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TAM: Video disrespectful of Catholic artifact

Letter by T.S. Barbarossa, Federal Way on May 31, 2011 at 1:30 pm with 53 Comments »
May 31, 2011 2:07 pm

Tacoma Art Museum plans to exhibit a controversial show, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” (TNT, 5-26). A part of this display includes a video, “Fire in my Belly,” which shows images of ants crawling across a plastic crucifix.

While I have not actually seen the film myself, from the mere description of its content it seems that the work disrespects the crucifix, which is a sacred item to Roman Catholics.

Even though the article mentioned that this was an issue of free speech, it is actually not. Few would argue that the museum does not have the right to display the video. Indeed, it certainly does have that right. This is a matter of respect, not “free speech.”

Society should never condone the defilement or mockery of religious artifacts, especially those as steeped in tradition and history as the crucifix. Thus, this particular video should be removed from the exhibit out of respect for believers.

Leave a comment Comments → 53
  1. Publico says:

    Yes, we should all have great respect for the Catholic Church because they have never abused children and their positions to protect women’s rights and birth control in general are unassailable.

  2. KARDNOS says:

    Well, T.S., I missed your letter of concern when the preacher in the South destroyed a Quran for a publicity stunt.

    The Quran is close to as old as Catholic symbolism.

    By the way, a crucifix is universal throughout Christianity so I think your agenda is showing.

  3. KARDNOS says:

    “While I have not actually seen the film myself, from the mere description of its content it seems that the work disrespects the crucifix, which is a sacred item to Roman Catholics.”

    From USCatholic.org

    “Reading Philip Kennicott’s Post essay, I was surprised at how far away in history that period feels and how HIV has become more and more a sub-Saharan African disease in the popular imagination (though not necessarily in reality). It is easy to forget the prejudice and fear those with HIV suffered, and Kennicott includes a chilling quote from the late William Bennett–a Catholic–who argued that those with HIV be tattooed, alluding to practices of the Nazi regime.

    Having ignored the latest Catholic League-generated dust-up (which I wish everyone would so the League would go away), I just read that the offending image involved ants crawling on a cross, which, being increasingly Franciscan in my approach to creation and salvation, I don’t find upsetting at all. Even the ants are gathered up into God’s saving plan as far as I’m concerned. And I have a feeling that Wojnarowicz may have had something similar in mind. Too bad we couldn’t sit with our discomfort long enough to learn his story and perhaps be challenged by his message.”

    Try reading up on the subject or acquiring some knowledge before jumping to offense, T.S.

  4. Roncella says:

    T.S. Your letter highlights the different standards for different Religions. If this Special Show had planned on showing a disrspectful/picture or comments about some important Moslem God, the Muslims would have been screeming and demonstrating and threating anyone and everyone involved with this showing in Tacoma.

    But since its a disrespectful display of a Crucifix which is very sacred and very important and respected by all Christians World wide, no problem what so ever.

  5. SadujTogracse says:

    Good point Roncella, can you imagine the outrage if it were ants marching across a picture of Muhammed? I’m pretty certain the Art Museum would have not showed that, total double standard.

  6. sue1234 says:

    The problem with religion is it makes people stupid. Just because you believe in an invisible skyfriend and all the rituals and symbols associated with your religion in no way demands that rational people respect your religion or symbols. As an American we dont have to adhere to your learned ignorance and lack of understanding symbols..
    Guess what if you dont like what someone does with a cross.. dont go look at it. Most importantly do not tell rational people we have to respect icons associated wtih your religion.
    And, by the way, being religious in no way makes you are more moral or more worthy as a person.

  7. KARDNOS says:

    I’m always amazed at the mind reading skills of the Conservatives - knowing that so and so would do such and such if it had to do with something else</i?

    You'd think with all that clairvoyance, they would have known that 80% of the voters disagree with the Paul Ryan Medicare programs.

    Maybe they don't really know the minds of others and then claim, on this and other subjects

  8. KARDNOS says:

    Funny how a Catholic media source doesn’t find the art offensive….but the Conservatives want to enflame the issue…..

  9. KARDNOS says:

    To quote….AGAIN….the Catholic media writer:

    I just read that the offending image involved ants crawling on a cross, which, being increasingly Franciscan in my approach to creation and salvation, I don’t find upsetting at all. Even the ants are gathered up into God’s saving plan as far as I’m concerned.

