Recent “The City” cartoon offensive and bigoted

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
Fletcher

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.

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63 thoughts on “Recent “The City” cartoon offensive and bigoted

  1. How could this cartoon have been published in “error”?
    How many editors. proofreaders, and other sets of eyes look over your pages before it goes to press?
    Stand by your decisions, Xpress, man ( or woman) up, and stop apologizing.
    I bet Mr. Beckstrand’s letter starts a thoughtful dialogue here in the comments, and isn’t that what you want?
    In my experience, one letter condemning a cartoon doesn’t necessarily represent a wide-spread belief; it mostly shows that people generally write when they are pissed off, not to praise something they have seen. Let’s hear from the people who liked the cartoon, too!

  2. chops

    I don’t know. This letter seems like an attack. There’s a lot of name-calling, and judging. Not the kind of behavior I would expect from someone who honors the teachings of Jesus.

  3. Carrie

    Does anyone know how I can see the cartoon? I couldn’t find it.

  4. jeff

    I thought it was pretty funny. It’s a freakin’ CARTOON. Somebody needs to light up.

  5. Barry Summers

    I too dislike the term ‘white trash’. People are not trash, and even if it’s a name that people embrace about themselves, like the ‘n’ word, it’s not something we should encourage, and share in. Calling each other “trash” or “n*****” should be unacceptable no matter who you are or who you are talking about…

    Other than that, I loved this cartoon. I had never heard of the Giant Jesus until it burned down, but I think it was one of the most tasteless, horrifyingly un-Christlike things I have ever seen. They spent $250,000 on a styrofoam Jesus, and are determined to do it again? If these people’s view of the universe turns out to be right, and they go to Heaven & there’s Jesus, I would expect him to kick them in the nads for this obscenity.

    Locals had been calling it “Big Butter Jesus”, because apparently it looked like one of those butter sculptures you see at the fair. Here’s a funny song about it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0OxLXe5YnQ

    MountainX, don’t ever apologize for doing the right thing. These people deserved to be mocked.

  6. Someone who is “trying to marginalize or trivialize a group [that they] obviously fear or envy” could also ironically assume a readership of “liberals, wackos, the creative class, bohemians, anarchists, free spirits, et al” to be the intended audience (to which, the complainant’s group of “people just like me” are superior, of course.)

    They could also ironically confront a cartoon intended to skewer sanctimonious self-righteousness and other-views-be-damned ostentatious displays such as a giant representation of their one, true faith displayed as publicly and grandiose as possible by asserting that their faith is a “very personal [and] very sacred” thing!

  7. JWTJr

    I think if Moses came down from the mountain again and saw some of the giant things that have been constructed in the name of God, that he’d have to admonish everyone involved the way he did with the Golden Calf.

  8. spoutinghorn

    It is no longer cutting edge or provocative to insult Christians. What would be though, is to publish a drawing of the founder of Islam, Mohammed. Does Mountain X have the guts to publish one, or are they content to insult Christians only because they know there will be no repercussions?

  9. Jeff Fobes

    David Cohen: The cartoon DID run without any editor OK’ing it, due to some procedural confusions I believe we’ve ironing out.

  10. Barry Summers

    It is no longer cutting edge or provocative to insult Christians.

    I don’t think this cartoon was meant to insult Christians – I think it was meant to insult faux-Christians who spend half a million dollars on a laughably butt-ugly, styrofoam graven image of Jesus Christ which then nearly burns down their church after being struck by a bolt of fire from the heavens… And then they pledge to spend even more money to put it back up, while tens of millions of Americans are out of work and losing their homes. I hope they (and anyone living within a mile of them) take out meteor/tornado/sinkhole-to-Hell insurance.

  11. tim

    When I saw “Editor’s Note” at the bottom of this letter I thought they were going to point out that Derf has poked fun of Muslims many times.
    Instead, the Xpress chose to admit they’re the true cowards, choosing to not run cartoons that might offend jesus freaks. Seems like a newspaper editor would be a stronger supporter of the First Amendment.

    Also, I would like to point out that the editors of the Xpress flat out lied on David Horan’s show on WCQS. A caller asked why they often don’t run “The City” and/or “This Modern World.” At that time, they claimed it was a case of space–They said they didn’t always have room for everything and they would always choose to favor local content. (At the time I remember thinking that most people would probably prefer they leave out Edgy Momma.)
    Today they admit that they screen the cartoons to be sure they won’t offend readers.
    I wonder what else the Xpress chosen to leave out for fear of offending someone…

    It’s clearly time for a new editor at the Mountain Xpress.

