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Fiore, NPR upset conservative “Tea Partiers”

An animated editorial cartoon by Mark Fiore has the conservative blogosphere buzzing and livid at National Public Radio for posting a cartoon on the opinion section of its website back in early November. The cartoon entitled “Learn to Speak Tea Bag” pokes fun at Tea Party conservatives for using button pushing terms such as “Nazi” and “socialist” in discussion of the Health Care legislation in Washington. The cartoon was published by all of his clients, including NPR, which has conservatives upset that federal money is supporting a “liberal slant.”

Another point of contention is the use of the term “Tea Bag” which has a double sexual meaning. (Google it if you just need to know.) Mark wasn’t the first to use the derogatory term, but conservatives are upset that it is continually used instead of “tea party.”

Here is the video:

Mark is reporting on his blog that he’s getting all kinds of negative emails – even threats on his life.

He writes:

I say that not because I get some thrill out of receiving emails that are in all capital letters or have more exclamation points than letters in the alphabet, I say that because one of the most important functions of a political cartoon, or political animation, is to foster a discussion. With thousands of comments posted, loads of emails and tweets, discussion was definitely fostered, and then some. It’s the “then some” that worries me.

Of course discussion on the web is not known for its civility, but it finally dawned on me the strangeness of receiving death threats at the same time a crazed Somali extremist tried to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

Muslim extremist, meet Tea Party extremist. Tea Party extremist, meet Muslim extremist.

To give you a flavor of the public responses on conservative blogs:

From Gatewaypundit.com

This is outrageous.

It’s not only CNN and MSNBC who are attacking ordinary Americans who oppose the democrat’s record spending and massive expansion of government…

National Public Radio is using your taxpayer dollars to bash teabaggers with their latest online video-

From Minx.com

Why am I linking?

Because you paid for this — you might as well enjoy the fruits of your labor.

You ponied up good hard cash, that could have gone to your retirement, or a kid’s braces, or a new plasma tv, so that NPR could insult you as stupid and crazy. And a “teabagger.”

NPR — time for them to go.

From newsbusters.org:

If there was ever any doubt National Public Radio had a political slant, check out the animated video posted on the network’s Web site. That should clear up any doubt.

Sayanythingblog.com

To be honest, were it not for we taxpayers being forced to support NPR I wouldn’t have a problem with this. Free speech and all that.

Instapundit.com

I’VE DEFENDED NPR’S REPORTING BEFORE, but this “Learn To Speak TeaBag” animation is just an embarrassment. It’s not actually an NPR production, if I read things correctly – it’s an animated political cartoon by Mark Fiore – but a lot of people seem to be drawing the conclusion that it represents NPR’s views. If I’m right, and it doesn’t, then NPR might want to make that plain.

Even Bill O’Reilly is talking about how disturbed he is that NPR gets federal funding to post such left wing propaganda and went as far as to call NPR a “left-wing Jihadist deal.”

Here’s that segment of his show:

After all of the above, I find a similarity between the Danish Mohammad cartoons and Mark’s animation. First notice that his cartoon was published on November 12th and it is just now getting people fired up. The Muslim response to the Danish cartoon came three and a half months after it was published when a Muslim cleric brought it to everyone’s attention. In my opinion, Mark’s cartoon isn’t all that inflammatory, neither is the fact that it ran on NPR’s opinion section, but the combination was ripe for an ignitor, in this case a conservative blogger, to fan the flames through the blogosphere.

I would like to think America is much more civil and that publishing one’s response on blogs has a cathartic effect and Mark won’t need to build a safe room in his home.

Community Comments

#1 Justin Thompson
January/8/2010
@ 9:06 am

Oh, they don’t like the term “Tea-Baggers”? Boy, these people are really into words and re-labeling. But that’s a nicer term for what they really are. Do they really want us to call them ‘Fundamental Extremists’?
Is this how the Taliban got started?

#2 Terry LaBan
January/8/2010
@ 9:36 am

The Tea Baggers are idiots. They should expect to be ridiculed. I say do it more!

#3 Tom Wood
January/8/2010
@ 9:42 am

Not really related, but I didn’t know where else to post it – Graphic.ly looks like they are headed toward an iTunes type service for comics:

http://digital.venturebeat.com/2010/01/07/graphic-ly-digital-comics/

#4 John Auchter
January/8/2010
@ 10:16 am

I’m appalled at the use of the public Internet for anything I either don’t like or don’t understand, which includes Mr. Fiore’s filthy animations. It’s a disgrace that my hard-earned tax dollars (well, the ones my accountant wasn’t clever enough to hide) are going directly to fund his impure thoughts. Why, I can just feel him our there enjoying the interstate highway system and drinking municipal water. It makes me furious….

#5 Terry Rowe
January/8/2010
@ 10:59 am

Mr LaBan feels he’s justified to insult people just because he disagrees with him…..Mr LaBan, you’re just another reason this country is in the mess we’re in. You will have to share the country with those people who you disagree with. Insults will only make it get worse, so grow up.

#6 June Woodruff
January/8/2010
@ 12:42 pm

Terry Rowe apparently doesn’t see the irony in telling others not to insult and then insulting them in the same sentence.

Anyone who “stages” an anti-tax protest on the date 95% of tax-paying Americans received a tax cut is an idiot in my book too. Ditto for anyone who carries signs that tells the government to keep their hands off the protester’s Medicare, or cries out against socialism, fascism, and Nazis in the same breath.

If it walks like a duck…

#7 Clay Jones
January/8/2010
@ 1:18 pm

I have met Mark Fiore and I can honesty say I’ve never witnessed the man drink municipal water.

#8 Paul Fell
January/8/2010
@ 1:51 pm

I personally witnessed Mark Fiore show his animated editorial cartoons to 300 high school art students and their teachers down in Marceline, Missouri last fall.

I saw lots of nodding heads and big smiles from the high schoolers and their liberal, secular humanist union-loving teachers as they watched Fiore’s brainwashing cartoons. Why, some of those youngsters may have even left with a greater interest in current events and national politics as a result.

Heavens to teabags… this evil must be STOPPED! Kids with ideas… a horrible concept.

#9 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 2:09 pm

The funniest part of this is linking the left with Islamism/jihadism. If there’s political linkage there, it’s obviously to the right.

#10 Terry LaBan
January/8/2010
@ 2:23 pm

“Mr LaBan, youâ??re just another reason this country is in the mess weâ??re in.”

Actually, I’m the ENTIRE reason this country is the mess it’s in. So the next time you want to have a Tea Bagger Party, you can do it in front of my house. But I still say Tea Baggers are idiots. Plus stupid heads, know-nothings and butt faces.

#11 Beth Cravens
January/8/2010
@ 2:25 pm

If they’re so worried about their precious tax dollars where were they when we went into debt for the afghan and iraq wars? Kill all the brown people, but keep your hands off my medicaid?

#12 John Cole
January/8/2010
@ 2:38 pm

I’m just glad someone finally has grown a pair and called out Mark Fiore. The man is a menace. %^)

#13 Dave Stephens
January/8/2010
@ 2:42 pm

Fiore speaks, “Insult”, because dialog is ‘just too hard’…

As long as demonization of your opponents is the first priority, there will be no ‘middle ground’ or actual discussions, just the usual screaming matches about who’s a bigger baby killer, Marxist, Socialist, monster, demon, medicare-slicing inbred idiot…

This will only get worse until either we wake up and realize these “demons” are our friends, neighbors, employers and heroes OR we burn it all down shouting obscenities in a self-righteous froth of hatred and resentment.

#14 Tom Wood
January/8/2010
@ 3:20 pm

Kill all the brown people? Wait…what? No, no, Shirley you mean kill only the brown (or blue) people who happen to be living on top of precious resources?!

/snark off

I tried to do editorial cartoons and I just can’t work up a good head of demonization of the other side. That’s the trouble with being somewhat liberal, you can see both sides of an argument. (I suppose the same can be said of being somewhat conservative, but I don’t know, never having been one.)

So I tried the ‘the best antidote for bad speech is good speech’ route. But that ended up so milquetoast, and it just doesn’t work on the intertubes which rewards extreme points of view.

#15 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 4:25 pm

@Dave: Are you saying, Dave, that we shouldn’t judge each other for our political (and other) beliefs?

If our “friends, neighbors, employers” are, say, racist or stupid, shouldn’t they be called out and, if they don’t change their racist or stupid ways, humiliated and repeatedly mocked? To say otherwise is to say that racism and stupidity should be tolerated and encouraged.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear someone say, for example, that they believe in God, I think less of their intelligence. It doesn’t mean I want to throw them in prison or send them to a May 4th farm. But they might not be the first person I turn to for investment advice. Or to discuss science.

I’ve known Mark Fiore a long time; we’re friends. He’s a thoughtful person. His cartoon making fun of the “Tea Party” folks was good fun satire, and pretty gentle satire at that.

That said, a lot of the “tea party” rallies are dominated by idiots (9/11 “truthers”, climate change deniers), racists (I hate Obama but I can’t precisely explain why), and ignoramuses (I’m angry and pissed off at someone but I can’t say who). Those people SHOULD be ridiculed. They should be made to cry. Maybe then they’ll start questioning their own stupid excuses for beliefs, pick up a book or a newspaper, and learn something. Maybe.

Besides, it’s not like the right has ever hesitated to insult liberals as anti-American, communists, secularists, etc. Where were all the “hey, don’t judge” people back during the first few years of the Bush era? Quiet. Now that the political tide has shifted and everyone hates conservatives, neo-kumbaya rightists like Dave are suddenly all peace and love. Well, to hell with that.

If anything, smart Americans haven’t been nearly judgmental enough.

@Tom: If you can easily see both sides of an argument, a good rule is to remain silent about it.

#16 Dave Stephens
January/8/2010
@ 5:28 pm

“neo-kumbaya rightists like Dave”

LOL! Thanks for describing me in some alternate reality! LOL!

Seriously, dude, read what I wrote and respond to that. Judgement is a good thing. Duh. It’s what everybody does daily, non-stop. Judgement: it’s what’s for dinner!

Demonization not the same as judgement – it is a bad thing and it is part of all racism. Saying, “I disagree.” or “You are wrong!” is judgement. Demonization is saying, “You folks I disagree with, you must be MORONS! Tea Party? More like TEA BAGGERS! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Flat earthers! Deniers! You sub-human scum of the earth, I hate you and all you stand for! Burn, witch, burn!!!”

Here’s some examples from you, just now:
“everyone hates conservatives”. Demonization.

“when I hear someone say, for example, that they believe in God, I think less of their intelligence.” Demonization.

