Although I'm pretty much a garden-variety atheist, count me squarely with the "shitcan it" camp on the Jesus of the Week question. At its best, this new feature is just another (yawn) style-without-substance trifle that only other hipper-than-thou types will "get."
At its worst (which it usually is), it's mean-spirited and hateful, meant to make a category of people uncomfortable. I don't like it for the same reason I don't have some silly-ass Darwin plaque on my car--I don't think it's real cool to hurt somebody's feelings for sport.
Oops! Does that mean I believe in something?
Speaking as a born-again Baptist, I must say I am appalled at the lack of understanding and humor displayed by my fellow believers regarding the Jesus of the Week business.
Dr. Francis S. Schaeffer (The God Who Is There, etc.) and his son have published book-length critiques of Christian kitsch that make anything Jesus of the Week has shown us seem mild in comparison. Modern mainstream Christian art and music are really quite awful, especially when compared to the cutting-edge and engaging works of centuries ago--this is the shameful reality, not that someone is holding up bad Christian imagery as an object of fun. Personally, I find Jesus of the Week to be quite amusing, albeit a bit tame--has Peter Gilstrap never visited the American South? The sheer magnitude of some of the horrible examples there beggars description.
To Gilstrap's credit, he did include one of my personal bad Jesus pictures, that of Christ knocking on the U.N.--please. I can see Jesus going in with a whip made of knotted ropes and clearing out that den of thieves, but that hideously bland image of the ninety-foot baa-lamb...well, never mind.
As far as bad art from other faiths goes--I've been all over the world, and let me tell you, bad Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, etc., art abounds. At least the Muslims have the good sense to take the Ten Commandments seriously when it says "no graven images."
Again, I implore my Christian brethren to stop taking themselves so seriously. This is good fun. If you can't appreciate the silliness of it all, then get a better education in the bases of your own faith.
Keep up the good work, Peter Gilstrap; you haven't even scratched the surface yet.
Peter F. Johnson
I realize there is probably some talent behind Jesus of the Week, but it's lost amid the sludge of bad taste. Maybe Hustler or another quality publishing company would be interested in such garbage.
via the Internet
This is in response to all the high-and-mighty Christians out there who obviously believe their religion is beyond ridicule and criticism. As an atheist, I find it very rare to see my beliefs supported in this Judeo-Christian society. Everyone from the President to our own Governor is a card-carrying Christian--I find this horrifying and sickening. Every time I turn around in this city, everything is closed for either some stupid mind-numbing sport (i.e., football) or yet another Christian-based holiday. If the city is going to shut down for Easter, then the city needs to shut down for Yom Kippur, Yule, Candelmas and every other pagan, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Islamic religious day.
One of the few reliefs I get from this Christian-based society is Peter Gilstrap's column. I won't threaten Westword with the same idle words that Christians would, e.g., "If you stop printing Jesus of the Week, I'm going to stop reading your paper." There's more to this paper than one single column. If the Christians in this city don't want to read Jesus of the Week, they can pay 25 cents for the News and get the Christian propaganda comic Family Circle. I think I'll stick with the free, open-minded and tasteful paper--without the Christian fluff.
via the Internet
I understand that many of your readers are enraged by a feature known as Jesus of the Week. They insist that you cease publishing something that they personally find offensive. I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that there was something in this country called freedom of speech. And yet something else known as freedom of the press. If you don't like a column, a cartoon, a story, a movie review or what have you, you have the right to not read it. But you do not have the right to prevent me from being able to read it.
I was born and raised Catholic, and yet I do not find Mr. Gilstrap's weekly contribution offensive. I find it to be often clever and occasionally tasteless. However, the Bible itself preaches you should turn the other cheek. I cannot for the life of me recall any passage of the Bible that calls for believers to censor secular publications that they find offensive. Maybe I missed that particular verse...
via the Internet
Having been a left-leaning, younger person, I thought we held the moral high ground--you know, anti-bigotry, racism, the war, etc.--but the left no longer holds the moral high ground; in fact, it has given the Clinton mess a green light from the feminists and has given the "okay" for NAFTA and GATT (which, by any measure, is anti-labor) I could catalogue the hypocrisy of your stance, because the remnants of the tattered left have become the bigots. Your insistence on running the Jesus of the Week dig is a glaring example of what I'm pointing out.
I'll spare you another "good works" catalogue here. Jesus happens to be the inspiration for many good works, even though much evil has been done in his name. But it has occurred to me that you, on the left, have become your own brand of the KKK. I'm sending examples of your "cartoon" to the Southern Poverty Law Center to see if, in their opinion, it fits the definition of bigotry.
B. T. Raven
via the Internet
I have but no sympathy for the kind folk who are trying to bully Westword into obliterating Jesus of the Week from the Westword comedy lineup. Everybody has their own preference in reading material, and if something offends them, it is nobody's problem but their own. I sincerely hope that Westword will not be pushed around by this self-righteous bickering, as I, along with many other readers, get a kick out of Jesus of the Week, and furthermore believe that free speech is universal. I can respect people regardless of their choices and beliefs. I have a very difficult time, however, respecting those who feel it's their duty to push other people around and attempt to mold them into something more "satisfactory" to their own liking. Nothing can please 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time!
