Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ’ Vandalized by French Anti-Blasphemists
According to the Guardian, religious zealots stormed the Avignon museum with hammers and smashed the protective glass plating and damaged the surface of Immersion (Piss Christ) and another Serrano photograph. This crime has re-injected religious ultra-conservatism (and its conflicts with modern, mostly French-invented, universal human rights, not the least of which is the freedom to piss on religious iconography) into the usually fromage-based French political discourse.
Apparently Nicolas Sarkozy is getting some flack for this, since he and his party ran on a lightly-veiled anti-Muslim pro-Catholic fundamentalist platform. What’s weird to me is that the brainless hoodlums who performed this attack would have anything against the religion that murdered Theo Van Gogh and Daniel Pearl. They seem to have a lot in common.
Religion requires that all iconography follow a strict adherence to certain rules in order to not draw attention to the ridiculous nature of its heroes. Although the West has gotten used to seeing Jesus on TV smoking bongs and playing jump rope, we forget that putting religious icons into a new context makes us think about their place in our minds and our lives. This is very bad for dogma and dogma-peddlers. Some faiths just bought up all the big artists in order to control their message. Others just banned it altogether. Either way, its the human spirit that suffers when its forced to shut up or be smashed open like so many shop windows.