I'm offended, you're offended
There's lots of offense being traded around Napa, California. First, an art museum displayed small figurines of Pope John Paul II, nuns, and others pooping. Museum director Peggy Loar explained that the works of Spanish artist Antoni Miralda "symbolize the cycle of eating and fertilization of the earth, which is a requisite for future existence." But Catholic League president William Donohue was as furious as ever. "Artists. California. Alcohol. That's a bad mix," he said in a press release. "Now I get it: to show his appreciation of Mother Earth, Miralda had to show the pope and nuns defecating. But why couldn't he have chosen the Lone Ranger and Tonto instead? Or better yet, just Tonto and a few of his Indian buddies? Wouldn't that be a more earthy statement of the kind we're supposed to believe Miralda wants to convey?"
Now California artist Jon Howard, who is part Cherokee, is suing the Catholic League for libel, and is seeking $100 million. In court papers obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, Howard says Donohue's remark exposed him "to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it impugns that American Indians are Tonto (the Spanish word for stupid) and that California artists are somehow 'bad.'" Howard says he deserves $100 million for the "loss of reputation, mortification, and hurt feelings" due to the remark.
Catholic League spokesman Patrick Scully says the lawsuit is "absurd on its face." Maybe, but doesn't the whole thing just make you giggle?
Christian rumor of the day
Even the wonderful urban-legend-busting site Snopes.com doesn't have this one yet. "Taco Bell has begun giving out tarot cards in their Kids Meals," warns the American Family Association. "[The tarot card promotion] is part of an occult [sic] because these cards teach kids that they can predict [their own] future … simply by turning over a playing card," AFA special projects director Randy Sharp tells AgapePress (which again doesn't mention that it too is part of AFA). "This is very dangerous, especially when you look at the occult [and] the controversy that Harry Potter brings with magical spells and sorcery." The AgapePress story is pretty hilarious once you realize how wrong it is. Kudos to Kathy Shaidle and her wonderful RelapsedCatholic.com for noticing the AgapePress story and uncovering the truth: Taco Bell isn't giving out tarot cards. It's giving out cards based on Cardcaptors—a Japanese card game and television show somewhat like PokÉmon. There's still a strong element of magic and mysticism in the game ("Capture the Mystic Fun," says the Taco Bell promotion), but they're manifestly not tarot cards. Shaidle wrote to AgapePress and the AFA saying they were wrong ("This is one of my tedious little hobbyhorses," she said on RelapsedCatholic.com. "When culturally-illiterate Christians spread these dopey urban legends, they make us all look like jerks."), and they fired back. "The AFA and Agape responded very quickly—and unsatisfactorily," she wrote yesterday.
Their emails were written in the smug, self-satisfied voice of The True Believer—dripping with sarcasm, as angry peoples' missives always are. I was informed I didn't understand the situation because I didn't "have a close, personal relationship with Jesus," etc. The Agape News Editor's response was particularly disturbing: he honestly didn't care that his "news service" had called something a Tarot card that was demonstrably not a Tarot card. So much for "accuracy in media." We Christians blow up when secular reporters spread misinformation about our faith—but say "So what?" when we get our facts wrong. And then wonder why we're not taken seriously.
Amen, sister. Preach it. Well, I'm out of time. Sorry there's not more today. I'm "making a run for the border." (D'oh! Here comes another $100 million lawsuit for using such an offensive phrase.)
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