Cartoon Madness Part Four: The Final Chapter?
I conducted an E-Mail exchange with Mike Sutton regarding his cartoon. I'd discuss this, but you can see for yourself. Apparently I was right in my inital assesment of the cartoon's intent all along.
Mike, I respect greatly the fact that you made yourselfNow, I know you're thinking that I was far too polite and courteous with him, but in my defense I don't think you should convict a man before his trial is over. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. Blame my parents if you want.
available to both criticism and praise over your cartoon.
It takes a big man to face his critics head on, and that's
exactly what you did.
As for your cartoon: I believe [The Submission's Editor] was completely
correct in his analysis of the issues: certain people,
regardless of their faith, use their belief systems
inappropriately to justify some completely outrageous
things. "Muslim" terrorists committing violent murders and
burning cars is one example. "Christians" who parade
around with posters claiming God hates gays is another.
People have misused religion to justify just about
everything during human history. If that was the point of
your cartoon, you would be right.
If that's the case, the problem is I don't believe you
went about getting your point across in the right fashion.
Whether or not you see it this way, the title of your
cartoon went too far - it was insulting. I've talked to a
lot of people about this: Christians, Hindus, Muslims and
Atheists. By and large they agree that the title was
disrespectful - regardless of their faith.
The other problem I had with the cartoon was its
insinuation (once again, intended or not) that these
beliefs were indicative of Christianity as a whole. Here
I'd like to point out something: I'm not in any way some
sort of evangelical Christian. On the contrary, I think
people like Jerry Falwell are loudmouths who would do well
to just keep quiet. I'm simply an ordinary guy whose
beliefs are just one part of who I am.
But when I saw the cartoon, it seemed to me to be just
another ubiquitous example of someone knocking my beliefs
without really understanding that the Jerry Falwells and
Pat Robertsons of the world don't speak for me. And that
bothers me, because all too often people think that they
do. And I can understand that: it's a lot easier to focus
on bigots shouting "God Hates Fags," than it is to focus on the actions of, say, a
young girl holding the door for someone behind her. But
just because those little things don't get attention
doesn't mean that the good things about Christianity don't
exist. We don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Bigots of any faith who use it to justify hatred and
intolerance do not speak for the members of that faith -
just look at the image problem Islam has because of these
types of extremists.
Mike, you had every right to print that cartoon. But just
because you have the right to do something doesn't
necessarily mean you should do it. Perhaps I am wrong
about your intent, but it remains that the cartoon was
insulting to me and to many others. In a society where
religious tolerance seems to be extended to every group
except "those narrow-minded and intolerant Christians," it
is important to remember that religious respect belongs to
all. Denmark's Jyllands-Posten would have done well to
have printed a cartoon showing Mohammed shaking his head
in disbelief at what people are doing with his religion
instead of Mohammed with a bomb for a turban. Sure, the
cartoonist of that cartoon had every right to do what he
did - but look at what happened because of it. You've got
to be careful and show basic human respect for the
religious beliefs of others. Maybe you should have made
your point by writing and drawing the cartoon in a
In the end, although you had a right to print the cartoon,
I had a right to take issue with it as well. Democracy is
a wonderful thing.
Anyhow, thanks for making yourself available to discuss
this. It speaks well of you.
Mr. Sutton wasn't long coming up with a reply:
First I find it a little disconcerting that you are soMy note: Did he make that up? I don't know. But he just made my own counter-argument as to why anonymity comes in handy. Thanks, Mike.
quick to remove you name from the blogs comment section. I
supposed there is a certain luxury to profess opinions
from the safety of a pseudonym.
Unfortunately when a wacko right wing Christian from
Vermont called every Michael/Mike Sutton in the St. John's
telephone directory at 1am last night there isn't the same
luxury (My number is unlisted.
Do I hate Christians? No. Hell, I am friends with a fewMy Note: "Some of my best friends are black/Christian/gay etc." Standard argument.
and probably dated a few more.
Do you know if any of your grandparents were killed byMy Note: Apparently I hate Jews and gays. News to me. Does this mean I can't read Gay and Right anymore? Newsflash Mr. Sutton: This isn't the dark ages!
lions, there are many Canadians who grandparents were
killed in gas chambers so it is an obvious case of the
proverbial tea pot calling the kettle black.
You object to the persecution of Christians in
historical time yet condone the persecution of minorities
in the present day. Don't try an put a glossy spin on
Christianity. As a whole it professes:
1. That god created the earth and to suggest otherwise
would be heresy.
2. That Homosexuality is a sin.
3. That the rights of an unborn child should be
protected over the mothers.
4. By crucifixion of Jesus the Jewish people forwent
their right to the kingdom of god and will forever be
punished for that sin, from this Christianity evolved.
Am I pro-life? You bet - murder's just plain wrong. Do I think God created the earth? Yeah - it was called the "Big Bang." To me, Science is God's blueprint for the universe - but you don't have to believe that if you don't want to. I think that section really showed Sutton's ignorance about Christianity.