I don’t know, but I’d guess your knee jerk reaction would be to think someone was ‘less intelligent’ if they told you they were conservative, right? It’s very much like racism – you see someone is different and you assume they are LESS than you…

But yeah, Ted, I know, “Burn witch, burn!” It’s ok to say that if they’re really a witch, right?

#17 Paul Fell
January/8/2010
@ 6:58 pm

Oh, Dave…

If you have no real rebuttal, revert to the old “what came first, the chicken or the egg” argument. Ted is right. When you guys thought you were in a position of power it was “my way or the highway, you’re either with us or you’re against us”. Remember that?

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you and your ilk are just SOOOO sensitive and we should be SOOOO considerate that we don’t hurt your widdy biddy feelings. We feel your pain.

#18 Alan Gardner
January/8/2010
@ 7:35 pm

@Ted

Those people SHOULD be ridiculed. They should be made to cry. Maybe then theyâ??ll start questioning their own stupid excuses for beliefs, pick up a book or a newspaper, and learn something. Maybe.

How many times have you been called a socialist/communist/anti-american? Did it make you question your “own stupid excuses for beliefs?”

I don’t think it’s in human nature to be ridiculed and have a introspective moment. More times than not (especially in politics/religion) being ridiculed only throws up defenses and builds barriers to any meaningful dialog that might actually change someone’s perspectives (including your own).

I was once a rabid right-wing conservative. I’ve moved to the center only because of discussions, reading, and asking questions. I’m pretty sure I would not have moved so far left had someone been making fun of me. I would have only found more arguments to bolster my position and fired back.

So – to everyone on this thread – if you really want change someone’s mind, stop telling them what an ignoramus they are, ask meaningful questions about the other’s views, learn why they think a certain way, ask more questions and share your views in response. Use facts that can be substantiated and let people think for themselves. That’s the only way to get anyone to move ideologically.

Otherwise you’re just as much as a jerk as the other side.

#19 Terry Rowe
January/8/2010
@ 7:45 pm

Funny how the Leftists in this country are the first to throw a punch these days. Their smug arrogance gives them some self-righteous believe that they can call anyone anything they like. Well, get ready for a wake up call, it’s coming very soon.

Payback is a bitch, and she ain’t pretty.

#20 Dave Stephens
January/8/2010
@ 7:58 pm

Oh, Paul…

You didn’t read my first line? Dang.
Granted, it was after Ted’s quote, but seriously… Like I said, only in an alternate reality would I be considered a “neo-kumbaya rightist”… But Ted’s name-calling is alright as far as you’re concerned, correct? Democrats should be MORE insensitive and MORE inconsiderate because, what, Republicans said bad things for 8 years? Good grief. And you are saying I have no real rebuttal?

It’s wrong when either side demonizes and it’s happening more frequently on both sides. Not every political cartoonist engages in it, imho, but those that do so are not adding to the debate, they are adding to divisiveness which kills debate.

From what I have seen of Fiore’s stuff, most isn’t as nasty as this particular animation, but the use of the very ugly word, “Tea Baggers” crosses the line, imho.

#21 Jeff Stanson
January/8/2010
@ 8:51 pm

Look folks, Democrats are wrong. Republicans are wrong. They’ve all sold the country up the creek without a paddle. You need to let go of your blind allegiance to our current political parties because your daddy was one, because you heard it on talk radio, or because you heard it on NPR. The business politicians are in is looking out for themselves. And if you think one of these parties is superior to the other in terms of morality or that one of the sides hasn’t engaged in name-calling over the past several years, then you just haven’t been paying attention. The Tea Party Movement is about turning government back to the people. It’s not about fighting for Republican views, so please get over that. There are many who have supported Democrats that have joined the Tea Party Movement. I have yet to see one Tea Party rally that is dominated by the kind of “idiots” Rall describes, and I’m sure that I could certainly point to any number of his favorite groups and find persons of similar ilk lurking within. Unfortuantely, all too often some of those idiots grab the headlines, or otherwise get media attention. But most often, they seem to get elected â?? that’s why we’re in the trouble we are in.

#22 Tom Wood
January/8/2010
@ 9:08 pm

@Alan – Agree, buuuut….

A big part of the problem right now is that there is a huge portion of the population on this nation/planet who have a world view not rooted in reality. How do you communicate with people who insist that the world is only 6000 years old because a book says so? Or that there are tiny aliens living in your neck that give you bad thoughts?

All beliefs are *not* equal, and as a species we can’t begin to arrive at consensus on policy when so many of us are so willfully in denial of basic facts. Belief in the irrational is childish behavior designed to avoid taking responsibility for the act of living. Yes, ridicule is more likely to backfire than not, but at some point you just want to smack the kid on the butt.

#23 JP Trostle
January/8/2010
@ 9:37 pm

>Funny how the Leftists in this country are the first to throw a punch these days. Their smug arrogance gives them some self-righteous believe that they can call anyone anything they like.

Not like, say, Rush Limbaugh. Yes, it’s the “angry left” that is calling everyone names and disruptive … unless its at a town hall meeting … (whoops sorry, there I go profiling again)

I am curious though that the right-wing believes they have a “justified response” to all those “first punches,” …. Clinton’s impeachment was considered revenge for Nixon, Supreme Court nominees from democrats must be taken down just like Bork was, Herblock must never be forgiven for coining McCarthyism, the South will rise again… What, too far back? After a time no one will remember who threw the first punch, but I’m sure it will always be the other guy.

#24 Shane Davis
January/8/2010
@ 10:05 pm

“Belief in the irrational is childish behavior designed to avoid taking responsibility for the act of living.”

Wow. I had no idea all the fundamental truths of humanity could be found on a forum thread about editorial cartoons!

Imagine my embarrassment when I realized people like Galileo, Ignatius Loyola, Isaac Newton, George Washington, Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Frideric Handel, J.R.R Tolkien, Nicholas Copernicus, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, T.S. Eliot,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Johann S. Bach, Thomas Aquinas, Abraham Lincoln, Louis Pasteur, Geoffrey Chaucer, Billy Graham, Rembrandt, John Donne, Teddy Roosevelt, Constantine and Sister Theresa wasted their lives entirely!

And their souls, having been moved by that ‘book’ they all believed in, just blindly, stupidly changed the world, fought for freedom, demanded equality, created wondrous art, sacrificed their lives for others even unto the point of martyrdom, but were all just childish myth believers who did what they did to just avoid taking responsibility for the act of living!

How dare they live the way they did when they could have abandoned all they believed in to satisfy the need for â??consensusâ?? which is far more important of course, than any of the work they ever did.

But worst of all, the entire time the REAL TRUTH to life, reality and wisdom was being held firmly in the grasp of a web cartoonist!

Amazing!
And bravo sir, for setting straight the record of all humanity in your brilliant, insightful, tolerant and incredibly wise denouncement of all those who foolishly gave their life work and very lives to that they believed in because of a dumb book and an irrational belief.

What sad foolsâ?¦..if only those people, and millions of others, could have logged on the Daily Cartoonist and read the TRUE TRUTH that you possess in all your glory and enlightenment!

In web cartoonists we trust!

#25 Paul Douglas
January/8/2010
@ 10:13 pm

From June Woodruff: “Anyone who â??stagesâ? an anti-tax protest on the date 95% of tax-paying Americans received a tax cut is an idiot in my book too.”

When did this happen? Obama had been in office for three months on April 15 last year, and none of his tax policies had gone into effect. In fact, the only tax cut in effect last year was the ‘Bush tax cut’, which expires this year. (Effectively making taxes go up for most people.) Today in 2010, 95% of Americans still have not yet received a tax cut from Obama. When will that happen? Maybe it will come with the “transparency” he promised, too. (Or not. Why can’t we read the Healthcare bill?)

——————

From Tom Wood: “A big part of the problem right now is that there is a huge portion of the population on this nation/planet who have a world view not rooted in reality.”

How do you communicate with people who believe that the attack on the Twin Towers was orchestrated by the U.S. government? (Over 200 left-leaning college professors met in Arizona at a conference on how to teach this “belief” at their respective universities.)

———————

Idiocy is on both sides and is not in short supply, folks.

#26 Dave Stephens
January/8/2010
@ 10:25 pm

Demonizing = Stupidity = both parties 90% of the time.

Dang, I sound cynical, hm?

#27 Lawrence Rozner
January/8/2010
@ 10:33 pm

The problem I have with these TEA Party protesters is that they think that, by imitating the methods left-wing anarchists use when they are protesting global warming (like we saw in Copenhagen) or the WTO (like the G-20 summit), they are accomplishing something. Granted, it hasn’t gotten nearly as violent as those left-wing examples I mentioned, but what point can you possibly make by wearing a tri-corner hat and a Patrick Henry outfit? I don’t think those protesters know who Patrick Henry even was. I just see it as a waste of time that otherwise could be used by contacting your local representative or senator. That, it seems to me, accomplishes much more than tying bags of tea to a tri-corner hat you’re wearing (Honestly, I think I have actually seen just that kind of hat being worn.)

#28 Shane Davis
January/8/2010
@ 10:36 pm

I dunno…I just typed an opinion that differed from the majority here.

And I haven’t been called a heretic or had my post burned at the stake yet.

I’m feeling ignored. Here, let me make sure I’ll get mutilated by those who I simply share a different opinion with…

GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT MAN MADE AND IS NOT HAPPENING!

SMOKING IS A CHOICE AND THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT HAVE A SAY IN IT!

OIL COMPANIES PROVIDE A VALUABLE PRODUCT AT A REASONABLE PRICE!

THERE IS NO HEALTH CARE CRISIS!

I LIKE TRANSFATS, THEY TASTE GOOD!

FREE SPEECH IS FOR EVERYONE, EVEN IF THEY DISAGREE WITH REPORTERS, THE MEDIA OR COLLEGE PROFESSORS!

MY TAX DOLLARS SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO OTHERS IN THE FORM OF BENEFITS!

RAP SUCKS!

There, that should get me excommunicated from this thread…

#29 Stephen Beals
January/8/2010
@ 11:56 pm

Ted, you just encapsulated why I hope you continue to do editorial cartoons for the next 50 years. Keep it up.

I agree that ridicule does not encourage people, Alan, but it should be shameful to not educate yourself. We’re all eternal students. Too many people have their minds made up about everything with little to go on but a very poor education and a lot of TV. It gets very frustrating.

I’m liberal. My best friend since childhood is a conservative (and, yes, it’s the basis for my comic strip). We educate each other all the time (sometimes without raising our voices).

