Positive Atheism Forum

Cartoon Draws Ire

Protest af Anti-Catholic Cartoon
in Detroit Newspaper

28-Sep-2000 -- EWTN News Brief

DETROIT, (CWNews.com) -- Michigan Catholics on Wednesday protested an editorial cartoon in the Detroit Free Press newspaper that they said had was anti-Catholic.

The cartoon by Mike Thompson and featured on the newspaper's editorial page and web site features a Constitution-shredding machine called the Vouch-o-Matic, satirizing a proposed school voucher program that would allow parents to choose to which schools their children can attend using tax-dollars allocated for their education as a means to divert tax dollars to the Catholic Church.


The text of the cartoon reads: "Introducing the amazing Vouch-o-Matic! Yes, the Vouch-o-Matic! It slices, dices, chops, and shreds cherished constitutional principles!! It can suck millions out of public education while defying accountability! The Amazing vouch-o-matic blows enough smoke to blind thousands of voters! But wait! There's more! Order now and receive this wooden nickel absolutely free!! To order, rush your tax dollars to: The Roman Catholic Church c/o Kids First! Yes! Order Now!"

Kids First! Yes! is a group sponsoring a school-choice ballot initiative in Michigan, a proposal that has received support from Michigan Catholics.

In an open letter to the newspaper, Ned McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said: "In no uncertain terms, the cartoon crosses the line of reasoned commentary. It is vitriolic, misleading and, most troubling of all, blatantly anti-Catholic." McGrath demanded a repudiation of the cartoon's "Anti-Catholic sentiment" before the archdiocese would again work with the Detroit Free Press. "Let me be clear," he wrote, "your response cannot equivocate. Past performance cannot mitigate your position. The issue is this cartoon, not previous or future coverage."

Sister Monica Kostielney, president of the Michigan Catholic Conference, called the cartoon inflammatory, shameful, and filled with hate. "For this kind of religious bigotry to grace the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper as a legitimate editorial expression is inconceivable in civil society," she said.


From:"Alan Urdaibay"
To:"Positive Atheism Magazine"<editor@positiveathiesm.org>
Subject: Re: Diocese Shrieks Over Cartoon; September Issue; FAQ Section
Date: Saturday, October 07, 2000 6:02 AM

Hello again Cliff,

It is not as obvious as many think that state funded religious education is a bad thing. The largest group of ex-Catholics here in the UK are those who have had the pleasure of attending state-funded Catholic schools.

Arguably, making life difficult for religious groups does nothing more than fire them up and allow them to play the role of the deprived underdog. If religious groups were able to get state funding for their schools -- as happens here in the UK -- all you'd have to do would be to sit back and wait for the slow but remorseless backlash against the indoctrination dished out. The local State Catholic School in this area (it's called Cuthbert Main) is almost certainly the largest local producer of convinced atheists. As a special treat (although not for the victims) the resident priest (and head of religious education) was found guilty of sexual abuse of children a couple of years ago.

We have state funding of religious schools but a rapidly declining rate of religious observance. In the US atheists could encourage religious state education as part of the religious freedom they want for themselves. Then just sit back and wait for the inevitable decline! I suppose the timescale could be a little annoying -- but at the speed of change nowadays I reckon a generation should do it.

An additional point -- a choice of religious education in schools would probably have the effect of reducing the proliferation of religious sects, cults and groups -- since there would be at least some standardisation of the mumbo jumbo taught.

It may not seem the most obvious way for atheists to achieve their objective but the lord works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform!

If you think this letter has sufficient merit I invite you to publish somewhere on your excellent web site.

Kind regards,

Alan Urdaibay
Atheism Central for Secondary Schools

"When men stop believing in God, it isn't that they then believe in nothing: they believe in everything."
Umberto Eco

From:"James Call"
To:"Positive Atheism Magazine"<editor@positiveathiesm.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2000 11:22 PM
Subject: Re: Diocese Shrieks Over Cartoon; September Issue; FAQ Section

I think I finally get it. I mean I understood that Jesse Ventura's comment earlier this year was anti-religion, but I didn't understand how it could be called "bigotry." I looked it up. An unfair or unjust bias. His bias didn't sound unfair to me. It sounded right on. (Interestingly enuff, he sounded a bit like Thomas Jefferson -- a hell of a lot more like Jefferson than the christians blasting him for "bigotry.") But I think I get it now. The word "bigotry" is changing its meaning. Its losing its "unfair" or "unjust" connotations. I guess now it means, "any and all criticism of me or my position" -- especially if you're a christian.

Graphic Rule

As a working journalist, Mencken took as his lifelong subject nothing less than Freedom's land and Bravery's home, the (not so very) United States, where flourished such gorgeous clowns as Calvin Coolidge; "The Great Croon of Croons," Franklin D. Roosevelt; the not-so-great Great Commoner, William Jennings Bryan; and many, many others. But if only God could have invented such a cast, it was Mencken who proved to be God's most attentive and appreciative drama critic. It was Mencken who described the show. He reveled in absurdity; found no bonnet entirely bee-less. He loved the national bores for their own sweet sake.
-- Gore Vidal

There comes a day of public ceremonial, and a chance to make a speech.... A million voters with IQs below 60 have their ears glued to the radio. It takes four days' hard work to concoct a speech without a sensible word in it. Next a dam must be opened somewhere. Four dry Senators get drunk and make a painful scene. The Presidential automobile runs over a dog. It rains.
-- H. L. Mencken

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
    people with no reason to believe

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