Wednesday, July 01, 2015

It’s a good thing artists aren’t killed for being disrespectful to Christians

“The unusual medium used to create a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI . . . has upset Roman Catholic leaders in Milwaukee,” reports Mitch Smith of the New York Times. Go figure. They’re not talking about Post-its or chewing gum . Niki Johnson’s portrait of the pope emeritus is fashioned from “17,000 stretched-out condoms in a variety of colors.” It is titled “Eggs Benedict.”  WSJ

No one is suggesting killing Niki Johnson, but does the Milwaukee Art Museum need to purchase it? I’d withdraw my membership and donation immediately.

“The decision by the Milwaukee Art Museum to acquire and prominently display a controversial portrait of Pope Benedict XVI fashioned from 17,000 colored condoms has created outrage among Catholics and others who see it as profoundly disrespectful, even blasphemous.

Many suggest that if a piece were as offensive to other faith traditions or communities it would not be tolerated, much less embraced.

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki blasted the decision as insulting and callous. The museum acknowledged it has fielded about 200 complaints. A handful of patrons dropped their memberships; one longtime docent tendered her resignation; and at least one donor vowed never to support the museum financially again.

Museum officials said an equal number of people have voiced support for the piece and that memberships and pledges in general are growing. They said they regret that the portrait, by Shorewood artist Niki Johnson, has elicited such enmity. But they insist it was not their intent — nor the intent of the artist — to offend Catholics or anyone else. And they said they continue to enjoy the support of people of all faiths, including Catholics.”

So the intent was not to insult the leader of the largest Christian church in the world? How stupid do they think we are.  And I hope Milwaukee Catholics stand up to this ridicule.

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