    A nice level, openminded approach.

    Maybe people would be better served if they considered that God had inspired the artist for the purpose of exposing the bleeding deacons and self-proclaimed righteous.

  10. SadujTogracse says:

    So one person doesn’t have a problem with it, good for him. Others do. Roncella’s point is still valid.

  11. Roncella says:

    sue1234, Your posts are always so empty of real thoughts.

    Yes sue as a person we will all have to meet our maker eventually, and you better hope he is not an old testament Conservative, like me. Oh Yea !!

  12. larsman says:

    How about some “brave, courageous artist” showing ants atop a copy of
    “Origins of Species” which is standing upright over a copy of the Koran?

    Now THAT would be real courageous artistic freedom…

  13. roncella your posts are always so empty of real thoughts.

  14. Can someone explain to me what is offensive about ants on a crucifix, and why the chatolics should be catered to so much?

  15. fbergford says:

    xtp…it’s by the same logic as why muslims do not like it when people depict an image of Muhammed, or when Jewish people do not like seeing the Star of David being stomped on, or when people butcher a cow in front of Hindus…nobody caters to Catholics, people always pick on them because they are one of the largest religions in the world with over 1 billion people. Because they are one of the longest standing religions in the world, we base our calendar off of it, they are one of the first religions to record history…yeah they screwed up back in the day, there are some bad apples, but you can find bad apples in any religion. Is it disrespectful, yes, do I care, no, I’m just going to choose to not go see it and hopefully this will be the last of it being talked about. This won’t hurt Catholicism, it’s seen worse…in fact it might actually bring more people into the church.

    And to all of you that are very liberal on here…what did you think of John F Kennedy? He was a Democrat and a Catholic, the only Catholic that held the title of President of the United States.

  16. bobcat1a says:

    Roncella, if God is “an old testament Conservative” like you, I will happily go to the other place. I have this thing against gods that destroy innocent children because of the behavior of their parents (see Sodom and Gomorrah) or to win a bet (see Job).

  17. yabetchya says:

    fberg..well done.

  18. ItalianSpring says:

    They think they are soooo brave making fun of catholics and sometimes secretly hating the Jews. How brave is it though, to mock religions whos members will not cut your head off for doing so? Not at all.

  19. fbergford says:

    Kardnos…you said “The Quran is close to as old as Catholic symbolism.”

    You are actually pretty far off. Islam came around in the year 622 AD in Mecca. Catholicism came around in 1AD but wasn’t officially accepted by the Romans until 325 AD under Constantine. So depending on what year you go by it’s either 621 years or 297 years after. Just saying….

  20. SadujTogracse says:

    History isn’t some people’s strong suit!

  21. KARDNOS says:

    fberg…once you get past the “faith gobbledygook” of Catholism (they claim to be founded by Jesus), the acutual church started in the latter 300s, in Rome.

    My comparison of Islam to Catholisism was not intended as an exact, but more as a relative, when you consider that both religions have been around 1500 years plus.

    Neither have any authoritative documentation to prove origins anyway, other than their respective mythologies.

    What is the relative difference of 300 years in comparison to a couple thousand?

    You’re reaching…….

    Catholics are no better than Muslims and vice versa. Both hold their sacrements holy.

    there is no seniority clause.

  22. KARDNOS says:

    Is someone going to tell me that ants never get on a cross on a Catholic church?

  23. If you find it offensive, then don’t go to the museum.

  24. LarryFine says:

    Darn good thing TAM isn’t displaying a cartoon Barry Soetoro… smoking a cigarette.

  25. beerBoy says:

    “I have not actually seen the film myself…”

    Exactly the same comment I heard from protestors outside Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”.

  26. Roncella says:

    Very odd and strange that the some of the liberals who post here would attack catholics and Christians and defend muslims, it must that far left reasoning kicking in once more.

  27. T.S., you admit that you have not seen the video. Therein, you are not qualified to critique the content, which was described in the article with very little detail.

    You also admit that TAM has the right to display the video — and with that I agree.

    The “issue” is not respect, because if free speech truly is freedom to speak, then the “artist” can do that in the method of his/her choice — regardless of whether you feel disrespected or, more so, uncomfortable.

    “Art” is subjective. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to buy it or a ticket to see it. And it doesn’t have to match your sofa.

