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Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I can't believe that no one, not one person, raised their hand and said "This is a really, really bad idea" when this was being discussed.

From the Art Gallery Invites Visitors to Deface Bible

The open Bible is part of the Made in God’s Image exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) in Glasgow.

Its inclusion was the idea of a local church which hoped gallery visitors would suggest ways in which the Bible could be “reclaimed as a sacred text”.

A sign next to a container of pens says: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”

The Bible has already been adorned with comments, according to The Times, including “**** the Bible” and “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 exhibit, Untitled 2009, was proposed by the Metropolitan Community Church, an international Christian group which describes itself as offering “inclusive Christian ministry to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities”.

The £7,000 exhibition, which is funded by the Scottish Arts Council and is free of charge, has been created by the artists Anthony Schrag and David Malone in association with organisations representing gay Christians and Muslims.

Mr Schrag, 34, told the newspaper: “Any offensive things that have been written are not the point of the work. It was an open gesture. Are those who say they are upset offended by the things that people write, or just by the very notion that someone should write on a Bible?”

He added: “If we are to open up the Bible for discussion, surely we have to invite people to speak out. 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.”

Jane Clarke, a minister of the community church, said she regretted the insults that had appeared. “The Bible should never be used like that. It was our intention to reclaim it as a sacred text,” she said.

Gee, so much for best intentions. And reclaim the Bible from whom and for whom? The initial premise for the display is patently false - the Bible has always been a sacred text. Leaving it exposed so that it can be defaced is high profanity. All that was accomplished here was that people were handed a perfect opportunity to freely express their self-loathing and anti-Christian bigotry - and as many of the published comments show, they clearly took advantage.

Given that the Metropolitan Community Church, who proposed the display and more than likely distances themselves from traditional teaching on homosexual behavior, it comes as no surprise that they believed that they were promoting a Greater Good. And what "Greater Good" would that be? That traditional Christianity is oppressive, regressive and hateful towards homosexuals.

Oh! By the way, if this was done in association with organizations representing gay Christians and Muslims, then where's the Koran? Smacks of anti-Christian bias on the part of GOMA.

As the article stated: "...while a spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “One wonders whether the organisers would have been quite as willing to have the Koran defaced.”" Maybe GOMA isn't as cutting edge as they would like to think.

I just returned from Washington DC, where among other sites, I visited the National Art Gallery, the Library of Congress (as a building, it's one of the most stunning I have ever seen in the US), and a small portion of the Smithsonian Art & Portraiture Museum. Magnificent, beautiful works of art - paintings, sculpture, what have you. A lot of it thought-provoking, and much of it expressing the depth and breadth of man's ability to create (I'm not big on modern art, but even still, it reflects the desire to fashion something outside of ourselves and evoke a response). Even the war memorials are filled with meaning and symbolism that draw out feelings and emotions, providing perspective on events that occurred before my time, and serving to enshrine the memory of those who sacrificed their lives. I was especially moved by the Vietnam Memorial and Japanese-American World War II Memorial.

But this gross desecration isn't art. Art ought not mock or demean other people's beliefs. It ought not showcase the base and foul dimensions of our humanity. It ought to cause us to aspire to higher and greater ideals. It ought to express beauty and transcend beyond words man's reach for the Divine. Defacing the Scriptures, the divine Word of God, only serves to separate us further from God, and ultimately from each other.

I'm no art critic, but I'm giving this exhibition a two big thumbs down. When "art" draws out hatred and anger, then it's not art at all. It's anti-art, or un-art. There is nothing "Made in God's Image" about this display. It's a perversion and a distortion - works of the devil.