A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cartoon Madness Part Four: The Final Chapter?

-UPDATE- : I forgot my witty repartée. Oops! It's included at the end, now.

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 yourself
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
different way.

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.
Now, 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.


Mr. Sutton wasn't long coming up with a reply:
First I find it a little disconcerting that you are so
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.
My 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.
Do I hate Christians? No. Hell, I am friends with a few
and probably dated a few more.
My Note: "Some of my best friends are black/Christian/gay etc." Standard argument.
Do you know if any of your grandparents were killed by
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.
My 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!

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 majority
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.
My Note: a vast rolling of eyes.
After the Danish cartoons were published there were
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]
My Note: Is that vomit I taste in my throat?
What is the difference
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
society.
You absolutely right I had every right to print the
cartoon and you have every right to critique it on your
blog.

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
6:24-32.

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.

Sincerely,

Mike Sutton

Did 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.

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?).
6:25
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
by it:

6:26
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.

6:27
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.

6:28
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.

6:29
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.

6:30
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
by it.

6:31
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.

6:32
Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying,
Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down
his altar.
Yipes. 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.

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 in
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,

-Danté
There ya go!
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8 Old Comments:

Wow. This sutton guy says:

"After the Danish cartoons were published there were 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."

So, I guess what he's really trying to say is that burning embassies and calling from the death of all who disagree with your religious views is equivalent to writing a polite letter to your local student newspaper expressing your dismay that your religion was insulted.

Anyone else see the disconnect here?
Dante, I think you're right; this guys anti-christian bias speaks for itself.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 AM  

Wow, that guy is a real dickhead. Total nutcase. On what planet do these moonbats who rage on about the "religious right" live?

I don't feel any oppressive theocracy, and I live in...wait for it...ALABAMA! You know, that hick Bible Belt state where we can't say jacks*it without praising Jesus. Or whatever it is the current Official Leftard Talking Points™ points say we do.

My head hurts from reading the words of the Venomous Moonbat in heat. Must remember to not roll my eyes so hard.

I guess that's what you get for being polite. Heh.

By Blogger Beth, at 3:37 AM  

When someone seriously tries to make the Nazis were Christians argument, you can safely ignore them as they are clearly delusional.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:58 PM  

the best part about all this is that inflammatory cartoonists love this attention. that's the point of making such an inflammatory cartoon. sure, they could've written a twelve-hundred word critique of the dark side of christian fundamentalism, but they like making letter writers and bloggers look--let's face the truth here--ridiculous when they go all blue in the face over what was really nothing more than a, clearly, off the cuff social commentary cartoon.

I used to work at the muse, and I can tell you, people who write letters to student newspapers are of a very certain type.

but it's good to see the paper stirring up some controversy. and it's hilarious to see people taking it so seriously.

By Anonymous chris, at 4:58 PM  

Heh. I used to read the muse, and I can tell you, the people who write for it are a very certain type. It's fun watching them work themselves up into an ideological frenzy every week.

Read the guy's letter: he's a bigot.

If you worked for the Muse it's no wonder you agree with him. You automatically lose all credibility on this issue because of that.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:51 PM  

but it's good to see the paper stirring up some controversy. and it's hilarious to see people taking it so seriously.

Oh, you mean like that Sutton guy telling Christians to stop "exterminating Jews?"

I've got a bit of advice for ya there, buddy: Saying something controversial isn't the same as saying something intelligent. Excercise some damn responsibility.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 PM  

Hey Chris, do you realize what that cartoonist has probably done for this guy's traffic?

From the sound of it, I don't think he's too broken up over the ravings of some moonbat. Don't worry your poor head.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 PM  

Being Mocked: The Essence of Christ’s Work, Not Muhammad’s

What we saw in the Islamic demonstrations over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad was another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each. The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.

If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. “He was despised and rejected by men . . . as one from whom men hide their faces . . . and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

That’s the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11). During his life on earth Jesus was called a bastard (John 8:41), a drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), a devil (Matthew 10:25); and he promised his followers the same: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25).

How should his followers respond? On the one hand, we are grieved and angered. On the other hand, we identify with Christ, and embrace his suffering, and rejoice in our afflictions, and say with the apostle Paul that vengeance belongs to the Lord, let us love our enemies and win them with the gospel.

When Muhammad was portrayed in twelve cartoons the uproar across the Muslim world was intense and sometimes violent. What does this mean?

It means that a religion with no insulted Savior will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honor of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man. And it means that his followers must be willing to “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

http://www.desiringgod.org/library/fresh_words/2006/020806.html

By Blogger Tim, at 9:30 PM