Tony Auth has come under fire for a recent cartoon depicting members of the U.S. Supreme Court wearing a Catholic bishop’s miter. The cartoon is on the topic of the high court’s recent ruling that upheld the ban on partial birth abortions. One such group is Fidelis, a Catholic-based advocacy organization as well as political columnists such as Robert Barnes at the Washington Post.
“The Philadelphia Inquirer has breached the line of reasonable editorial commentary. This cartoon is venomous, terribly misleading and, blatantly anti-Catholic. We call on the Inquirer to repudiate the cartoon’s anti-Catholic sentiment,” said Fidelis President Joseph Cella.
From The Bulletin, an independent paper in Philadelphia:
Auth’s message to the American public was clear – those five Catholic’s on the nation’s highest bench were in the Vatican’s back pocket. To make his point, Auth pandered to the ignorant and sought to ignite the flames of fear among those who truly believe that Catholics are out to rule Washington from Rome. Just like Imus, Auth had crossed the line.
If Auth had made such a comment about a rabbi or Tel Aviv, he would have been labeled anti-Semitic. If he had made a similar cartoon about Muslims, there would have been picketing in the streets. And if he dared to draw minority groups in such a light, heads would have rolled. But because Auth targeted Catholics, all was fine.
As a matter of fact, Chris Satullo, Editorial Page editor, opted to defend Auth’s cartoon.
“Tony Auth is a commentator for our paper and has the freedom to express his opinion,” Satullo said. The Inquirer editor explained, “The cartoon was not anti-Catholic, but was a commentary on the Supreme Court.” We’re not buying that bridge, Chris.
Hat tip to Tom Spurgeon for first talking about his story.