28-September-2000 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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PROTEST AT ANTI-CATHOLIC CARTOON IN DETROIT NEWSPAPER

DETROIT, (CWNews.com) - Michigan Catholics on Wednesday protested an editorial cartoon in the Detroit Free Press newspaper that they said had was anti-Catholic.

The cartoon by Mike Thompson and featured on the newspaper's editorial page and web site features a Constitution-shredding machine called the Vouch-o-Matic, satirizing a proposed school voucher program that would allow parents to choose to which schools their children can attend using tax-dollars allocated for their education as a means to divert tax dollars to the Catholic Church.

The text of the cartoon reads: "Introducing the amazing Vouch-o-Matic! Yes, the Vouch-o-Matic! It slices, dices, chops, and shreds cherished constitutional principles!! It can suck millions out of public education while defying accountability! The Amazing vouch-o-matic blows enough smoke to blind thousands of voters! But wait! There's more! Order now and receive this wooden nickel absolutely free!! To order, rush your tax dollars to: The Roman Catholic Church c/o Kids First! Yes! Order Now!"

Kids First! Yes! is a group sponsoring a school-choice ballot initiative in Michigan, a proposal that has received support from Michigan Catholics.

In an open letter to the newspaper, Ned McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, said: "In no uncertain terms, the cartoon crosses the line of reasoned commentary. It is vitriolic, misleading and, most troubling of all, blatantly anti-Catholic." McGrath demanded a repudiation of the cartoon's "Anti-Catholic sentiment" before the archdiocese would again work with the Detroit Free Press. "Let me be clear," he wrote, "your response cannot equivocate. Past performance cannot mitigate your position. The issue is this cartoon, not previous or future coverage."

Sister Monica Kostielney, president of the Michigan Catholic Conference, called the cartoon inflammatory, shameful, and filled with hate. "For this kind of religious bigotry to grace the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper as a legitimate editorial expression is inconceivable in civil society," she said.

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