CultureWatch

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

Art, Vilification and Offence, Again

Feb 2, 2013

It is a sad fact of life that the secular left will often use “art” to cover a multitude of sins. So-called artistic expression is often simply a cloak to ride roughshod over the religious, moral and cultural sensitivities of many. In the name of “freedom of expression” and so on, many artists are simply seeking to bash the deeply held beliefs and convictions of others with impunity.

We have had countless examples of this over the years, and there seems to be a never ending stream of artists who line up seeking to be more outrageous, offensive, controversial and shocking than the last guy. And we have seen that the primary target of these oh-so cool and trendy artists is of course Christianity.

Thus there has been one outrage after another levelled at those who take their faith in Christ seriously. So we have had plenty of ugly attacks on Christianity in the name of art, with the infamous “Piss Christ” being just one example of this. I discuss that episode here: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/04/20/shock-art-and-anti-christian-bigotry-again/

These guys actually go out of their way to offend Christians and conservatives. Indeed, they consider it their duty to do so. Yet this offence is all one way traffic. These secular lefties will not allow the other side any leeway here. No, they must just sit down and shut up, and never do anything which offends.

Thus all their talk of tolerance is just so much rhetoric and hot air. If our side shows a picture of an unborn baby, they take great offence, and want it shut down. The same if our side says that marriage is between a man and a woman, or if we try to pray in public, or if we dare to question their radical agendas.

In these areas and thousands more, the secular left easily takes offence, demands that we apologise, and insists that we never say or do such things again. Yet they can go on their merry way, bashing conservatives and Christians on a regular basis, all the while being as sacrilegious and blasphemous as possible.

Consider the most recent example of this. The headline from the Guardian says it all: “Ellen DeGeneres as Jesus in the ‘Lesbian Last Supper’.” The article begins: “West Hollywood artist Bronwyn Lundberg has a new piece she has just unveiled and it comes with much controversy but Lundberg is not surprised by the criticisms nor the praises she has received for her work of art….

“In the ‘Lesbian Last Supper,’ Lundberg replaced Jesus with Ellen DeGeneres and Judas with ‘The L Word’ character ‘Shane McCutcheon.’ Other lesbians depicted in the art piece are Wanda Sykes, Portia De Rossi, Rosie O’ Donnell and Rachael Maddow.”

And to make matters worse, the female journalist covering this story moves immediately from reporting to editorialising: “When it comes to art their [sic] is no right or wrong but an artists’ vision for the world to see. Not everyone will enjoy or like it, but that is the society we live in:  We live in a diverse society with differing tastes and cultures. Some aren’t so accepting, but artists can’t let what one group says keep them from creating, or else the world will be without art.”

No right and wrong huh? So if someone for example paints a picture of this artist being attacked and raped by angry protestors, that is just fine is it? The artist will not take offence or show some concern, or say “That is not right”? Somehow I just don’t think so.

And spare us this “diversity” baloney. One will notice immediately that this is Jesus Christ and Christianity being attacked in such an ugly fashion here. No, Ellen DeGeneres did not die a horrible death on the cross for my sins. And funny that this “brave” artist was happy to attack Jesus, but not someone like Muhammad.

Let’s see how really bold and courageous this woman is to do a similar attack on Islam. But I won’t hold my breath on this. These controversialists know that Christianity is always an easy target to attack – Christians will not be flying airplanes into art galleries in response.

So put this down to yet more anti-Christian bigotry masquerading as art. Everywhere in our PC world the elites are demanding that we be tolerant, inoffensive and accepting of everyone else – all except Christians that is. It is open season on Christianity, and you won’t hear a peep out of the MSM or the lefty elites condemning such ugly vilification as this.

Indeed, they will applaud it, mutter nonsense about “artistic expression,” and ramble on about what a brave and daring artist she is. The utter hypocrisy and double standards we find here is simply mind-boggling. But it is not surprising really.

The secular left has declared war on all things Christian decades ago, and this is just the most recent example of this. But while we can and should raise our voices in protest over such outrageous filth, we will pray for this artist instead of seeking to blow up her and her work.