  12. tim

    Sorry, that should’ve been Hurrand, not Horran.
    You learn something new every day.

  13. It’s obvious to me that God himself struck down that plastic monstrosity, with a bolt of lightening from the heavens. That’s what happens when you piss him off.

    God does not like cheap plastic statuettes of his only son. Statues of Christ must be done in marble or some other timeless natural material. It’s disrespectful to use plastic.

  14. hal millard

    I don’t judge the letter writer. His view is his own. So be it.

    That said, Derf’s cartoon was spot-on brilliant and, to me, incredibly humorous (and deft, to boot, at least to a supposed Philistine such as myself). Like them or not, his toons are usually always controversial and loathsome to some segment of society. (In that regard, he is doing his job as an editorial cartoonist, and doing it damn well).

    And MX should know that! Derf’s penchant for controversy is well established — in fact, that is his goddamn raison d’etre. MX has been printing the toon for years, for goodness sakes. To say it was an editorial and censorial oversight is disingenuous, at best. I dare say MX has most likely printed more blasphemous Derf toons than this — but that was then; and this is now, eh?

    As a former staffer, I understand, support and applaud MX’s mission to create “community dialogue” and be a responsible institution. It’s all incredibly noble and good. But MX is still an alternative newspaper that should be — at all costs — fiercely independent and, in most cases, unapologetic, unless some real harm has been done. Instead we get milquetoast?

    This latest capitulation and needless (and pathetic) mea culpa only underscores the belief that MX is being emasculated and is devolving into a sad shell of its former self. And a boring, spineless shell at that. Please don’t let that happen.

  15. Betty Cloer Wallace

    How is this cartoon any more offensive and bigoted than the Frank Elliott/Uncle Remus letter?

    Is the issue about subject matter and content or method of communication or sensitivity of readership and advertisers?

  16. Betty Cloer Wallace

    How is this cartoon any more offensive and bigoted than the Frank Elliott/Uncle Remus letter?

    Is the issue about (1) subject matter and content, or (2) method of communication, or (3) sensitivity of readership and advertisers?

  17. Jeff Fobes

    I’ve felt for many years that Derf is a brilliant cartoonist. But in all those years when I was the one checking his new strip each week prior to publication, slightly more than half of them didn’t meet my approval.

    Protecting freedom of speech in a community is a more nuanced task than publishing any in-your-face opinions; rather, one decides which opinions to defend.

    One could discuss the philosophy of publishing for a long time, but there’s one point I’d like to mention: Xpress has never sought solely to be an “alternative weekly” publication; rather, the goal has always been to publish a hybrid altweekly/community weekly (although the “weekly” part of the terms is no longer so relevant).

    The key reason for the hybrid strategy: A “community” paper aims to reach a broader audience, but in so doing often fails to develop an alt-weekly’s progressive edginess; Xpress tries to incorporate the best of the two.

    Back to Derf, whose brilliant urban cartoon strip oftentimes fits uneasily in Asheville and WNC’s remarkably vibrant community — a diverse community that Xpress hopes to retain as its readership. Sometimes we run Derf’s strip, sometimes we don’t. Our editorial judgment hasn’t materially changed.

  18. Barry Summers

    Jeff –

    I really am disappointed to hear you say you wouldn’t have printed this cartoon had you caught it. Some aspects of human stupidity really need to be exposed, and this is a perfect example. Any local ‘Christians’ who would defend an obscene mockery of Jesus Christ like this statue, should be exposed as well for who they are. Instead, you would allow a loud minority to define what’s acceptable for the whole community, and allow the perception to take root that all Christians are as arrogant, tasteless and hypocritical as this bunch in Ohio, and I think that’s a disservice.

    There are boneheads in any group/religion/family/community (just look at al qaeda), and a ‘circle-the-wagons-any-criticism-of-any-Christian-is-a-criticism-of-all-Christians’ mentality shouldn’t be coddled, it should be unraveled.

  19. tim

    Jeff:
    You’ve told us why you choose to censor some opinions.
    Now please explain lying on WCQS.
    Thanks.

  20. Jeff Fobes

    Tim, re lying on WCQS: We’ve been trying unsuccessfully to figure out who you’re referring to.

