Friday, 24 July 2009

“Art” Exhibition Features Desecration of the Bible

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bibleEven in an age in which it seems that any obscene scribbling may be passed off as art, an exhibit at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Glasgow, Scotland, has drawn the ire of Christians.

According to a July 23 article in The Times of London, “The open Bible is a central part of Made in God’s Image, an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) in Glasgow. By the book is a container of pens and a notice saying: ‘If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.’” Such an absurd invitation has led to predictable results: “To the horror of many Christians, including the community church, visitors have daubed its pages with comments such as ‘This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all.’ A contributor wrote on the first page of Genesis: ‘I am Bi, Female & Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.’”

The defaced Bible is described as a “central part” of an exhibition entitled Made in God’s Image. The exhibition was created by GoMA “artist in residence” Anthony Schrag and David Malone. Schrag — whose previous “art” included running down the street wearing a sign reading, “Culture is Dead! Long Live Entertainment!” — defended opening the Sacred Scriptures of the world’s largest religion to defamation. “If we are to open up the Bible for discussion, surely we have to invite people to speak out,” he said in the article in The Times. “Art allows us to discuss difficult things, and Goma allows difficult discussions to take place — that is why Glasgow is at the cutting edge of contemporary art.”

Such a defense is utterly nonsensical. Even from the perspective of “contemporary art,” “discussion” need not imply the destruction of the work being “discussed.” (Unless one wishes to describe the attack on Michelangelo’s David in 1991 as such an expression of “contemporary art.”) There is nothing “cutting edge” about obscenity or mocking the church’s faith. Perhaps Schrag would consider the Diocletian persecution an example of “performance art”?

The homosexual lobby’s agenda of assaulting traditional Christian teaching is implicit to the entire concept of the GoMA exhibition, according to the gallery’s website: “The intersection of sexuality and religion has often been the site of controversy, and more so for those from an LGBT perspective.... While some of the works may be controversial from the more traditional and right-leaning positions, the exhibition challenges the assumption that one cannot lead a fully spiritual life while identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and/or Intersexed. Working with various individuals, Christian and Muslim groups, artist Anthony Schrag explored the personal and communal experiences of being both LGBTI and have a faith, and looked to defy the expectation that being religious was just as much of a choice as someone’s sexuality.” Perhaps ironically, the gallery’s target audience rejects the gallery’s agenda of mixing perversion and a “fully spiritual life,” given the propensity of visitors to the exhibit for scrawling obscene meanderings next to the text of Holy Writ.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, places the entire exhibition in proper perspective. As she told The Times: “This is symbolic of the state of our broken and lawless society,” she said. “We have got to a point where we call the desecration of the Bible modern art. The Bible stands for everything this art does not: for creation, beauty, hope and regeneration.”

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The exhibition is scheduled to remain on display until August 22.