California media group blasted over 'blasphemous' cartoon

California media group blasted over 'blasphemous' cartoon May 5, 2018

TBC Media, publishers of the The California, has been described as ‘an atheist enterprise’ by a reader who expressed his fury over a ‘deplorable’ Last Supper cartoon.
But Jack Balfanz ‘s letter, which said that TBC “has without a doubt totally embraced itself with the rest of the liberal scum media in this country”, got a brilliant response from the paper’s Robert Price – so brilliant that it’s worth republishing in full:

You don’t say why the cartoon was defamatory or blasphemous, even after I specifically asked you, Jack, to explain.

It’s got to be more than the mere fact the artist, Bob Englehart, formerly of the Hartford (Conn.) Courant, had the audacity to depict Christ in a cartoon. That would put you in the company of Islamic extremists who take an exceptionally dim view of cartoon Muhammads. No, that can’t be it.

Is it the depiction of the smirky character at the end of the table with the “Evangelicals” T-shirt and “Make America Great Again” ball cap? Ah, getting warm.

I’m guessing you’re offended by the artist’s apparent suggestion that evangelicals could actually betray Christ – or, more to the point, his teachings and his example.

Well, if that was Englehart’s intention, he’s not alone.

Robert Price

More than a few evangelical leaders today are bothered by their flocks’ support for a president who, among other concerns, pays off porn stars and can’t keep his story about it straight.

White evangelicals in particular, 80 percent of whom voted for Trump in 2016, “continue to squander their moral authority in an attempt to sanitize the president,” said The Rev. A.R. Bernard, pastor of a 40,000-member evangelical church in Brooklyn.

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, a practicing Christian who was No. 9 on Time magazine’s 2005 list of “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals In America,” surely agrees.

“Trump evangelicals have scaled the heights of hypocrisy to the summit,” he wrote in a March 12 column. “Family-values conservatives who dismiss credible accusations of sexual abuse and wink at hush money for a porn star have ceased to represent family values in any meaningful sense. They have made a national joke of moral standards that were once, presumably, deeply held. At least when a Democrat violated them.”

You don’t agree, Jack? That’s your right. (Even though I’m still not sure exactly why.) But Englehart certainly has the right to take a side in this ongoing debate, too – in his chosen medium, the editorial cartoon.

I’ll add this: This is one political cartoonist’s opinion. We publish a wide array of opinions delivered in different formats daily. Surely you grasp that they don’t all represent the editorial opinions of TBC Media. They can’t.

As for your confirmed suspicions about our newsroom’s godlessness: My late U.S. Navy chaplain father would be distressed to know I have devoted so much of my professional life to an atheistic enterprise.

And the atheists among our readership will be frustrated to learn, after all these years, that we’ve been kindred souls this whole time – and yet still insist on covering religious observances like Easter, Lent and, just this past Thursday, the National Day of Prayer.

We cover them with such regularity that our devout readers have come to expect it and they chastise us if we overlook something.

I guess the jig is up now that you’ve exposed us as a bunch of heathens, Jack.

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  • Broga

    Robert Price’s response is admirable. The evangelicals insist that any divergence from their opinions must be unacceptable and must not be published. Their attacks are not supported by facts and they are not prepared to enter into a discussion. They will harass and wound to the limit of their pathetic ability and will have no mercy on anyone they decide has offended their Tyrant God.
    With Robert Price, and people of his calibre responding, they are far out of their league.

  • L.Long

    If this was a an isLame comic no one will care, but since xtians are over 85% what they say is important for money reasons. The publisher will do as it wishes for max income.
    Any time some one says Blaspheme is a person saying ‘I’m an dimwitted idiot that can’t handle the facot that my ahole gawd is whimp!!’

  • AgentCormac

    ‘Liberal scum media’. That’ll be the opposite of the untainted conservative media, such as Fox News, which repeats, amplifies and endorses Trump’s lies on a daily basis. Indeed, people like Sean Hannity are glowing examples of what honest, decent reporting is all about.

  • 1859

    Hummmm……The ‘evangelical’ is the thirteenth disciple around the table – and 13 is an unlucky number, so I guess he must represent a guest from the valley below . Maybe this is the element of ‘blasphemy’ Jack is so furious about? Who knows? Who cares? Given enough time and prayer I’ve no doubt religious fruitcakes, like Jack, would even be able to see blasphemy in a toilet bowel.

  • Gary Gissing

    Dear Barry Duke,
    I think The Freethinker should also campaign for the abolishment of British monarchy. It’s high time we got rid of this “divine” institution.
    I’m really sick of the ceaseless media coverage of the Royal Baby. There are 66 million people in the UK. There is nothing special about the parasitic Royal Family. It’s absolutely infuriating that I have to pay my taxes so that Kate could sprog on a yearly basis.
    Someone should expose these royal-loving Christians’ hypocrisy.
    Mark 10:21-22 “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.