  21. Margaret Williams

    To further unveil the behind-the-scenes processes at Mtn X: When an article, headline, cartoon, photo caption, photo, column, letter, commentary, ad … you name it … hits the proofing pages or the inbox, everyone at Xpress has a chance to view it, discuss it … or not. Great discussions often ensue, as the opinions of individual staffers are about as diverse as you can get in Buncombe county.

    In the case of a cartoon, one person finds it funny; another not so much; another person finds it offensive, another not at all. (“I don’t get it,” or “That’s hilarious,” and sometimes, “That goes too far …” and “How milquetoast!”) Sometimes we come to a consensus decision. Sometimes we don’t, and an editor (or the publisher) will make a decision.

    Sometimes we have to cut content in order to achieve the best ratio of ads to editorial content, and/or to meet the page restrictions our printer requires (ever notice our page count is always divisible by eight?). The non-local cartoons are almost always top of the chopping-block list, and sometimes other columns and/or articles get held (we’ve skipped two Outdoors columns and one Edgy Mama in the past month).

    Sometimes, we have to add pages to get the right ratio. A few months ago, we ran a cartoon by a local teen.

    In any case, this process isn’t about the First Amendment. We are a business‚ a community-oriented one, but a business nonetheless. Every day, every week, we pick and choose what stories to run with, what pictures to post, what cartoons to publish. If our publisher says some Derf cartoons haven’t met with his approval and he wouldn’t have run the Jesus-statue one … that’s his prerogative. No apology is needed for the apology (though publisher Fobes subsequently got into a warm discussion with some staffers who thought it should have run and we shouldn’t have apologized for it).

    This past week, I chose not to run “City” cartoon featuring “man boobies.” In its place, we introduced a new local cartoonist joining our regular Molton and Brent Brown features — Bill LaRocque (“Granola Park”), and next week, I hope to feature another local cartoonist, Phil Juliano (“Best in Show”). We’ll see what kind of local angles fall prey to their pens.

    Meanwhile, I’ll say “ditto” to Jeff’s conclusion that our editorial approach hasn’t changed. I’ll add that it evolves (and sometimes comes back full circle). In any case, we may be too edgy for some and not edgy enough for all.

    A “community” paper aims to reach a broader audience, but in so doing often fails to develop an alt-weekly’s progressive edginess; Xpress tries to incorporate the best of the two.

  22. Barry Summers

    It’s clearly time for a new editor at the Mountain Xpress.

    Again?!?

  23. Barry Summers

    …publisher Fobes subsequently got into a warm discussion with some staffers who thought it should have run and we shouldn’t have apologized for it

    Hear, hear.

  24. dpewen

    I love the cartoon … I love anything that mocks any religion! More more more!!!! And I want to thank the letter writer for drawing more interest to this great mockery!!!

  25. L. Eileen Murphy

    I think what offended me about the cartoon was not the upside-down Jesus in his underpants – I think all ‘idols’ should be able to take some ribbing – but the inference that the people of the church who built the monument were basically ‘white trash.’ Sorry, but I think people are people whatever their misguided (or hell, guided for all I know) actions might be. Calling them pejorative and demeaning names seems like the antithesis of what Mountain Xpress is about. It’s like Rush Limbaugh calling feminists ‘feminazis’ or environmentalists ‘environmentalist wackos’ – it’s a way to alienate and belittle people you don’t even know. What’s the point of that?

    I like that Mountain Xpress is a ‘community’ paper. ‘Edgy,’ cynical-voiced, too-cool-for-school alternative weeklies are a dime a dozen. Who says Xpress has to be just like them? If that’s the kind of newspaper you want and you don’t think you’re getting it here than start your own.newspaper I recommend reading the Xpress’ ‘mission statement on their website: it’s not about being ‘edgy;’ it’s focus is on building community. All kinds of people read Mountain Xpress- and I respect the fact that the editorial staff discusses and thinks about what they publish – and not just print anything that comes in to uphold ‘freedom of speech’ or to prove that they ARE an edgy paper. It actually makes me respect them more!

    Keep doing what you’re doing Mountain Xpress – being a community paper that’s not afraid to ask the tough questions but is also not afraid to trust your own judgement when it’s all said and done.

  26. Flarn

    The problem is people thinking of the Mountain Xpress as a newspaper.

    Think of it more like Fun Things to do in the Mountains with News of the Weird.

  27. pff

    When will you monsters leave the Christians alone?!?

    All they want is to worship their styrofome false idols in peace.

