Dear Washington Post,
As a Pentecostal pastor, theologian and educator, I am disappointed by Pat Oliphant’s recent cartoon that ridicules Pentecostal beliefs and practices and portrays God in a way that is blasphemous to Pentecostals as well as many other Christians. Under the First Amendment, you have a right to publish such a cartoon. Nevertheless, it displays ignorance of Pentecostal beliefs, and it expresses prejudice against Pentecostals because of their religious identity. It is a clear example of bigotry. Although you likewise have a constitutional right to publish a racist cartoon or a cartoon ridiculing Muslims, I do not think you would do so. To be consistent with your own standards, you should apologize.
David K. Bernard
President, Urshan Graduate School of Theology, Florissant, Missouri, www.ugst.org
Pastor, New Life United Pentecostal Church, 4001 Adelphi Lane, Austin, Texas 78727
Letter to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street
N.W.Washington, DC 20071
I am writing in regards to your recent cartoon lampooning Pentecostals.First, I am somewhat shocked at the paucity of judgment in running such a demeaning piece (not to mention the awful artwork). The crassness and lack of discretion shown in your cartoon reveals a surprising narrowness and ignorance of world realities by both the cartoonist and those who approved it. When I compare such with the intellectual perspicacity, the enduring utilitarian beauty, and the unparalleled literary skill of the writers of the New Testament (all of which were Pentecostal, Acts 1:8, 2:1-4) your newspaper comes out a sad and very distant second. (An example of such beauty is I Corinthians 13. Yes, it is written by a Pentecostal preacher and author).Further, it is evident that someone at the Post may not know that 16% of the world’s population is Pentecostal (not just “Christian” but “Pentecostal Christians”). This is approximately 500 million people worldwide. Further, this number is expected to continue its exponential growth for decades to come. So impacting is this phenomenon that, several years ago, Time magazine estimated it may be one of the most impacting events in the last one thousand years. The liberating power of Pentecostalism also has a direct impact on the political climate of the world. For example, China is being revolutionized from within by conversions to Christianity, much of which is Pentecostal. This emphasis on the value of the individual versus the state is literally readjusting the philosophical underpinnings of the world’s largest nation. In the intellectual and spiritual Hall of Greats, Jesus I know. Paul I know, but I gently ask, who are you?
Nathaniel J. Wilson, Ed.D