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Ursula Vernon makes waves, ruffles feathers at NJ libraries

Edited as of Tue 15 Mar 2016 - 21:48
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Ursula Vernon's 'Capricorn'Ursula Vernon's mythological representation of Capricorn as a sea-goat was commissioned as the poster-beast of the New Jersey Summer Reading Program, and featured in libraries and promotional material across the state.

Her work was packed with symbolism, but turned out to be controversial in a way she had not anticipated. [snow pigeon]

In addition to the main poster, I did a bunch of little spot art that went into various T-shirts and bookmarks and tote bags and stuff. […] I found myself doing a shark covered in tribal tattoos, about which my feelings were…well, damnit, if anything in the fish world would get tribal tattoos, it would be a mako shark, and did I mention they were paying REALLY well?

The shark became a bookmark. I thought no more about it. And then the very good-natured librarian wrote me, eyes rolling audibly–and I shall not mention name or location to protect the innocent–to say that one of her patrons had become concerned because those squiggles! They looked like Arabic! And the patron had used the bookmark in her Bible!

You know, not a single person has said “By the way, your poster is a GIANT GOAT GOD RISING FROM THE SEA! Repent, sinner!” and thrown holy water. I was kinda braced for that. […] Tribal shark tattoos resembling Arabic…that was not something I was expecting.

The artist's preparation was not entirely unjustified, judging by posts on The Watchman's Cry, a end-times Christian forum:

I just get very upset at the loss of normal and innocent things, like being able to take your child to the library without an occult assault.

A foul and wicked generation has risen up, and is truly beginning to take over. May they repent before God's swift hand of righteousness blots them out.


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If religious people were capable of critical thinking when it came to religion, we'd have no religious people.

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Religious argument thread is goooo!

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People like this only make me love the library even more, not only is it full of knowledge and books and all that, it's also now crazy-fundamentalist-free thanks to "occult imagery."

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And this is why religion has no place in 21st century society.

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Before we go off too far on taking potshots at the 'ignorance of religious folks', let's keep in mind that the problems sited in the article -- the ignorant statements made by individuals -- were just that: statements made by individuals, specifically individuals affiliated with a fringe fundamentalist wing, as personified by the outlet mentioned, the Watchman's Cry. This does not of itself reflect the opinions of all Christianity, nor for that matter of all the various beliefs that comprise the world's religions. It reflects the ignorance of a few ignorant people.

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Eh, I kinda have to agree with you there (unlike my views on a certain other topic) I'm honestly not fond of religion at all, but, not every Christian is that, y'know, out there, and thus they shouldn't all be treated ill because of the fringe groups. Just like Jews shouldn't treated like they want your money, and not all Islamics all terrorists. Plus, even if religion didn't exist, people would still find some stupid reason to be completely ignorant and closed minded.

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The problem I have with Christianity is that all these people(mostly unknowingly) follow the book which PROMOTES actions like this. It promotes intolerance. It promotes hatred of same-sex couples. If people took the Bible as seriously as they did with same-sex couples, they wouldn't be wearing mixed-fabric clothing. True, some people will still find ways to be ignorant, but without the Bible, you'd have to actually *shudder* THINK for a second, which would turn a considerable percentage of the people doing this off. It's not a minority taking it too far, it's a majority that doesn't know what they are following.

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I don't have a scholarly knowledge of the Bible, but from what I do recall most of the sections that promote the intolerances you speak of lie within the Old Testament (Leviticus, I believe); the New Testament, which was to supplant the Old, carried a different message. It didn't go out of its way to specifically approve same-sex relationships, but it didn't (to my recollection) promote intolerance.

More to the point, it isn't right to tar all Christians with the same brush -- the only ones who follow the Bible that strictly or that absolutely are fundamentalists who accept every word as the absolute and literal truth. There are many more who are much more flexible in their beliefs. Despite my own agnosticism, I do have a few friends who are religious but who have always been extremely open to all people, regardless of differences of belief, practice or sexual inclinations.

