Touchy Christians Get the Cruci-Flex Blocked


The comic above got Rob DenBlyker banned from Facebook for a time. After it had been shared and viewed over a million times, enough Christians complained about it that Facebook took it down and banned Rob for 12 hours. Both he and I are assuming that it’s Christians who complained because, of course, that’s who it was. Here’s the most interesting part of the artist’s follow-up post:

In fact, this particular comic doesn’t really make fun of Jesus or Christians. Christianity made the crucifix famous, yes, but it definitely existed historically as a thing. It is not in itself a religious device (it certainly isn’t in this comic), although the connection is obviously made by most readers. This strip is a dude innocently using a crucifix as a workout machine rather than a torture device. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but this could possibly be the most G-rated cartoon about a crucifix ever made.

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  • DanLambert

    This is an odd story about an odd comic and an all too predictable response by Christians who blindly embrace or reject something based on initial gut reaction rather than thoughtful critique.

  • Larry Barber

    While I don’t approve of censoring this, to say that a cross isn’t a religious device is just silly. In our culture that’s all that it is, it hasn’t been used for its original purpose since the 4th century. Without the religious connotations the comic makes absolutely no sense.

    • So would a comic featuring a moon and star automatically be an insult to Islam? The crucifix isn’t like a ying-yang sign. It wasn’t created by a religion, merely appropriated by it. If the artist says it didn’t necessarily have religious connotations, then it didn’t necessarily have religious connotations. No matter what Larry Barber decides the truth is.

      • Larry Barber

        Artists, or anybody else for that matter, don’t get to define what definitions and connotations symbols have. Tell me, if you were to go into a building which had a large cross on the outside, would you be surprised to find that it was church? Also, for the record the church did create the crucifux, it’s from the Latin crucifixus, “the crucified one”, via Middle English. (don’t try to tell me that “the crucified one” meant anybody but Christ to those who spoke Middle English).

        And again, without the religious connotations of the crucifix what does the comic mean? It wouldn’t make any sense.

        I also don’t think the comic was necessarily insulting to Christianity; but, yes, the crescent moon and star in the typical Islamic relationship to each other does reference Islam in our culture (and even more so in Islamic cultures), whether or not it is insulting to Islam depends on context.

        • Maadman

          Sorry pal but the cross was not created by the church but rather by the Roman that used it to publicly kill people that defied Rome. Just read up on what happened with the story of Spartacus and what happened to his followers how they lined the appian way with crosses hanging everyone they captured some 100 or so yrs before Christ. In Christianity the cross is not the central point of salvation it’s a reminder of what Christ did for humanity. If someone is focusing on the cross rather than Christ then I challenge them to Re read the bible they supposedly believe in.

          • Larry Barber

            Sorry, pal, but I said crucifix, not cross, there is a difference. Look up “crucifix” in any dictionary.

            Also, the cross was not invented by the Romans, I believe the first recorded use was by the Babylonians, it came to Rome via the Persians and Greeks.

      • Paul Hemphill

        I think it’s disingenuous to argue that, because Christianity didn’t *create* the cross, it “isn’t like a yin-yang sign.” The symbol of the cross is clearly attached to Christianity in our culture, regardless of whether Christianity “appropriated” it or not. That’s the whole point here – use a symbol with a commonly-accepted meaning, and then purposefully use it in the “wrong” context. It’s a reversal of expectations, which is one of the major components of humor.

        That being said, I also don’t think it’s correct to criticise the cartoonist for saying that the cross isn’t a religious device. In the context of the comic, it explicitly is *not* a religious symbol – it is an exercise device. He says that right there in his post: “It is not in itself a religious device (it certainly isn’t in this
        comic), although the connection is obviously made by most readers.” That connection is *supposed* to be made, because without the symbolism that we assume, there’s no joke!

        (edit: I now see that in your [Larry Barber’s] second comment, you make the same point as me in my second paragraph)

  • Nicholas

    See!! Proof. I knew the crucifix was an idol.

  • Andrew Watson

    I assumed the cartoon was a statement on the way that modern Christians treat the Christ they claim to worship.

  • Ric Shewell

    This artist is either dumb or disingenuous. I mean, the cartoon is funny, who doesn’t like a pun? But his argument is ridiculous, so is he dumb or disingenuous?

    1. Dumb: The other posters are making this argument. OF COURSE the cross is a religious symbol, and the cartoon needs it to be interpreted as a Christian symbol, otherwise the joke doesn’t work. Also, was he really surprised at the reaction? If so, that’s stupid. The cartoon is making a pun of the central symbol of the worlds largest religion. Religion’s a personal thing, and of course people are going to get upset. If he didn’t see that coming, he’s ridiculous.

    2. Disingenuous: This is more likely. It’s more likely that he knew exactly what he was doing with the joke, and knew exactly what the reaction would be like. Now he can respond by trying to correct the way people look at free speech, the internet, and people’s own biases and religions. I can’t believe that he’s say, “No, this isn’t about the religion.” That’s ridiculous, but it does give him an occasion to, make a new cartoon (one that only works because of the conversation about religion), retell this story of persecution via Facebook, and promote cyanide and happiness. Whatever publicity he can get out of this is good publicity for him. Playing the victim of persecution is always a good way to go, especially if you can be persecuted by Christians.

    What I don’t understand is why he doesn’t just own the comic and say “Yes, I’m poking fun at Jesus and Christians. The crucifixion is a terrible workout routine. And I am fine making fun of something so many people hold sacred.” It’s not exactly some new cutting edge thing to make fun of Christians and Christian stuff. The fact that he back pedals on this makes me think that he might just be dumb.

    • You must not be familiar with Cyanide and Happiness. The artist makes fun of Christianity openly and blatantly on several occasions. He has no need to hide his contempt for your religion. More likely he’s simply being truthful and expressing his point of view when HE created HIS strip. Something you don’t want to acknowledge because you’re too busy being offended.

      • Ric Shewell

        Oh please. Of course I know Cyanide and Happiness and a host of other people and things that take jabs at Christianity. I’m hardly offended by a cartoon. I was critiquing his response/reaction. I don’t understand why he’s back pedaling and saying this cartoon is not a jab at a Christian symbol, when it clearly is. Why not just own it? That’s weird to me, and if he’s being honest, then his reaction was pretty short-sighted.

  • R Vogel

    Jesus did have some rocking abs though! 😉