  28. LarryFine says:

    … our tax dollars already bought a ticket…

  29. Well fberg, lots of blather in your ‘answer’ but not much substance.
    Can you explain what is so offencive about ants on a crusfix or not?
    I still see no reason at all to force the planet to cater to the catholics the way that you all demand and your ‘answer’ is re-enforcing that question.
    ‘the first to record history’?? Are you kidding me? What history they did record was recored wrong and only in favor of the church so you score no points with that at all, and thats not mentioning the 1000’s of years of history recored before the pope ever showed up.

    And can you please tell me what the he!! JFK has to do with this?

  30. Pecksbadboy says:

    Maybe the TAM can show a display of convicted Catholic pedophile priest’s self- portraits with ants crawling on them. That would make T.S. feel better.

  31. KARDNOS says:

    “LarryFine says:
    June 1, 2011 at 10:45 am
    … our tax dollars already bought a ticket…”

    False statement

  32. KARDNOS says:

    “Roncella says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:43 am
    Very odd and strange that the some of the liberals who post here would attack catholics and Christians and defend muslims, it must that far left reasoning kicking in once more.”

    Very odd and strange that Roncella would attack Islam and not recognize that Christianity/Catholicism is also a religion and not a lot different.

    ::::here comes the beheading line::::::::

  33. KARDNOS says:

    “LarryFine says:
    June 1, 2011 at 8:10 am
    Darn good thing TAM isn’t displaying a cartoon Barry Soetoro… smoking a cigarette.”

    Who is Barry Soetoro?

  34. KARDNOS says:

    BIRTHERALERTBIRTHERALERTBIRTHERALERTBIRTHERALERT

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/occidental.asp

  35. fbergford says:

    Kardnos since I’m Catholic and educated at a Catholic institution I think I know a little bit more about my faith than you do. After I corrected you on when Catholicism became “mainstream” (after the Holy Roman Emporer Constantine converted to Catholicism in 325 AD) 325AD is not the “latter” no matter how you spin it. All Christian religion “goobedygook” or whatever you said all started with Catholicism. Presbertarians, Angelicans, Baptist, 4 Square, etc., all broke off from the Catholic church because they did not like the rules you had to live by. So they started their own “branch”. You should know that because you claimed in an earlier post that you were once a “pastor” at some church…300 years isn’t reaching is being “politically correct”…come you like being PC ;)

    xtp…if you didn’t like my answer why did you ask a question!? You didn’t want to get a viewpoint from a Catholic? You make no sense…did I offend you in some way in the way I answered your question? I don’t really care if I did to be honest because I know you are just a bitter little person that has beef with everything that doesn’t fit your viewpoint! I am going to play along with your game and answer those other questions that you asked in your response to me….here goes…

    What do you mean by “you all” are you talking to me or everyone on here? No one said you have to “cater” towards Catholics, you are free to do whatever you’d like to do as long as it is law abiding. I did not say “the first to record history”, I said “one of the first”…big difference there. The Greeks, Egyptians or the Persians started recording history long before the Catholic church was even around. Do you remember something called the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire…pretty much the whole Western civilization couldn’t read or write so they depended on Monks, Brothers, Priests in the Catholic church to record historical events and store them for future generations. So from about 500AD until the 1500’s the Catholic church recorded Western civilization history which we study in our history books. Why am I giving you a history lesson, you should have learned this in highschool!

    Lastly, I brought up JFK because he was a Catholic and a Democrat. Did you miss that when I posted it last time? Or was your selective blinders on again? The majority of Catholics in the US are Democrats, they have the same political beliefs as you do except the big one which is abortion. I hope that clarifies things for you, but my 6th sense says it doesn’t because you refuse to open your mind and look at different viewpoints other than your own.

  36. LarryFine says:

    June 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm = douchebagalertdouchebagalertdouchebagalert!!!
    LOL…

  37. KARDNOS says:

    “fbergford says:
    June 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm
    Kardnos since I’m Catholic and educated at a Catholic institution I think I know a little bit more about my faith than you do.”

    No, you’re a little more indoctrinated. The history of Catholicism is all over the internet. I don’t need your version. If you look you’ll find documentation of 380 AD for origins….which IS latter…..

    Oh…and did I tell you my son attended a Catholic prep school?