  28. Derf IS a brilliant cartoonist. He HAS been in the Xpress for a long time. He HAS done cartoons that have been printed in the paper which have stirred up controversy before. His middle-class white suburban superhero has rubbed some people (presumably middle-class white people) the wrong way.
    But isn’t that the POINT of even printing editorial cartoons?
    They are supposed to make you think, and with forums like this, to discuss with others the meaning and impact of the cartoon.
    The Xpress is a worthy part of Asheville’s media landscape, and I hope that as a business they can survive and flourish. There is always at least one little thing about even your closest friends that annoys you or pisses you off. But you don’t drop them because of it.
    More Derf!!!

  29. Carrie

    I laughed when I heard that ridiculous statue got hit by a huge bolt on irony! It was horrible and deserved mockery.

    Saying they were “white trash” may have gone a little too far but I don’t know anything about the parishioners except for their crazy expensive statue… so maybe they are.

    I don’t think that it warranted being deleted or not run at all. It got a discussion going, right?

  30. Joseph Barcia

    Let an editorial cartoon be an editorial. Its creator is the proper locus of all feedback directed at that editorial. An editorial cartoon expresses an opinion but in a form other than that of an opinion letter.

  31. T100C-1970

    If making fun of conservative Christians is cool, then so should be making fun of the followers of the “Prophet”.

    When you get right down to it, both groups seem to have SCARILY similar views on (1) the proper role of women in society and (2) the proper role of their religious texts in running the government.

    Hopefully, Ms. “City-Cartoon” will be brave enough to cough up a cartoon in that direction and the MtExp will be brave enough to give “equal time to it”…. I bet NOT.

  32. JWTJr

    You have a great point T100. The radical component of Islam is causing the world many problems right now. Every country that borders an Islamic country has big issues with radicalism. Needless to say the mess we are in because of them and their hatred of our lifestyle.

    I thought journalists were supposed to have blz. I’m not witnessing any. Let’s see em grow some.

  33. Barry Summers

    Needless to say the mess we are in because of them and their hatred of our lifestyle.

    Yes, the fact that we (British, French, US) have for the past century supported the most oppressive governments in that region in order to satiate our lust for land/gold/oil/Soviet chess match/etc., that has nothing to do with why they hate us.

  34. Jeff Fobes

    Fundamentalism — be it Islamic, Christian or the pervasive belief that science can measure & explain everything, to name a few of its current forms — needs to be chided, ribbed, criticized. (And besides all those people whose beliefs we want to question, we each have a fundamentalist or two within ourselves who needs to be questioned and criticized.)

    But to do so effectively, I think we need to keep a healthy sense of our own humility, fallibility and confusion.

    I’ll argue that if Xpress and others are going to promote thoughtful, civic dialogue at the local level, we need to respect others’ belief systems as well as have the courage to question them.

    It makes me happy to see the diverse viewpoints on the Derf cartoon in evidence here, along with the remarkable fact that we can all go look at the cartoon via the link provided above, and draw our own conclusions — even though Xpress didn’t publish it (wisely, unwisely or with some nonfundamentalist mix of the two).

  35. Barry Summers

    If making fun of conservative Christians is cool, then so should be making fun of the followers of the “Prophet”.

    Your premise is faulty. The offending ‘City’ cartoon makes fun of a small group of tasteless, money-wasting idolaters, not ‘conservative Christians.’

    Hopefully, Ms. “City-Cartoon” will be brave enough to cough up a cartoon in that direction and the MtExp will be brave enough to give “equal time to it”…. I bet NOT.

    Yeah, that’s what we need – a cartoon war:

    http://www.derfcity.com/cityarchive/dubyayears/dubyayears25.html

  36. JWTJr

    “Yes, the fact that we (British, French, US) have for the past century supported the most oppressive governments in that region in order to satiate our lust for land/gold/oil/Soviet chess match/etc., that has nothing to do with why they hate us.”

    You are correct that what you say are some of the factors. However, they are not all by a long shot and what you say represents the minority.

    The radical side of Islam hates a lot about our way of life ….. Hollywood, South Beach, Wall Street, Athiests, Christians, Jews, Women and Children’s Rights, free speech and though just to name a few.

  37. Barry Summers

    You are correct that what you say are some of the factors. However, they are not all by a long shot and what you say represents the minority.

