CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

More Artistic License, More Christ-Bashing

Apr 8, 2009

You can always tell when it is Easter – or some other important date on the Christian calendar: along comes some self-obsessed and self-important “artist”, presenting yet another attack on Christ and Christianity. These guys really should try to think of something new.

The latest case of Christ-bashing concerns a Mitch Mitchell – who calls himself an artist – and a life-size cross with a naked young woman hanging on it. The work is displayed at a Melbourne gallery. We are informed that it is “meant to portray women’s suffering”. Oh really?

But this nonsense gets worse when the “artist” informs us of this: “It is the duty of an artist to question society’s beliefs in religion and to test people about those beliefs, which this sculpture will do.”

Oh yeah? Says who? Since when are artists obligated to attack deeply-held religious beliefs and do so on holy days? Where does it say this is the artist’s job? I must have missed this when I took art classes in my youth.

Is there some contract which every budding artist must sign which says something like this: “I promise I will use my craft to attack religion, and especially bash Christianity. I will especially endeavour to use holy days to make my assaults more visible, controversial and profitable. I will push my anti-Christian bigotry and wrap it up in the flag of ‘artistic expression’ and being the ‘social conscience’ of society. And I recognise that artistic talent is of course an optional extra.”

I don’t recall hearing about artists having to sign such a contract. But this guy seems to think it is his obligation to the world to tell us how to believe, and to challenge us in our beliefs. Seems to me that he is just another Christophobe who wants to make a quick buck and gain a bit of notoriety in doing what so many others have done before him.

We are actually growing a bit tired of all this. Andre Serrano’s “Piss Christ” was of course one of the more infamous of such examples. And there have been plenty more. And as always, I await the day when we see Muhammad decked out as a naked female, all in the name of art.

Or perhaps we will see some trendy Melbourne art gallery featuring a really bold bit of social commentary: a Koran immersed in a jar of urine. Somehow I don’t think so. Christians are always such soft targets. Mr Mitchell knows they will not fly an airplane into the gallery.

He knows they will not surround his house with noisy protests, demanding his scalp. There will be no fatwas issued against him, and no suicide bombers will target his gallery.

At the end of the day we can pray for the likes of this artist. But as believers we have every right to raise our voices and express our concern and disgust at yet more anti-Christian bigotry, all done in the name of art.

www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25305705-2862,00.html

There is, for the short-term, a voteline on this: www.news.com.au/heraldsun/poll/1,,661-5039028,00.html

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14 Responses to More Artistic License, More Christ-Bashing

  • At the root of this imbecillic and offensive posturing is the ego of these poseurs, self-elected, with no apparent intellectual capacity to evaluate what really motivates them. Not only are they being driven (why? from where?) to demonise Christianity. They’re also an interesting reminder that pride, i.e in the form of hubris, was traditionally, with good reason (when we think carefully about it) regarded as the greatest of the seven deadly sins. Quite a claim…
    Amy Brooke, NZ

  • Shame on you Mr Mitchell! You knew exactly what you were doing, right in the middle of Holy Week! I, like many other Christians have spent many hours in prayer and adoration over the past few days, to honour our God, Jesus the Christ, Our Savior who gave up his life for each and every one of us! Not only have you said much to me about the way you view women – naked for a start! – but you have also displayed your total ignorance for the greatest Mystery that has ever been; openly and arrogantly exploiting your irreverence!
    Jane Byrne

  • You said it Bill. This guy must be wallowing in the publicity he is getting. Actually if he hung Muhammed from the cross he might get a whole lot more to be excited about. After all, aren’t the Muslims treating their women badly? This guy is pathetic to say the least.
    Pat Abrahams

  • I found this curious/vague:

    “I’ve travelled through 35 countries and found down-trodden women in them all.”

    I wonder out of genuine interest which countries they have been, and his ‘sample size’… Hopefully he can elaborate on this with the attention received by the press.

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney.

  • I find this art offensive. This sculpture has nothing to do with the so called portraying of women’s suffering – this is just an attack on Jesus Christ. Maybe he is depicting that Christ’s suffering and sacrifice was a weak choice. I see this through the depiction of the young, feeble woman put in exactly the same position as Christ was. Another way to look at it is the nude display which shows vulnerability, but I would say that its a sham. I am an artist and I don’t feel its my duty to question the religions through my art. He has now had his 15 minutes of fame.

    I ask these questions: Doesn’t this vilify my faith? Do I have a right to sue him for attacking my belief system? What would happen if Christians started fighting back through our legal system? It’s time to stand up Australia.

    Francesca Collard

  • Always amazes me about contemporary Australian artists – they think they are part of the elite, when really they are an unrepresentative swill – to quote Paul keating.
    Christ is always fair game to these people, but then, they forget that it is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God.
    Wayne Pelling

  • Hi Bill,

    The irony is that it is only through Christ that all men and women can ultimately be freed from the suffering of sin and death. If he really wants to protest against women’s suffering, Islam’s valuation of women, or secular materialism’s objectification of women might be the place to start.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • “Meant to portray women’s suffering”; what a joke! It looks more like a pole dancer on a Cross.
    Anthony McGregor

  • This is simply another example of something good being perverted by the evil one! Nothing new under the sun here! But in all the darkness, Christ still shines through, as people even through this perversion are drawn to the suffering of Jesus on our behalf to become sin for us and take it down, recreating us in HIM for all eternity-wow! Blessings to all this Easter. May you just be, in THEM,
    Lou d’Alpuget

  • “Naked woman on cross provokes outrage” – April 08, 2009
    “Greens call on sport heads for universal code of conduct” – April 09, 2009

    To: Senators Brown and Hanson-Young

    Re: “OFFICIALS and club captains from all sporting codes nationwide should be called to a meeting to discuss player misconduct, the Greens say”

    So will the Greens now call for “Officials, artists and museum/gallery owners/curators nationwide should be called to a meeting to discuss artists’ misconduct and disrespect” and for a universal code of conduct towards Christianity?

    How about it heh?

    John FG McMahon

  • Forget our religious sensibilities. What is more to the point is that this exhibit brings art into disrepute. This piece barely rises above Key Stage 4, School Certificate, or the minimum standard, accepted for exhibition in the amateur craft section, at any one of thousands of Outback agricultural shows. What does Mr Mitchell do for a day-time job? The real villains are the gallery owners who encourage this kind of puerile, freak show and the Media who just enjoy pushing Christian buttons.

    David Skinner, UK

  • This is an obvious attack on Christians, as usual. You said it all
    And the ones who have power to decide are the most guilty ones, they wouldn’t dare allow any mockery against any other faith.
    To mock Christians and Christ is politically correct, just like to show reverence to muslims is politically correct.
    Jaqueline Marwick

  • Would the artist choose to lampoon Muhammad? Look what happened after that was done in Denmark. European Governments had to send diplomats to the Middle East to save trade deals.

    No, our King has a kingdom not of this world, and the world hates Him for exposing their Sin and the judgement to come.

    Stephen White

  • Sure, let these “artists” attack all they want. But let them also find their own audience which voluntarily parts with its money. They have no right to demand money taken by force from taxpayers.

    And as you say, a true test of bravery will be to attack a faith like Islam that will react with violence, rather than their soft target.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

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