Letters to the Editor
It looks like DeCinzo (June 18) made the same mistake that I initially made when I read the caption of the "Homo Sex Is Sin" picture in the Mercury—assuming that the Unitarian that was cited in the caption was the bearer of the poster. But if DeCinzo knew anything about Unitarians he would have quickly realized that must be wrong—in fact, the Unitarian was the one with the rainbow umbrella supporting same-sex marriages. Decinzo owes the Unitarians an apology.
Don't Jump to Conclusions
Ordinarily, I applaud Steven DeCinzo's excellent satirical cartoons. Although his work can be extremely harsh on its subjects, that is the nature of satire. The satirist holds a mirror to society and sometimes the image revealed is indeed ugly. The subjects of satire aren't supposed to like it.
In his "Love Thy Neighbor/Homo Sex Is Sin" cartoon, Mr. DeCinzo no doubt intended to show the hypocrisy of some church-goers who practice discrimination against gays and lesbians while claiming to be followers of Jesus. Unfortunately, Mr. DeCinzo made a terrible mistake in selecting the representative target of his satirical attack. He depicted the First Unitarian Church of San Jose as a homophobic church.
The church Mr. DeCinzo portrays as homophobic had an openly lesbian senior minister for 17 years, from 1985 to 2002. The church Mr. Decinzo portrays as homophobic signed onto the Amicus Curiae brief to the California Supreme Court in support of marriage equality. The church Mr. DeCinzo portrays as homophobic is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the president of which officiated at the first legal same-sex wedding in the United States, in Massachusetts in 2004. The church that Mr. Decinzo portrays as homophobic offered free church weddings (to anyone, GBLT or straight) on June 17; seven happy couples celebrated their nuptials in the church's beautiful sanctuary. Mr. DeCinzo could not have made a worse choice, depicting perhaps the most welcoming church in the valley as homophobic!
Mistakes happen. It's likely that Mr. DeCinzo's mistake stemmed from a misleading caption under a photo in the Mercury News article about the Pride parade on June 15. But it was a huge mistake nonetheless.
Perhaps Mr. Decinzo would consider creating another cartoon in which he skewers those of us who jump to conclusions?
Make It Right
I was first stunned, then deeply hurt, when I saw the cartoon on page 21 of the June 18 edition of Metro. Such a misrepresentation of our church: who we are, the work we do, and what we stand for, in such a public and credible forum, is something to be taken very seriously.
I can understand how Mr. DeCinzo may have misinterpreted the presence of our congregational president alongside a group of protesters at the SJ Pride Parade; noticing just the sign identifying him as being a member of the First Unitarian Church of San Jose, and not noticing, or realizing, that along with his rainbow umbrella, Tracy's presence was meant as a loving counter-protest; that he was, in fact, representing Jesus' teaching that we "Love Thy Neighbor"—in direct contrast to the impression given by the cartoon.
What I find a bit more difficult to comprehend is how this misunderstanding made it into print. How is it that Metro didn't catch this?
And how is such an impactful, visible misrepresentation to be reversed?The answer is, it can't be. There's no real way to undo the impact this cartoon has had, or will have. We all know that retractions don't ever have the impact, or get the coverage, that the first impression does.That said, I encourage you to do the best you can to make this right. Be bold; be creative. Be fair.
Sandra, we couldn't have said it any more boldly, creatively or fairly than you just did. It was indeed a case of mistaken identity stemming from the June 15 parade, and we extend a heartfelt apology to the First Unitarian Church congregation.—Editor