The degree to which a Christian will act on these beliefs varies. Thankfully, here in Canada, the majorityMy Note: a vast rolling of eyes.
of Christians see the issues as benign, for a portion
though, they see it as their personal calling to implement
the kingdom of god on the earth.
It's from this we see the killing of health care
providers, the bombing of clinics and bars, the violence
against other citizens, law suits attempting to prevent
people from marrying, and the suppression of
scientifically accurate teaching.
After the Danish cartoons were published there wereMy Note: Is that vomit I taste in my throat?
people killed during the rioting. Christians everywhere
were amazed and shocked that people would behave like this
over cartoons. Yet when a Jesus cartoon was published in
the Muse some right wing nut demanded an apology. This
preceding incident was referenced in the first frame of
the cartoon. In the last frame you will notice a suicide
bomber. This is to suggest that fanatical Christians are no better then suicide bombers. [emphasis mine]
What is the differenceDid he just say Christians are responsible for the holocaust and then equate the holocaust with me writing a letter to a newspaper? On top of that, I'm pretty sure he just accused me of exterminating Jews and gays. Wow. Wow. That's all I can say.
between blowing up a bar or entering a crowded bus with a
bomb strapped to your chest. Different religion, different
region but just as disgusting.
I personally believe you are a extremist Christian, 99%
of the people who I spoke to (100% of whom where
Christian) didn't have a problem with the cartoon as it
didn't apply to them or their system of beliefs. In fact
most agreed with my view point.
I believe anyone who was offended by the cartoon was
offended primarily that I should be insolent enough as to
question their actions. Its fine for a Christian to
protest what they disagree but when a religious leader
attempts to get a court injunction to prevent Canadians
from marrying I believe they have gone past "expressing an
unfavourable opinion". A clear example of a vocal majority
trying to suppress the rights of a smaller section of
You absolutely right I had every right to print the
cartoon and you have every right to critique it on your
In one sentence you say I had the right to say it, then
in the next, you demand a apology from me, the author, and
the medium, the muse. Hows that for hypocrisy!
If you happen to have a bible in your home review Judges
It summarizes my entire argument. If your god is a god
let him defend himself. Don't run around acting on his
behalf, exterminating Jews, killing homosexuals and asking
apologies from cartoonists.
After I recovered from that - I'm not one to quote the bible, but this begs for it: "He saved other why can't he save himself?" (Matthew 27:24 - I googled this, Mr. Sullivan - the tool of any Christian extremist, I'm sure). They asked God to save himself when he was upon the cross, I think it's highly ironic that Sutton ends his comments with this.
Asking for an apology isn't hypocrisy on my part - like I've said at least ten times by now, just because you can do something doesn't mean it's right to do it. Hell, I'm legally allowed to sleep with the neighbour's wife, but I should probably apologize to him if he finds out about it (if only because I value my life).
Of course, the letter doesn't actually end there. Next he lambasts me with the Torah/Old Testament (which, by the way, is the holy book of the Jews originally, Mr. Sutton. Where's your tirade against the Jews?).
6:25Yipes. I hope he didn't expect me to read all that. In any event, they're talking about Baal in that quote. It's essentially a Jewish warning against worshipping false gods. Don't tell Sutton that, he's probably allergic to scholarly interpretation. Sort of like the McCartneys, now that I think about it.
And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said
unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second
bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of
Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is
And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top
of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second
bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the
grove which thou shalt cut down.
Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as
the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he
feared his father's household, and the men of the city,
that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
And when the men of the city arose early in the morning
behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove
was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was
offered upon the altar that was built.
And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing?
And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the
son of Joash hath done this thing.
Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy
son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar
of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was
And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye
plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for
him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if
he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath
cast down his altar.
Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying,
Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down
People, be courteous if you want, but after that rant you can give his inbox both barrels for all I care. Jeepers creepers, this guy is a piece of work.
And here's my final response:
Mr. Sutton, It's very clear to me that I wasted my time inThere ya go!
communicating with you. I gave you the benefit of the doubt
as to the intent behind your cartoon, but it seems to me
that you're simply someone who looks at things with tunnel
vision. I garner from your reply that you truly did intend
nothing more than offense with that cartoon.
I'm sorry you chose not to believe me as to where I stand on
things. I told you I wasn't any kind of an evangelical
Christian, and whether or not you believe that is really of
no consequence to me. Furthermore, You don't need to quote
from the Bible, Mike. The bible says a lot of things, some
of which should be looked at in the context of the time in
which it was written. You would do well to look at these
things with a scholarly perspective instead of treating
everything at face value.
The people you have talked to may have agreed with you about
your cartoon Mike, but I'm willing to bet they all share the
same narrow-minded anti-Christian viewpoint.
In the end, Mike, you simply come across as just another
bigot with an axe to grind. I guess I was right in my inital
analysis of the cartoon all along. You obviously haven't
read anything I've written or looked at it beyond the scope
of your personal predjudices. I'm sorry you feel the way you
do about people with different views than your own. A little
tolerance would be in order. Inform yourself. That being
said, I want no further dealings with uneducated, uninformed
bigots such as yourself.
Have a nice day,