    I don’t know where you get that assertion, that resentment towards the west because of past and current meddling is a ‘minority’ view in Islamic countries. The list of countries where the US has seriously interfered, up to and including murdering popular leaders & then installing & supporting corrupt brutes like the Shah, Sadaam Hussein, Mubarek, Musharraf, the House of Saud, etc. etc., these will have real consequences that go on for generations. And our current adventures in the region, ramped up in 2002 by ideologues like Paul “Drain the Swamp” Wolfowitz (yes, they told the Islamic world that they considered them a “swamp” that needs to be drained by force), only confirm what they have suspected about us: we will be attacking them militarily until they submit to our rule. Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans later, even the arrival of Barack Obama hasn’t slowed the juggernaut.

    Point is, the few radical crazies wouldn’t enjoy the support or at least the acquiescence of the populace if there weren’t real grievances that run deep in the society. And you can’t pretend that the systemic brutality that we have inflicted on them for generations won’t have consequences.

  38. Barry Summers

    Side note: the CIA-led coup in Iran in 1953 (Operation Ajax – no kidding. That’s what they called it), which saddled the Iranian people with 26 years of the Shah’s brutal whip, also led to the creation of… wait for it… the British Petroleum Company.

    The whole world knew at the time that we had crushed a moderate, democratically-elected Islamic government, solely because they didn’t want to watch their oil wealth flow out of their country & into the hands of the British. The result was tens of thousands of people murdered, and eventually, the uprising that gave us the Iran we know today – ruled by the mullahs. All so that BP could amass wealth, and Americans could have slightly cheaper oil.

    The US has never admitted to crushing democracy in Iran, until last June, when Obama semi-apologized for it during a speech in Cairo. That’s just one example from one country in the Middle East. All the rest have equally negative experiences dealing with America. Can you really sit there & say, “They hate us for our freedoms”?

  39. robin

    t100-C WOULD have a good point, except for the fact that Derf has poked fun of Muslims plenty of times.

    Yes, that would have been a good point.

    But it wasn’t.

  40. Margaret Williams

    t100-C WOULD have a good point, except for the fact that Derf has poked fun of Muslims plenty of times. (Robin)

    And our very own local Molton has raised some blood pressures by his not-so-loving portrayal of rednecks. And no one’s mentioned Brent Brown’s spin on Cherokee passports.

    Ah well. “Funny” is all relative.

  41. A big plastic Jesus, struck by lightening….that was just asking for it, from the big guy…. and every cartoon artist around.

  42. World wide contempt stopped the Salem witch trails & executions./looks like worldwide disapproval of the stoning has at least postponed the event. Sometimes it takes some pointed criticism for a wayward misguided phony religiosity to wake up and smell their own in-humanity and lack of real spiritually evolved actions.

  43. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Davyne, you are so right. And you, too, JWTjr.

    Anyone who still does not believe that “church” and “state” (any church and state) should be separate should study current “religious” atrocities that are happening around the world—atrocities that are reported elsewhere much more often and in greater detail than in USA-based newspapers.

    And yes, our own colonial period—with a merged church/state government–was just as violent as those you referenced above. It is so sad, and frightful, that so many Americans try so hard to rewrite and whitewash our country’s violent underpinnings that lasted more than a century. We should, instead, remember our history and learn from it and not risk ever again having any state religion of any kind.

    When Calvinist minister Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God) and his 17th Century predecessors and 18th Century colleagues were preaching extremist fear-mongering fundamentalism in Colonial America, they had brought their extremist religious beliefs and social customs from their homelands and continued to practice them unchanged along the North Atlantic coast of North America—beliefs that were extremely oppressive and dangerous to women, slaves, servants, children, and anyone else who was not a white male landowner, i.e. just about everybody.

    That brand of religious fervor reached its zenith with the 1690s Salem witch trials in which the deaths of more than three dozen people (hanged, pressed to death with stones, or died in prison) were attributed to zealous Puritan church ministers.

    When political conservatives nowadays pay homage to European settlers of this continent as people seeking religious freedom, they are invariably referring to those extremist religious sects such as Pilgrims (anti-Anglican Separatists) and Puritans (Anglican loyalists) who came here more than a century before our “founding fathers” decided that “freedom” meant separation of church and state—including freedom from the oppressive extremism of those sects—as well as economic freedom.

    Fundamentalist Christians today totally ignore the fact that the colonies were funded and settled for a variety of economic reasons, primarily land acquisition and commerce, not for religious freedom, and that religious freedom came much later—in 1776 and gradually thereafter.

    Even after 1776, “freedom” was a long time coming for most of the North American population, and we’re still working at it—in spite of those who want us to remain stuck in colonial times.

