THE SALINA JOURNAL MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2001 A3 T BY GEORGE Cartoonist figures out wrong way to do Easter Some Jewish leaders call Johnny Hart's Sunday 'B.C.' comic offensive Several years ago, I made a lot of people mad by writing, "I don't do Easter." Over the last few days, a cartoonist made a whole lot more people mad — because he's a whole lot more famous — by doing Easter, and doing it in a way that a lot of people, especially Jews, found offensive. He says he didn't mean to, and I believe him. Remember: "Never attribute to evil that which can be explained by stupidity" Johnny Hart did a stupid thing with Sunday's installment of the comic strip "B.C." It didn't take him two weelcs to apologize. But don't be surprised if the comic — the most widely distributed in the world, according to its distributor — becomes a little less widely distributed in the coming months. It was interesting to read the trade Web sites and e-mail lists over the past few days. There was a lot of hand-wringing, and several newspapers made note of the controversy one way or another, hoping to dodge the blame while simultaneously standing up for freedom of the press. Because Sunday comic sections are printed days or, in the case of the Journal, weeks in advance, and nobody from the syndicate warned us this might be a controversial item, I couldn't find a paper that killed Sunday's strip. And it is probably just as weU that the logistics of the situa- tion saved a lot of us from having to make a hard decision. Describing a cartoon never does it justice, so if you really care about this you should fish out Sunday's color comic section and look at it. But it basically went like this: The first several drawings are simple images of what looks like a Jewish menorah, the candelabra used during Hanukkah celebrations. Written above the candles are passages from Christ's words as he was dying on the cross. As each utterance is made, one of the candles goes out. When they've all gone out, the candles morph into a cross, and the cartoon pans out to show an empty tomb with the round stone rolled away Not exactly a knee-slapper. But, since having a religious conversion some 20 years ago, Hart has often abandoned jokes for Christian statements in his Easter and Christmas contributions. Anyhow, many prominent Jews, including the leaders of the Jewish Defense League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, took one look at Sunday's comic strip and saw exactly the same thing that I saw. They saw the lights of the Jewish faith being snuffed out, one by one, and replaced by the central icon of the Christian faith. Something on the order of, "My religion GEORGE B. PYLE The Salina Journal beat up your religion," or, critics claim, an example of what's called "Replacement Theology" Hart, in a statement, said he meant nothing of the kind. The intent. Hart said, was to equate the Jewish light of the world — the menorah — with the Christian light of the world — Jesus — and show how both went out and both came back. He thought it was significant that Jesus said seven things on the cross, one of many significant sevens in the Bible, whUe a menorah has seven candles. But remember I said the candlestick "looked like" a menorah. A real menorah has nine candles, one for each of the eight days of the festival and one to light the others. The fact that Hart didn't know that supports the ignorance defense.The fact that his Jewish critics didn't seem to catch it undermines their claim of abuse. Hart denies any anti-Jewish sentiment. As a Christian, Hart said, he follows a religion founded by Jews. "Therefore," he said, "I, too, am a Jew." WeU, that might get him off the anti-Se-. mitic hook. Though it might tick off a few Christians here and there. Even if Hart isn't one of them, there are a few so-called Christians in the would who would just as soon the world's Jews were blown out, one by one. And they'd be happy to start in the funny papers. • Journal Columnist George B. Pyle can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 101, or by e-mail at email@example.com. T JUVENILE JUSTICE Truancy court helps students get on track By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Judge W. Stephen Nixon sets his gavel aside when he steps into this court. He never gives orders to the youths and parents who stand Ijefore him. Instead, he reads through reports from teachers and looks for strengths and achievements! finding reasons for applause. But this is not really a court — it's the Truancy Diversion Program at Smith-Hale Middle School in the Hickman Mills School District. "I found that I don't have to rely on the position of authority," Nixon said. "It's an invitation rather than a threat." Sometimes there are setbacks; reports of misconduct bring a reprimand or warning. But in the end, they make agreements, and the pupils make promises for the week ahead. "Can we agree on that?" the judge asks. "Can we shake on that?" Nixon volunteers his time for the program, working with the school's community liaison and juvenile officer to