    All religion is one thing – belief.

  38. KARDNOS says:

    “All Christian religion “goobedygook” or whatever you said all started with Catholicism.”

    Uh…not according to the Eastern Orthodox…..

    See what I mean Berg? You’re just more indoctrinated.

  39. beerBoy says:

    Gotta wonder how many of the “offended” folks are practicing Catholics. I rather doubt the letter writer is based upon the way the letter is written. Just like Giuliani (not a Catholic) claiming to be offended for Catholics when that painting by Chris Ofili was part of a show.

    The ants crawling on the plastic cross is something like 7 seconds in a much longer work. You have to be looking for it and be primed for offense. It is true that David Wojnarowicz wrote some scathing things about the Archdiocese in Boston that actively worked to prevent the use of condoms in the early part of the AIDs epidemic but this hubbub about a few seconds of video seems more about creating false outrage to incite social conservatives to open their wallets than anything else.

  40. LarryFine says:

    I’m not offended. I just like pointing out the selective outrage of some of my lefty friends.

  41. And more blather from fberg.
    First off, no I didn’t like your ‘answer’ because it wasn’t an answer at all, and it has nothing to do with why I asked the question. You see, your arogence has gotten in the way, I asked the question, your non-answer came after I asked….get it?

    Second point, thank you so much for continuing the catholic tradition of rewritting history to fit your agenda, the pope would be proud.
    Next, your so called answer still isn’t an answer at all, just more blather.

    The question, fberg, is this “what is offensive about ants on a crusfix?”
    The side bar question to that is why should we cater to the catholics and suspend free speech in order to not ‘offend’ them?
    Can you answer or not? If you can’t, no worries, it’s not a reflection on you, don’t get your shorts bunged up over it.

    I’m still completly puzzled by the JFK thing but you partisans do what you partisans do I guess.
    How the Democrats work into this in anyway shape or form is another question for you to ignore.

  42. Trust and believe nothing that you have not verified with your own senses.

  43. sue1234 says:

    Roncella, I do not have to believe in your invisible skyfriend nor do I have to respect your religion. Just because you psychologically need to have an invisble skyfriend doesnt mean your God is real nor does it make you a more worthy person.

  44. Roncella says:

    sue1234, Just one more reason to thank your lucky stars you were born in America.

    Had you been borned in a middle eastern Muslim country with sharia law you as a female would not be allowed to express your opinions in a computer or anywhere.

    You would be used for reproducing children and cooking and cleaning serving your male master only, nothing more.

    Think about that and count your blessings.

  45. Aaaaaaaand there’s the beheading line as predicted.

  46. beerBoy says:

    btw – Catholics revere all sorts of sacred objects (usually relics of saints but a plastic cross isn’t considered sacred unless it has somehow been sanctified through ritual. This is all a manufactured outrage by non-Catholics.

  47. Booooorned, in the USAAAAAAAAAA!

  48. Currently in Italy – a very Catholic country – in Assisi, a very Catholic town, and I saw an antique store with various items formerly used for handling the hosts and wine for sale for public use. These objects, unlike a plastic crucifix, were designed, manufactured, and used to hold the transubstantiated body and blood of Christ yet here they are on display in a shop window. Anyone could buy one and take them home for any profane use.

    So don’t try to tell us that little video clip of ants crawling on a plastic cross are going to get the Vatican all upset.

  49. Roncella says:

    beerBoy, Lets all agree, that respect for all beliefs and religions should be the order of the day. There will always be those who are offended for one reason or another, theres not much anyone can do about that.

  50. vingrotto says:

    “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11-14)

    Roncella: Seems like the Christian bible doesn’t want to treat women any better than the Muslim Koran.

  51. Roncella says:
    June 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

    beerBoy, Lets all agree, that respect for all beliefs and religions should be the order of the day.
    —–
    The disrespect you show for those who are ideologically and politically to your left, Roncella is in direct conflict with your statement.

    What do you say about that? Hypocritical?

  52. Roncella says:
    June 6, 2011 at 9:55 am

    beerBoy, Lets all agree, that respect for all beliefs and religions should be the order of the day.
    —–
    The same way you show disrespect for those who are ideologically and politically to your left, Roncella? Or, maybe that doesn’t count, in your world.

  53. OOps. Pardon the double post. Didn’t think it posted the first time.

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