Letters From the Issue of Thursday, September 28, 2006

Borne Again

In the other guy's shoes: I enjoyed the cartoon story by Jim Mahfood and Stephen Lemons ("The Passion of El Cristo," September 14), maybe because I spent 20 years on the west side of town in an area that was 95 percent Mexican.

I met a gentle migrant worker in a Mexican bar where I went to play pool. He had been so poor all his life he had never even acquired a taste for beer. As a result he played very smart pool, but his skin was so permeated with the perfume of the onions he was picking every day that I almost had to stand back from him a little.

He told me he had walked to the United States through the desert from Mexico three times. One day he was picked up by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, jailed for a couple of weeks, and deported to Mexico. In the time it took him to walk back, he appeared again.

Most people I know concede that if they had it very rough where they lived, they would take a chance on becoming an illegal and hoofing it north.

I've been to clinics here where nearly all the patients were Mexican. My boyfriend would swear and point out how many of the young girls were pregnant and dragging two or three little ones. He would say how disgusting it was, but I thought that was ironic because he had migrated from Canada years before. He had a green card, but he was always afraid he would do something wrong somehow and get deported back to the Canada he had left 30 years before.

The point is, it is very tough to migrate to another country, but we all had ancestors who did.

I say if you are really a Christian, you treat the Mexicans with respect. You are not mean to them, and you don't call them names.

All the officials lampooned in this cartoon feature are guilty of insensitivity toward their fellow human beings, at the very least, if not downright inhumanity. Your point is well taken. The whole idea of Christianity is the challenge to remain civil and compassionate no matter the provocation.

Don't get me wrong, I've met some very bad criminals who were Mexican, too. But I was living in poverty some of the time I was living in the Mexican area, and, overall, the Mexicans were the most accepting people in the world. In their world, I was never put down for falling on hard times.
Geraldine Hitt, Phoenix

Yeah, we need bifocals, too: "The Passion of El Cristo" was a joke, wasn't it? I mean, instead of sophisticated and insightful investigative journalistic comment that is so typical of New Times, you guys printed a poorly drawn comic strip that driveled on for page after miserable page.

Some readers might see through to your message. But most were probably trying to mentally navigate through this atrocious visual nightmare. C'mon, your award-winning newspaper can do better than this!
Scott Hume, Phoenix

Syndicate that savior: Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Now if you could just distribute "The Passion of El Cristo" cartoon feature to every New Times-owned publication in the nation! I can't wait for the next episode.
Name withheld by request

Where's the beef?: Jesus Cristo, what a bad idea! Your cover "article" of September 14 leaves me worried. Is New Times getting reduced to fictitious articles ("Extreme Cuisine," May 11, Stephen Lemons) and comics so much that cover articles are now impacted?

Please keep comics and fiction where they belong within your publication. Quality cover articles are one of your major draws. I enjoyed your paper more when there was less fluff, and I know I'm not alone.
Sue Lawrence, Scottsdale

We'll draw Jesus accurately next time: After seeing the disrespectful and inaccurate portrayal of Jesus on the front cover of your newspaper, as well as the comic inside, I will no longer be able to read your paper.

I understand that your goal as a newspaper is to attract as many readers and advertisers as possible by drawing attention to the cover, but to do so at the expense of the Christian community is poor judgment and taste.

I am 21 years old, which I would assume is one of your target demographics, as I've seen your paper everywhere on the ASU campus. I know many people my age who share similar feelings and are equally offended.

Christians are not all Bible-thumping radicals, but we do value our beliefs enough to have the integrity to stand up for them when we see our God explicitly blasphemed. Because of this, I will discourage those I know from reading or advertising with your company.
Jennifer Gridley, Tempe

. . . And on the seventh day, he finished reading it: As an atheist and ex-Catholic, I really enjoyed your comic strip about Jesus, Sheriff Joe and the other gang of Maricopa County elected crooks. It was funnier than all crap! It was long, but I couldn't put down your paper until I finished it.

I would like to see more New Times issues with full-length comic books like this one, with the same artist and writer. Hell, I didn't even mind the religious theme. It was funny!

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