#30 Alan Gardner
January/9/2010
@ 12:33 am

All beliefs are *not* equal, and as a species we canâ??t begin to arrive at consensus on policy when so many of us are so willfully in denial of basic facts. Belief in the irrational is childish behavior designed to avoid taking responsibility for the act of living. Yes, ridicule is more likely to backfire than not, but at some point you just want to smack the kid on the butt.

Who says beliefs are not equal? Who is the arbitor of belief metrics? You? Isn’t stating, “Belief in the irrational is childish behavior designed to avoid taking responsibility for the act of living” a belief, and by your logic possible grounds for being found inferior and even wrong?

No matter how illogical, wrong, or stupid you might view another’s beliefs/opinions, resorting to name calling or smacking them on the butt only reveals one’s arrogance. You win people to your ideology through respectful dialog and using facts to back up ones beliefs.

Terry Laban and everyone else who engaged in name calling have won no hearts and minds today. You might feel smug and self assured of your superiority, but everyone still thinks everyone else is a jerk/ignoramous. No progress.

At least that’s what I believe.

#31 Stephen Beals
January/9/2010
@ 1:08 am

I agree with that Alan, but we live in a culture where reasoned arguments are ignored and people who jump up and down yelling “look at me” get attention.

Well-thought-out statements against a group of people making loud protests are only going to be effective if there are a ton of people doing it. Ted can jump up and down yelling “look at me” and a reasoned discussion might be a result because it will encourage a lot of silent people who share his viewpoint to speak up.

It’s like when the owner of the company I work for wanted a woman to stop answering the company phones because “it was hard to understand her black accent”. Everyone is scared of the guy, because he can (and does) fire at the drop of the hat. But my daughter is black, and it hit a raw nerve (I’d like to think it would’ve hit a raw nerve even without my daughter). I stood up, to everyone’s shock, and said “Well, I hope my daughter sounds white enough for you so she can work here someday!” You couldl’ve heard a pin drop after that. A resoned discussion followed because I think I shocked him out of his power trip and he felt stupid (and this is a guy with a Bachelor’s from Yale and an MBA from Harvard). He talked about what Bill Cosby was saying about proper English and I talked about phone centers in India. I still think he was being racist, but I haven’t seen any further evidence of it.

My point is that reasoned, educated people can be seriously wrongheaded sometimes and blurting out a shocking counterpoint might actually be constructive. The key there is “reasoned and educated”. Constant name calling on both sides does nothing.

#32 Robert George
January/9/2010
@ 8:35 am

This brings up a larger concern I’ve had. I think some left wing political cartoons or cartoonist generate most of their influence in the reaction. That is to say they embolden the right and generate sympathy for them among low information voters

#33 Tom Wood
January/9/2010
@ 9:53 am

Spend some time at the Hubble images section of the NASA website. Then consider, do you really want to believe that the power capable of bringing all that into creation would stop and write a book with rules in it that are so dumb as this:

11When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:

12Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Really?

Do you really want to believe that the universe is being run by a power that is so ridiculous? Because it exists only to the extent that you believe it exists.

#34 Mike Peterson
January/9/2010
@ 10:47 am

Coupla things:

1. Yes, NPR published the Mark Fiore cartoon. They also have Juan Williams on staff. If Fiore makes his liberal views more plain, the more frequent, constant infusion of Williams’ conservative views certainly cancels it out. And Fiore doesn’t go into other media identified as an NPR cartoonist (because he isn’t).

2. Nobody seems to know who first coined the term “Tea Bagger,” but the verb was visible on signs at the first Tea Party rallies in April. If you call what you do “tea bagging,” you can’t complain if someone calls you a “tea bagger.”

2a. The people wearing tea bags on their heads may not be typical of people at those rallies. Learn to live with it, because the guys dressed up as LBJ weren’t typical of the people at anti-war rallies in the Sixties. The naked people and the guys with hair to their knees weren’t typical of the folks who went to Woodstock. And while Jane Fonda had a wonderful ability to get the media’s attention, what she did once she had it was a source of embarrassment that continues to this day. Quit complaining and learn to deal with it. If Glen Beck doesn’t represent your opinions or your sense of the proper level of debate, say it out loud. Otherwise, suck it up the same way the anti-war people let Jane take the spotlight and make them look like unpatriotic morons.

3. Anyone who thinks the left has a monopoly on partisan commentary has apparently never seen the work of Glen McCoy, Lisa Benson, Gary Varvel, Ken Catalino, Mike Lester … and my apologies to anyone I’m leaving out … the idea that there’s no place in “the liberal media” for conservative commentary is plain and utter nonsense that comes from the same paranoia that claims “everybody’s picking on us poor white Christians.” Break the pills in half, or double the dose, but whatever you’re taking isn’t doing the job.

4. I’m not going back to look, but I hope the people who are complaining about Fiore were also against the Muhammed cartoons.

#35 Ted Rall
January/9/2010
@ 1:29 pm

@Alan, People are entitled to different opinions. They are not entitled to their own facts. So when right-wingers oppose abortion because it’s murder of the unborn, they at least have the facts on their side. It is, after all, a biological fact that a fetus is alive, not some random lump of miscellaneous protoplasm. But when right-wingers claim that the earth is 6,000 years, they are wrong. Willfully wrong = stupid.

If right-wingers mock lefties who deny that the unborn are alive, I’m right there with them. (I’m still for abortion rights, though.) That’s an example of lefties acting stupid. And if lefties mock right-wingers who promote something as stupid as creationism or trickle-down tax policies, well, they have the truth on their side.

No one knows who “started” name-calling between the left and the right. What is indisputable, however, is that the right goes further–a lot further–than the left. Right-wingers issue a lot more death threats, assassinate a lot more public figures, and use a lot more loaded rhetoric against the left–while “mainstream conservatives” watch and gloat silently–then the left does.

I don’t think ridicule causes many people to change their stupid “beliefs.” With luck, it may prompt them to shut up. That’s really all we can hope for.

#36 Shane Davis
January/9/2010
@ 1:46 pm

â?¦GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:

2-11 “Why do you confuse the issue?
Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about?
Pull yourself together, Job!
Up on your feet! Stand tall!
I have some questions for you,
and I want some straight answers.
Where were you when I created the earth?
Tell me, since you know so much!
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that!
Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
How was its foundation poured,
and who set the cornerstone,
While the morning stars sang in chorus
and all the angels shouted praise?
And who took charge of the ocean
when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds,
and tucked it in safely at night.
Then I made a playpen for it,
a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose,
And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place.
Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’

12-15 “And have you ever ordered Morning, ‘Get up!’
told Dawn, ‘Get to work!’
So you could seize Earth like a blanket
and shake out the wicked like cockroaches?
As the sun brings everything to light,
brings out all the colors and shapes,
The cover of darkness is snatched from the wickedâ??
they’re caught in the very act!

16-18 “Have you ever gotten to the true bottom of things,
explored the labyrinthine caves of deep ocean?
Do you know the first thing about death?
Do you have one clue regarding death’s dark mysteries?
And do you have any idea how large this earth is?
Speak up if you have even the beginning of an answer.

19-21 “Do you know where Light comes from
and where Darkness lives
So you can take them by the hand
and lead them home when they get lost?
Why, of course you know that.
You’ve known them all your life,
grown up in the same neighborhood with them!

22-30 “Have you ever traveled to where snow is made,
seen the vault where hail is stockpiled,
The arsenals of hail and snow that I keep in readiness
for times of trouble and battle and war?
Can you find your way to where lightning is launched,
or to the place from which the wind blows?
Who do you suppose carves canyons
for the downpours of rain, and charts
the route of thunderstorms
That bring water to unvisited fields,
deserts no one ever lays eyes on,
Drenching the useless wastelands
so they’re carpeted with wildflowers and grass?
And who do you think is the father of rain and dew,
the mother of ice and frost?
You don’t for a minute imagine
these marvels of weather just happen, do you?

31-33 “Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters,
or distract Orion from his hunt?
Can you get Venus to look your way,
or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?
Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations
and how they affect things on Earth?

34-35 “Can you get the attention of the clouds,
and commission a shower of rain?
Can you take charge of the lightning bolts
and have them report to you for orders?
36-38 “Who do you think gave weather-wisdom to the ibis,
and storm-savvy to the rooster?
Does anyone know enough to number all the clouds
or tip over the rain barrels of heaven
When the earth is cracked and dry,
the ground baked hard as a brick?

39-41 “Can you teach the lioness to stalk her prey
and satisfy the appetite of her cubs
As they crouch in their den,
waiting hungrily in their cave?
And who sets out food for the ravens
when their young cry to God,
fluttering about because they have no food?”
1-4 “Do you know the month when mountain goats give birth? Have you ever watched a doe bear her fawn?
Do you know how many months she is pregnant?
Do you know the season of her delivery,
when she crouches down and drops her offspring?
Her young ones flourish and are soon on their own;
they leave and don’t come back.

26-30 “Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly,
soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts?
Did you command the eagle’s flight,
and teach her to build her nest in the heights,
Perfectly at home on the high cliff face,
invulnerable on pinnacle and crag?
From her perch she searches for prey,
spies it at a great distance.
Her young gorge themselves on carrion;
where the slain are, you’ll see her circling.”

1-2GOD then confronted Job directly: “Now what do you have to say for yourself?
Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?”

—Sections of Job 38-40, from “the Message”

#37 Shane Davis
January/9/2010
@ 2:08 pm

“Do you really want to believe that the universe is being run by a power that is so ridiculous? Because it exists only to the extent that you believe it exists.”

I know enough to know I don’t know even begin to know, what we as a species do or don’t know.

To make such a proclatmation as you have is akin to taking a thimble of ocean water and declaring that by examining it you now know all that is in the depths of every crevice in the ocean.

To marginalize, attack and ‘shut up’ those of us who are humbled by the vastnes of this universe, it’s obvious order and the beauty of it’s certain creation means you must have all the answers.

It means you truly believe you have all facts, all wisdom and all knowledge to give you the authority to excise those with whom you agree with like a cancer and eliminate their participation in society.

If the terrible reality of what the end of that means is not apparent to you, then I strongly suggest you revisit history.

Your intolerance to those whom you call ‘stupid’, ‘irrational’ and ‘childish’ are the seeds of something the ends in horrific tragedy.

I caution you to strong re-examine your motivations in such harsh feelings. Harboring such angry bitternss moves us beyond a debate about right v. left or liberal v. conservative, it moves the argument into ‘us v. them’ and eventually into ‘controlled v. controllers.’

I don’t hate you or anyone I disagree with politically, and I certainly don’t think you should be ‘shut up’ or be dispatched to Siberia because you believe in your ‘own facts’.

I guess my question for Mr. Wood and Mr. Rall is, why is it that someone who believes differently that you so terrifying to you?

