On Telemundo, a Catholic Interviewee Calls for the Killing of a Blasphemous U.S. Artist

Which one of the devout believers below do you suppose is demanding the death of a blasphemous artist?

They both are.

The lady on the right is Paloma, a Mexican citizen who, as a Catholic, is a devotee of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

She was interviewed on Telemundo the other day about the latest cover of the Santa Fe Reporter, a regional newspaper. In the center of the cover illustration is a depiction of the saintly Lupe, venerated by Mexican Catholics. The national icon has been transformed into a frolicsome cover girl, sipping a margarita in a bikini:

Harmless fun? Tell that to Paloma (whose name means “dove,” by the way — the universal symbol of peace. Ha). Paloma is introduced by the interviewer as someone who believes that blasphemers (such as the illustrator of the Santa Fe periodical) “deserve the worst of punishments.” And then Paloma is on-camera, and she says: “Kill them. Catch them and kill them.”

Killing cartoonists — it’s not just for Muslims anymore!


P.S.: A friend pointed out that the illustration is by Brooklyn artist Danny Hellman. That brings it a little closer to home for me (and not just geographically). When I was the Editor-in-Chief of a few issues of the New-York-based student travel magazine BREAK, about ten years ago, Danny illustrated an article for us. He did a lovely job despite the fact that he put my likeness in the art (because it accompanied a first-person story of mine). I don’t know what happened to the original files, but I found this snippet on on my hard drive. Sadly, there isn’t a lick of blasphemy to be detected here, unless you count the long-gone goatee.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • busterggi

    At heart all the Abrahamic extremists are the same – its just that more secular nations don’t permit them to act out their crazy.

  • Damon Icke

    They can’t be too happy about the shirtless pink cowboy hat wearin’ dude either.

  • C Peterson

    These kinds of people display an appalling lack of faith in believing that their blasphemy hating god lacks the ability to mete out its own punishment as it sees fit. It can’t smite a blasphemer? It can’t curse it to hell forever? Pretty poor performance for an omnipotent being. It might as well not exist at all!

  • Artor

    Once again, you can tell the Xians by their love.

  • Carmelita Spats

    I was born and raised south of the border and I remember when Monsignor Guillermo Schulemberg (who was the head of the Basilica of Guadalupe for 40 years) publicly declared that Guadalupe was a sham. Msgr. Schulemberg wrote a letter to the Vatican stating that Juan Diego (the guy who claimed encounters with Guadalupe) never existed. True to form, the Vatican canonized Juan Diego. Schulemberg resigned as head of the Basilica and had hired goons, armed guards, outside of his home in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Mexico City (Lomas). He received death threats for his blasphemy…



    Alma Lopez created a stir in Ireland with her version of Guadalupe…This involved blasphemy laws…


  • TheG

    Or, to put it in language they understand, “you shall know them by their fruits”.

  • Terry Firma

    Carmelita: Thanks much for the background, and especially for the links. That Guardian story gave me my first big laugh of the day, thanks to this passage:

    [Catholics'] calls for bans and protests were countered by Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland, who later commented: “It was like discussing the rules of quidditch with people who believe Harry Potter was a documentary.”


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Harrison/23417637 Michael Harrison

    From what I’ve heard, doves are vicious, territorial creatures. Maybe still not quite a poetic fit with Paloma’s actions, but I do find the notion that doves are peaceful to be amusing.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    And this is why religion must be kept private, out of the public sphere and why a secular constitution (which we, unfortunately, don’t have here in the UK.)is so necessary. Any of these religions, if given the chance, would take us back to the dark ages.

    This also gives the lie to those who claim that there are moderate religions/religious people. No there aren’t, they are all fanatics under the skin.

  • kaydenpat

    I’m going to assume that Paloma is just speaking out of passion and would never in her right mind want cartoonists to be killed for “blasphemy” or any other silly reason.

  • randomfactor

    It’s not even blasphemy, it’s irreverence. Unless the Catholics are FINALLY willing to come out of the closet as honestly polytheistic. The RCC has always struck me as a fractal religion, stuck somewhere between monotheism and polytheism, trying to play both sides of the tapestry.

  • doninkansas

    that won’t bother them, they’ll just think it is a priest on vacation. LOL

  • Stev84

    And by their nuts

  • C Peterson

    Not to mention, they are well known for crapping all over everything.

  • Sunny Day


  • Mike De Fleuriot

    Shortest verse…

  • Amor DeCosmos

    Rhetorical hyperbole.

