Words mean things. Numbers mean things
June 24th, 2000
On Sunday, July 23rd I posted a strip which parodied the cartoons of Jack T. Chick. a self proclaimed Christian who's been producing small comic book Novellas called "Chick tracts" to minister to the unconverted.
Posting the strip "Jesus Kills" was dangerous. There was no way for me to know how people would react to it, especially considering that we had just finished up a week of lighthearted strips. The parody would definitely be a shock to the system of my readership. I discussed it with my wife who expressed her concern and posted the strip, trusting my first instincts.
Reaction was unsurmountable. I'm still receiving emil today and I would estimate my total so far around 300 responses. These weren't simple notes either, people were writing pages worth of comments, detailing their experience with Christianity both good and bad. I got emil from Christians who agreed with me, Christians who were upset, people who didn't understand the strip, people who practice wicca, people who were happy to see a blow struck to Christian hate, atheists, agnostics, even a Roman Catholic Priest.
The overwhelming reaction was positive. People loved the strip and everyone told me exactly why. I got to hear a lot of horror stories about encounters with Christian hate, or intolerance or the first time they read a Jack Chick comic. Even people that disagreed with me seemed to still be championing my effort. The risk had paid off, the strip was met with approval. Everything's great. Right?
Wrong. At the end of the day, I was not feeling good about what I had done. I no longer felt the emotion I experienced when I created the strip and now looking back at it, there are things I wrote that I really don't agree with. For example, I think that the more accurate statement is that Christ preached compassion over anything else, not tolerance. Christ certainly wouldn't tell you to let people live their life the way they want to. More likely he would ask you to have compassion for that person: love the sinner not the sin. This clearly illustrates that I acted too soon when creating the parody. I should have, to quote one email, censored myself better.
I also feel like I lowered myself to Chick's level. I don't want to operate like that. I've always believed in leading by example, and that wasn't a very good example. Case in point, the condition of my forums as of this writing. Things aren't out of hand, but it's certainly getting heated. What I did Sunday, no matter how accurate, effective, funny or otherwise, was equal to what Jack T. Chick does with his hate filled tracts. And that is not where I want to be.
Most of all, my eyes were opened to an important truth: the numbers I so gleefully count each month represent more than a statistic. They represent real people with their own family, environment, and set of beliefs. Of course I was aware that the number of visits the server logs represented real people, but it wasn't until I started getting email yesterday that I started to see a physical representation of it. Numbers are easy to glaze over, but people aren't. I was getting email from people who fall into a demographic I never dreamed would enjoy my strip, and now that I know they exist I feel like I let them down.
This page is a forum for my venting and my ranting. The Jack Chick parody should have been posted here, separate from the daily continuity that people come to the site everyday for. To correct this mistake, I've removed the strip from the archives and replaced it with the strip that would have appeared on July 23rd, 2000 had I thought things out better. The Jack Chick parody, for better or for worse, resides below this rant, where it belongs. I don't regret drawing or writing it, I just wish I had delivered it more appropriately.
If you're reading this page, you're important to me. By simply visiting my site you have helped pay my bills, feed my family, and make it possible for me to live my dream. That's a privilege you afford me. I promise not to take it for granted, and to do my best never to let you down.
Thanks for reading.
Scott R. Kurtz
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