Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Banning Sweet Jesus
The gallery that was planning to exhibit Cosimo Cavallaro’s sculpture of Jesus has decided to cancel the show, because apparently it upset some Catholics. Depressingly, the gallery’s director has even offered to RESIGN over the fuss it has caused.
That’s a real shame. Quite apart from the fact that the sculture is witty and interesting – it is made of chocolate, thus combining neatly both the religious and commercial ‘symbols’ of the Easter season – it is yet another example of fear of faith closing down people’s rights to freedom of speech.
What I don’t get is this: it’s a statue, of a naked prostrate Jesus. Like what you see in art galleries all over the world, all day, every day. It’s Easter, therefore the exhibition is extremely timely and pertinent, both to Christianity and to the pagan celebration of rebirth upon which it was imposed. So what the hell are they upset ABOUT, exactly?
That it’s a statue of Jesus?
That he’s naked?
That it’s made of chocolate?
And if the answer to any of the above is “Yes”, then the answer simply doesn’t make sense…
“The six-foot (1.8m) sculpture, entitled "My Sweet Lord", depicts a naked Jesus Christ with his arms outspread.
The timing, over Easter Holy Week - the most important part of the Christian year - provoked an outcry.
The Roger Smith Hotel housing the Lab gallery decided to cancel the exhibition after the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for a boycott.
"We're delighted with the outcome," said Kiera McCaffrey, spokeswoman for the League. Ms McCaffrey had called the exhibit "an assault on Christians".
"They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the Prophet Mohammed naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan."
So now we come to the heart of the matter. It’s a childish ‘If they won’t have it, neither will we’ type of hissy fit. Righto. Well in that case, a couple of things need to be cleared up: firstly, you would never see a statue of the Prophet Mohammed with his balls out, because Islam as a religion quite famously rejects Idolatry.
Christianity, on the other hand, doesn’t. Christ exposes his (generally quite buff, in a white-skinned blue-eyed sort of way) self in churches and cathedrals the world over. With some enthusiasm. Indeed, one could say that Jesus is quite the attention seeker.
And as for erecting a statue of Jesus during Easter Week: erm….