Originally published as an April 4, 2009 entry on the Everyday Citizen website
I had the idea for this cartoon from an article in either the L.A. Times or the San Francisco Chronicle a few weeks ago about a woman who was saddened by seeing a Proposition 8 sign at the lawn of her parents’ home. As I’ve done a few of these cartoons, I have a general idea on the types of cartoons that I want to make. I don’t have it in me to make an angry satirical cartoon like Boondocks or an anarchic comedy like Berke Breathed’s Bloom County. Both are wonderful cartoons, but I don’t have that sort of humor or bite. I’m trying instead for something more gentle. Marjane Sartrapi’s Persepolis has been a major influence on me ever since I read it a few weeks ago. Her graphic novel is very humane in its treatment of the Iranian people. I also aspire to have the insight of Jules Feiffer, the great political cartoonist of the Village Voice. In my last few cartoons, I was helped in the dialogues of the cartoon by my wife Lisa.
For 8 years I attended an evangelical church. From my experiences, I have very mixed feelings about Conservative Christians. They are for the most part very nice and very sincere people. A literal interpretation of the Bible, though, can make these very nice people do very cruel things to individuals who do not conform to their Biblical understanding of things: to gays, to divorcees, to unmarried couples living together, as well as to others. I’ve witnessed individuals who do not conforme suffer ostracism and innuendos and cruel gossip. I witnessed these things and did nothing to help these individuals. At some point I became involved in a few conflicts and started experiencing similar harassment and no one was there to help me. It was a lesson I needed to learn.
Though I left that church several years ago, I know a few individuals who stay in evangelical churches who are more liberal than their fellow churchgoers. Last year I wrote a few blogs against Prop 8, but I wanted to be careful not to lump all Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons together with those Christians who are against gay rights. While I was in that church, I know that individuals are pressured to let the group think for them. An individual learns to doubt his or her own judgement as the group belittles any difference of opinion. And one sees the consequences of thinking differently.
During the Prop 8 season, I thought that the best way to fight for gay rights was to to have liberal or gay Christians challenge the Catholic, Evangelical and Mormon churches from the inside. If the root to a lot of homophobia is religion, then it seems that to try to stop homophobia one must try to change religion. I wrote that Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons who are gay or who have gay friends and family members should speak out and challenge homophobia within their churches. In writing this I know that I’m asking a lot of them. During most of my time in that evangelical church, I didn’t have the courage to speak out. If one can find the courage to do so, an individual can really help change the church for the better. It’s easy for churchgoers to discount gay activists who protest outside church walls. But it’s harder for these churchgoers to discount their fellow churchgoers who speak out for gay rights from inside their congregation.
One of my favorite books is Ripples Of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches. In reading the history of civil rights speeches, from the abolition movement, the women’s suffrage movement, the African American civil rights movement, and the movement for Native Americans and other groups, I noticed how interconnected all of these movements are.
Corretta Scott King noted that gays and lesbians were participating in the African American Civil Rights campaigns in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida at a time when gays and lesbians were being harassed themselves. Corretta Scott King said in a speech in Atlanta, Georgia, November 9, 2000:
“We have a lot of work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say ‘common struggle,’ because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry & discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.”
If you enjoy this cartoon, take a look at these links for more of my political cartoons at Everyday Citizen:
Jasper Tackles Health Care
Jasper Protests the War
Jasper and the Economy
Jasper Sings a Protest Song
Jasper Meets a Poet
Jasper At A Detention Center
A Cartoon about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
A Cartoon about My Experience in an Evangelical Church
A Cartoon about Political Debate