Do you truly think someone who believes in the Bible and God is such a terror and threat to you that their very participation in political speech must be eliminated? That society must be ‘cleansed’ from such dangerous folk?

Do you know what has happened to innocent millions when force has been applied to that ‘cleasing’ throughout history?

Disagree at will, that is your right. Yell, argue and draw all the cartoons you want, I’m all for it. But be very careful where uncontained anger and uncontrolled bitterness takes your heart…in the end, it will it damages the one harboring those feelings far worse than anyone else.

#38 Shane Davis
January/9/2010
@ 2:10 pm

“to give you the authority to excise those with whom you DISagree with like a cancer and eliminate their participation in society.” -typo, sorry.

#39 Tom Wood
January/9/2010
@ 2:11 pm

Regarding the equality of beliefs, I think this bit of comedy makes the case against:

http://tinyurl.com/mj8lsn

(Language NSFW)

#40 Tom Wood
January/9/2010
@ 2:27 pm

@Shane – The planet became very small for us on 9/11. It is religion that makes fantastic claims for itself on the basis of zero evidence. It is religion that fuels so much distrust, tribalism, and hatred around the globe.

When it comes to whether or not there is a God, the only rational opinion is agnostic. Because, as you say, nobody knows. But when it comes to the various gods of the various religions I am definitely atheist. (Especially when it comes to Thor.)

All I’m saying is that given this tiny globe, we will have to at least agree on the basic facts of our existence before we ever have any hope of moving forward with policies that affect us all. Facts like physics and evolution are not subject to ‘belief’.

#41 Dave Stephens
January/9/2010
@ 2:55 pm

Thinking that Christians are “anti-science” is akin to believing science is “anti-Christian”, i.e., because some are, all of them are. Christians do the same thing, saying the many weaknesses in Evolutionary Theory proves that God exists… Or somehow “disproves” evolution. Evolution no more disproves God than an internal combustion engine disproves God, it’s yet another moot point held up as solid proof for a false dichotomy.

#42 Terry LaBan
January/9/2010
@ 3:04 pm

I’m so happy Alan mentioned me! Because usually people only talk about Ted Rall.
It’s quite true that name-calling isn’t really very productive. But some positions, such as that of the Tea Baggers, are so absurd(I know, that’s name-calling–sorry), that it’s a waste of time even to attempt to debate them rationally. Case in point is Jeff Stanson’s assertion that Tea Parties about giving the government “back to the people”. Dude, the people ALREADY choose the government. The process by which that’s done is called AN ELECTION. This is a representative democracy and…
See? I mean, what’s the point? The fact is, the Tea Baggers and the conservative establishment that instigates them in the hopes of once again grabbing control of the goodies don’t care about any of that. For them, it’s 1776 and Obama is King George. Or Stalin. Or that guy who rules Kenya. The whole thing is such an echo chamber of mythology and willful misunderstanding that ridicule is the only proper response. That and a fervent hope that all people who pride themselves on their rational and dispassionate understanding of the facts actually show up and vote in the next election.
That’s what I think, anyway. But then, I “believe” in God, so my intelligence is somewhat suspect.
By the way, that Shane character seems to have an awful lot of time on his hands. Hope everything’s OK at home.

#43 Tom Wood
January/9/2010
@ 3:49 pm

@Dave – Yet every one of the leading Republican candidates is a self-avowed creationist. Palin, Huckabee, Pawlentry, and Romney. All of them are anti-science. Or they at least must profess to it in order to pander to a large part of their electorate.

And the Democrats aren’t immune either. They must still give lip service to being Christian. All this in a nation that supposedly has no religious test for office.

We’ve arrived when the Richard Dawkins/Christopher Hitchens ticket can run a credible race. The debates would be fantastic!

#44 Ted Rall
January/9/2010
@ 5:03 pm

“I guess my question for Mr. Wood and Mr. Rall is, why is it that someone who believes differently that you so terrifying to you?”

Most people believe differently than me. I’m friends with conservatives, libertarians and all sorts of people whose intellect I respect and who have facts to support the (different) conclusions they’ve reached with respect to various issues.

What terrifies me is that, for example, a 2004 CBS poll found that 53% of Americans don’t believe in evolution, but think God created man.

Now, I don’t really *care* who created man. What difference does it make, really? Here we are. But I am scared to death of living side by side with people who are so stupid and ignorant that they believe something that has been 100% proven not to be true, can’t be true, isn’t true, period. If someone is that stupid, how can they be trusted to cast a vote? Drive a car without hitting someone?

Again, this is not about difference in opinion. You can argue, for example, that it’s a good idea to invade Iraq. But you’d better have facts to support your opinion. For example, if you say that we need the oil, well, that’s a fact. Or that running an empire requires periodic displays of military prowess, well, you have a point. But if you say Iraq had WMDs or that they had something to do with 9/11, then you’re an idiot and everyone should throw things at you until you cry.

The Tea Party people are worrisome because they’re all anger and bluster, undirected and unfocused and baseless. And yet, ironically, they’re right that the country has been stolen from them. They just don’t know why or how or by whom.

It isn’t about *what* you think.

It’s about *how* you think.

#45 Ted Rall
January/9/2010
@ 5:06 pm

@Dave: “Evolution no more disproves God than an internal combustion engine disproves God, itâ??s yet another moot point held up as solid proof for a false dichotomy.”

True. But there is no evidence whatsoever to support the existence of any deity whatsoever. There are only stories. Believing in God makes as much sense as thinking Harry Potter is real. Which, of course, you’re allowed to do. But please don’t fault people for thinking you’re a fool.

#46 Mike Cope
January/9/2010
@ 5:43 pm

I’ve never met Ted Rall, but I think he’s real :)

#47 Charles Brubaker
January/9/2010
@ 5:54 pm

I met Ted once (at the Comic Con). I can confirm he actually exists :)

#48 Scott Kurtz
January/9/2010
@ 6:02 pm

If Harry Potter is real, that’s pretty effed up.

Those Wizards willfully put children in the most dangerous of situations just to perpetuate their way of life. I mean, seriously.

It’s crazy.

#49 Ted Rall
January/9/2010
@ 6:50 pm

@MIke: I’m posting from INSIDE THE WEB

#50 Terry LaBan
January/9/2010
@ 7:06 pm

@Ted: “True. But there is no evidence whatsoever to support the existence of any deity whatsoever.”

Evidence for God depends greatly on where you look and how you define “God”. But to say that the vast majority of human beings are fools because they experience things you don’t, or can’t, understand is just ignorance.

#51 Tom Wood
January/9/2010
@ 7:35 pm

It doesn’t really matter if Ted ever existed at all. It’s the IDEA of Ted that is important.

OmmmaniTEDnamonioooommmmm….

#52 Stephen Beals
January/9/2010
@ 10:15 pm

An ex-girlfriend once told me that I wouldn’t know god if he came up and bit me on the ass.

I inferred from her comment that god is some sort of ass-biter.

We broke up a long time ago.

#53 mike beckom
January/9/2010
@ 11:06 pm

Shane. . . . you are my new hero. To stand up on this board and willingly invite criticism by procaliming your beliefs took a lot of guts. I am proud of you. I will now join you in proclaiming that I too, am a Christian. I’m not a Bible-thumping fanatic…but I believe that the Bible is GOD’s word. I believe he created everything and everybody…..including Ted Rall…..whether Ted believes that or not is between he and GOD. As a Christian, there are many things that my belief systems oppose….racism,sexism,homosexuality,murder and a list of ‘thou shalt nots’. HOWEVER, I am tolerant of all these and more because my GOD commands it……it’s part of the whole love thy neighbor, thing. I do not “ridicule anyone until they cry” for how they choose to live their lives or what they choose to believe. Thank you, Shane…..and GOD bless!

=Blasters

#54 August J. Pollak
January/10/2010
@ 8:13 am

Thinking that Christians are â??anti-scienceâ? is akin to believing science is â??anti-Christianâ?

Umm… science IS “anti-Christian.” By definition, it is against the tenets of Christianity, which posits that a supernatural force controls the aspects of life and existence in this universe. Virtually every discovery in the field of biology, chemistry, and astronomy defies Christian dogma and thousands if not millions of people were killed over the last two millennia for daring to share that reality with the world.

The Bible insisted that races were genetically inferior, that the sun revolved around the earth, that evolution doesn’t exist, and that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Every time science proved these beliefs wrong, it was accused of heresy. That most of these statements aren’t still championed by most Christians is due to the fact that, as Ted said, most rational people would laugh and/or mock you for baselessly and blindly supporting them against all evidence to the contrary.

Science is based on fact and religion is based on faith. Why you think there’s a controversy that those two things oppose each other befuddles me. Flailing Christians often want to point out that great scientists like Newton and Einstein believed in God. That’s great; show me a single paper they wrote where they used “god did it” to explain one of their experiments.

#55 Robert George
January/10/2010
@ 9:03 am

@Ted: “Which, of course, youâ??re allowed to do. But please donâ??t fault people for thinking youâ??re a fool.” That’s the problem though, Ted. Once you do things like tell 80% of the country they are fools for believing in a deity, or imply everyone who enlists in the military is immoral, or some of the other radical statements you’ve made it becomes difficult for you to have any impact on those people. It doesn’t matter if you feel you are demonstrably right or not. No one who doesn’t completely agree with you will not give you a hearing at all, and whats worse, since you are a cartoonist, not only will they not give you a hearing, they won’t have a chance to because you don’t have the space to explain it to them in a way you could actually persuade them. The only impact you have is as whipping boy for the right, a straw man they can beat periodically instead of having to deal with any real argument.

#56 Tom Wood
January/10/2010
@ 9:11 am

As a Christian, there are many things that my belief systems opposeâ?¦.racism, sexism, homosexuality, murder and a list of â??thou shalt notsâ??. HOWEVER, I am tolerant of all these and more because my GOD commands it…

Heh. I’m glad you’ve found a way to tolerate murder. Do go on, I’ve not heard of this particular denomination. And, nice job linking homosexuality to murder and racism. Really nice work.

I do not â??ridicule anyone until they cryâ? for how they choose to live their lives or what they choose to believe.

But right there on your front page is a link to a cartoon titled “Don’t Believe?” Isn’t that ridicule? Which is fine in and of itself, just don’t deny you are doing it.

There’s *always* an implied threat coming from your side, such as that cartoon and your inference above about Ted having to deal with *your* god. There’s no love or tolerance at all, only restraint because it’s in the constitution. Strip away the facade, and we’ll see a nasty little bit of work, I’m sure.

#57 Ted Rall
January/10/2010
@ 9:59 am

You beat me to it, Tom.