Intolerance isn't so much a religious viewpoint as it is a behavior that uses religion as a rationale.

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I know many Christians are flexible, and the Old Testament statement is sorta-true, to an extent(there are still plenty of retarted passages in the New Testament). But I'm just saying we have this book, it's stupid, promotes these things, and some people follow it that way, and I throughly dislike it, and that Christians(flexible or otherwise) follow the exact same book. I don't have a problem with the Christians that are flexible in beliefs, I have the problem when they continue to drive up interest in this book, continue to read this book, and help keep this book as a work of holiness, and this does apply to anyone who is Christian enough to go to church every week.

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You speak as though the entire book were a diatribe on the level of a Mein Kampf. There are only some sections that are as negative and hateful as you describe, not the entire book. You say you 'thoroughly dislike it'... does that include sections such as the Sermon on the Mount or the parables in which Jesus is trying to encourage the ideas of Brotherhood?

At its worst, the Bible is self-contradictory, but it is only a few poorly written sections that channel a narrow-minded focus and that is outweighed by the rest of the volume. Dismissing the entire book as hateful because of those few sections is tantamount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater -- or condemning an entire group of people because of the egregious foibles of a very few. Which is as narrow-minded and hateful as those things you dislike about the book.

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Sure, there are plenty of sections of the Bible which have good ideals, but most of these are either a.) common sense or b.) have become common knowledge (thou shalt not steal, e.t.c.). I'm not saying the bible should have never existed (that would be a stupid thing to say), but now that these have become common knowledge/sense, now we basically have a book that says things we already know, contradicts itself, and does promote hatred at several points. And that's what I mean when I hate the fact that we continue to drive interest in this book, even though any good points it has are common knowledge, and has several bad points, thus making it really bad for justifying anything. "You shouldn't lie because the bible said not to!"- this would have been fine 500 years ago, but now it's simply common knowledge that it's not supportive of anything to lie.

BTW, when I said "I throughly dislike it", I meant the fact that some people follow it literally

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You have a really good point, and the biggest problem is that the people who follow the Bible 'religiously' are the ones who will most likely speak up about it, while those who listen to the New Testament and believe grace, mercy, and love are the ones who stay quiet and silently accept people like those you described earlier. I'm saying this as both a fur and a Christian. Let me just say, that the people of our church would accept pretty much everything described, and and welcome people like that. (I'm rather proud of my church) really it's these (dare I say) hypocrites who give Christianity a bad name.


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Time to go to the library, see if they still have these posters before they probably take them down. What a shame, it looks quite cool. I might not have a problem with religion if it did not promote ignorance...

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That forum needs to be raided. Like so bad that new user registration has to be shut down.

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That'd sure show them how wrong they were about the current generation.

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Does the book weight as much as a duck?

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It's almost entertaining to see when people think they know everything and can decipher hidden meanings, especially ones that aren't there. Proposing that this book is all about cults and demons and other such evil whatnot is just, spouting of ignorance. This book has at least five posters in the public library here in Gunnison(A small town in Colorado that is fairly religious) and there has not even been a second thought about it. Why exactly does everything have to have a deeper meaning to some people? It happens with books and stories, even TV shows. I mean I was brought up Christian, now I am a bi-sexual furry and I have a boy friend, and yet, my mother still loves me and talks to me because I am her son. I know far too many people who would sooner disown (or worse) their children, family, and friends for something like that. Considering that, while this my be an "Isolated" opinion it has larger implications because of the general group. These people will troll around looking for anything they don't like and then attack it, and yet if they understood their own religion they might think twice. Isn't it more traumatizing to a young buy to tell him that he will burn in hell for all eternity, where is flesh will be singed off and he will never die no matter how much he bleeds or is beaten... and all that can supposedly happen from so much as a cuss word, or sex, or even so much as stealing a candy bar when you are five years old. When you teach something like that to your children... you should not even be thinking about what else is wrong.

-Anyway sorry for the rant, I just can't stand it when I see these sort of things

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