So many layers…who would have thought AiG could be this sophisticated?

Look at this cartoon. Look at it!

The multi-dimensional wrongness blew my mind. But you know I’m going to have to take it apart, no matter what demons from the pain dimension respond to my provocation.

Let’s start at the top. The Frankenstein’s-monster-headed person is complaining about the hypocrisy of groups imposing their beliefs on others. As examples, he cites:

  • Transgender laws for restrooms: Transgender activists aren’t imposing their beliefs on anyone, they just want the right to pee in private, as I’m sure those Christians also would like. It’s the anti-trans people and Christian lobbyists who want to impose chromosome checks or genital checks or who knows what else on people’s privilege of being able to enter a personal private space for personal private activities.
  • Gay couples suing bakers: Again, these are gay people who just want to buy a cake, like everyone else, who are being denied a common privilege by Christians using the excuse that it’s against their religion to treat one group of citizens differently than another group of citizens.
  • Evolution taught as fact: Right. Because it is. We’d just like to teach the best available explanations with the best available evidence; it’s Christians who have leapt into the fray insisting that we teach bad explanations with no credible evidence to students. I’m afraid that’s what we’re supposed to do in a science class, and it is not acceptable to insert your religious biases and opinions into these kinds of classes. You’ll notice that scientists are not imposing their beliefs on what you get to teach in Sunday school, it’s always the reverse, Christians trying to dictate the content of science classes.
  • Feminist activists marching: How dare women expect equal rights?

What makes this cartoon particularly twisted is that they’re the ones causing problems for everyone else by insisting we must obey their freaky weird rules about gender, sexuality, and science, and all of the things they’re complaining about are people resisting their dominion.

The caption is also fascinating. I agree that standing for a particular belief is obviously in conflict with other beliefs that are in opposition. This idea does put the cartoon in an interesting light, because it means that believing that the things listed are bad makes their opposition clear. So this creepy blockheaded Christian is against equal rights for transgender human beings, is against gay couples loving each other, is against science, and is against women having the same rights as men.. Fine. He just has to acknowledge that opposing those things requires that he impose his beliefs — not his facts, not his evidence — on others.

That last sentence is a killer. The implication is that Jesus stands with their beliefs, not with the oppressed transgender or gay people, and not with the nature of the universe. Yet there are many Christians who are pro-trans rights and gay rights, and who want their kids taught good science, and see no conflict between that and their mythical savior who served the poor and oppressed. Funny how that works, isn’t it? It’s almost as though blockheaded Christians are kind of ridiculous for appropriating that particular figurehead.

Oooh, I seem to have worked my way through the puzzle box. A mysterious man suddenly stands in front of me. “Hey, you don’t look like Jesus! Who are you?”

Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others.

My kind of guy. Let’s go.


  1. woozy says

    You didn’t address “Feminist Activists Marching” and ….. oh, forget it.

  2. raven says

    …Atheistic evolution taught as fact…

    The theory and fact of evolution isn’t atheistic.
    It is a theory of biology, life changing through time and how.
    That is no more atheistic than the theory of gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, or Heliocentrism.
    In fact, most xian sects accept the theory of evolution.

  3. says

    And not one problem is attached to anything in that cartoon. No pain or suffering is put on the person who made the cartoon by people doing or being what the cartoon addresses. All of the pain and suffering comes from the cartoon creator and people sharing those beliefs regardless of origin.

  4. woozy says

    “”Transgender laws for restrooms””

    Actually are there any? I know of proposed (and I’ve been led to believe enacted) anti-trans laws of required biological gender laws but are there any laws the other way that transgendered must be allowed to use the bathroom of their gender. I mean as law? Could you word anything like that in any meaningful way even if you wanted to? (Of course there may be such laws… but are there?)

    It seems the only transgender laws for restrooms I am aware of, are christian anti-trans trying to push the views on other. Which leads me to suing bakers.

    They are only suing those who refuse to sell a cake. And refusing service is pushing your views on others. Suing isn’t imposing any view it’s just… not rolling over and accepting abuse.

    So it truly does seem in every one of these cases they are examples of Christians imposing their views on others. These seems to prove the point they are attempting to refute.

