I am writing to comment on one of your recent cartoons [“The City,” June 23 Xpress].
While I am an advocate of the First Amendment, and certainly enjoy intelligent and creative commentary, opinion, lampoons, and cartoons, I found this particular effort to be in poor taste at best, and ignorant, juvenile and cowardly at worst.
Your depiction of Christ in the last frame was utterly tasteless, but more telling is your cheap and unwarranted description of "white trash Pentecostals."
First, if you had done your homework, or had any understanding of evangelistic Christianity, you would know that the Solid Rock Church is non-denominational, not Pentecostal.
Second, the derogatory term "white trash" reflects the same self loathing and guilt (my guess is that you are a white male) that lends itself to label whites negatively because it is "safe." I dare say, you would never print a comic ridiculing Jews as "Heebs," African-Americans as "niggers," gays as "queers” or “dykes," or, Lord forbid, Muslims as "terrorists" (because like all other journalists and cartoonists, you would be condemned to death and are therefore terrified to cross that line, hence my earlier use of the term cowardly).
Third, an individual's faith is very personal [and] very sacred. While you may think you are pushing the envelope or being "edgy," what you are accomplishing is demonstrating your own insecurity and insensitivity.
As for the slam on the cost vs. the needs of citizens in the Buckeye state, you have also fallen into the same trap as those who condemn, criticize or loathe the Christian church. It is all too easy to ignore or overlook the money and time spent by churches of all denominations feeding the poor, assisting the elderly, meeting the emotional and financial needs of their parishioners and supporting people in crisis (Haiti, China, Africa, etc.) on a daily basis. [You are] trying to marginalize or trivialize a group [that] you obviously fear or envy.
Alternative newspapers are enjoyed by more than a select or stereotypical group of labeled readers (liberals, wackos, the creative class, bohemians, anarchists, free spirits, et al). They are viewed on a regular if not weekly basis by people just like me: a middle-class, middle-aged, socially moderate, community-active white male.
You may believe your effort was bold, smug, funny, cool or topical, but I, and many others I have spoken with, found it childish, cheap and bigoted.
P.S. I am not a member of the Solid Rock Church, but I have seen it from the highway on my visits to Ohio on business.
— Mark Beckstrand
Editor’s response: The cartoon in question was published in error by Xpress; while we’re pleased to run The City cartoons, we don’t always feel his views fit with our mission of promoting thoughtful dialogue among the community’s diverse members. This particular cartoon was a case in point.