I grew up Catholic, served mass in a parish where the priests kept their hands off (maybe I wasn’t cute enough) and read the Bible zillions of times. So I’m pretty damned sure there’s nothing in Christianity that requires Christians to tolerate hatred or evil. Quite the contrary! Christianity isn’t passive. Recall, for example, Christ’s injunction not to cast the first stone lest one be without sin–that’s less about not judging than it is about judging yourself first. Or that a rich man is less likely to enter the kingdom of heaven than a camel is to pass through the eye of needle: there it is, judgment–rich people are evil, poor people less so. Or that one who would follow Jesus must give up all his material possessions (commie!).

And there’s that nasty business about the poor money changers. Jesus kicked their asses. As far as I remember, he never looked back or felt badly about it. Judgment, judgment everywhere…that’s what gets me about so-called “Christians”…they don’t know their own religion.

You cannot be Christian and think that inequality of wealth is OK, for example. Christianity is socialist. Capitalists are by definition anti-Christian.

@Robert:

“Thatâ??s the problem though, Ted. Once you do things like tell 80% of the country they are fools for believing in a deity, or imply everyone who enlists in the military is immoral, or some of the other radical statements youâ??ve made it becomes difficult for you to have any impact on those people. It doesnâ??t matter if you feel you are demonstrably right or not. No one who doesnâ??t completely agree with you will not give you a hearing at all, and whats worse, since you are a cartoonist, not only will they not give you a hearing…”

First of all, you’re presupposing that the purpose of my work is to convince right-wing morons of the errors of their ways. It’s not. I’m far more interested in telling beleaguered leftists to buck up, little soldiers, it’s gonna be OK, there are a lot more of us than there are of them.

First and foremost, I’m interested in telling the truth as I see it. Truth isn’t always nice or polite or pretty. But that’s the job of an editorial cartoonist, of an artist, and of a citizen. A society that lives in denial about basic obvious truths–like there is no Santa, no Easter Bunny, no God–can’t possibly begin to work toward solving our real problems–environmental destruction, economic injustice, racism, etc. False beliefs are dangerous because they’re false…because they’re distractions.

Anyway, Robert, it’s not like the wimpy Obama-lite moderate lib approach has worked one iota.

#58 Phil Wohlrab
January/10/2010
@ 10:42 am

In NJ we just woke up to the fact that we can’t afford our ultra left state government anymore, which is why we voted Corzine’s rear end out of office. If he had his way he’d put a toll booth at the foot of everyone’s driveway. He raised our state sales tax from 6% to 7%, raised payroll taxes when people are being laid off to support some bs paid leave program tailor made for state employees. He was an enabler of a corrupt education system that has drivin up property taxes so high people are fleeing the state. Under democrat rule NJ is ranked #1 for most hostile business climate, which has driven out private industry and to top it off not one government job was cut during this recession. Corzine added more state workers ( who btw get fat, sometimes duel pensions and free health care not offered in the private sector) while private enterprise in NJ made layoffs. There is plenty of greed in government, specifically NJ.

Why wouldn’t I believe Obama on Health care? hmmm cause Obama shilled for our dunce of a governor relentlessly to no avail.
I don’t know much about health care but this guy does:
http://www.horizon-bcbsnj.com/NJ_Health_Reform.html
and if he says it’ll drive up premiums I believe it.

#59 brent childerhose
January/10/2010
@ 12:50 pm

i wish there were a way to make comics that would persuade everybody to agree with my strongly-held positions on religion, politics, and reality television, but it’s absolutely not possible. therefore, i think it’s more productive to focus on the one thing we all agree upon: MTV’s “the jersey shore” is awesome. oh, and lady gaga too.

#60 Ted Rall
January/10/2010
@ 12:56 pm

@Phil: “In NJ we just woke up to the fact that we canâ??t afford our ultra left state government anymore…”

“Ultra left”? There’s no left left in the Democratic Party. Hasn’t been for decades.

The New Jersey Democratic Party is just a corrupt political machine. Ideology has nothing to do with it.

As for that video, I don’t believe Obama either. But why would you believe an insurance company exec? Those people are pure evil.

#61 brent childerhose
January/10/2010
@ 1:00 pm

i’m sure jon corzine converted to communism right after he left his position as head of goldman sachs… ha! okay, i’ve had too much coffee.

#62 mike beckom
January/10/2010
@ 1:29 pm

Tom,
I don’t condone murder….I also do not pretend to judge others based on theirs beliefs or lack thereof. You mentioned the cartoon on my page. Glad you took the time to look. I DO include certain aspects of my beliefs in my toons. My editors allow it and publish my toons anyhow. That particular toon was about a bunch of folks who threatened a lawsuit because the folks at the firehouse in Charleston,Sc had the unmitigated gall to put a nativity scene in front of their house. The Freedom From Religion folks and the ACLU were totally bent outta shape. Intolerance, anyone? My Bible and my beliefs tell me that those who oppose the GOD I believe will face his judgement one day. Thus, the toon on my page. I was not attempting to belittle anyone until they cry. I incorporated my beliefs into my toon…..and I know this is gonna break your heart…..it ran in more papers across my great state and online than you’d care to know about. This next part is really gonna tear you outta the frame….ppl in SC have the option of reading the toons or turning the page. I am not forcing my beliefs on anyone. I’m stating them. Last time I checked….THAT was one of our basic freedoms as AMERICANS. I may not hold the same beliefs as you, but will defend to the death, your ‘GOD-given’ right to have them.

#63 Ted Rall
January/10/2010
@ 1:38 pm

@Mike:

A firehouse is public property. It is illegal to make a religious statement on public property, and rightfully so. When a government agency like the fire department endorses a religion–Christianity–it sends the message that the government favors adherents of that religion over others and atheists, that they are second-class citizens. Surely you can see how you might not like it if the “folks” at the firehouse were to put up a minaret and start singing the Muslim Call to Prayer five times a day.

Also, my rights to my beliefs are not “God-given.” They are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, which God had nothing to do with and you might try reading sometime. If they were given by anyone, it was by the Founding Fathers and those of us (on the left) who have fought for its principles against right-wing attacks.

#64 mike beckom
January/10/2010
@ 1:57 pm

Ted,
The ‘folks’ at the firehouse are all Christians. They were making a statement of their beliefs. These folks put their lives on the line every time they take on a fire. They don’t ask for a profession of beliefs before they rescue someone from a burning building or before they attempts to save someone’s home and possessions. Had any of the ppl at the firehouse been members members of the Freedom from Religion group or ACLU, I’m sure there would’ve been honest discussion and probably no nativity scene. HOWEVER, these groups who had no ‘dog in this fight’ chose to stick their noses in and push their agenda. INTOLERANCE. Plain and simple.
I am reluctant to state this because I hold you in high esteem because of your position and career…..but our country was founded because our founding fathers wanted freedom from religious persecution. Practically EVERYTHING they said or wrote was based in their faith and beliefs. WE have in our infinite wisdom, chosen to ‘correct their mistakes’. I would wager that shouild they be able to see what we as a society have become….THEY would be the ones to cry.

#65 Tom Wood
January/10/2010
@ 2:16 pm

@Mike

My Bible and my beliefs tell me that those who oppose the GOD I believe will face his judgement one day.

I’m glad you wrote that so clearly. Because it is the heart of why those of us who dislike religion, do dislike it. It’s a threat. Not from your god, because I don’t think it exists, but from you and your group.

Why? Because it’s a very small step from ‘My god will judge you.’ to ‘I judge you.’ Your bible is full of examples – “They boil the baby lambs in its mother’s milk, our god doesn’t like that, we are therefore justified in genocide.” Notice too how you invoked the threat of your group (mob) by reference to all the people who saw nothing wrong with your cartoon.

America is the first modern republic that denied the government leadership of the divine right to rule. Any step backward toward theocracy deserves vigorous confrontation. Government sanctioned displays of religious artifacts are a step down that slippery slope. As an American you should be proud that the ACLU and Freedom From Religion stepped up to the plate and did the right thing, even in the face of much public disdain from those who want only their religion promoted.

#66 Mike Beckom
January/10/2010
@ 4:28 pm

Tom,
Apparently, you are trying to read something extra into my post. I was not making any threats….inferred or implied. My belief system states that ALL who believe in the LORD GOD and have him residing in thier hearts shall be saved and one day live in heaven. All who choose not to believe have an alternative destination in store. It’s not a threat….it is statement of my beliefs.
As to being ‘proud’ of the FFR or ACLU…you’re pulling my leg, arent’ ya? I feel only pity for these folks who try so hard to eliminate GOD from all things public.
The firehouse folks weren’t trying to force their beliefs down anyone’s throat. They were attempting to display some of their beliefs. The fact that the FFR and ACLU chose to involve themselves into this is part of the very problem with the USA. Intolerance. The FFR, ACLU,agnostics, homosexuals and everybody else who hold alternative lifestyles and beliefs all scream about not being accepted and then turn around in the same breath and decry me for my beliefs. The big difference here is….I and most Christians do not threaten lawsuits if we are not tolerated and accepted. I draw my toons as I see fit and feel lead. NOBODY is forced to read and/or agree with anything I draw. I don’t judge you for being agnostic. That is your choice.
I choose to believe in GOD. The big difference between you and I is I won’t get my big ole feelings hurt if you don’t believe in the same GOD I do. I feel that you may get yours hurt if you aren’t able to berate me into denouncing mine. Perhaps the best result would be for us to ‘agree to disagree’ and leave it at that.

#67 Robert George
January/10/2010
@ 5:29 pm

@Ted: “Iâ??m far more interested in telling beleaguered leftists to buck up, little soldiers, itâ??s gonna be OK, there are a lot more of us than there are of them.” There in lies the source of our disagreement. There are a lot more of them than their our of us, in my view.
@Mike: “Practically EVERYTHING they said or wrote was based in their faith and beliefs.” So you’d like us to put up monuments to deism everywhere? The critical founders, like Ben Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, etc. were believers in God, but modern day evangelical Christians would have thought them horrible, disgusting heretics.

#68 Shane Davis
January/10/2010
@ 5:58 pm

The biggest difference I see here is that one group is saying ‘You can believe as you wish, but be prepared for the consequences of it. There is accountability.’

Another group is saying ‘You CANNOT believe as you wish – by simply believing as you do, you are stupid, childish, ignorant and irrelevant and should be banned from discussion of public policy.’

Now, does it really matter what beliefs one side holds vs. the other side? Or Is what matters here is that there is a strong belief system (apparently fueled by hatred and/or rage) that has appointed itself as the sole judge of who gets to participate, based completely on whether or not you agree with THEIR system.