  5. robro says

    My first thought was to say that straw man arguments are typical of religious or ideological zealots, but I wondered if “straw man argument” was the correct term. So I looked it up and discovered this charming fact in Wikipedia (assuming it’s true):

    Perhaps the earliest known use of the phrase [ i.e. straw man argument ] was by Martin Luther in his book The Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), where he is responding to arguments of the Roman Catholic Church and clergy attempting to delegitimize his criticisms, specifically on the correct way to serve the Eucharist. The church claimed Martin Luther is arguing against serving the Eucharist according to one type of serving practice; however, Martin Luther states he never asserted that in his criticisms towards them and in fact they themselves are making this argument. Their persistence in making this false argument causes him to coin the phrase in this statement: “they assert the very things they assail, or they set up a man of straw whom they may attack.”

    There really is nothing new under the sun. I suspect the Jesus saying was itself inserted in the text by somebody who wanted to claim the authority of the God-Man for their position.

  6. says

    Happy to see some Hellraiser love on here. Wait, that sounds wrong…

    My favorite quote from Pinhead is one that I have used quite often, and is VERY applicable to dealing with someone spewing the above cartoon’s nonsense:

    Dᴏ ɪ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ʟɪᴋᴇ ꜱᴏᴍᴇᴏɴᴇ ᴡʜᴏ ᴄᴀʀᴇꜱ ᴡʜᴀᴛ Gᴏᴅ ᴛʜɪɴᴋꜱ?

  7. pilgham says

    I’m stuck at a basic objective fact. Single frame political cartoons are supposed to be funny. Blackly funny often, but funny in some sense. There is nothing funny about that cartoon, unless the woman is supposed to be the guy’s sister, (which would be a bit funny I guess, but then he ought to have made it a bit more obvious.)

  8. anchor says

    @#3: “[The theory and fact of of evolution] is no more atheistic than the theory of gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, or Heliocentricism.”

    One is reminded of how fascist sentiment came to a broil in Nazi Germany with many even in academia succumbing to ridiculing relativity and the new quantum mechanics as “Jewish physics”.

    Whether its religious conviction or political/nationalistic/ideological advocacy, its the same cultural affliction at work: an entitled sense of supremacy which the proponents are convinced have been bestowed on them from ‘The Highest Authority’.

    Oh, how SPECIAL they are. They’re ‘The Chosen’, ya know.

    Just look at the expressions drawn on those preposterous ‘Exeter people’ in the cartoon.

  9. weylguy says

    I don’t see a wedding ring on the man’s finger in the first graphic. What’s he doing in bed with the woman if he’s a true Christian?

  10. says

    “…. Gay couples suing bakers: Again, these are gay people who just want to buy a cake, like everyone else, who are being denied a common privilege by Christians using the excuse that it’s against their religion to treat one group of citizens differently than another group of citizens ….”

    Am I misreading, or isn’t it the case that these Christians want to treat gay people differently than other groups?

    Oughtn’t it read “…. to treat one group the same as another group of citizens?”

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    raven @ # 3: … no more atheistic than the theory of gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics, or Heliocentrism.

    None of which include any gods, sfaik.

    pilgham @ # 8: … cartoons are supposed to be funny.

    The implied contradiction between asserted impositions by All Those People and implied impositions by True™ Christians© is at least as funny as all other Christian humor.

    weylguy @ # 12: I don’t see a wedding ring on the man’s finger … What’s he doing in bed with the woman …?

    Good catch, in that she has a ring and he doesn’t. Otoh, that looks a lot more like a couch than a bed, and street clothes rather than pajamas. Still, let’s not take chances – stone them both at the city gates!

  12. says

    The cartoon cites to Luke 11:23, part of a scene in which Jesus supposedly drives out a demon who had made a man mute. One wonders if the person who spewed forth the out-of-context “Whoever is not with me is against me” looked at the context of that phrase — either the “whole story” (about 85 words) or even just the preceding sentence.

    Naaah. I don’t wonder at all, on this evidence. But then, the context of their faith is what “justifies” their dismissiveness of the Others. As the crowd proclaimed to Bwyan of Nazaweth in unison, “Yes! We are all individuals!”

  13. says

    Jesus said “Whoever is not with me is against me.” George Bush said the same thing to justify invading Iraq and Afghanistan and that turned out really well.

