Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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EDIT: Art: Religious Offense?

A painting previously removed from an art exhibition in New York City as a result of the public disapproval it received is now on view at the Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery, according The Boston Globe on Tuesday. The piece, which depicts U.S. President Barack Obama as Jesus Christ, with his head donning a crown of thorns and his arms spread open to evoke salvation, has sparked both outrage and support for its artist, Michael D’Antuono.

The painting is called “The Truth,” and is part of an exhibit titled “Artists on the Stump: The Road to the White House 2012,” according to The Globe. Artists on display were invited to “weigh in on the issues, candidates and country,” according to the exhibit’s website.

No better place to do so than a college campus, like Bunker Hill’s, which by nature is devoted to education and therefore to weighing in on issues like current politics. Of course, controversial topics like politics and religion will almost always offend some party. “The Truth” offends Christians, who revere Christ for his suffering and salvation, and all the more so if they dislike Obama or American politics.

But is the piece overly offensive? Art, it should be noted, a medium through which an individual expresses a potentially offensive personal opinion, can be notoriously controversial. Modern art especially is often created for the purpose of sparking conversation, and one that involves a variety of viewpoints. D’Antuono’s piece, housed at an open-minded and secular educational facility, should simply provoke thought and discussion.

Granted, Christians have a right to be offended by a secular likening of their God, one that removes Jesus from a holy position to a mythical, metaphorical symbol. Their backlash is similar to the Muslim community’s outcry against a recent documentary that portrayed their prophet in a negative light. But they must also remember that their beliefs are not shared by D’Antuono, and while they may feel disrespected by his work, he has the right to artistically express his views and participate in an intellectual and representative conversation.

2 Responses for “EDIT: Art: Religious Offense?”

  1. Donald says:

    “Their backlash is similar to the Muslim community’s outcry against a recent documentary that portrayed their prophet in a negative light.”

    What a load of BS. It is hardly similar. Where is the violence? Where is the government buckling under pressure to find an excuse to punish and prosecute the creator?

    “and all the more so if they dislike Obama or American politic”

    More BS, the response would be the same if it were Obama, or George Bush, or George Washington or Mr Rogers, or Billy Graham or Bob Ross.

    You are so full of it.

  2. Maria says:

    I find the painting offensive on Many levels.
    It is an offense and ridicules the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This painting is extremely offensive and a slap in the face of Chritianity and Chritians alike. If Obama had been painted in perhaps a tutu it would have been deemed racist and the black community would have demanded and had it removed. As is the result of Obamas’ so called ‘religious freedom,’ Christians are losing their rights, i.e.: their right to public prayer and place religious symbols at their privately owned place of business. As employees we are asked not to pray in lunch rooms, wear religious symbols, or dicuss religion in any form even if asked a question. We are demanded to work on Sundays and Holidays. Though working on a Sunday is not considered an acceptable request by most employers, it is a Holy Day to Christians and many of us refuse to give in. We are supposed to make allowances and tolerate all religions at the expense of our own. We have to work full days M-Saturday, yet people of other faiths are allowed to take Fridays off, isolated time for prayer during the work day aside of routine breaks, leave early because of religious beliefs and take days off for their own holidays with no financial or employment repercussions. Christians are not allowed to take time off for prayer during the day outside of a routine break without losing pay or hours and face corretive action for ‘neglecting their duties.’ The religious tradition of my native country dictates ten days of prayer following the burial of our loved one, despite available vacation and available comp time empolyees are not allowed to take this time off for such an important religious practice and familial obligation.
    How does this relate to the painting? The painting exemplefies the underlying intolerance and animosity toward Christianity, Christians and their beliefs.
    If the God, or Holy entity of any other religion was ridiculed as is Jesus in this painting of Obama there would be in some countries violent protests and the murder of innocent people. Yet we are supposed to be quiet. So some called artists (and yes I am an artist of paint and photography) are permitted to display paintings that are an affront to Jesus, God, offensive to Christians, Christianity and religion in general. Artists and patrons alike should boycott Bunker Hill Community College Art Gallery. Boycott the college by attenting elswhere, refuse to submit, display, view, or purchase anything from them, refuse to patronize them in any shape or form. It is time for Christians to stop taking the garbage heaped on us, stop keeping our mouths closed and demand our rights and the respect of our beliefs and practices.

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