  44. Barry Summers

    World wide contempt stopped the Salem witch trails

    Really? Source for this? I always heard that it was one of the condemned, a Rev. George Burroughs, was able to recite the Lords Prayer without error right before they hanged him. People started to go, “Hey, maybe we’re executing innocent people here…” Cotton Mather, like many Christian Supremacists, before and after, reassured the crowd that He knew God’s will, and the executions went on, until the Governor intervened, after hearing testimony from observers like Nathaniel Hawthorne. What ‘world wide pressure’ existed in 1692?

    And every time you bemoan the ‘antics’ of ‘radical Islam’, remember the huge role that the US played in creating it.

  45. JWTJr

    “And every time you bemoan the ‘antics’ of ‘radical Islam’, remember the huge role that the US played in creating it.”

    Why then, did they blow up so many people at the World Cup yesterday?

  46. Barry Summers

    Why then, did they blow up so many people at the World Cup yesterday?

    Because they believe that God wants them to punish non-believers, just like our homegrown radical Christians Supremacists, who conspired to blow up cops in Michigan.

    http://www.realcourage.org/2010/03/hutaree-arrests/

    Unfortunately, Somalia is a failed state with no FBI to stop insane people from doing insane things.

  47. “Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to beguile the popular imagination more than 300 years later.
    Read more:http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/brief-salem.html

    What’s your point Barry? The fact is that there remains utter contempt for those paranoid fundamentalists, & that people today still equate extremism and the self serving hellfire and damnation that started this thread, with this mindset that made Salem happen?

    You just like to argue for the sake of arguing.

  48. JWTJr

    Barry, I’m glad you believe that not ‘everything’ is the Imperialist’s fault. There are non-believers all over the world getting blown up who have no ties to the evil imperialists.

  49. JWTJr

    “You just like to argue for the sake of arguing.”

    You are correct again Ms Dial.

  50. Barry Summers

    What’s your point Barry?

    I was questioning your assertion that it was “world wide contempt” that stopped the Salem witch trials, which you didn’t provide any references for. Everything that I have read about it shows it was local people who finally recoiled from murdering their own neighbors, which is a far cry from suggesting it ended by some ‘world wide’ outside pressure. I thought that was a point worth making, and was not ‘arguing for the sake of arguing’.

  51. Betty Cloer Wallace

    @ Barry’s referenced article, “Belfast police, Catholic rioters clash,” July 12, 2010:

    […..On July 12, 1690, the forces of Protestant King William of Orange defeated the army of his dethroned Catholic rival, James II, at the Battle of the Boyne south of Belfast. / Earlier Monday (July 12, 2010), at eighteen Orange rallying points across Northern Ireland, tens of thousands of Protestants enjoyed impromptu picnics in farm fields as their leaders read religious and political proclamations over loudspeakers. They asserted that William’s 1690 victory “established civil and religious liberty,” while Northern Ireland’s political union with Britain remains “a heritage worthy of being passed down untarnished to future generations.”]

    You must know, Barry, of the periodic migrations of Scottish (and English) Protestants who settled the Ulster Plantation region in Northern Ireland and became known as “Scotch-Irish” Protestants, generations of people who eventually emigrated to Philadelphia and then on down the Pennsylvania Wagon Road to rural Western North Carolina, bringing their music and independent spirits with them, whilst Irish Catholic emigrants remained in the northeastern U.S. cities. (Augusta, Georgia, was the southern end of the Wagon Road.)

    The Ulster-WNC connection is well documented in more than three decades of research at the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University, including a long-running exhibit. In fact, the university just two weeks ago hosted an “Ulster-American Heritage Symposium” with researchers from Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the United States who have studied migration patterns of Scotch-Irish Protestants to WNC for many centuries, including their subsequent dispersal throughout the southern U.S. and the continuation of their Protestant heritage to this day.

    A Scottish truism: We have long memories, which is a great strength. And we hold long grudges, which is a great weakness.

    But, then, I have often wondered why we still argue about every other aspect of the American Civil War except the religious aspect: (Northern) Catholics vs. (Southern) Protestants. Perhaps our centuries-old grudges have outlasted many of our historical reasons? At least we are no longer shedding blood.

  52. Barry Summers

    You must know, Barry, of the periodic migrations of Scottish (and English) Protestants

    I do know about the migrations – my father’s branch of the family came to this country from Scotland, and family lore says that we helped found Summersville WV, which is just off the Great Wagon Road, although I’ve never researched it much…

    Was there a religious component to our Civil War? If so, you’re right – it’s not much talked about.

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