Saturday, September 24, 2016

Taking a stand against hatred in the public square

Remember that 'art' exhibit of Christ submerged in urine?

If works of art in general are free speech, this is hate speech.


Kevin Knox said...

I've continued to think about this one. I'm just not sure I'm ready to punish thought crime. This art doesn't rise to the level of threat or intimidation, so I'm pretty happy to look at it.

If I were going to start restricting speech, I sure wouldn't be happy doing it self-servingly. I'd want to protect some other group, rather than my own.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi Kevin

Good to see you again.

I'm not talking about calling something a thought crime, punishing or restricting it, or protecting groups. I'm pointing out something very obvious: urinating on something is a recognized expression of hatred, and so this 'art' is a form of hate speech. It has surprised me the extent to which people are willing to support, condone, or even praise this particular piece of hate speech. I'd like to explain that I don't roll out the welcome mat for hatred. In its way, that's a challenge to people who do roll out the welcome mat for hatred.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Aron Wall said...

Not everything that is immoral should be illegal; therefore it should be possible to critique disgusting behavior without calling for banning it.

The Bible prohibits blasphemy, and this particular work of "art" was done at the peril of the artist's immortal soul (Heb 10:29), since he is showing contempt for the one thing capable of reconciling him to God.

In ancient Israel blasphemy was a capital offense. Now as an American my social context is very different from an ancient theocracy, and I think the First Amendment is an important and valuable compromise in order to allow people of different religious views to live at peace with each other. I'd love to live in a society in which God's Fatherhood could be acknowledged by the public institutions ("hallowed be your name") but it is even more important not to force people to act against their consciences. But this can't change the Christian doctrine that it is gravely immoral to construct blasphemous art or to approve of it.

Merely looking at it of course does not trigger guilt (Matt 15:11, Titus 1:15), but I think a godly person will generally refrain from doing so without some particular good reason---for example, in the case of this post, in order to critique it as hateful.

(In fact, I'm a little bothered even by even seeing such an image replicated on a Christian blog; although I'm sure Anne has the best of motives in this particular case it's not the decision I would have made personally.)

Weekend Fisher said...

It's interesting, just as a follow-up to that -- I actually had some nauseated feelings when I was putting together the little 15 second video clip there. I didn't want to risk running to the wrong side of any infringement laws so I didn't use the original controversial image. I took a classic painting -- long since public domain -- for the image of Christ, and trimmed it down. But the act of splicing it into my "jar filling" video ... it turned my stomach. It made clear to me the extent to which the original art is a conscious, deliberate expression of hatred. And, again, urinating on something is a generally recognized expression of hatred and contempt.

I find the reaction to the original art remarkable. The original is praised in a bizarrely self-righteous way in some circles -- as if to object to hate speech is somehow small-minded, as if to express hatred of the right people (or religion) is somehow cosmopolitan, as if to belong to the hated group disqualifies a person from having a right to speak. There are still people who talk about this 'art' -- and about the Christian pushback about not wanting public tax money used to fund hate-speech -- as if it makes Christians ("conservatives" or "fundamentalists") somehow anti-art, instead of anti-hate-speech. We live in interesting times.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF