Saturday, March 31, 2007

The big picture on the Chocolate Jesus

Ironically, I'm late in posting today because I was unexpectedly invited to attend an Easter Egg hunt. You want to talk about offending Christian values, watch a handful of uncouth parents knock some 3 year old out of the way so their kid can get another dollar's worth of free candy off the ground. But enough of that, here's the controversial Chocolate Jesus in his full frontal glory [via].

I'm not a church-goer but I do consider myself a Christian of sorts and I am not offended by this. It's a respectful depiction of the crucifixion that makes a valid statement on the commercialization of this formerly religious holiday. However, I am very offended that psuedo-Catholic and decidedly anti-Chrisitan hatemonger Bill Donohue was able to screech this showing to a halt with his insane blathering. Shame on the gallery for caving in to this lunatic and curse the media who continue to legitimize this self-serving egomanic by promoting his insane rantings in the news, instead of leaving him on the street corner with the rest of the long haired freaks passing out flyers and warning that the end is near.

What is offensive to Christian values about a simple rendering of the human body? It's not like the artist gave him an erection. I mean according to the Bible, didn't God make man in his own image? Are we to be so offended by God's creation that we're horrified by viewing it unclothed? And in fact, the "Bible says that "while the Son of God hung naked for all to see and mock at, they cast lots for his seamless coat that was used to cover the entire body." It's historically accurate.

One wonders what would have happened to the artworks of the Great Masters if Donohue's vicious "Christians" plyed their moral judgements on those times. Look at the picture again and look at this one. I don't see a whole lot of difference. Michelangelo made it in 1494 for the church Santa Spirito. In fact he often depicted Jesus naked right up to his last sculpture, left unfinished before his death.

And if we're to be offended by nudity, what would Donohue's rampaging mob have to say about DaVinci's rendering of the Madonna and child? Whoa baby. Not only do you have a nude Jesus but the Holy Virgin is showing some seriously naked breast there. I don't think it would pass the deranged Donohue's modesty test. And I guess Raphael, who painted baby Jesus nude, more than once would have been out of job too. I mean, holy genitals are holy genitals right?

I think we should have a counter-protest and flood that gallery and hotel with emails supporting the exhibit, because frankly I'm offended that they would even care if such vile people boycotted them.

Me, I'm not at all offended by a chocolate penis. I find this much more seriously offensive.

For more on Donohue and other related religious absurdities see Steve Benen and if you stand the groan worthy puns, (which I loved), check out Joe Gandelman's thoughts on the subject along with his usual excellent roundup of reactions around Blogtopia.

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Blogger nolocontendere said...

Jeepers, don't they realize it makes it much tastier to take communion than that yucky body and blood stuff?

2:18:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL Nolo. Now that's a little disrespectful. It's not intended to be eaten, although if you followed the link to Joe's post, they do now offer chocolate Jesus for the kids Easter baskets. He's just not anatomically correct.

10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, folks but I call this one a tasteless display that will offend those who put great importance on religion and Christ. I say it is an unnecessary offense that closes off communication and mutual respect.

10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the point. chocolate jesus. what does that say about anything? itr doesn't even look like him.

1:23:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Rocky, while on some level I'm relieved we don't agree on everything, which would seem unnatural, I'm surprised it's this issue we disagree on. I'm wondering what you think is tasteless and offensive about it? I might note that I read somewhere yesterday that it's been showing around the world since 2005. I'm curious as to what you find offensive about it.

Lester, what I get out of it is a statement on the commercialization of Easter that's subverted the religious context to the point of almost rendering it meaningless. Hence I think the chocolate medium makes sense since chocolate has come to define the holiday more so than Jesus. I also think it's tastefully rendered and reminds me very much of the Michelangelo crucifix, just without the cross. I think the absence of the cross also speaks to the robbery of the religious meaning of the holiday.

I think it's pretty profound myself.

2:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really not physically offensive to me. It's the image of a chocolate man. I just think it is unnecessary to offend others who might find this rendering of the being central to their religious beliefs disrespectful. Tell me what you would think and how would the Islamic world react to a naked chocolate Muhammad? My point is why do people feel the need to be in each others' faces all the time? We don't have to shove our beliefs and lifestyles down each others' throats, do we? I am happy to let others live any way they want as long as it does not involve the exploitation or injury of another creature, whether we are talking about persons or beasts. But I don't want it in my face all the time. I respect the right of others to have same sex relationships and even thing they should be allowed the civil union of marriage. But I don't think any religion opposed should be forced to perform a cermony. As far as I'm concerned, gay couples should be free to do as they please, but I don't need to know all about the sexual preferences of perfect strangers--I don't care. I don't go around announcing to the world that I'm hetero. By the same token, I don't want bible thumpers on my door step telling me how to get to heaven.Or that their religion has all the answers, etc. Frankly, I find all fanatics whatever their agenda a royal pain in the ass. Back to the chocolate guy--My only complaint is that it puts up barriers instead of knocking them down and haven't we been through enough with the barriers of racism, do we also need barriers for religion? It really is time that we all just get along and have a little respect for each other. "No greater gift is there than this;that a man lay down his life for his friends." If we could just "love one another" wouldn't we all be friends? Too much division amongst my fellow human beings gives me a headache.

3:14:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I agree that we don't need any more divisiveness Rocky but I don't think that that was the artist's intention. If anything, I think it was a statement on how we've lost our religion to the god of consumerism. Chocolate is synonymous with this holiday now but the piece was meant to be literally consumed.

Besides, the nutcakes that got this shut down did it on the basis that Jesus was naked, they didn't care that he was chocolate. As I said in the post, that's historically accurate and has a precedent in art history.