  • JET

    They’re racking up points and hoping for a high-five from Jesus. It seems their god rates his fans and maintains a hierarchy. Heaven just wouldn’t be as much fun if you weren’t on the “A” list and had to watch the proceedings with binoculars from way in the back.


    A God capable of willing the universe into existence is clearly capable of taking care of him/her/it self. Outbursts like this indicate there’s a lot of doubt behind the bravado.

  • indorri

    I’d be more inclined to believe that if the tendency for such rhetoric to come to pass prior to widespread secularism wasn’t completely prevalent.

  • indorri

    Your first point is correct, the second not so much. I’d be more inclined to say that it is possible for seemingly moderate religious people to display fanaticism. I honestly have not seen this behaviour in, for example, universalist unitarians.

  • Librepensadora

    Question: When, where, and to whom did “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” first appear? Answer: In the 14th Century, in Extremadura, Spain, to a Spanish shepherd. Information from the 2012 “Boletín” of the California Mission Studies Association.

  • Gexxr

    Frankly, the entire lot of Christians are doing that. All the warped thinking that must occur to arrive at 1+1+1 = 1, all damage they inflict on their logic circuits by finding a way to believe that. Can they hear themselves talking? Whenever someone explains the trinity, I just want to get them a prescription for anti-psychotics.

  • sk3ptik0n

    Catholics are actually Henotheists. They believe in the “God Head” but also allow, like the pagan religions that preceded it, for the existence of other gods or demigods. They can make the distinction of praying to god versus intercessory prayer and veneration of the saints, Mary, etc. but I see it as purely propaganda in order to dispel the claims of polytheism.

    But it doesn’t take a genius to see the similarities with the pagan world where indeed many prayed to the minor gods or demigods to ask them to interceded for them. Likewise, many today pray to the Virgin Mary to “interceded with Jesus. As if they all went back home at the end of the day and, while cooking porridge Mary would say to Jesus “He JC, about that guy I told you yesterday…”

    It’s nonsense. What the Catholic church actually says flies in the face of what their flock actually does.

  • sk3ptik0n

    How big of a jump would be to go from making a statement like that and acting upon it in a time of distress?
    Paloma may be just venting, but paloma may have a friend or a relative that may not have the same (alleged) qualms. Or Paloma herself may be stressed enough at some point to commit murder in the name of her Goddess.

  • LesterBallard

    I think I’ll print out the pic on the right and wipe my curvy yellow ass on it. I won’t send it to her, but maybe before and after photos. Of the pic, not my curvy yellow ass.

  • C.L. Honeycutt

    You may doubt a man who says he desires peace, but never doubt one who says he desires war.

  • Danny Hellman

    Hide me, Terry! HIDE ME!!!

  • Capital_7

    Guade- LOOPY!

  • Capital_7

    Does she have a mustache, long flowing nose hair, boogers, or some combination of all or any of those?

  • Mick

    The Catholic lady is rather immodestly dressed. I can see cleavage and I’m offended!

  • L.Long

    Actually most religious sheeple are hypocritical lying asses full of pure BS as they do not really believe what they claim. The say they believe in an omni-everything sky-fairy but then say they have to kill others because of blasphemy which does not hurt any of them but hurts their omni-gawd who is incapable of defending itself. Hell the idiot sky-fairy likes showing its displeasure in atheists and gays by wiping out whole towns of faithful believers. Seems like it is capable of only killing and destroying its believers.
    And some would say I’m being overly judgmental of large numbers, but here in NC they (the moderates) can not allow their omni-gawd to pass judgement, THEY have to prevent gay-marriage, so much for the ‘cheeses-is-love’ moderates.

  • Terry Firma

    The spare bedroom is ready for you. Bring beer.

  • Bdole

    Estupida es, como estupida hace.

  • Geoff Boulton

    That explains the children, but who’s the woman with?

  • http://www.AtheistRepublic.com/ Armin

    I wonder how many Muslims are going to use this story to try an convince us that Islam is not that bad.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    You’re forgetting all the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century that brainwashed its populace with gnostic atheism, teaching them that there was no such thing as God even though they had no evidence to support their positive claim. They also brainwashed children to believe atheists were more rational that theists because the latter suffered from insanity which is why they believed in God in the first place. The combinations of all this dehumanizing brainwashing fueled their psychotic bigotry and hatred for all theists just for being theists.

    Historically, that’s how the indoctrination of Gnostic Atheism was carried out. As such, Gnostic Atheism is a ferocious enemy of freedom and a threat to all free-thinkers.