  14. says

    J.P. Monroe: Jesus Christ!
    Pinhead: Not quite.

    Related to the comic, I mentioned wanting to connect these social beliefs and behaviors to a feeling of vulnerability from the irrational behavior. “Shit social threat sense” is meant to appeal to self-interest on some level. To the audience if nothing else. A waste of fear, anger and disgust.

  15. Kagehi says

    @3 Raven

    The theory and fact of evolution isn’t atheistic.

    No, its even stupider than that. The poster child for this nonsense is the head of Prager University, and he has repeatedly had pointed out to him that his own stance on the subject has changed from, “Evolution never happened at all.”, to, “I 100% agree that change happens within species (aka kinds), and can even eventually product things that a) don’t breed with each other, and b) sometimes look very different than the original, but I have instead decided to keep beating the dead horse of my strawman version of evolution, which no one has EVER put in any text book, in which crazy shit like rabbits turning into elephants in a single generation happen.”

    Basically, he is a disingenuous ass, who is so convinced that the “Bible” is truth, that he has to ignore even the reality of his own reason and comprehension about how the world actually works, in order to construct idiocies (especially about evolution and science), which would make the worst Star Trek writer ask themselves, “Did we go too far this time in completely getting everything wrong, in order to construct as weird fictional story?” Except, those people just treat “sound” science like its the word spam of nonsense that is used to construct Star Trek technology, while Prager, specifically, and his fans, who are pushing these insane things, actually think its sound strategy to apply them to “reality”.

    Now, I need to go align the field coils in the dilithium matrix for the Heisenberg compensator in my sonic shower, or something… lol

  16. beholder says

    Yet there are many Christians who are pro-trans rights and gay rights, and who want their kids taught good science, and see no conflict between that and their mythical savior who served the poor and oppressed. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

    The human ability to compartmentalize and selectively ignore contradictory beliefs is a thing of wonder. Take almost any political stance out there and you’ll find a Christian who agrees with you. Chances are they can find something in the Bible that says it’s a good idea.

  17. Kagehi says

    I would argue that this level of compartmentalization is on the mad, mad, mad, mad level of, “Part of my reality existing in actual reality, but everything else literally exists, inside my head, in the magical land of Narnia where a talking lion tells me that gay people are out to get me!” One starts to wonder if, maybe, the wide spread existence of this level of loony, which prevents it being labelled as a form of dysphoria, or other disorder, doesn’t mask a very real question that should be asked, “How much can someone compartmentalize their world views before it becomes a disfunction and illness?” Because, kind of like how the “courts” can’t challenge religion, because any batshit insane thing someone hold true for themselves, even if its contradicted by the very thing they wave around and claim it came from, there seems to be a default category of, “Yeah, we could ask someone to show how this makes sense, and/or question if it should be considered sane, but we won’t, because that might lead to someone poking holes in some other thing too, and man what a can of worms would that turn into.”

    But, seriously, some of this level of… yikes!!!

  18. rietpluim says

    Conservative Christians actually believe this. They don’t just throw in fallacies to win an argument, they genuinely think that equal rights for everyone is an infringment of theirs.

  19. monad says

    So the man is a hypocritical bigot, and both him and the woman are drawn in a strangely unappealing style, but I have to admit some begrudging for reading a newspaper written in cuneiform and hieroglyphics.

  20. rietpluim says

    Also, making a cartoon character say something allegedly witty with no relation whatsoever to the situation they are in or the person they are with, is bad cartooning. It makes the drawing superfluous. The author could have saved themselves some work by just writing it down.

  21. rietpluim says

    And now we’re at it, “you are either for me or against me” is one if the most toxic reasonings there have ever been.

  22. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    I’ll give AIG this. They’re right that you shouldn’t be neutral. Howard Zinn made that clear. It’s just that they’re the bad guys, and everyone should be not-neutral against them.

    @20: It’s much more basic than that. They’re authoritarians. Just like fascists will tolerate women and certain minorities until they win, the authoritarian fundies also tolerate sectarian differences until they win. Then the entire history of Christianity proves they will stop caring about the unity of Christendom and kill their sectarian opponents. For now, AIG and their ilk will make weak-tea nods to unity, but only under their terms.