  • Broga

    Gary: I have been a member of Republic for a long time. It is frustrating that the mass of the UK public continue to revere these royal parasites. We are a class ridden society and even a pleb, who hears a posh voice, will respond like one of Pavlov’s dogs.
    Get the sick bucket ready for this. When I retired I was offered a trip to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. I refused. There was astonishment. “You will see members of the royal family. You might even meet one of them.” I would have had to dress up and the same for my wife. Mission impossible on that one.
    The next on the list was delighted. My mother, when she reached 100, declined a telegram from the Queen.
    I have no idea why these parasites and mediocrities are so revered. They are idle spongers and must be having a laugh in private that they can get away with the scam.

  • Gary Gissing

    I became a member of Republic after seeing the vomit-inducing 2011 Royal Wedding on BBC. I, too, cannot stand the utterly idiotic mass reverence for these royal parasites.
    To borrow from Pygmalion: “ this verbal class distinction, by now, should be antique“. I never understood why pronouncing a word correctly and/or having a Standard English accent is classified as “posh”. After all, spelling correctly and/or following the rules of English grammar is never considered “posh”.
    My regards to your exemplary mother. Her refusal of the Queen’s telegram is a very admirable gesture.

  • tonye

    Sorry to go, slightly, off topic. At the last royal wedding the artist Lydia Leith produced a range of sick bags. I bought a signed pair and framed them. They make a good talking piece. I think she is doing the same with this wedding.

  • Broga

    Gary and tonye: I wouldn’t normally reveal what follows but I think it provides a balance to the automatic assumption that everyone wants a to join the upper classes. I have been married for over 50 years. When we first met we couldn’t see enough of each other and we had similar opinions about religion, class, privilege, the royals.
    After a few weeks we decided to get married (Register Office) and I had to bite the bullet and meet my prospective in laws. We used to meet in my future wife’s flat. The day before we were to stay with her parents she said, “I have something to confess about my family. You won’t like what I have to say.”
    She was obviously upset. And kept hesitating. I knew it had to be bad. “Your dad is in prison, is that it? I don’t care. I’m not marrying him.” I went through various possibilities – he’s an alcoholic, he beats your mum, he is going to be evicted from his council house.” (I wrote all this up later for our kids.)
    And then it came out: “My parents have a title.”
    “Bloody hell. I never imaged it would be as bad as that.”

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @Gary Gissing, “I never understood why pronouncing a word correctly and/or having a Standard English accent is classified as “posh”. After all, spelling correctly and/or following the rules of English grammar is never considered “posh”.
    You are exactly spot-on.
    Every person has their own way of speaking. As long as one can speak grammatically correct English, that should be the end of the matter.
    I have been working as an English Language Instructor here in China for more than 4 years now. A large majority of Chinese are obsessed about speaking either British/American English.
    I always tell my students that the whole concept of standard English is bullshit. Within Britain as well as within U.S there are hundreds of accents. Why try to speak like a British or an American, when you aren’t one. Just focus on speaking with confidence and in a grammatically correct manner.
    It’s more important what a person says rather than how he/she speaks.

  • Gary Gissing

    Dear Gaurav,
    I respectfully disagree. Language is a social tool. If everyone had his/her own way of constructing sentences and/or his own version of English grammar, clear and intelligible communication would be impossible. Similarly, if every person had his/her own way of pronouncing words, clear and intelligible communication would be impossible. It’s very tiresome and DISTRACTIVE to have a proper conversation/discussion with people who have non-standard pronunciation. When you are in a conversation, it’s very awkward and frustrating to ask people to repeat their words because you can’t decipher their utterances.
    I never understood why pronouncing a word correctly and/or having a Standard English accent is classified as “posh”. It’s asinine to make the Standard accent a property of upper-class/rich people for the same reason that making the standard English grammar a property of upper-class/rich people is asinine.
    There is a reason why people like the received pronunciation. It’s intelligible and euphonious.
    Hot Fuzz-Police Translator
    Hot Fuzz-Police translator
    My Fair Lady – Why Can’t The English?

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    I never said anything about twisting and turning the English Grammar. My point is not everyone speaks in the same manner. People have different accents. Non-native speakers spend years in mastering the language (reading, writing and speaking) in my viewpoint there is no need to ‘fake’ an American/British accent just to ‘show-off’.
    Furthermore, English is spoken in every continent Asia, Africa, North America, Oceania etc. If someone is speaking without messing up the tenses, singular, plurals etc. (Grammar) I don’t have any problems with it.

