Saturday, April 07, 2007

Blogging against theocracy




On March 31st, a New York Art Gallery cancelled a proposed exhibit of a sculpture of Jesus Christ, before the exhibit opened to the public. The sculpture was a life-size statue of Jesus made entirely from chocolate, and was to be displayed for two hours each day. Chocolate melts, it goes bad. It was a truly edible body of Christ. And, with contempt prior to investigation, the The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights whipped up a shit-storm.

Founded in 1973 by Jesuit Father Virgil C. Blum SJ, the Catholic League is a lay group funded by individual donations and is outside the control of the Church. The Board of Directors, headed by William A. Donohue, have guided the League towards conservative and traditionalist cultural activism in the manner of groups like the Christian Coalition. You know them, they're the ones who are defending America's Godly Heritage. But I digress. Back to the art exhibit that never was.

Donohue called it "an all-out war on Christianity." That's a pretty strong statement for a big piece of chocolate, in my opinion. To me, all-out war is what we're doing in Iraq, against the will of the American People. But again, I digress. Donohue heads an organization that purports to be about Civil Rights, yet his primary thrust is always toward censorship. The organization vocally protested films like The Last Temptation of Christ and Dogma because they broke with conservative views. Donohue said about the statue: "They wouldn't show a depiction of Martin Luther King Jr. with genitals exposed on Martin Luther King Day, and they wouldn't show Mohammed depicted this way during Ramadan. It's always Christians, and the timing is deliberate."

"It's not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing, to choose Holy Week, is astounding."


Let's review: it's not just the ugliness of the portrayal...

Look at the photo of the piece. It is well-made. It looks like so many statues of Jesus nailed to the cross made from wood, or clay, or bronze, that I am really hard-pressed to get what the flap is about. Oh, I know. It's CHOCOLATE. Chocolate is ugly in a religious context.

Further, there are no sculptures of the prophet Mohammed - Islam, like Judaism, doesn't build statuary because it is too much like idol worship. So Donohue is right at least about nobody building a statue of Mohammed out of anything.

Is the fact of this being made out of Chocolate the problem? Or is it the fact that Jesus is naked? Someone explain this to me, because I don't understand. Art must be challenging, and it must make the viewer have a response, but that is only after the art has been seen. Donohue NEVER SAW IT. He didn't see the sculpture, he simply condemned it outright. Contempt prior to investigation. I gotta tell you, it is really difficult to sculpt using food stuff - I used to know a woman who was a butter sculptor (and she once had to make a butter sculpture of Jesus for a Christening party) - she said working with food of any sort is difficult - butter melts so they make a butterish substance that is not edible; chocolate is brittle AND it melts - just all kinds of techinical problems.

But Donohue protests, and the Roger Smith Hotel which hosts the Gallery caved in, and the Gallery Director, out of consideration for the Hotel cancels the exhibit and is searching for another venue.

Meanwhile, New Orleans is still not rebuilt, and we've spent well over $400,000,000,000 on an illegal war in Iraq. Where are our nation's priorities?

Be sure to visit The Blogswarm Site for links to all the other posters.

(cross posted at The Katrinacrat

11 comments:

Lulu Maude said...

What really outrages them is Jesus's pee pee.

I'm sure you know that Jesus didn't have a pee pee.

Lulu Maude said...

p.s. Deciding on the actual size of the penis must have been an interesting artistic challenge.

Does it correlate somehow with the size of his feet?

Coffee Messiah said...

Art and its stimulant for conversation.

Like anything, if it were to bother you, don't look at it.

Then again, to simply assume, that because you read the bible, you are above everyone else, and have been given a "free pass" to label "whatever" is downright Stupid!

Anyway, a very well written previous post also! ; )

Lola Heatherton said...

Oh, my goodness. My Sweet Lord indeedy.

Kvatch said...

Is the fact of this being made out of Chocolate the problem?

I think that it's actually that Jesus was made out of 'dark' chocolate, and well...you know some people have problems with the idea of their savior being...well...uh...

Comandante Agí said...

In that case, they should have gone with white chocolate.

Lew Scannon said...

Maybe they were afraid the choclayte penis would be too much temptation for their pedophilic priests. Actually, Catholicism is the only branch of Christianity that practices idolatry, which is why all them fundies don't like them. That and because the Pope has more money than Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson combined.

sumo said...

It just was the time for Jesus to be a chocolate Jesus. We knew it had to happen someday...didn't we? I bet he smelled yummy!

Donnie McDaniel said...

Methinks Donohue had penis envy! I just know that's the problem. My Jesus is bigger than yours. Pathetic.

Tree said...

Interesting how Catholics, who practice cannibalism (wink, wink) are so offended by a chocolate sculpture of Jesus. Ah well, the more things change...
Many of Michelangelo's figures painted in the Sistine Chapel were nude until someone got their undies in a knot and painted leaves over the genitalia.
I like the sculpture.

DivaJood said...

Plus, plus I just read that Chocolate is better for you than tea in lowering blood pressure. Donohue must not have read that article, eh?