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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Serious funnies

Your favorite comic strips may not be just for laughs over morning coffee anymore. It's not uncommon to find today's strips addressing religion and current issues.

Leonard Greenspoon, a professor of theology and classical studies at Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., says spirituality and religion are found in many strips. Clergy appear regularly in Beetle Bailey and Kudzu. Prayer is shown in Bill Keane's The Family Circus, and Charles Schulz cited Scripture in Peanuts.

The strips also address breast cancer, alcoholism, abortion and homosexuality. Greenspoon says strips draw their information from everyday life and can't avoid these issues.

While the strips' importance may be underestimated, Mike Morgan, a Methodist pastor and creator of For Heaven's Sake!, says they can have a greater impact on readers than words.

Greenspoon adds, "We can dismiss [strips] or make fun of them, but we can't ignore the fact that they have a lot to say about our culture, and that people do get invested in comic strips the same way they get invested in television shows. I think every adult should read comic strips once in awhile."


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September issue

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