I do not believe in repression and do not believe that Westword should repress itself to appease a few people who can't leave well enough alone without screwing it up for everybody else. I refuse to let a bitchy few deprive me of Jesus of the Week, and I'm sure Westword would rather not see its journalistic integrity compromised to satisfy their demands.
When The 700 Club comes on, I change the channel. Sandra Metz, cronies alike: Can you turn the page?
Nicholas A. Langewis
Action...reaction. I know Westword continues to feature Jesus of the Week to generate readers' letters. This is my last letter to you regarding the unfunny cartoon. Westword is just pushing the right button. It will die a slow death if we ignore it.
Man Bites Dog
Regarding Julie Jargon's "Dog Eat Dog," in the March 25 issue:
I have been a resident of Colorado for more than fifty years. I have only one thing to say to the prairie dog advocates: Go back to where you came from and take the damned things with you!
Kudos to you for writing such a comprehensive article about the current plight of the black-tailed prairie dog in Colorado. I have only one criticism--your implication that animal-rights activists made fools of themselves at the recent subcommittee hearings on SB 111. I believe they did quite the contrary. It takes courage, persistence and unending dedication to pursue something that is "the right thing to do," even in the face of tremendous opposition and public indifference.
Many people think animal-rights activists are fanatics. Well, so are the admirers of sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, rock stars, Fortune-500 CEOs and other figures who, for some reason, have captivated public adulation. It takes more courage to stand up for one's beliefs--even if it's about saving an important animal from threatened extinction--than it does to follow the mass of uninformed public opinion. Mrs. Boucher and her family have donated countless hours of their time and hard-earned money to help establish a prairie preserve in southeastern Colorado--not just for prairie dogs, but for a cadre of other non-game wildlife.
Incidentally, the handwritten letter she read aloud to Senate subcommittee members was from our very own vice president, Al Gore, who supports environmental causes.
I say kudos to people who want to make a difference!
The fact that a law has existed since 1927 calling for the extermination of prairie rats, and the fact that they remain the bane of the West, would lead a person with some common sense to assume that they are not endangered.
"Status to be determined" indeed! I work near the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and know for a fact that prairie rats are like flies in a feedlot out there. A person could go there and shoot prairie rats all day every day for a year and not even make a dent.
To the Boulderites and various other earth muffins involved in rat rescue--your purchase of the Baca County property may, hopefully, have been in vain. The farmers, ranchers and people like myself generally support property rights. However, this is very similar to the smoking issue, in that your rights end where my nose begins.
Devils and Angels
Steve Jackson's "Dealing with the Devil" series, in the February 25 through March 18 issues, was the most impressive piece of literature I have read in a tragically long time. The nature of this horrific story dictated that it would be engaging anyway, but Jackson's writing kept me riveted week after week. This is something that will stay with me for a while.
To Brandy DuVall's mother and family: My thoughts are with you as you rebuild and heal. To the bastards who committed this atrocity: I recommend you watch to whom you turn your back or in front of whom you bend in prison; I have a feeling your fellow inmates will make sure that your punishment adequately fits your crime. To the rest of the young girls and women who find themselves at a bus stop or equally inappropriate place at an insane hour of the night: Please heed this one grain of meaning in Brandy's meaningless torture and death--learn from her.
And, on a final note, I must express my confusion with the letters from Salvino Martinez and his stepmother. Why is Steve Jackson being blamed for naming Salvino as a snitch when he was merely reporting the information he received from the authorities and the lawyers? Unless I missed something, Jackson appeared to be very responsible in letting his readers know the true status of Martinez's involvement. If Salvino faces repercussions, I'm not thinking Jackson will be the correct source to blame.
via the Internet
Don't give the devil credit for this one. I was outraged by the actions of so many in this horrible tragedy.
Theresa Swinton and Jose Martinez see themselves as some sort of victims. Jose is a despicable piece of human garbage. While that little girl cried out in agony, he cried about his clothes being dirtied. Theresa is a disgusting example of why some countries practice legalized sterilization. Her children should have been taken from her years ago, when she chose drugs over the well-being of her family. Both Theresa and Jose have the blood of Brandy DuVall on their hands.
I deeply sympathize with Angela Metzger, but as long as parents continue to throw their children to the lions, these sick predators will continue to commit these heinous acts.
There is only one victim in this case, and she is in the arms of the angels. For Brandy, I pray that all the deviant players in this story are extremely tortured for the rest of their pitiful lives.
There is something I want girls to remember: Rape and murder don't only happen to a certain type of person.
You don't have to be wearing a certain color or a certain style of clothing. You don't have to be failing in school, or be a person who gets in trouble. You don't have to be having trouble with your parents. You don't have to be on drugs. You don't have to like rap music or like gangs.
Rape and murder don't only happen at night, and they don't always happen with strangers.
Kids have to always be on guard, watch out for each other and be careful who they trust.
I wish everyone had a chance to know Brandy. She was very special. Brandy wasn't perfect. I never met anyone who is. She had a good heart, and she was a good person. If you were lucky enough to have Brandy's love and friendship, you knew she would do anything for you, and she would be there anytime you needed her.
We need to remember Brandy. We need to tell other kids about her and what happened. I pray every day that what happened to her doesn't happen to anyone else. Rape and murder can happen anytime, anywhere and to anybody. If it happened to Brandy, trust me, it can happen to anyone.
God bless all our children.
Angela Metzger (Brandy DuVall's mom)
Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:
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