  • Laura Roberts

    @Guarav: I agree with you completely regarding pronunciation. As a scientist, I devote a great deal of my time trying to make myself understood as clearly as possible. In academic papers,clear and consistent language should reign paramount. However, in spoken English around the world, I find individual and regional nuances unfailingly charming.
    As an American living in the UK, I’ve adopted local pronunciation in many cases, just to make myself understood. A recent example is pronouncing “half”with an English accent (“hoff”) if I want to be sure I get a half-pint in a pub. If I pronounce it like an American, more often than not the barman hears “have a” and gives me a full pint. I don’t find this frustrating or annoying; just an interesting challenge.
    One of my colleagues is an Italian who has lived in England for a number of years. Consequently his English is full of distinctly British words and phrases, but with a thick Italian accent. He cracks me up every time he calls someone “a nice block” (bloke). His only complaint is that he says he now speaks English like an Italian, and Italian like a Brit.

  • andym

    @ LR . On a similar subject, I once heard that a disproportionate number of US dentists are called “Dennis”, which seems odd until you say dentist with a U.S. accent.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @Laura; correct, listening to an English word being spoken in different accents is surely fun and it makes one a better listener since, it makes an individual receptive to the context of what the speaker is referring to rather than focusing on each and every word being said.
    As someone, who was born and spent almost 3 decades in India. I even look at the lighter side of Indian accent by saying that, ‘The Brits enslaved India for almost 2 centuries. The Indianisation of English is a revenge for the colonial period’ 🙂

  • Stephen Mynett

    The Two Ronnies did a great sketch on language:

  • Broga

    Stephen Mynett : One of the best.

  • 1859

    @Broga: When I was a rebellious 18 year old student I once went to a concert at the ‘Royal’ Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. Being a student the only cheap seats were on stage just behind the orchestra and slightly elevated. So there I sat along with 5 other poor people – sitting facing the entire auditorium of 2000. In came Sir Charles Groves puffing like a steam engine, raised his baton and – unannounced on the program – started to conduct the national anthem. The whole auditorium and the 5 people next to me rose to their feet – but I remained seated in full view of Sir Charles and an audience of 2000 . Boy he almost blew a gasket ! This was my 2 minutes of open defiance of the whole status quo with the royalty at the top and it felt so, so good.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @1859, awesome. I am also of the opinion that these so called royalty (kings and queens) are nothing more than free loaders at the expense of the tax payers. People adulating such characters need to get their heads examined.
    On the subject of national anthem, you would be arrested for this action of yours in India.
    Please read the following article written by me to know the reason;

  • Broga

    1859: I remember the time when the National Anthem was played at the end of a film and everyone was expected to stand until it finished. A friend of mine refused to stand and was verbally abused and physically threatened. He was told that he should be ashamed of himself.
    When I started heading for the exit as soon as the film ended my girlfriend refused to follow me. The relationship soon ended. She didn’t like dogs – especially my Alsatian now called German Shepherds. No competition there.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    The concept of nation states is also man made just like religion. I do not believe in this useless nation theory. Patriotism as rightly said by someone is the last refuge of the scoundrel. It is largely used by crook and corrupt politicians to fool the masses.
    No one has any choice in whichever country they are born into. People who call themselves as proud Americans, proud ABCs etc. are insecure in my opinion.
    A person should contribute meaningfully towards the betterment of the society and bask in the glory of his/her own achievements rather than the nationality.

  • Broga

    Gaurav Tyagi : I have wondered why Indians accepted their subordinate state to the Europeans whom they vastly outnumbered. When they mutinied some general gunned down the unarmed crowd and he was rewarded back in England. Mutineers were tied to the barrels of cannon and blasted. Some mutineers were flogged to death.
    The entire Raj was an exercise in self delusion to promote a phony grandeur. The same happens here. I was stopped by a policeman from walking down a street to my work. I walked down that street every day. He said, “Princess Margaret is driving through.” We had a bit of a discussion and he said he was obeying what he had been ordered by his boss.

  • Gaurav Tyagi

    @Broga, the main reason why British rule lasted for so long in India was because of ‘divide and rule’ policy followed by the Britishers but Indian society cannot blame the foreign powers for taking advantage of their weaknesses.
    Hindus, who comprise the majority of India were always divided into castes and sub-castes. Muslim invaders ruled the land for centuries taking advantage of this fact and then came the Britishers.
    British establishment was shrewd enough to plant two of their agents, Gandhi and Nehru to fool the Indian masses. If you wish to know the reality of these two bastards then kindly read the following 2 articles written by me;
    Indian idiots even picked up guns and fought in large numbers for the British empire during the first and second World Wars instead of fighting against the Britishers.
    I consider Bhagat Singh, a real freedom fighter and revolutionary instead of these phony imposters, Gandhi and Nehru. He was hanged to death by the British at the young age of 23. He turned an atheist during his brief but highly eventful life.
    Readers should read the following article written by this great man;

  • Broga

    Gaurav Tyagi : Many thanks. I will read the links.