The freedom to ignore

  • Follow Editorials

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere," said famed British author G. K. Chesterton. In Western society, where that line should be drawn is almost exclusively left up to the artist, as it should be.

It is with this guiding principle of free artistic expression that works such as "Bearded Orientals: Making the Empire Cross" by artist Priscilla Bracks, are created. But many will consider that this piece of "art" is way over that invisible line.

"Bearded Orientals" is a portrait of a traditional bearded Jesus that morphs into a portrait of Osama bin Laden as the viewer walks around it.

Unbelievable.

To most of us, it would seem the artist is equating one of the worst mass murderers in modern history to the Prince of Peace. Offensive doesn't begin to describe it.

Ms. Bracks denies creating the artwork - now on exhibit in Sydney, Australia, as part of the Blake Prize for Religious Art - to intentionally offend. She was quoted by ABC Radio as saying, "Absolutely not, no, no. I am not interested in being offensive. I am interested in having a discussion and asking questions about how we think about our world and what we accept and what we don't accept."

She claims she was intrigued by how bin Laden is revered in some parts of the world. "What I was thinking about is, well, what would happen to the stories about this man over thousands of years? Could that possibly lead to someone with a cultlike status?" she asked. Perhaps. But that supposed deeper meaning is obscured in a piece of art so vague and so open to interpretation.

Moreover, to compare, in any fashion, a man who gleefully slaughters innocents to the Son of God, who came to save those same innocents, is an affront to all Christians.

The point is not really the perceived offensiveness of the image, though, but how modern society is so eager and willing to heap the most egregious outrages on Christianity and yet tiptoes on eggshells around the subject of Islam.

That's probably because whenever extremist Muslims detect insult or blasphemy, people end up dying, and rioting fills the streets in cities around the globe for weeks, such as in the case of the Dutch Mohammed cartoon controversy of last year. More recently, the terrorist group al-Qaida has put a $100,000 bounty on the head of a Swedish cartoonist who depicted Mohammed in one of his cartoons.

Christians, on the other hand, have always been persecuted for their faith. They expect it. And society is only more than happy to oblige them.

But it was Jesus, the subject of this artist's blasphemy, who said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also."

True Christians understand that, as offensive as an image may be, it does nothing to undermine the Gospel. Westerners understand that to have a free and open society, artists such as Ms. Bracks should be allowed to express repugnant imagery. Tolerating offensive art cuts to the essence of why freedom and democracy are better than the alternatives. But tolerating it doesn't mean offended taxpayers should have to fund it - or even dignify it by looking at it.

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jade
12
Points
jade 09/18/07 - 01:19 am
0
0
Jesus also said, "I came not

Jesus also said, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." You can find a verse from the Bible to suit any agenda, as the Chronicle did, and as I just did. The Chronicle also fails to point out that while this piece of art may not undermine the Gospel, the "free and open society" they espouse certainly does. And the implication that Christians in America today are persecuted for their faith is simply ridiculous. Persecution would mean the government curtailing their right to practice their religion freely. There is a difference between this and the gov't preventing them from forcing their beliefs on others (i.e. - school prayer, Ten Commandment courthouse displays, etc.)

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/18/07 - 05:47 am
0
0
Part of being an artist is

Part of being an artist is being a flake. Why get upset over the views or actions of a flake? It's the art one should be concerned with in this case.

pondfisherman01
0
Points
pondfisherman01 09/18/07 - 06:38 am
0
0
Good call patriciathomas, I

Good call patriciathomas, I agree that in order to be an artist one must be a bit flacky. But then you must be careful because flacky can also be rich and powerful as we are witnessing the Hollywood crowd spread their Bravo Serria. Rockers spreading their filth, and Rappers spreading their venom and hatred, all in the name of art. I would not try to stop the artist from doing this, but I will not buy their products nor listen to their message. This is true power called freedom of choise and can be used to derail all that most people find offensive.

mgroothand
5
Points
mgroothand 09/18/07 - 07:28 am
0
0
Slight correction; it was not

Slight correction; it was not a Dutch Mohammed cartoon but rather a Danish cartoon. Careful A/C you'll set off riots in the streets of Amsterdam. It is when the "art" is funded by the people's tax dollars that I get upset. Remember "[filtered word] Christ"?

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 09/18/07 - 10:28 am
0
0
All religion is crazy.
Unpublished

All religion is crazy.

LuAnn
0
Points
LuAnn 09/18/07 - 10:59 am
0
0
Jade, you need to look up

Jade, you need to look up persecution - there are many types of persecution. The dictionary defines persecute as "To oppress or harass with ill treatement..." Nowhere in the dictionary does it say it means the "governement curtails their right..." as you claim.
If Priscilla Bracks truly did not mean to offend, why did she use our most holy man and try to denigrate his image? Why didn't she compare bin Laden with Satan as he surely resembles. I am so sick of the far left's take on "artistic freedom" and "political correctness". How about what offends me? This kind of non-art offends me greatly. Where is the outrage about that?

deekster
24
Points
deekster 09/18/07 - 01:43 pm
0
0
you can also find the

you can also find the scriptures, "And Judas went out and hanged himself" YOU can add that to "Go thou and do likewise".

coco rubio
4
Points
coco rubio 09/18/07 - 03:55 pm
0
0
are we paying for this as

are we paying for this as taxpayers for this show in australia? i don't think so.......but, i guess we should censor the whole world now, right? all in the name of christianity.......this is great......ask the native americans, especially the aztecs & incas about that one.......

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 09/18/07 - 04:38 pm
0
0
most people choose to be

most people choose to be insulted. By granting a person the power to insult you, you give them the power to influence you.

coco rubio
4
Points
coco rubio 09/18/07 - 04:56 pm
0
0
that's the silliest thing

that's the silliest thing i've heard in a long time.......i hearby grant you the power to insult & influence me, patricia.......but, guess what....it doesn't work!

critter
2
Points
critter 09/18/07 - 07:11 pm
0
0
I guess most Christians would

I guess most Christians would be less offended if next to the one work, there was another that morphed from Mohammed into Satan. Fairness, after all, and still asks the question equally of both faiths. But really, I don't see Christians as being truly persecuted as much as I see them upset because others disagree with that which they hold sacred. I mean, how many non-Christian Presidents of the United States have there been? How many businesses openly advertise their religious beliefs via the fish emblem? How many people wear crosses on their necklaces? Looks pretty doggone wide-open in favor of Christianity to me.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs