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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    ‘Piss Christ’ shows reaction of Christians to blasphemy

    Regarding his letter to the editor yesterday, I would like to direct Yuksel Keskin to the 1988 controversy surrounding Andres Serrano’s highly publicized photograph “”Piss Christ.”” In his piece, Serrano submerged a Christian crucifix in a glass of urine, and this depiction was displayed as art throughout the U.S. and Europe.
    “”Piss Christ”” created a great stir among the world’s 2 billion Christians. The “”Piss Christ”” launched a heated debate in the U.S. Congress, as Serrano’s exhibit was funded by public tax dollars through the National Endowment for the Arts. The nation’s most prominent newspapers ran editorials supporting Serrano’s rights protected under the First Amendment to defame Christianity’s most central and sacred figure. Artists throughout the world even demonstrated in support of the piece.
    Despite global outrage from the Christian community, freedom of speech prevailed. Violent protests did not occur and Serrano did not become a pariah. While “”Piss Christ”” was no less offensive to Christians than the recent cartoon depicting Mohammad was to Muslims, the Christian response was stridently different. No violence ensued, no embassies were torched, and no ambassadors were threatened.
    As an American, I don’t care to have my rights to free speech abridged because a group of individuals like the Muslims cannot accept that others do not share their perspective. Contrary to Keskin’s fear that a contest to increasingly disrespect one another’s religions will result from the recent political cartoon, the “”Piss Christ”” failed to spawn a proliferation of similar religious assaults.
    The U.S. Constitution is not based on fear, but on the belief that people will use their freedoms to become the very best that they can become. Free speech cannot be compromised by the demands and pressures of religious or political groups. Where, Keskin, would that end? Whose religion should the First Amendment bow to? Yours? Mine? Buddhists’? I advance that it is the Muslims who must exercise more tolerance. Freedom of speech, held so sacred in the Western world, has been compromised far enough.

    Joanna Egleston
    UA alumna

    Many Muslims part of the ‘free world’
    In a column yesterday, Caitlin Hall expressed outrage that the American public has failed to grasp the fact that a cartoon printed in a right-wing Danish newspaper and the subsequent backlash represents a “”cultural war between Islam and the free world.”” Let’s remember for a moment the fact that of the 15 million Muslims living in Europe, a small percentage expressed public outrage. Let’s remember that the world’s largest democracy, India, is home to more than 100 million Muslims and that the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia, is a democracy. Finally, let us bear in mind that the protests erupted only after Saudi Arabia, one of America’s closest allies, called for protests. All this leaves very little evidence for Hall’s bankrupt theory of some great clash of civilization between “”the free world”” – us, the good guys – and “”Islam”” – all 1.4 billion adherents.
    However, there is still an inkling of truth lingering somewhere in Hall’s column. She expressed dismay about the media’s self-censorship, and she expresses fear of radical religious fundamentalism. I share her concerns. The U.S. media not only practices self-censorship but self-delusion in its coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As the Bush administration’s causes for war have changed, the media have diligently followed suit. First the war on Iraq was about weapons of mass destruction, then it was about fighting al-Qaida and now, apparently, it’s about “”the value of freedom,”” to use Hall’s words, whatever they’re supposed to mean. The Chinese Communist Party has a “”Propaganda Department”” to instill this type of disciplined conformity. We in the U.S. just have well-trained journalists. As for religious fundamentalists, I’d recommend that Hall worry more about the millenarian radicals currently in power in the U.S. They’re the ones who actually have weapons of mass destruction.

    Sandy Marshall
    Near Eastern studies graduate student

    Flag proposal an empty gesture
    Congratulations to former UA student Tyler Mott and Arizona state Rep. Russell Pearce for proving that Samuel Johnson was right, and that patriotism is indeed the last refuge of the scoundrel. Pearce’s concern for recognizing our common heritage is touching and totally irrelevant to flags in classrooms. If these two men are indeed sincere in wanting to inculcate college students with feelings of civic pride, then let them do it meaningfully. Sponsor a bill requiring students to learn about Abigail Adams’ attempts to have the rights of women as well as men recognized in the Declaration of Independence. Mandate that a civic values course be taught to all incoming freshmen so that they remember the work of Mother Jones, who dedicated her life to the abolition of child labor and agitating for better working conditions for all Americans. Hold an ethics appreciation day on the UA Mall to celebrate the leaders of the Sanctuary Movement, who sacrificed their freedom to help protect Latin American refugees from torture and murder. This is the common heritage we should be most proud of, and this is what our state legislators should be celebrating. But please, do not resort to charades of tired patriotism that Samuel Johnson warned against; patriotism whose dishonesty is all too clearly betrayed by the meager gesture of putting 2-by-3-foot nylon rectangles in dark classroom corners.
    I have never pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States nor to any other country, and I never intend to. “”A flag,”” in the words of the immortal Bill Hicks, “”is a piece of cloth.”” All too often opportunistic politicians like Pearce use it to rally people to causes of mindless nationalism and imperial aggression. No. I pledge allegiance to values of justice, peace and equality – values, not empty slogans and symbols, which for more than 200 years have inspired American citizens to work toward a better world.

    Joel Feinman
    law student

    Classroom flags would cost poor schools dearly
    This is in response to the recent news article about Rep. Russell Pearce’s bill that would require 2-by-3-foot American flags to be displayed and maintained in every public classroom. This proposed bill is basically mandated patriotism and represents everything our country doesn’t stand for. It’s sad that our representatives have concerned themselves with this rather than actually doing their jobs and managing more important matters. This issue does not only affect the UA but also the poorer schools in the state, where the need for educational resources is at a premium. Each flag would be essentially taking a schoolbook out of the hands of a child. The American flag should be displayed as a great symbol of our country and not tacked onto every whiteboard across the state in excess.

    Andrew Austin
    media arts senior

    Homosexuality a ‘mental disease’
    I found Wendy Watters’ letter yesterday nauseating. She offered an example of a couple spending 20 years together, but “”long-term gay-relationship”” is an oxymoron, especially since most refuse to be with one partner, contract HIV, commit suicide or overdose on drugs because they are so depressed with their lives. Perhaps they are depressed because they are living an unclean and Godless lifestyle. These “”relationships”” should not be encouraged, and it is time to focus on putting an end to deviant behavior. Let’s spend our tax money on research for curing this mental disease instead of trying to make people feel good by saying it’s OK.
    I’m tired of liberals trying to justify any type of behavior simply because they are too emotional to make the proper judgments in life. One does not need a psychology degree (sham degree) to see the low self-esteem that is pervasive among gays and the left, where self-hatred is the trend. Those who need constant affirmation of their lifestyle by others will never find happiness. Pull yourself out of the gutter and don’t live sleazy, then maybe you won’t be so miserable.

    Gabriel Leake
    mathematics senior

    Affirmative action stinks
    This is in response to Francisco Gonzalez’s letter yesterday and affirmative action: It doesn’t surprise me that someone who represents affirmative action wants to twist and distort the Constitution to suit the needs of poor, always-the-victim minorities.The Constitution was written so that all men would be treated equally. Whites, blacks and anyone else in this country … even the ones who don’t belong here.
    There is no nonsense about quotas or making excuses for the lazy people who wonder why they can’t get ahead in the world. If the minorities put as much effort into schoolwork and finding a job as they do into bitching about “”rich white people,”” maybe they’d finally be able to begin to move up in the world. Our Founding Fathers had a vision when they wrote the Constitution. That vision did not include hiring underqualified people to meet quotas, or seeing two guys holding hands walking down the street.

    Rob Monteleone
    media arts senior

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