It would be a grave mistake to underestimate the importance of the public attacks on cartoonist Johnny Hart by various Jewish groups and newspapers. The creator of the comic strip “B.C.” is being savagely maligned for drawing a comic strip honoring Easter. In my opinion, these assaults are but one tactic in a larger strategy of anti-Christian activism in America.
Before I proceed to make the case, it is necessary that I reveal my partisan and vested interest in this story. Johnny Hart is a friend of mine, not merely an acquaintance, but a dear and beloved friend. We are both nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate, and we are both devout Christians.
Furthermore, we are collaborating on a work of fiction called “The Remnant — A Prophetic Fable,” which I wrote and he illustrated. Having successfully completed a field test, we will be publishing a hardcover edition this fall along with an “audio drama” version on tape and compact disc.
I also want to be perfectly clear that I do not speak for Creators Syndicate or for Johnny Hart.
Click to view full size version of Johnny Hart’s ‘B.C.’ cartoon for Easter 2001.
This is how the assault on Johnny Hart unfolded. On Apr. 8, 2001, the Jewish Defense League announced it had received an advance copy of the Hart comic strip scheduled to be published on Easter Sunday. Under the direction of JDL Chairman Irv Rubin, the JDL website characterized the strip as “highly crude, insulting, and an example of outright Jew-hatred. … It is telling Christians to destroy our religion in the name of Jesus.” Readers and supporters were urged to call newspapers and encourage them not to print the strip.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, fretted that “the syndicated comic strip, ‘B.C.’ by Johnny Hart … is a canard against the Jewish people and will promote hatred rather than tolerance and diversity.” He said newspaper publishers had a responsibility not to print it.
Abraham Foxman, who heads the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, said the cartoon “conveys the message that Christianity has replaced Judaism.” Rabbi Jack Moline of Alexandria, Va., was quoted in The Washington Post as saying, “Johnny Hart has reached a new pinnacle in his annual offensiveness.”
Days before Hart’s Easter strip was to appear, the Los Angeles Times announced that after 33 years, “B.C.” was being permanently discontinued. Their contention that this had nothing to do with the upcoming Easter strip is ludicrous. They have been after Hart for years, frequently censoring his strip because of its Christian messages.
This is the same newspaper that printed a weeklong series of Garry Trudeau’s comic strip, “Doonesbury,” which carried the fraudulent message that the Catholic Church historically encouraged and performed homosexual marriages.
What we have in view is an orchestrated attack on the public expression of Christian faith even, if you can believe it, in a comic strip. That the attack was orchestrated is not in doubt. The illegal circulation and printing of the strip, the barrage of published criticism, the news releases, and the open intimidation of newspapers, all happened days, and in some cases, weeks before the strip was published. It was an ambush.
The strip in question shows the Jewish menorah gradually transforming into the Christian cross. It is a historic fact that Christianity evolved out of Judaism. This is what Hart’s drawings were saying. This is the standard belief of most Christians. Surely they may express this belief without being called hatemongers.
The Hart strip was not about the end of or the replacement of the Jews. The Old Testament is a venerated part of the Christian Bible. Jesus made it clear that He did not come to replace the law of the Old Testament, but to fulfill it.
It is becoming obvious that hackles go up and the knives come out anytime the name “Jesus” is used in a public forum. I would be greatly surprised if there is not a backlash to this form of anti-Christian bigotry. I pity The Los Angeles Times and other cowardly publications when they reap the retribution of outraged subscribers and advertisers.