It is indeed ironic that those attacking religion, and who predictably use clichés such as the Crusades or the Inquisition to characterize religion, are in fact behaving exactly as those cruel forces did in an effort to shut down those they disagree with!

Again, if believers are so ignorant and stupid and their ‘Christ’ is a myth along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, why are you screaming so hard and loud to eradicate their participation?

If a bunch of firemen flew a flag of Thor, Dionysus or even Drop Dead Fred and claimed it as their deity, you would no doubt laugh and scoff and move on. IT would not bother you. But make it a symbol of Christ and we have a riot going on. Why?

Why is it you are so forceful in your opposition to Christianity and evangelicals who take seriously their faith? What is it about that faith that scares, challenges and offends you?

I have never seen, on this board, Ted Rall, Tom Wood, Terry Leban or anyone else use the same intensity to decry Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Druids or any other belief system that is used to criticize the followers of Jesus Christ.

One does not attack that which is not seen as a threat. Why is the Bible and the God therein such a threat to you?

Oh, and since it was failed to be addressed when I asked the first time, let me ask again, are the following people stupid, childish and irrelevant, leading lives avoiding responsibility for themselves because they believed in God?(because they all did without question):

Galileo Galilei
Gregor Mendel
Nicholas Copernicus
Max Planck
Michael Faraday
Sir Francis Bacon
Rene Descartes
Isaac Newton
William Thomson Kelvin
Johannes Kepler
Robert Boyle
and even Albert Einstein, of whom The Encyclopedia Britannica says: “Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in â??Spinoza’s Godâ?? who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists. This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: “I want to know how God created this world; I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” Einstein’s famous epithet on the “uncertainty principle” was that “God does not play dice” – and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

Quite a list of dangerous idiots, morons and irrelevant, childish fools, full of stupidity that should have been shut out of participating in life, isnâ??t it?

Again, nice to know we have cartoonists who are so much smarter, wiser and informed than that list of intellectual midgets…

#69 August J. Pollak
January/10/2010
@ 6:54 pm

Oh, and since it was failed to be addressed when I asked the first time, let me ask again, are the following people stupid, childish and irrelevant, leading lives avoiding responsibility for themselves because they believed in God?

No, they’re all smart because unlike you, they proved they could read. I already shot down this nonsensical strawman of yours hours ago.

#70 August J. Pollak
January/10/2010
@ 6:56 pm

Again, if believers are so ignorant and stupid and their â??Christâ?? is a myth along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, why are you screaming so hard and loud to eradicate their participation?

No one ever insisted that Santa Claus told them to drop incendiary weapons on innocent civilians and that the tooth fairy thinks gays are going to burn in an imaginary lake of fire.

Jesus, are you honestly this stupid? Or are these silly gotcha attempts truly the only thing you have?

#71 August J. Pollak
January/10/2010
@ 7:08 pm

I have never seen, on this board, Ted Rall, Tom Wood, Terry Leban or anyone else use the same intensity to decry Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Druids or any other belief system that is used to criticize the followers of Jesus Christ.

“Anyone on this board” has drawn countless cartoons about the horrific actions of both the Israeli and radical Islamic governments. The others in your list don’t have a history of controlling nations that murder hundreds of thousands of people based on their religious beliefs. That you’re ignorant of anyone’s body of work here is your own fault, but more an example of your desperation to assume your point instead of making sure you had one. You just assume that we’re virulently anti-Christian instead of anti-fundamentalist because it allows you to duck the issue of your fervent whining about Christian fundamentalists (gasp!) losing their “rights” you believe they have to oppress people. Awwwww, poor widdle you.

#72 Shane Davis
January/10/2010
@ 7:35 pm

August,
FIrst off, I didn’t call you stupid and it’s a mystery why you need to attack me during a discussion.

Secondly, no you didn’t address my question, nor did you ‘shoot it down.’

You said:
“Science is based on fact and religion is based on faith. Why you think thereâ??s a controversy that those two things oppose each other befuddles me. Flailing Christians often want to point out that great scientists like Newton and Einstein believed in God. Thatâ??s great; show me a single paper they wrote where they used â??god did itâ? to explain one of their experiments.”

One, you misstated exactly what the Bible says and two you are creating your own straw man arguments. I don’t need to use any ‘gotchas’ because I’m not trying to ‘get’ anyone. This isn’t a competition. I’m not pitching ‘the best I got’ to ‘catch’ you.

I’m asking you to honestly look at what believers believe and explain why it is dangerous.

Your clever attempt at brushing aside the fact that some of the most brilliant minds in history were believers by broadly stating there’s not ‘a single paper they wrote where they used â??god did itâ? to explain one of their experiments.’ is disingenous.

Of course they didn’t because they didn’t hew to the notion that simply because God creaed it doesn’t mean they are forbidden from studying it. You are confusing historical organized churches who persecuted scientists with Christianity, when it is absolutely not the same thing.

Again, explain why you are so much smarter than the fellows I a named who did believe.

If the best argument you have is ‘there’s no paper they wrote saying they don’t need to study because God did it’ then you are avoiding the truth of the argument.

They did believe, and in many cases it WAS their faith in and awe of God that inspired their study. That is the truth. By ignoring the fact they did believe and were scientists, you are actually not calling me stupid, you are calling them stupid. And frankly, neither of us is smarter than any of them.

And what part of the Bible did you find the commandment that tells believers to drop incediary bombs on innocent civilains? If you are attempting to tie believers in Christ to political decsions you disagree with or to leaders who have wrongfully twisted the teachings of Christ to commit atrocities, then again you are using the straw man argument. There is no such commandment.

Do you even know what believers believe? Do you even know what Jesus taught? Do you have a clue what Christ’s words actually were?

Before you catagorically dismiss 2000 years of Christianity, you might actually want to know what it is and what the Bible says.

I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but if you truly want to know what Christians believe, read the book of Matthew, Ch. 5-7. I’d try the modern version called ‘The Message’ or The Amplified Bible as they don’t use hard to read, outdated old English translation.

Read that and come back and tell me how uncompassionate, hateful, and meanspirited Jesus Christ is. What is there in these teachings that lead you to believe Christianity is dangerous?

#73 Shane Davis
January/10/2010
@ 7:41 pm

Oh, and for this…
“because it allows you to duck the issue of your fervent whining about Christian fundamentalists (gasp!) losing their â??rightsâ? you believe they have to oppress people.”

Again, there is nothing in the Bible that tells believers they have a right to oppress people.

The only one’s I’ve read on this thread that are demanding the right to oppress people are the ones demanding that believers don’t have the right to participate because of what they believe.

You are preaching for exactly what you are railing against.

#74 Ted Rall
January/10/2010
@ 7:53 pm

@Mike:

The â??folksâ?? at the firehouse are all Christians. They were making a statement of their beliefs. These folks put their lives on the line every time they take on a fire. They donâ??t ask for a profession of beliefs before they rescue someone from a burning building or before they attempts to save someoneâ??s home and possessions. Had any of the ppl at the firehouse been members members of the Freedom from Religion group or ACLU, Iâ??m sure there wouldâ??ve been honest discussion and probably no nativity scene. HOWEVER, these groups who had no â??dog in this fightâ?? chose to stick their noses in and push their agenda.

It doesn’t matter that all the firefighters were Christian. They are civil servants. Their firehouse is public property, owned by the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, atheist, etc. taxpayers of your municipality. No doubt, they probably didn’t think they were offending or insulting anyone by “making a statement of their beliefs.”

What you are conflating is the firefighters’ right to their beliefs, which no one disputes, and their right to turn public property into a statement of religious expression. We all have the right to our belief, but many laws proscribe our expression of them. I, for example, think clothes are silly and would rather live in a nudist society (at least during warm weather). But the law doesn’t permit me to “make a statement of my belief” by walking around naked as a jaybird in the streets of Manhattan. Other people, right-wingers mostly, want me to die. But if they kill me, they risk a long prison term or capital punishment.

You have every right to your silly beliefs. You don’t have the right to transgress the greater public will with them.

#75 Ted Rall
January/10/2010
@ 8:03 pm

@Shane:

The biggest difference I see here is that one group is saying â??You can believe as you wish, but be prepared for the consequences of it. There is accountability.â??

Another group is saying â??You CANNOT believe as you wish â?? by simply believing as you do, you are stupid, childish, ignorant and irrelevant and should be banned from discussion of public policy.â??

I can see how non-believers (i.e. rational people) see an implicit threat in the all-caps YOU WILL BE JUDGED statements uttered by some Christianists. But hey, let’s take them at their word: Perhaps they merely mean that we’ll be judged by God when we die. To which I say, yeah, right, whatever. I’m more worried about the Great Pumpkin. And the IRS.

But you are utterly mistaken when you say that we are saying that “You CANNOT believe as you wish…” Of course you can believe what you want. What we are saying is that we have the right to think you are stupid and silly and foolish, and the right to say so loudly and often, and probably will. Hey, if you’re going to believe something nonsensical, don’t ask everyone sane to pretend it’s OK.

Anyway, aren’t Christians told in the Bible to expect the derision of non-believing scum? Really, we’re just fulfilling God’s will.

#76 Ted Rall
January/10/2010
@ 8:06 pm

What is there in these teachings that lead you to believe Christianity is dangerous?

To paraphrase Ghandi, I think Christianity would be a good idea.

#77 Shane Davis
January/10/2010
@ 8:32 pm

Ted, no the Bible doesn’t refer to non-believers as scum.

Listen, back and forth bomb throwing accomplishes exactly what I think both of us are trying to avoid.

All I truly want is for those who are alarmed by believers to understand is exactly what we believe. If you believe it is irrational and you reject it, that is of course your choice and prerogative.

But understand that lumping all believers into one big pile and saying we condemn, judge and oppress in nonsense. The very tenant of Christianity is that we are ALL fallen.

I cannot say I believe in Christ and judge anyone, because I have done nothing to make myself ‘good’ with God and therefore in a position to whack others on the head. In fact, I know I’ve done everything OPPOSITE of getting right with Him.

Christianity teachs it is by His grace, unmerited, unearned and free through his substitionary death on the cross (in the place of anyone who will believe) that saves.

No Christian can say they got good enought to damn others. I didn’t pull myself up to God and make myself ‘better’ or ‘holy’ or ‘righteous’. God reaches down and pulls helpless, hopeless wretches up to Him and redeems them simply out of love.

I know many politicos and so called ‘leaders’ of churched, nations, movements, whatever, have claimed to be Christian or represent Christianity, but judging us all based on such phonies is akin to me saying that “all people on the left are just like Stalin, and he killed 20 million of his own!”

