31 March 2007

US art gallery cancels chocolate Jesus (pbuh) statue display

In a victory for Catholic protesters, an art gallery in New York has cancelled plans to display a sculpture of Jesus Christ (pbuh) made of chocolate and depicting him naked. The statue, made by Canadian artist Cosimo Cavallaro, measures 1.8 m in height, and is called "My Sweet Lord".

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for a boycott of the gallery, especially given the fact that the statue was meant to be displayed during Easter. As a spokesman for the group pointed out, the gallery "would never dare" to show a similar statue of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) during Ramadan. She has also described the statue as "an assault on Christians".

After management decided to cancel the exhibit, the gallery's artistic director resigned, complaining of "strong-arming from people who haven't seen the show" (BBC).

I must say it's a wise decision on the part of the Lab gallery. Some may see it as self-censorship, but I would prefer to see the outcome as an act of wisdom on the part of the gallery's management. Toying with people's feelings is never a good idea, whether it be in the realm or religion or anything else that people value. Thoughtful, intelligent criticism is one thing, but depicting a person highly respected by about half of mankind (Christians and Muslims) naked is neither thoughtful nor intelligent, but rather, in my view, a misguided shout for attention. I'm glad that the Lab gallery did not decide to take the route followed by the free-speech fanatics in Europe on the issue of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

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