Last week, as part of its chickenshit approach to the Cartoon War, the Roanoke Times published a couple of columns about the cartoons and their offensiveness. Of particular interest is Tommy Denton’s claim that the Times is No place for offenses against decency, where he notes that
the gentle reader will not see the use of any of those cartoons in question to illustrate the adjoining essays . . . [because] The Roanoke Times has determined that, in its editorial judgment, those cartoons were inappropriate for this newspaper.
Fair enough. Mr. Denton goes on to stroke our sensitivity zones with a more detailed explanation:
Yet a precious few issues require a mature, sensible appreciation for core values that go to the heart of human respect, dignity and decency. To debase or otherwise denigrate the deity or major religious figures in the context of religious faith is to cross the line for this newspaper.
We will not publish a satirical, denigrating characterization of Jesus Christ, the Buddha or Muhammad. We unquestionably have the right to do so, but we reserve the right to do what we believe is right: preserving the sense of respect for that deepest core where the human heart dwells in its transcendent search for ultimate meaning.
Of course, he also includes some Christian-bashing in his column, but that’s to be expected, and there may even be some truth to it.
But, Tommy Denton remains a liar. I refer to the emphasized statement above:
We will not publish a satirical, denigrating characterization of Jesus Christ, the Buddha or Muhammad.
I don’t think I’m reading anything into this statement. According to Tommy Denton, chief liar of the Roanoke Times, the Roanoke Times “will not publish a satirical, denigrating characterization of Jesus Christ, the Buddha or Muhammad.”
So, what do we find in today’s Roanoke Times? There’s a piece in the Religion section by Neely Tucker of the Washington Post. In the Roanoke Times, the piece is titled “Thou shall commit blasphemy? It’s not unlikely in America.” Unfortunately, the Roanoke Times does not include the article in their online version, but it’ s on page 2 of the Extra section in the Saturday, February 18, 2006 edition. The article is available online at several newspapers, with slightly modified titles. For example, in the Wichita Eagle, it appears as Hold your tongue? Blasphemy in America. The article is actually a fairly decent discussion of the “American willingness to offend Christianity, but extend deference to Islam regarding the current batch of Muhammad cartoons….”
In any case, the important part of the story and its relationship with Tommy Denton’s status as a bald-faced liar is the appearance, on page 2 of the Extra section, of this “satirical, denigrating characterization of Jesus Christ”:
Personally, I’m not offended by such images, since generally I can choose to ignore them and I do. However, I do wish we could expect newspaper editors to at least pretend not to be liars. Tommy Denton is neither mature, sensible, or honest.