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Direct Response from Jeff MacDonald

John on March 9, 2006 at 10:49 pm

I sent Jeff MacDonald (the capitalist piglet cartoonist) a link to this earlier post about the controversy and asked him to consider commenting. He replied by e-mail a few hours later:

i’m sorry i dont have time to address all of your comments, but i will start with this. do you live in saskatoon? if not, you might not understand that the muslim population here is pretty much a terrified minority which is rather opressed by the racist white bigot majorty. printing muslim cartoons serves no purpose here.

sorry i dont have more time, you seem smart and i wish i could say more with you, but i have a lot of things to do right now.

thanks for your time, and i’ll do my best to show my respect by getting back to you in a greater and more polite manner.

First, I appreciate Jeff’s willingness to take responsibility for the cartoon and to engage his critics. I have no first hand experience of life in Saskatoon, but I find it hard to believe the people there are all racists and bigots.

As for publishing the Muslim cartoons, they may indeed serve no purpose in Saskatoon or anywhere for that matter. I’m not on that particular bandwagon. But I’m not sure the piglet cartoon served any purpose either.

I want to be as fair to Jeff as possible. There is certainly room and even need at times for a prophetic Christian voice which reminds the church that comfort is not its aim. As Jesus said “You can not serve both God and money.” Maybe delivering that message is part of God’s purpose for Jeff as it has been for some great men in the history of the church, not the least of which was Martin Luther. I have no problem with that in theory.

But if I can put on my critic hat for a moment, what the cartoon itself lacks is any framing element or sense of perspective. It was after all, Jesus who made this statement about money! He did not (does not) worship at the altar of cash flow. Therefore if, as is surely the case, some Christians in today’s world worship a “false Christ” whose chief interest is money, fire away. Show them to by hypocrites. Mock that. You do us a service. But make it clear that it is a false Christ they worship, not the man who said “You can not serve God and money.”

There are many ways this distinction could have been communicated without watering down the message or losing the edginess. For instance, the piglet could be engaged with a blow-up doll version of Jesus. This would make clear that we are dealing with an idol, not the genuine article. Or had this been a cartoon featuring Benny Hinn on his knees — an “evangelist” who lives not far from where I live in Orange County in a $10 million mansion — you would have made a valid point. Again, it is not Jesus who is the problem, it is certain of his so-called servants. As it is, the cartoon comes across as a blanket statement meant to rebuke all Christians, not just those that behave like pigs.Can you see the difference, Jeff?

I think the most charitable view is that Jeff had a point, but somewhere it became muddled. The result is an unintentional broadside that “has no love” and little insight. Anyway, that’s how I see it. That said, I do hope Jeff will come back and discuss it further when his time allows.

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Category: Absurd & Outrageous |

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