Friday, April 20, 2007

Fidelis, and the Philadelphia Inquirer Cartoon

Fidelis is a Catholic based advocacy site which I've traded a few emails with in the past, and it was by way of one of their recent email alerts that I learned of the controversy surrounding a recent Philadephia Inquirer cartoon criticizing the Supreme Court for their reaffirmation of the Congressional 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban. The Fidelis alert reads as follows-

Fidelis Condemns Anti-Catholic Attack on Supreme Court Justices

WASHINGTON — Fidelis condemned the editorial cartoon published today by the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Church and State” featuring the five Catholic members of the United States Supreme Court wearing bishop miters.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella stated: “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.

The cartoon suggests that the United States Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban on partial birth abortion was a result of the Catholic Church influencing the votes of the five Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court, who are portrayed as Catholic Bishops in the cartoon. To view the Inquirer cartoon, click
“The Supreme Court did not ‘follow marching orders’ from the Vatican or the Bishops in the United States . Instead, the Court deferred to deliberative judgment of the people’s elected representatives protected by the Constitution,” Cella said.

Fidelis compared the Inquirer cartoon to that of 19th Century anti-Catholic cartoonist Thomas Nast who was notorious for his vicious attacks on the leadership of the Catholic Church and government officials who happened to be Catholic. To view one of Nast’s cartoons, click

Cella said: “By exposing this outrageously intolerant cartoon, we hope to contain future attacks on judges of faith, particularly during any future confirmation hearings which will likely prove to be the most contentious in history.”

The cartoon resembles the mean-spirited attacks against Judge Bill Pryor, who was mocked for having “deeply-held” religious beliefs as a Catholic. Pryor faced sharply-abusive rhetoric before he was finally confirmed to the federal bench in 2003.

Cella said “It is shameful that such an inflammatory and hate-filled cartoon appears as legitimate editorial expression. The Inquirer’s insinuation that a Catholic judge cannot act dispassionately and apply the law is an affront to all judges of faith, and smacks of anti-Catholic bigotry and elitism of the worst kind.”

High praise having your work compared in any manner to the father of the American editorial cartoon, but the Auth is incomparable (and nor, in all fairness, was he attempting to match the level) of the effective and beautiful Nast. The real controversy here should be; why can't the secularists produce powerful and engaging cartoons (other than South Park) for which anti-Christian bigots can stand up and cheer? The miters should at least be consuming the other justices, with Justice Ginsberg's sexy gams dangling out to add just the correct coup de grâce of sexism and implied anti-semitism. Usually I can think of better editorial cartoons criticizing my 'own' side than the opposition.

Fidelis should have slammed the Philadephia Inquirer for birthing into the world yet another dull cartoon. The contempt of religion in today's secular media is comparable to the Catholic bashing of Nast; but there isn't much art to it. Usually it's just crude and stupid, and does little to provoke the imagination and, more importantly, a creative response.

More Nast toons!

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