But I still await that painting about Muhammad.

guardianlv.com/2013/01/ellen-degeneres-as-jesus-in-the-lesbian-last-supper/

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7 Responses to Art, Vilification and Offence, Again

  • Bill, we came close with paintings of Muhammad. Don’t forget those simplistic Danish cartoons several years ago and the uproar in caused in the Muslim world when it became known. A couple of hundred people died as a result. Yet I remember a social worker, who I imagine was echoing many others said those cartoonist shouldn’t have done this as it caused offence. I see no difference here. I remember twenty or more years ago in the Sunday paper on my way to a Church service of a photo of some artist holding up a large crucifix of the body of Christ but with a smiling Mickey Mouse head on top. This was part of some art exhibition involving Disney characters or something. The pastor inserted it into his already prepared sermon. That upset people too. I wish I could remember the artist response; it was one or two mocking cryptic sentences. But as the pastor said in his sermon, Christ died for him too.

    Carl Strehlow

  • Hi again Bill…So true! Having been in the art world for more than 4 decades I can attest to this hypocrisy and more.

    However, one of the problems faced by those on the ‘other side’ i.e. conservative (Christian) artists is what short thrift they are given by their communities. If you are a radical lefty or a Homosexual or an anarchist or a Greenie the support you get from your ‘tribe/community/cohort’, is amazing, particularly within the arts.

    As a (former)lecturer and administrator in the arts as well as a leader in the church I was fortunate to have had a group of young creatives to mentor (outside of my professional duties that is). As time went on others were added to the group many of whom were struggling with their worldview/vocational/sexual orientations.

    We prayed for them,ministered to them and even on numerous occasions gave them places to live and support. Our Church at the time was very accommodating to creatives without compromising the Gospel. Unfortunately though, many of these lost souls felt the pull back into their former groups.

    There were complicated reasons for them doing so of course. But the fact is that many Christians looked askance at them. Many were quite dismissive of the struggles they endured and of the art they produced out of those struggles(and this was at a very doctrinally correct and community orientated congregation with a large cohort of creative professionals). That plus the reality was that their former groupings were incredibly supportive and really rather loving towards them.

    Christians on the other hand have never really been very supportive of other Christians in the arts. There has been a rather distorted attitude towards pursuing the arts within the Christian community at large…obviously in some instances worse than others. But all in all and world wide it appears creatives do not find an enormous amount of support within their church environment and that makes for a lonely existence as I can attest to.

    To be ostracized for your career as well as your worldview makes Jack a very dull boy indeed.

    Most bear the brunt of persecution from family, church and the working environment where again I speak from experience that any acknowledgement of a Christian faith within the ‘higher’ institutions of art education is a very swift kiss of death.

    Nevertheless your observation of the hypocrisy amongst artists particularly regarding the attack on Christian symbols as opposed to other (i.e. Islam) absolutely true, just ask Salman Rushdie.

    P.S. I believe that this ‘fear’ of creativity that exists within the Christian community has impoverished both the creatives as well as the Church itself. Our God is portrayed before anything else as a creator, and the enemy hates that.
    In researching the ‘law of first mention’ and its significance within scripture, notice that the first mention of the infilling of the Holy Spirit to undertake a task is given to an artist…Bezalel in Exodus 31.

    Mike McMeekan

  • These guys actually go out of their way to offend Christians and conservatives

    I strongly encourage such brave hearts to begin offending adherents of The Religion of Peace ® in a similar manner and to leave their contact information as they do so in order to experience their world renowned tolerance on a first hand basis.

    JD Curtis

  • Thanks JD

    I don’t think we should hold our breath on that one!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks for this article Bill. As a committed christian I continue to reject the repeated invitation to accept as art that which is, by any standards, correctly filed under blasphemy. My definition of blasphemy is that if it offends Christ it offends me. If it offends Mary Magdalene it offends me – and there are all the others on our side. I want to be able to look these people in the eye at some future time.
    B T Walters

  • Bill, I really like what Mike McMeekan has to say and think he is really on to something. Please consider turning your creative mind to the issues Mike raises and expand upon them in a future post dedicated to this topic.
    Graeme Mitchell

  • Thanks Graeme

    Actually I have, eg here:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/07/28/art-and-the-christian/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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