help families connect with social services and ease pressures that contribute to truancy Those pressures include economic hardship and lack of structure at home and behavior problems that lead to conflict at school. . The program, in its first year, was modeled after court and school partnerships in Louisville, Ky, and is the first of its kind in Kansas City Families in stress are looking for help, Nixon said. Many of the youths, like 12- year-old Jacob Pecina, live in single-parent homes. He has' been physically abused in the past, said his mother, Rana Snider She knows he has been approached by gangs. Jacob is one of a dozen pupils going to truancy court. Snider said she is learning to recognize when Jacob is headed for trouble and how to steer him in the right direction. T CONCERT Salina teens tour the world in singing group Christian group to make unscheduled appearance in Salina By AMY SULLIVAN The Salina Journal Two Salina 16-year-olds worked seven months to pay for their 3 Vi-month trip through the United States and western Europe as members of The Continentals, a 28-member Christian singing group. Krista Bowker worked the drive-thru at Bogey's, 1417 S. Nmth. Tyson Heaton threw newspapers, was a host at Red Lobster, 2925 S. Ninth, and took pictures of children on Santa's lap at Central MaU, 2259 S. Ninth. Both raised money with events at church. Krista organized a talent night with coffee and dessert at The Crossroads Church, 527 S. Broadway Tyson headed-up a pancake feed at Salina Heights Christian Church, 831 N. 10th. Money raised totaled around $5,000, said Lana Heaton, Tyson Heaton's mother. The two started the tour in January and will play Salina at 7 p.m. April 24 at Emmanuel Foursquare Gospel Church, 1325 E. Cloud. Lana Heaton said the concert was arranged in mid- tour when a date in Oklahoma was cancelled. BOWKER HEATON "They're going out of their way to be here that day," after an April 23 concert in Tulsa, Heaton said. They will stay in Salina the next day to participate in Emmanuel Christian School's chapel service. This will be the second Continentals performance in Salina for Tyson, who is on his third tour with the group, Lana Heaton said. Back then he was with the Young Continentals, for ages 12 to 15, that performed at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1425 S. Ohio, in the fall of 1999. Because they're both home- schooled, the performers could take the time for the tour, Lana Heaton said. Performers who aren't home schooled are usually scheduled for the summer tour. These two teens are the two youngest performers of the 28 16- to 28-year-olds on the tour. The group, based in Ventura, Calif., started 30 years ago as a way to spread the gospel. They perform in churches, schools, missions and prisons. The home schooling back- The ConUnentals WHAT: A contemporary and traditional Christian song and dance show WHEN: 7 p.m. April 24 WHERE: Emmanuel Foursquare Gospel Church, 1325 E. Cloud COST: Free ground helped Tyson on this tour, Lana Heaton said. "He's used to being around people of aU ages, and he's really responsibe." With flexible school hours, Tyson can work jobs and sing with several groups, including the Salina Chorale and a Salina barbershop group. He's also active with the Salina Community Theatre. He started there in "Charlotte's Web" then landed the lead in "Oliver" and parts in other plays. A slot on this tour is an honor, Lana Heaton said. The performers chosen debut the 2001 material. At a rehearsal camp before Pool & Spa SERVICE 823-7512 they left in January the Continentals learned new material. It ranges from contemporary to traditional Christian music with choreography If for any reason a number didn't work out, it was scrapped, and the group had to learn something else, Lana Heaton said. Tyson calls home about every week to to 10 days. "We're at the mercy of whenever he calls us," because of the tight schedule, Lana Heaton said. "It's not nearly enough for me." CDRRECTIOMS ••••• The Journal wants to set the record straight. Advise us of errors by calling the Journal at (785) 823-6363, or toll free at 1-800827-6363. Corrections will run in this space as soon as possible. NATlONIi UNDEt Thursday, May 3rd 50lh Anniversary of the National Day of Prayer "Stronger Families for a Stronger America" Salina Prayer Breakfast, May 3rd, 7 a.m. at Heritage Hall Tickets available at: Bicentennial Center Green Lanterns McCoy'.s Bennington State Banks / / . i iM .Mi- YOUTH EVENT UPLINK AtKWU Sam's ChiiiKl May 2nd, 6:30 p.m. SATELLITE SOUL CONCERT Joe White, Speaker President of the Kanakitk Sports Kamps, ProiniseKeeper speaker Founder of Kids Across America, Former Texas A&M Coach Prairie View BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES Services for all ages with assessment and treatment for. • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) • Child, Marriage and Family Issues • Dementia ' . ' • Depression & Anxiety • Compulsive Gambimg ' < • Anger Managemerjt' ' , • Employee Assistance Prog'rams ; ' ' ' Salina; 645 E. 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