The chocolate Jesus exhibit has been cancelled following an orchestrated campaign by the Catholic League, who called the piece an “assault on Christianity”. The league, which boasts some 330,000 members, bombarded the hotel due to host the event with complaints, calls for a boycott and, inevitably, death threats. As I commented in yesterday’s post, the exhibit looks poor: boring and devoid of meaning. It’s not something I would choose to see, but the fact that it has been pulled in response to thug tactics is sickening.
The scary thing is the way such a response was so quickly generated, like some sort of SWAT team for religious sensibilities. From The Guardian:
On Thursday the league sent emails to 500 other religious groups – including Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist with a combined reach of millions – calling on them to boycott the Roger Smith hotel in which the gallery, the Lab, is based. Within 24 hours the hotel was so inundated with calls and visiting protesters that it pulled the exhibit.
I’ve written to the hotel myself, threatening to boycott them unless they put the exhibit back on. Alas, no response. One man cannot make a difference. Not unless he’s Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, who went on to say, in something of a veiled threat:
“All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don’t react the way extremist Muslims do when they’re offended.”
Perhaps, but the net result has been the same. A piece of art (bad art, in my opinion, but that is not the point) has been withdrawn to protect the feelings of a minority. Another smack in the mouth for freedom of expression from the proponents of fairy tales. It’s like the Danish cartoons all over again. There may not have been riots, flag burning or calls for jihad, but it’s still religious zealots playing the offence card to get their way; it’s still setting a hideous precedent.
“We’re delighted with the outcome,” said Kiera McCaffrey, a spokeswoman for the League. Yes, I bet you are. It’s a delightful small victory for you. But the question now is: where’s next?