Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dutch tolerance

“Informed that he was suspected of sketching offensive drawings of Muslims and other minorities, the Dutchman surrendered without a struggle. ‘I never expected the Spanish Inquisition,’ recalls the cartoonist, who goes by the nom de plume Gregorius Nekschot … A fan of ribald gags, he’s a caustic foe of religion, particularly Islam. The Quran, crucifixion, sexual organs and goats are among his favorite motifs.

“Mr. Nekschot, whose cartoons had appeared mainly on his own Web site, spent the night in a jail cell. Police grabbed his computer, a hard drive and sketch pads. … The prosecutor’s office says he’s been under investigation for three years on suspicion that he violated a Dutch law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

“The cartoon affair has come as a shock to a country that sees itself as a bastion of tolerance, a tradition forged by grim memories of bloody conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The Netherlands sheltered Jews and other refugees from the Spanish Inquisition.”

- Andrew Higgins, writing on “Why Islam Is Unfunny for a Cartoonist” in the July 12 issue of the Wall Street Journal

Paper as fluffer?

“The Los Angeles Times … briefly tells the story of the LA police chief´s decision to donate money to the organization that is fighting the ballot initiative against the legalization of gay marriage. It´s a short story and very positive, as one would expect. This is an important story. The chief´s donation is, of course, totally legal and the newspaper knew a good, little, story when it saw one.

“But here was the question that lingered for me. What would have happened if his donation would have gone the other way, if this important public figure had dared to back the traditional marriage camp in this bitterly divided state? Would that mirror-image story have received the same type of coverage? A short cheery piece of what, as of late, people on our comments board have been calling ‘fluff’ news?

“I think not. You see, that would be a huge, controversial story. I imagine that it would have ended up on A1 or the metro front, at the very least.”

- Terry Mattingly, writing on “Try seeing the mirror image” Sunday at Get Religion

Anglican endgame

“The only thing to do with this is to wait and see what the actual response is when the [Episcopal] Americans go home, elect and approve the first practicing homosexual they possibly can as quickly as they can and dare Lambeth to do anything about it. Or when Mike Ingham personally performs a same-sex marriage as soon as he gets back to Vancouver. …

“[Anglican Archbishop] Rowan Williams has to realize that while a fourth of the bishops skipped Lambeth, these bishops represent approximately half the Anglicans in the world. If Dr. Williams keeps those Anglicans on board, both he and his church remain important worldwide.

If he doesn’t, my gracious lord of Canterbury has a title and nothing else. …

“Rowan Williams may be calling the U.S. and Canadian bluff. Should both then walk away, he may feel many of their friends might be reluctant to cut the Canterbury connection and will leave the U.S. and Canada to their fates. Dr. Williams will then have saved the bulk of the Communion, Anglican Christianity will still matter.”

- Christopher Johnson, writing on “Da Bomb?” Saturday at the Midwest Conservative Journal

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