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Christian Side Hugs:"We were only kidding! Can we be on SNL now?"

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Our friend Steve Johnson at the Chicago Tribune reports that the "Christian Side Hug" video was definitely a joke, just not the one we were laughing at:

Ryan Pann, the 23-year-old Californian who wrote and was lead performer of the tune, the chorus of which commands, rather catchily, "gimme that Christian side hug," said he wrote the song as self-deprecating humor.

The line, "When I hug people, I leave room for the Holy Spirit," may have been the giveaway.

"We think it's hilarious because some people think (the video) is serious," said Pann, reached at The Father's House, a Vacaville, Calif., church that sponsors the Encounter Generation Conference, an annual Christian youth gathering at which the video was shot.

"It's not a mockery of the faith," Pann emphasized. "It's a mockery of the act of the Christian side hug."

Johnson also spoke to Jonathan Acuff, author of the forthcoming book "Stuff Christians Like," which satirizes fundamentalists from an insider's perspective. He decided to put the side hug on the cover (above).

"A large group of people would understand that and go, 'I know exactly what that's like.' During the meet and greet at church, there's a lot of side hugging going on," Acuff said...."There's like four different types of side hugs. You don't know the intricacies"

And the fabulous The Sexist blog has a witty compilation of comments on the Side Hug story. Here's a sample, and I clearly still can't tell what's a joke and what's not:

As for the video, the youth pastors that take youth to the EG Conference ( have to take certain precautions. I’m not saying in any way that hugging is sexual, but having been in charge of youth on trips I understand that you have to deter small things in order to avoid the bigger problems that may occur. This is to protect the integrity of the individuals and the ministry that is involved. That’s all. Its not out to “ban hugging”.