Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sweet (chocolate) Jesus controversy

From AlterNet:

Now, setting Donohue and his idiocy aside, let's get the more critical view of the controversy from Faith Commons:

I've obviously not seen the piece properly, but my sense is that it looks like a wonderfully cheeky critique of the saccharine nature of modern Easter-tide. I wonder if those in the Catholic League would normally purchase chocolate eggs for their children around this time? Are we not all guilty of sweetening the impact of Christ's death?

It also seems likely that the CL are offended by Jesus' penis being shown. Did he not have one? Would he not have been stripped naked to be crucified? Isn't a loin cloth just a lie?

It seems again that those who seek to represent Christ in anything other than explicitly Christian and conservative works are going to find themselves heavily under attack. But, as in the work of Serrano, what I hope is happening is that these artists are playing the Trickster role that they ought, and are forcing us to re-evaluate our engagement with Christ over Easter.
Click here for more, which also includes a video debate between the artist and the ranting and raving head of the Catholic League.

Well said. And the chocolate Jesus' artist, Cosimo Cavallaro is also well-spoken in the CNN debate, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek, Andy Warholian way. All I have to add is some riffing on a couple of my recent posts.

as I explained last Friday, religion is inherently ideological, which means that it is necessarily subject to heavy civic scrutiny. Christianity is a political and philosophical force. The moment it attempts to advance itself in the marketplace of ideas is the same moment that it relinquishes any claim that it is somehow above the fray and worthy of a level of respect far beyond any other ideological points of view. That is, if you're going to tell somebody how to live, you'd better be ready to encounter resistance.

as I explained yesterday, the Bible, along with its stories and iconic figures, is hopelessly intertwined with the very fabric of Western civilization. Pretty much anybody who comes out of the Western tradition can lay claim to Jesus as an important cultural figure. That is, Jesus isn't solely the posession of Christians, and these preachy motherfuckers who freak out anytime an artist portrays their Lord in a way they don't like are just going to have to deal with it. This artist is a Westerner, and Jesus, as a cultural concept, belongs to him just as much as he does to Jerry Falwell or Pope Hitler Youth the First.

Besides, chocolate is yummy.