I’m not looking for anyone to shut up who disagrees with me, and I’m not looking to BBQ by saing they “are stupid and silly and foolish” and I want to “say so loudly and often, and probably will.”

And no, I don’t think you’re not ‘sane’ for not agreeing with me, either.

I think I have an idea at least a little how intensely you and some others here are opposed to believing in the Bible. Fair enough.

But there are those who have said things that do equate to the shutting out, shutting up and silencing those who believe simply because they do.

And that idea in the long run is far more dangerous to them than the Bible or Christianity ever will or could be.

#78 Tony Piro
January/10/2010
@ 9:41 pm

…even Albert Einstein, of whom The Encyclopedia Britannica says: â??Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in â??Spinozaâ??s Godâ?? who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists. This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: â??I want to know how God created this world; I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.â? Einsteinâ??s famous epithet on the â??uncertainty principleâ? was that â??God does not play diceâ? â?? and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was â??Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.â?

Einstein also spent the last 30 years of his life trying to unify the gravitational force with electromagnetism without using quantum physics.

Nobody’s perfect.

#79 August J. Pollak
January/10/2010
@ 9:52 pm

“â??because it allows you to duck the issue of your fervent whining about Christian fundamentalists (gasp!) losing their â??rightsâ? you believe they have to oppress people.â?

Again, there is nothing in the Bible that tells believers they have a right to oppress people. ”

I didn’t mention The Bible in that quote you selected. I said Christians. A classic move from the duplicitous. Your last five or six arguments defending religious wingnuts have been to point out text from a book that most people don’t read correctly and ask what the problem is. Thanks for your embarrassingly good job of proving my point for me.

#80 Tom Wood
January/10/2010
@ 11:36 pm

@Mike – I know you said we were done, but there’s one more point to be made. You said:

The â??folksâ?? at the firehouse are all Christians. They were making a statement of their beliefs.

I think you are so deeply inside your bubble of prejudice that you can’t see what’s wrong with that picture. WHY are they all Christians? Is it because there is a prejudicial system in place that prevents non-Christians from working there? Probably so. Prejudice = Pre-judged.

So when I said:

Because itâ??s a very small step from â??My god will judge you.â?? to â??I judge you.â??

This religious prejudice is a living example of the problem. Some perfectly fine people have been denied a job because they were pre-judged not to be acceptable, because some people think their god would not find them acceptable.

#81 Dave Stephens
January/10/2010
@ 11:45 pm

Shadow box much, Mr. Pollak? Thwack him a good one, that’ll teach him! LOL

Calling Shane ‘duplicitous’ is just beyond the pale – clearly he was responding to your massive over generalization about Christians. If you want to ‘shoot down’ opinions different than yours, you probably should stop loading blanks…

#82 Shane Davis
January/11/2010
@ 12:06 am

“I didnâ??t mention The Bible in that quote you selected. I said Christians. A classic move from the duplicitous.Your last five or six arguments defending religious wingnuts have been to point out text from a book that most people donâ??t read correctly and ask what the problem is. Thanks for your embarrassingly good job of proving my point for me.”

And again you have done a good job of verbal akido by trying to duck what I’ve been asking you.

1. How do you know most people don’t read it correctly?
2. You have made several statements criticizing what the Bible says. But now you’re you saying people don’t read it correctly and THAT’S the problem. Which is it, the book or the readers? And are you sure you are reading it correctly?
3. You still haven’t answered honestly why men much, much smarter than you and I put together, who were giants in human history were able to reconcile science with belief in God and even sought inspiration from that faith.

August, we can disagree. That’s fine. I’m not attacking you nor do I think you are ‘wingnut’ because you disagree with me.
I am not trying to use duplicitous tactics to get over on you and I am not trying to win an argument.

My questions are honest and sincere and ultimately designed to illustrate that knee jerk rejection of other folks deeply held belief systems, particularly in a meanspirited, disrespectful way, in only accomplishing the opposite of what it seems you are trying to do.

I respect your right to believe whatever you want, but only a fool would suggest that anyone should accept unfair, derisive backhanding in out country simply because one group hates what that other group believes.

I have heard many on the left howl in anger at how unfair, intolerant and unjust things in our country’s history have been, like the House UnAmerican Activities Committee investigations were to those on the left.

I have heard the intensity that has raged from the left on how inequitable was the blacklisting, the silencing of differing political opinions, the ruining of careers, the injuring of reputations, the marginilization of people’s voices…

When I hear folks on this thread reply to fellow citizens as ‘stupid’ ‘ignorant’ ‘irrelevant’ ‘wing nut’ ‘duplicitous’ ‘killing innocents’ ‘their beliefs are not equal’ and that they should be ‘shut up’ ‘kicked in the butt’ and ‘ridicule is the only proper response’ to them.

If you truly believe you have the right to judge, condemn, ridicule, berate, humiliate and attack people simply because you think their beliefs are wrong and yours are right, then you sir are guilty of everything you have accused Christians of on this thread.

#83 Shane Davis
January/11/2010
@ 12:54 am

I’d like to address anyone who has taken issue with Christians, the Bible or faith in God in general on this thread/

First, letâ??s dispense with the parsing of minutiae. Playing ideological chess games back and forth is results only in running laps and sadly increases the temperature of the discussion.

That is not my intention.

Secondly, if I said anything that was personally offensive or attacked you in anyway, I apologize. I know that at some point throwing arguments back and forth is only going to become less and less about the given issue and can descend into ‘how can I really zing this jerk’ type posts.

That is not my intention either.

I respect differing opinions, I respect the rights of those with whom I disagree to state those opinions. I am grateful we have a place to thresh out differences like these.

But at this point, I’m afraid that what I truly desired to be illustrated here is going getting lost in the noise of a fight.

And that thing is this…any true believer in the Bible and in Jesus Christ is a person who accepts at heart the commandment of the Lord, which is in total summed up is this:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

That’s it. No true believer is waiting in ambush to attack you or force any thing down your throat or oppress your rights. Just the opposite, in fact. A believer knows he is accountable for his words and actions, therefore the last thing he wants to do is drive folks away from hearing the Word.

No one has any true reason to fear, resent or feel persecuted by Christianity – by those who practice it disingenuously or abusively? Maybe. But true Christianity is based solely on grace and love. And anyone who argues otherwise is frankly just misinformed of what it truly is about.

Thatâ??s really all I want you to understand.

#84 Terry LaBan
January/11/2010
@ 7:29 am

@Shane â??And that thing is thisâ?¦any true believer in the Bible and in Jesus Christ is a person who accepts at heart the commandment of the Lord, which is in total summed up is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.â?

Of course, that’s a slightly paraphrased quote from Dueteronomy. If that’s all you needed to believe to be a Christian, then Christians would all be Jews.

#85 mike beckom
January/11/2010
@ 7:57 am

@Ted-
Wow….thanks for that mental image. YIKES! I live in the ‘deep south’ and we run around half naked during most of the summer. Can’t iamgine running around totally naked…..some things none of us wanna see.
As for the statement about the firehouse folks not making a statement with their display…..why not ban every form of expression then, if we are truly worried about offending someone? We live in the land of the offended. It’s pretty much a lock that no matter where you go, you can and will find someone who is offended by something or someone else. I’m offended by folks who think that merely because of where I live, I am some sort of ‘wingnut’ or am short in the ole think-noodle. Ppl who take the time to get to know me, find that I am relatively intelligent, witty, creative, giving, kind, loving and a whole host of other attributes that most would find appealing. I am not politically-correct and make no apologies for that. I don’t go out of my way to ‘make anybody cry’ because my beliefs differ from theirs. My religion and my beliefs teach us to ‘love one another as yourself’. I don’t always accomplish that feat (especially in traffic) but I try.
You mentioned not displaying on public property. Wanna know what happens when we adhere to that and extend it to the private sector? There was an issue here in SC where an Bank of America branch refused to allow the display of tiny AMERICAN flags on it’s premises during a procession honoring a fallen soldier who’s body was being returned to his parents. Imagine that. B of A was worried that this display ‘might offend someone’. Someone was. Me. and several hundred thousand other South Carolinians. There is my toon about it on my web site. This kind of ‘non-offensive’ thinking is taking it to the extreme but still honoring the same principles to which you ascribe. To me, this is truly sad to have ever happened here in the land that I love.
I think it’s way past time for us all to take a step back, take a deep breath and say…..live and let live. I don’t agree with most of what you have posted. I have not resorted to name-calling or making demeaning comments or saying that I will deride you at every opportunity because you hold your beliefs. To me, you are better than that…..at least I hope so. You have a right to believe or not believe whatever you choose as do I. I see no need to create a fight where there is none.

@Tom-
I don’t ‘think’ there is any requirement of beliefs for employment with any firehouse or gov’t agency. I could be wrong. As best I can tell, the ONLY place or job for which a statement of beliefs might be a central sticking point for employment might be in the Religion-based jobs. I’ve worked a number of jobs in a number of differing industries and have never encountered it before when filling out an application. Sorry, but I believe you are chasing rabbits with this argument.

#86 August J. Pollak
January/11/2010
@ 8:07 am

“You still havenâ??t answered honestly why men much, much smarter than you and I put together, who were giants in human history were able to reconcile science with belief in God and even sought inspiration from that faith.”

He didn’t “reconcile” anything. Einstein never said God creates atomic explosions. Why you are pretending to be dense about this simple explanation I essentially made days ago is sad.

“Calling Shane â??duplicitousâ?? is just beyond the pale â?? clearly he was responding to your massive over generalization about Christians. If you want to â??shoot downâ?? opinions different than yours, you probably should stop loading blanksâ?¦”

Again, read what I said. I would say I don’t understand how multiple people didn’t read it correctly, but since the entire premise of this “poor little us” whinge is pretending to be outraged about some non-existent “oppression” of Christianity I guess I understand.

“No one has any true reason to fear, resent or feel persecuted by Christianity â?? by those who practice it disingenuously or abusively? Maybe.”

This is honestly all I need to know to realize this conversation has become a waste of time. “Maybe?” Open your eyes yourself, champ.

#87 Shane Davis
January/11/2010
@ 8:24 am

Terry,
Actually, that’s Luke 10:27. You’re right that is comes from Dueteronomy, but it in the context I quoted it, it comes from an exchange between an expert in Mosiaic law and Jesus.

The expert asks Jesus what he must to do be saved, and Jesus askes him “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

The expert replies “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

To which Jesus replies “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” As a believer, I believe wha the Lord says.

“If thatâ??s all you needed to believe to be a Christian, then Christians would all be Jews.”

Whle Jesus was a jew, some preachers teach that by becoming a Christian adn follower of Christ, a person actually does become a ‘spiritual’ Jew.

