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Defending Marriage against the Media Elite's Pogrom

By: Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC

I was home today with the flu. Isn’t it awful how humans can be rendered almost completely unable to function by a viral infection? So confident in our own ability to do anything one day and then, within almost twenty four hours, on our backs, down for the count! Well, it simply shows us our own weakness and dependency on others for help and support. As it is individually, so too collectively, we need to stand with and for one another. That is what is called solidarity.

I awakened this morning to my usual morning rituals, one of which is to read my local paper, the Virginian Pilot. I followed the drill, only this morning I moved a little more slowly due to the sinus pain occasioned by this horrid flu. I read the front section for the “World News”, then the “Hampton Roads” section for local news and then the commentary and opinion section. I stopped there. That last section often includes political cartoons. It did so this morning and the cartoon made me even sicker than I was upon waking.

This distasteful political cartoon featured a stereotype of an evangelical preacher with his mouth wide open, his hair swooped back and his eyes in an angry frown. In front of him, held open in his right hand, was a Bible. To his right stood a woman with a vacuous look in her eyes and a smile reminiscent of a Step-ford wife. Remember that movie about suburban wives who had no freedom to think for themselves because they were held under the spell of men? This woman was apparently under the spell of this judgmental, harsh preacher.

In the first frame of the cartoon, this stereotyped looking evangelical Christian with a haughty arrogance in his eyes says “Homosexuality is an abomination. It says so right here”. The woman next to him responds “So, instead of legalizing Gay marriages, we need to live by Old Testament Rules!” This first frame is then followed by a series of cartoon frames with quotes from Old Testament texts, some taken from the Old Testament dietary laws, and all found in the Pentateuch, the first five Books of the Hebrew Canon.

The subsequent frame read “Let’s execute anyone who works on the Sabbath”, accompanied by a drawing of a fast food waitress. The next, “And Declare the eating of shellfish an abomination” with a drawing of a black man eating clams. The next “And ban clothes made from two types of thread”, with a woman buying material at a textile store. The next, “And no beard trimming” accompanied by a man shaving. Then, in the final caption, we return to the two caricatures and the preacher says “And brings back slavery”. The woman affirms his sentiment with an imbecilic smile, saying “Dear, I think those good folks at Wal-Mart are working on that one”

I was totally disgusted by this political cartoon. What a horridly bigoted swipe at a segment of the Christian community! However, I was feeling really horrible from this flu! I thought to myself “I am not an evangelical Protestant, I am a Catholic, it wasn’t directed at me. The figure in this cartoon did not have a clerical collar on”. I thought briefly about just chalking it up to the ongoing dispute between this paper and my neighbor down the road, climbing back into bed, and recovering from this awful flu. I couldn’t do it so I had to write.

I live down the road from the headquarters of the Christian Broadcasting network (CBN) where the 700 Club television program is broadcast on a daily basis. This local paper has not had the best of relationships with the founder of that network. This kind of obvious belittling of this segment of Christianity is not unusual fare in this paper. However, though this cartoon was in poor taste and insulting, it was much more! It was ominous. This was an obvious effort to denigrate anyone who supports marriage as being between a man and a woman (which is most Americans) and, in particular, those within that majority who are also Christians.

This offensive cartoon made me recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller, written in 1945 and recorded in his now famous “They Came for the Jews.” “First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.”

A Pogrom is “An organized, often officially encouraged massacre or persecution of a minority group, especially one conducted against Jews.” I believe that this cartoon reflected more than editorial poor taste. It is the early stage of a pogrom of sorts, aimed at painting with a broad brush of derision anyone who stands for marriage as being between a man and a woman. That includes me and I will not keep silent. The weapons of this early ...

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