Students at a New York high school just south of state capitol Albany wearing a T-shirt showing support for the U.S. Army National Guard were told to remove them or leave. A young person wearing an “I am the G’damned Batman” (the word G was spelled out) at the annual Carnival of a Christian Church-school in York PA, did so in plain view of many hundreds of grammar school and high school students and families attending their popular annual Carnival. But the Church rejected the complaint of a parishioner to eject that person or make him remove the offensive T-shirt.
What’s wrong with this picture, and what do the two situations have in common?
Any free speech which defends God and Country is considered offensive in America today and could get you thrown out of your school. Any cursing, blasphemous attack on God printed on a T shirt – even using the well-known Batman name, is respected and allowed as free speech.
Why aren’t conservatives and especially Church going Christians (and Jews) speaking out more strongly, is my question? Why don’t more people treat these two seemingly unrelated events as the outrage that they both are?
My source in south central PA tell me that a Deacon of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in York City, was approached during the June, 2014 carnival, and told that a young person was wearing such a terrible slogan on his T shirt in plain view, and he offered to ask that person to cover up the shirt or leave, unless the Church official wished to do so.
Very specifically, the Deacon was told that the word “Godamn” appeared in bold lettering on the front of the T-shirt and something about Batman.
The person with the T-shirt at that point had just walked by and was still nearby and in the building, not more than 50 feet away. My source told me that he was advised by the Deacon (who he holds in high regard he reports) that he should not take any action, not say anything to the person wearing the T-shirt, but instead to simply pray.
The 6-day long annual carnival has thousands of people attend and is a major source of funding for the Church, which also has a grammar school it supports.
The parishioner who reported this to me tells me that the priests at this church do the best homilies he has ever heard in his life and seem very sound and consistent in their preaching, and are members of the widely respected Capuchin Order.
In contrast, 20 students wearing the T-shirt given to them by a U.S. Army National Guard recruiter at Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School in Ravena, New York, just south of New York’s state capitol at Albany, were ordered to remove the pro-National Guard T shirt or be thrown out.
Some of those students refused to take off the T-shirts, saying it was an insult to America’s National Guard and those who served if they did so. At this writing there is no indication of whether they faced disciplinary proceedings from Alan McCartney, the interim superintendent of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk School District who ordered the removal of the “offensive” T-shirts.
The school principal (or superintendent) told a reporter that there were complaints from some of the teachers about the picture of a rifle wielding soldier with the words NATIONAL GUARD and an American flag superimposed over him (see picture above).
The young person wearing the “G-damned batman” shirt was not known to be a student of any Catholic High School and was clearly older than the grammer school students attending the family oriented Carnival at St. Joseph’s Church annual bazaar.
Hearing the news story about this National Guard incident today reminded me of the story about “the Batman” I’d had passed on to me for a possible column in REDSTATE several months ago.
I looked further into the Batman story and found that the original Batman cartoons – graphics, words and story – of years past, are over and done, and a darker, more ominous, cursing Batman is the star of the newly re-done comics Batman.
This appears to now be “standard fare” for the consumption of young people who buy comic books. You can google “I am the Goddamn Batman” and see the actual cartoon panel for this, which I have attempted to post here. I apologize for any offense anyone may feel for this graphic but my source told me he couldn’t believe what he had seen on the T-shirt, and thought perhaps he was mistaken until he himself found it online.
This is not a matter of free speech. Libel law is not a contradiction of free speech. And it is one thing to be respectful of other people’s free speech but entirely another thing to curse or blaspheme God on a T-shirt in front of grammar school children.
Do we really need to be reminded that much of civil law is and ought to be based on fundamental ideas of right and wrong, such as are commonly found in the Bible? In this case, two ideas in particular come to mind from the Bible’s 10 Commandments followed by Christians (Catholics included) and Jews alike: “You shall not Bear false witness against your neighbor” and especially, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Deuteronomy 5:6-21).
What ought to happen after we hear stories like this is simple. Everybody – Jews, Christians and those who simply wish to see a civil society continue in America – should complain in both cases, stand up and be counted. You can do it here in this forum. Or you can write directly to protest:
You can write to the Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Fr. Louis Petruho, [email protected], to let him know that you think those who wear T-shirts cursing God should be asked to remove it or leave any and all future Church functions held on Church property.
And you can write to protest the ban on pro-National Guard T-shirts to Interim Superintendent of Schools Alan McCartney [email protected] (Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central Schools).
We urge you to write respectfully in both cases, and hope you will refer to this article.
More info on the National Guard story can be found HERE.
What is happening in America when praise of the U.S. Army National Guard on a T-shirt is considered offensive and is banished, but the bold lettering “Godamn” on a T-shirt at a Christian Carnival, is considered free speech and is allowed to stay?
LETS BE FRIENDS… HanoverHenry of RED STATE is Pat Henry on Facebook, and I’m on the lookout for new friends there. While I have taken a sabbatical from my previous 5x a week, weekdays writing schedule at RED STATE, I continue to write here and on Facebook occasionally.
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