Not sure I believe that or not, but what I do know is that simply being anything, Jew or not, doesn’t resolve the issue of sin in a person’s life. ‘Being’ doesn’t do anything. ‘Doing’ is what the Lord calls us to do, in the scripture I quoted the ‘doing’ is ‘love the Lord’ and ‘Love your neighbor’ – that’s the important part.

Loving the Lord means hearing Him, confessing, repenting and accepting Him. Loving your neighbor means treating Him as the Lord would, and in that I freely confess that many Christians fall short, myself included. I know I fail, but my desire is to do a better job at it all the time.

Incidently, the rest of that story is interesting. The law expert then, as lawyer types oo, asks a kind of smart aleck question ‘Well, then who’s my neighbor?’

Jesus then tells him the story of the Good Samaritan.

#88 Terry LaBan
January/11/2010
@ 9:32 am

@Shane “Jew or not, doesnâ??t resolve the issue of sin in a personâ??s life.”

We Jews actually have a much different understanding of how “sin” works than Christians do. Which is interesting, given that most of the discussions of religion on this blog(and others) seem to quickly devolve into a debate about the legitimacy of Christianity. I didn’t remember that the quote, which is something observant Jews repeat 3 times a day and is also what’s written on the scroll inside mezuzahs, is also in the New Testament. In any case, it’s my understanding that the requirements for being a Christian are actually specified not in the New Testament itself, but in the Nicen Creed.

By the way, reading that Ted Rall is a lapsed Catholic makes everything clear. No one hates religion more than a lapsed Catholic.

#89 Tom Wood
January/11/2010
@ 9:37 am

@Shane – Your argument using the list of names is called ‘argument from authority’ and is so common that it has a Wikipedia entry, take a look. Because someone is an authority in one area does not make their opinion in another equally valid.

As a law enforcement officer I suspect you’ve seen your share of domestic violence where the battered wife both loves and fears her husband. The position of battered wife is the position you are asking me to accept when you ask for compulsory love of your lord. No thanks.

If every religion were piled high and burnt to the ground there would be a small gold coin left in the ashes. One side would read ‘compassion’ and the other side would read ‘forgiveness’.

I think we can get to that coin without the religion part.

#90 Mike Peterson
January/11/2010
@ 10:31 am

I like comics. Mostly strips and editorial comics, not so much comic books. Not that I don’t like comic books, but they’re not my favorites.

Hope this isn’t off-topic …

#91 Ted Rall
January/11/2010
@ 10:57 am

By the way, reading that Ted Rall is a lapsed Catholic makes everything clear. No one hates religion more than a lapsed Catholic.

Try again, Sigmund.

I don’t hate religion. I think it’s dumb.

For me to hate something, I must take it seriously.

#92 Tom Wood
January/11/2010
@ 11:00 am

@Mike Peterson – Perfectly on-topic!

To bring this home, I still think that an editorial cartoon website with a broad collection of points of view, and a forum for the sort of discussion we’ve had here, could work. The forum is as critical a part as the cartoons, see the xkcd site as proof of concept.

If the editorial cartoon site had a wide range that went to both ends of the spectrum, advertisers would feel safer since they wouldn’t be supporting any one particular view.

Perhaps collections could be sold on a SD memory card so it could be inserted in one of those digital photo frames. Imagine the poor fool who accidentally picks THAT up!

#93 Terry LaBan
January/11/2010
@ 11:07 am

“I donâ??t hate religion. I think itâ??s dumb.”

Oops, sorry. No one thinks religion is DUMBER than a lapsed Catholic. At least the ones I’ve met. I don’t know what those nuns do to you guys, but it must be pretty traumatic.

#94 Terry LaBan
January/11/2010
@ 12:17 pm

By the way, that’s not meant to be an anti-Catholic comment. Just something I’ve observed over the years.

#95 Alan Gardner
January/11/2010
@ 2:35 pm

Just getting back to this thread since Saturday morning.

I am no longer moderating this thread (‘course could be said, I wasn’t monitoring it over the weekend either).

Please understand the comments above and below (unless posted by me) are the opinions and statements of the poster and are not affiliated or endorsed by me personally or this here blog.

Carry on in a genial manner, please. Nobody is going to convert religiously. Have fun, but don’t take this thread to seriously.

Alan

#96 Shane Davis
January/11/2010
@ 5:25 pm

Terry,
The Nicen Creed, as I understand it, is more prominant in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox denominations. I’m a non-denominational guy, and like a lot of Protestant denominations that creed really isn’t a source of authority. Not because there’s any errors contained within, but really because the Bible is seen as the sole authority.

I want to make sure folks understand I’m not criticizing the Nicen Creed. The last thing I want to be percieved as trying to start a denomination rock fight – I’m not! It’s just that many Christians simply believe relying on God’s Word alone means trusting on the final authority.

I mean, if you believe Him, you believe Him – don’t need another book.

That makes sense to me (a person certainly NOT a theologian by any means) because I think God would want His word to stand alone, not to be confused with or perceived to ‘need’ any other texts or writings to give it authority. If He could create an entire universe, He certainly can guide the creation of His word and ensure the contents were what He means to say.

If it is His word, He needs no creeds to give authority to that which He has already said. That’s why the Nicen Creed isn’t necessarily the authority on the ‘path or requirements’ to salvation. Many Christians, as I do, believe it is simply found in the Word.

As to how that salavation comes about, one of my favorite passages in Mark 10:
“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”

I love this. Jesus is saying salvation is received when we, like a trusting children, take Him at His word, believe what He says and let go of the rest. Jesus + zero = saved. The reason I love it is because it means it’s not meant for the elite, the VIP’s, society’s high rollers or any ‘chosen few’ and no secret handshakes are needed, no memorizing of long texts, no heredity tests, no titles of royalty. This is the salvation meant for whores, the corrupt, the lame, the unwanted, the discarded, the hated, the diseased, the forgotten….it means that, including even me, if one comes to him in faith like a child, in belief, trust and obedience then salvation is guaranteed. Anytime, anywhere, anyone. Just believe.

That is the requirement for salvation according to Jesus.

#97 Shane Davis
January/11/2010
@ 5:44 pm

Tom,
I understand the â??argument from authorityâ?? position, but I really wasn’t trying to come from that angle. I don’t think any of the above listed folks, because of who they are, give authority to God’s word because they believe it. If I believed that, it would automatically undercut everything I believe in, which is no man is good enough on his own to be saved, we are all fallen and need a savior. Those folks are in the same boat I am, bweing responsible for the wrongs in our lives and the corrupt nature we have. I was only using their belief as an illustration that science and religion are not mutually exclusive, and that if smart folks like that see something in nature that tells them there’s a God, then it makes sense to give a least some credit to their belief.

But I don’t think anyone needs to believe in God because they did. I frankly thing that just looking at the amazing wonder of our universe and Earth gives testimony to a Creator.

“As a law enforcement officer I suspect youâ??ve seen your share of domestic violence where the battered wife both loves and fears her husband. The position of battered wife is the position you are asking me to accept when you ask for compulsory love of your lord. No thanks.”

The fear that you mention, in Christianity, is fear only in the sense that God is perfectly loving, holy and just. And that means I know I have done wrong and will answer for it. But once a person accepts Christ, that fear is gone because the whole point of Jesus’ death was to take the wrath of God on Himself in MY place. That fear of reprisal by God is gone, because Jesus took that blast of justice, punishment and wrath FOR me.

Any believer will tell you there is no fear in Christitanity because God doesn’t WANT you to fear Him. He loves us, dearly, so much so He took the punishment in our place for us, just so we could be with Him.

A better analogy than a battered wife is a Father whose son has committed fraud, theft, assault and murder. And upon being sentenced to be execute to die for his crimes, the Father steps onto the gallows in place of his son, so his son can go free. For no other reason that he loves his children so much.

God doesn’t want compulsory love and controlling fear for us. He wants freedom from fear, guilt, shame and seperation from Him. Again, so much He already paid the horrific price of justice for us, on the cross.

“If every religion were piled high and burnt to the ground there would be a small gold coin left in the ashes. One side would read â??compassionâ?? and the other side would read â??forgivenessâ??.

I think we can get to that coin without the religion part.”

I don’t doubt every religion has at it’s core a desire for peace, compassion and forgiveness. I’m not criticizing any other religion.
What I am saying is that I know without Christ’s standing in the gap for me on that rugged tree, then I would have to face a just God and answer for what I did and for my nature. Chrisitanity is the only religion that teaches that man cannot ever earn his way into God’s graces, that no works, no good deeds, no sacrifices will ever be enough to redeem ourselves. We cannot reach up and ‘pull ourselves up’ to God. Instead, He saw our helplessness, reached down will pulled us up to Him, if we let Him.

The work is all His. That’s why it’s called grace.

#98 Scott Lincoln
January/11/2010
@ 6:26 pm

Well said, Shane.

#99 Garey Mckee
January/11/2010
@ 8:15 pm

Could be worse. It could be a cartoon about tea bagging.

#100 Shane Davis
January/12/2010
@ 7:33 am

I appreciate the conversation above, but back to the cartoon.

So the cartoonist is saying that Tea Party folks attack opponents by saying they can’t articulate an argument against their opponents intelligently, so as a result they reduce their own arguments to simplistic or grossly exaggerated talking points.

Additionally, the cartoonist acccuses the Tea Party’ers of demonizing their opponents by casting them as brutal, fanatical radicals and mischaraterizing their opponent’s side of the debate.

That’s funny. Not the cartoon, but that the cartoonis is guility of doing exactly that to the Tea Party folks. So if the little Tea Party guy in the cartoon is so cartoonishly stupid and intellectually impaired for doing what he’s doing, isn’t it true of the cartoonist too?

Hmm. Cartoonist, editorialize thyself!

#101 John Auchter
January/12/2010
@ 9:13 am

Right. So comment boards are for expressing opinions and not for considering other opinions. Got it. Thanks!

#102 Shane Davis
January/12/2010
@ 11:41 am

Ha ha ha, that’s clever…

Nah. Not really.
I thought this was covered already?
So, here are the rules (I guess):
1. Disagree with some one strongly.
2. Work up an editorial work criticizing them unfairly.
3. Portray them as idiots who oversimply, attack and blather because they can’t debate rationally.
4. Make sure your attack oversimplify, attack and blather when you do it, instead of debating rationally.
5. When someone points out you did exactly what you criticized your opponent for, rinse and repeat.

Right. Got it. Thanks.

#103 John Auchter
January/12/2010
@ 2:52 pm

Um… I meant the whole thread. So it goes…

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