Monday, November 21, 2005

Persecution complex

The Whole Wheat Blogger finds Offensive Art:
Rosary beads in hand, a dozen adults gathered on the floor at Dutchess Community College Tuesday to ask for "reparation of the sin of blasphemy."

With heads bowed, they knelt before the oil painting, "Magdalene Mourning Her Lover," which depicts Mary Magdalene holding a fallen Jesus Christ.

The controversial painting by Ecuadorean-born artist Hugo Bastidas is part of an art exhibit celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the college's Mildred I. Washington Gallery.

Participants in the vigil described the painting as an insult to the Christian faith.

"You would not mock the Dalai Lama. You would not mock the God of Islam. You would not mock the God of Judaism. You will not mock my God," said Salt Point resident Helen Westover, one of the vigil organizers.

While she doesn't expect the painting to be taken down, Westover said she hopes the vigil will get people thinking.

"The time of Christian-bashing without consequence is over," she said.

— Poughkeepsie Journal
The quoted material is all from the paper. WWB issues some platitudes about how art should challenge you, etc. Inoffensive stuff.

But that last line is odd. Almost, I dunno, threatening.

WWB goes on to discuss how an exhibit in England got pulled out of deference to Muslims, then he says:
Of course, Christians aren't prone to blow themselves up in subway tunnels.
While we could have a fascinating argument about the fact that he can't see a way for someone to be Christ's lover in a Platonic sense (in which I would point out the existence of nuns as a counterexample to his skepticism), I don't think I care. I don't think I care that some people don't like this or any other painting in a museum. I don't understand why it's an issue, and I don't understand why this topic leads to people using some pretty extreme language.

How did we get from a painting to "consequences" to blowing people up? I could dismiss the whole thing as a replay of the pseudocontroversy surrounding The Last Temptation of Christ, but that would skip right over that simple question.

In the Fox (!) poll at the top of this page, surprising numbers of people felt like the country was "becoming anti-religion." I'm not sure that that's true, but it's sad that so many people think it is.