Every year during the holiest week on the Christian calendar, believers' remembrances of the passion and resurrection of Christ must compete with egg-dropping expeditions of ubiquitous bunnies. But, as in the case of the fat guy in the red suit, we put up with a degree of secular mythology. It goes with our society's pluralistic territory.
So maybe Christians should not be surprised when secular images are melded with the sacred and plastered on the cover of a respected magazine. Who can know what muse moved Art Spiegelman to sketch "Theology of the Tax Cut," a businessman-bunny crucified on a tax form? Or what the editors of the New Yorker had in mind when they ran it on their cover during Holy Week?
But it is one more affirmation that the impact of the cross has lost its meaning for many in our society. Madonna's frivolous use of the cross to define her quasi-religious persona has spurred its marketability within mainstream culture. But its significance has also been lost more generally, as evidenced by the jewelry store clerk who asked a customer if she wanted the plain cross necklace or the one with the "little man" on it.
Spiegelman's work has sarcastically exploited the image in an attempt to engage in a political discussion (tax reform) that has little to do with the essence of the crucifixion.
The cross represents the most wrenching, the most mystical, and the most heart-sickening moment of Christian faith. So its image is important-no, sacred-to us, and we must resist attempts to trivialize it.
Although Spiegelman illustrated a history of the Holocaust in cartoon form (portraying Jews as mice and Germans as cats), we cannot imagine that the New Yorker would so stridently diminish that tragedy by depicting Santa Claus ...1
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