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Cancellation of 'B.C.' Yields Yeas and Nays

April 25, 2001

During World War II, Americans went to war to defend four basic freedoms including freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Perhaps those two themes are not as important for The Times as they were for our servicemen. Christianity is the major belief system in this community. By pulling Johnny Hart's comic strip "B.C.," The Times is not willing to allow the comic strip writer the freedom to draw and speak his beliefs, although many other ideologies are tolerated that are destructive to our individual and social ethical fabric. To what extent is the mass media, including newspapers, responsible for the breakdown of public morality?

How brave it was of The Times to assassinate a comic strip that might have something constructive to communicate!

CHARLES L. MANSKE

Irvine

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On behalf of all nonevangelical Christians (the overwhelming majority of all Americans), thanks to the L.A. Times and all other reputable newspapers for dropping the bigoted "B.C." comic strip. Decades earlier, such comics showed the cross being twisted into the swastika, as the Hart (pun intended) of Christianity. We all know what that led to. Hart and his ilk still cannot come to peace with the facts that Jesus, his parents, siblings and relatives all were devout Jews for their entire lives.

V. COMISSO

Beverly Hills

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The article " 'B.C.' Easter Comic Strip Is Not Funny to Everyone" (April 13) reported that The Times made the decision weeks ago to drop the cartoon "based on a lot of factors." What were these factors? That the social commentary-making ants were taking up too much ink to print? Or that "The Wizard of Id" was so funny that The Times could only print one of Hart's strips? Come on.

If the only strips that are worthy of printing at this time include such gems as "Shoe," "Rex Morgan, M.D.," "Herman" and "Ballard Street," then I weep for the future.

CONNIE CHAN

Rosemead

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I'm sure you'll receive many requests to restore "B.C." to your comics page, so I wanted to extend my thanks and cast a vote against your picking it up again. I have long been irritated by Mr. Hart's propagandizing for his religious opinions on what is generally seen as an entertainment page for everyone, not just evangelical Christians. In addition, I've been bothered by Mr. Hart's aesthetic distortion of his own creation for propagandistic purposes. Though the strip was clearly a humorous fantasy from the start and never intended to be in any way historically accurate (i.e., cavemen and dinosaurs coexisting in "B.C."), the concept of Stone Age men being Christians is just stupid.

DOUG HUTCHINSON

Los Angeles

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Should we decry The Times' action in cutting "B.C.," especially as it appears that the strip was pulled for expressing religious views? The silencing of this voice by The Times is eerily reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," in which any opinions that were at all unpleasant or distressing to anyone were suppressed, reducing public discourse to nothing.

So "B.C." is quietly cut from The Times. The voice of a clown with an unpopular message is stilled. The public forum is impoverished by the subtraction of a voice found discordant. Are we not all poorer for the result?

JAMES A. GORTON

Pasadena

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I want to commend you for your decision to drop the "B.C." comic strip. That strip has never been funny, and for many years now, the religious messages have been offensive.

NAOMI ZAHAVI

Los Angeles

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I have seen and read a copy of Johnny Hart's Easter Day "B.C." comic in which a Jewish menorah is shown morphing into a cross while the text heralds, "They know not what they do. . . ." I find this cartoon to be offensive to all those who embrace plurality.

TED RAND

Santa Monica

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I find it reprehensible that The Times would deign to censor. We find much else in the paper that is truly offensive; morally and spiritually.

THE AL BAXTERS

Rancho Palos Verdes

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If Johnny Hart wants to preach, I respectfully suggest that he get a job as a preacher. His strip "B.C." used to be one of the best in the bunch but has sadly declined in recent years. The introduction of such puzzling and unfunny characters as "Anno" and "Conahonty" hasn't helped.

At least the late Charles S. "Sparky" Schulz showed wit and grace when he occasionally quoted from Gospel in "Peanuts." He used these quotes whimsically, and in a manner befitting his unforgettable characters. As a Jew, I never felt harangued by "Peanuts." Mr. Hart could learn a lesson from that.

MATTHEW B. TEPPER

Los Angeles

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