    “If atheism is such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers.” – Anonymous

  • indorri

    Gnosticism, as a general rule, I find to be invalid, but I do not think it is gnostic philosophies that are the problem. It is an authoritarian philosophy in which all must obey another by some supposed right the obeyed possess, along with a violent insistence on following the same philosophy. Whether its religious, irreligious or political or a combination of the all.

    Specific religions and philosophies have this built into them. General theism/deism and atheism doesn’t, even gnostic variations.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Mayhaps but Gnostic Atheism certainly throws the doors wide open for totalitarian regimes to come in and perpetrate unspeakable horrors. After all, it’s easy to exercise complete control over a people once you’ve dehumanized them.

    “Atheism certainly promotes a low view of humanity- how much lower can you get than thinking yourself an accidental by-product of a series of even larger accidents!”
    ― John Dickson

  • kevin

    You have to travel all the way to Mexico city to find a ”nobody” to create the narrative of crazy religious zealots are out to get you?

  • indorri

    You’re mistaking lack of teleology for pitiableness. An atheist can certainly consider everything “to be meaningless”, but another atheist could take a completely different view. This is why, for example, I’m humanist. Humanity is the centre of my ethics and goals, and for any moral system to have validity, it must at least be considerate of humans, independent of any other machinations it may have. (Note that this is different from anthropocentrism).

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Which view is objectively veridical, then? The Atheistic Nihilists’ or the Atheistic Humanists’?

  • indorri

    Neither because they’re definitional. This is why the original criticism is unwarranted.

  • Carmelita Spats

    It was a reaction against religious authoritarianism and power. Ever play king of the hill? You try to tear down the one who is at the top. Political regimes exploit this as much as religions. Dehumanizing? There is NOTHING more dehumanizing than being told from the time you are knee-high to a disturbing dogma that you were created from dirt by a sadistic God who wants you to obey, submit and sacrifice. If you are female, it’s worse…you are the freakish result of a Rib-Woman. Who the hell wants to go around blabbing this garbage to themselves and to everyone in sight? The shameful slave-master relationship is the ONLY possible outcome of a Christian worldview. You can escape political tyrants through resistance and death. The sadistic God promises eternal torture. Mao’s China had no room for rational skeptics but neither does Christianity’s cult of death when it gains control of the hill.

  • Rez™

    If you think that new blasphemy laws aren’t being planned by right wing lawmakers as we speak…

  • Rez™

    Like Ann Coulter saying we should kill all the leaders in the middle east and convert everyone there to Christianity?

  • Joseph O Polanco

    And just to wrap this up, what makes your assessment objectively true?

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Really? Can you please show the slave-master relationship in these fundamental tenets of Christianity?

    “YOU heard that it was said, ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU; that YOU may prove yourselves sons of YOUR Father who is in the heavens, since he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous. For if YOU love those loving YOU, what reward do YOU have? (Matthew 5:43-46)

    “But now really put them all away from YOU, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of YOUR mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Accordingly, [] clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave YOU, so do YOU also. But, besides all these things, [clothe yourselves with] love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” – Colossians 3:8,9, 12-14.

  • Tom

    You really can’t see the master-slave thing? All the tenets of Christianity are not friendly advice, Joe. They’re orders.

  • Joseph O Polanco

    Who forces you to abide by them?

  • The Other Weirdo

    That may be a popular self-aggrandizing perception in the West, but I honestly never once heard the words “atheist”, “theist” or “God” while growing up and schooling in the Soviet Union. We studied languages, math, science, mythology, history. People even had icons in their apartments, and nobody cared. Maybe under Stalin it was different, but it my generation(1966+), not so much.

    Nobody hated religious people, either.

    The conflict between belief and nonbelief during the formative years of the Soviet Union had less to do with atheists thinking they were more right than everyone else than communists trying to install themselves as the only power to look up to. An active Church would have interfered with that.

    And for the record, I don’t really give a flying fuck what some anonymous said about Mao’s China. Come back with a quote by someone who matters and we’ll talk.

  • Francisco Carbajal

    I have read and review all the responses on this issue that occurred in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some of the comments were definitely out of context and yet, some were downright disrespectful. I would conclude that if you do not reside and/or from the community that where this debate originated from, then, you have no say-so on the final outcome of the debate. From what I know of the citizen’s who are from this community are about, they are good to each other and are no different than your average Joe from next door. Lastly, this ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’ issue is beyond the scope of any understanding about who is right or wrong of what this local newspaper did in this city. Yet, I would say to just leave it alone and move on to something else to debate about. it is done and the Santa Fe Reporter did the right thing by apologizing to the Santa Fe community in the end.

  • tyty

    And Christians say that they’re being persecuted.