A chocolate Mohammed wouldn't make sense by the way, because Islams don't celebrate a religious holiday that been co-opted by candy sellers and as far as I know, he has never been depicted as naked except in mockery.

What I'm offended about that this nutcake false Christian is making 300 grand a year selling hate in the name of religion and he's the one that caused the controversy. If they had ignored it, no one would have noticed. Like I said the piece has been around for a couple of years. Basically Donohue is saying no one can see this piece of art because it offends him. Got nothing to do with God or religion really. We're talking about a guy who makes a living at tearing other people down.

5:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jesus is kind of cliche. particularly for contemporary art. its hitting you over the head with it's alleged significance

8:37:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

That might be true Lester. All the more reason there was no reason to make such a big deal out of it.

9:32:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

censorship is the real obscenity

7:14:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Indeed David.

10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donohue makes it obvious what a filthy mind he has. It is a naked body for goodness sake! We all have one. Christians who are offended by this need to step back and look at how God views nudity. He didn't put Adam and Eve on this earth fully clothed. None of us comes to this world with clothes on. Obviously God isn't bothered by nudity.
Clothes were invented to protect us from the elements not to hide our God given bodies.

2:54:00 PM  
Blogger FROG888 said...

I never did like chocolate. Now I despise it. As if he's trying to recreate an edible David. What did David ever do for religion. HA

10:32:00 PM  
Blogger katie clark said...

im a christian and i love god and jesus with all my heart. the reason why i find it upseting and offensive to god is because when jesus died on the cross it is a serious thing. making some chocolate statue might be a joke, you might not mean any harm but it is mocking, making fun of and hurting god. god loves us sooo sooo much that he sent is own son to sacrifice is own life for us. it is a serious thing for us because he gave us new life, he gave us freedom, he gave us his love and his grace. so people should not make a joke about it.

3:30:00 AM  
Blogger katie clark said...

god bless you all HE LOVES YOU TOO XXXXXXXXXXXXX <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

3:32:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Before I go any further, I think we have to realize that people were always crucified naked. It's part of the humiliation. Loin cloths and fig leaves are there because Christians have been taught that nearly everything in nature is ugly. No, I'm not really into looking at penises, but if Jesus existed, you can bet he had one. I'm only interested to know whether divine or half divine or just plain holy penises have erections. If so, that would really make the believers scramble, wouldn't it? I mean if you're going to start assigning a gender to an entity for whom gender is meaningless. . . Does God have a penis? Or did he do the Zeus thing and use a bird? And tell me, wasn't Adam more of a son since Jesus must have had at least half of his DNA from his mother, while Adam was just red dirt ( hence the name.)

"I just think it is unnecessary to offend others who might find this rendering of the being central to their religious beliefs disrespectful."

Sometimes I find it extremely -- urgently necessary. The previous post is an example of one of those times. I'm rather offended by people who need to flaunt their fulsome beliefs as though it made them superior instead of nuts, while being oblivious to the fact that people have other ideas. Who cares whether one's pagan idols are chocolate or brass or wood or stone? Perhaps I don't like idols. Perhaps I see the cross as a reminder of how people treat Jews. Perhaps I see it the way I see waterboarding and electric chairs and the gallows, and so people should be more sensitive and keep their Jesi out of my face, penis and all.

Or is only Christians who are entitled to respect?

Yes, I do think we're bound to have a certain level of respect for PEOPLE and I try to act that way. I don't think we need to have any respect for their outrageous ideas and precious symbols though.

Nobody owns Jesus or his image and nobody owns God. Nobody needs to protect him ( his being omnipotent and all that) and it's because of that self contradictory but tribal urge that religion turns to evil faster than Chateau Lafitte turns to vinegar when it's exposed to light and air.

And so why not a butter Buddha, a chocolate Jew on a stick, a creme brulee Krishna -- a marshmallow Moses for all I care. I'm not obligated to revere any of them and especially not entitled to make anyone else revere them.

4:15:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Katie Clark:

You think someone can Hurt God, Katie? I think you're confusing God with yourself and you're certainly confusing Christianity with your personal beliefs and those aren't the same thing. Frankly, I can't help thinking that it is all about dragging God down to some cartoonish, banal and all too human level anyway; making him some fragile infant who needs to be saved more than you do. It's about protecting you and your chosen church and your mental refuge, isn't it; not God or Jesus who are quite beyond your or my or anyone's ability to harm, if he's God almighty.

Look, if he hurts he can't be God. If he wants, if he lacks, he can't be God the omnipotent by definition, but just a man with some powers.

If there's something he can't do without making a human sacrifice to himself, he doesn't have much claim on being divine. There's no "can't do" in the divine and to me the whole think is so rankly pagan and idolatrous, it's offensive.

"it is a serious thing for us because he gave us new life, he gave us freedom, he gave us his love and his grace. so people should not make a joke about it."

Us? Speak for yourself and try not to sound like a prophet -- it's unseemly and as far as I know, which is no less than what you know, he did none of those things.

The Jesus I think we're talking about is very different from yours and I'll bet I know more about him than you do ( which of course is very little for both of us.) I think we all die with the life we started with and I don't believe in souls or salvation or damnation or supernatural entities or any of your other stuff -- and guess what -- It's a free country and I get to and the Christians don't get to kill me for it any more, as they did for thousands of years. Or did you forget when you mentioned freedom?

So I think that people should do and say and believe what they please and not be worried about offending people who seem to exist only to be offended in the first place. That's My definition of freedom and not God's and certainly not the Bible's.

So your beliefs offend the hell out of me, sorry to say, but I'm not questioning your right to them -- although I'm sure you're a very nice person. I'm only questioning the idea of special immunity for religious people of any stripe. Please don't question my right to disagree and I won't question yours.

4:41:00 PM  

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