The right to be offended and the right to offend is why we have a First Amendment. If no speech was offensive to anybody, then you wouldn't need to guarantee it."

Parker says "South Park" mocks that which is dearest to him all the time -- though few people know it.

"A lot of people don't realize this, but probably the one person that gets made fun of in "South Park" more than anybody is my dad," he says. "Stan's father, Randy -- my dad's name is Randy -- that's my drawing of my dad; that's me doing my dad's voice. That is just my dad. Even Stan's last name, Marsh, was my dad's stepfather's name. So my dad grew up Randy Marsh. And he is, by far, the biggest dingbat in the entire show. And we've had him, you know, with his pants down, drunk, throwing up, you know. And my dad was a great dad. He's a great dad. And my dad is constantly like: 'Why did you do that to me?' And I'm like, 'Dad, I'm just having fun.' I hold my father very dear. But it doesn't mean I'm not going to rip on him."

South Park Conservatives

Atheists aren't the only ones to have "glommed on" to the show and claimed it as one of their own. Conservatives have as well, starting with commentator/blogger Andrew Sullivan, who first coined the term "South Park Conservatives" to describe an independent, somewhat libertarian mind-set.

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