Bill Donohue, head of the watchdog Catholic League, said it was “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.”
“It’s not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing — to choose Holy Week is astounding,” he said.
My God! What could it be? What could be making the little vein throb in the forehead of anti-Semite and professional pearl-clutcher Bill Donahue now? ONE OF THE WORST ASSAULTS ON CHRISTIAN SENSIBILITIES EVER??? MY GOD, MAN, WHAT CAN IT BE?
That there is “My Sweet Lord,” a work of art by Cosimo Cavallaro, an artist who often works in foodstuffs. This 6-foot sculpture, made of 200 pounds* of milk chocolate, was to have been on display in the Lab Gallery, an exhibition space inside the Roger Smith Hotel in Manhattan.
Was to have been. The hotel shut down the entire exhibit after Donohue got his flying monkeys out:
The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails about the exhibit. [Gallery creative director Matt] Semler said the calls included death threats over the work of artist Cosimo Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the decision to cancel the display.
“In this situation, the hotel couldn’t continue to be supportive because of a fear for their own safety,” Semler** said.
Such good Christians. Full of the love of Christ at this holy time of year.
So. I looked at this photo, and I couldn’t see what was wrong. It’s not defaced. It’s not a caricature. It doesn’t have elephant dung on it, and it’s not immersed in urine. Chocolate is an unusual choice of materials, sure, but if God created the cacao bean, I don’t see the problem. In fact, it wouldn’t look out of place hanging above the altar of your average Catholic church.
Well, except for one little thing, which is apparently the thing that has Donohue in such a lather:
Yes, the very idea that Christ, who took male human form, might actually be depicted with a PENIS — you know, equipment that comes standard on male humans — is so anathema to Donohue and his minions that they’re MAKING DEATH THREATS.
Just take a gander at the Catholic League press release (you’ll have to Google it, since I won’t link to that asshole) to see the dogwhistling to the minions (my emphasis):
Catholic League president Bill Donohue outlined his game plan today:
“The Roger Smith Hotel is located in the heart of New York City, and it boasts on its website that its Lab Gallery ‘is a high traffic, fast paced’ venue. Indeed it is: the gallery is located on street level, easily accessible to the public. But it is sure bet that in the years to come there will be little in the way of high traffic coming from the Christian community.
“As I’ve said many times before, Lent is the season for non-believers to sow seeds of doubt about Jesus. What’s scheduled to go on at the Roger Smith Hotel, however, is of a different genre: this is hate speech. And choosing Holy Week—the display opens on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday—makes it a direct in-your-face assault on Christians.
“All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don’t react the way extremist Muslims do when they’re offended—otherwise they may have more than their heads cut off. James Knowles, President and CEO of the Roger Smith Hotel (interestingly, he also calls himself Artist-in-Residence), should be especially grateful. And if he tries to spin this as reverential, then he should substitute Muhammad for Jesus and display him during Ramadan.
“I am contacting hundreds of organizations about this assault. Our allied list contains scores of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations, as well as secular groups, that share our concerns about religious hate speech and the degradation of our culture. The only thing that those who operate the Roger Smith Hotel understand is when they get hit in the pocket book. So that’s exactly where we’ll hit them. The boycott is on.”
Got that? He’s ostensibly calling for a boycott, but as we know, the kind of people who would call this hate speech and make threats because someone dared sow doubt about Jesus are not going to be visiting many avant-garde art galleries. No, all this talk of hate speech — and the reference to impending Dhimmitude! — is to stir up the lizard brains among his followers:
Nice head you got there. Shame if anybody cut it off, or cut off something else. You should be especially grateful Christians don’t do that.
And, oh, I’d so love to see that “allied list.” When even starfucker and camerawhore Shmuley Boteach calls you out for your anti-Semitism, you know you have a little hate speech problem your own self. And I’d especially love to know which “secular groups” he’s talking about. Fox News? Hell, even they found the naked chocolate Jesus amusing.
Donohue’s reaction to this work of art — not to mention his reaction to Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan — made me think of something Violet Blue wrote in the SFGate in response to the Kathy Sierra death-threat situation (via Reno and its Discontents):
Sierra’s haters — and the man behind the hate, in my friend’s case — are doing this not because they’re immature. They’re doing it because they want women out of their worlds. Every female tech and sex writer I have contact with knows this — every girl whose work has been Dugg, Slashdotted or commented on in a forum that allows trolls to fester. When someone goes this far, to make death imagery and maintain a 24/7 hate blog, we’re not talking about a lack of social skills, we’re talking about a desire to destroy.
Donohue wants to destroy secularism, and kick anyone who doesn’t want to capitulate to his vision of Christian supremacy out of public life in America.
* Seems that chocolate is heavier than flesh. Who knew?
** Semler submitted his resignation after officials at the Roger Smith shut down the show. I don’t blame him.
- From the Department of Double Standards by zuzu February 10, 2007
- I never thought I’d be linking to The Superficial, but… by Jill November 11, 2007
- Speaking of Anti-Catholic Bigots by zuzu February 8, 2007
- Note to the Catholic League: Next time, hire a college intern by Jill January 3, 2011
- Shame on you. by Jill May 13, 2010