Angry Catholics

The Vienna Cathedral Museum has stirred up a storm by choosing to display a painting depicting the Last Supper as a homosexual orgy. The museum has subsequently removed the painting after a barrage of criticism from Catholic groups around the world. The whole event reminds me of the furore over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, except for one thing, no-one in the media seems to be damning these Catholic groups for complaining about the perversion of their religious iconography.

It seems that complaining about a depiction of a gay Mohammed makes you unreasonable and an enemy of free speech, while complaining about a depiction of a gay Jesus has nothing to do with censorship. As a Roman Catholic I find the subject matter of the painting distasteful, I also agree that a museum connected to a Cathedral is a stupid place to display a collection of this artist’s work. However, the difference in media coverage that these two similar events have received certainly highlights the media’s happy hypocrisy.

7 thoughts on “Angry Catholics

  1. Is there any evidence that he wasn’t gay?

    What irks me is that I’m pretty sure that JC would have been as dark skinned as the big Mo but he’s consistently depicted as being as white as a guy from Maine. But hey, why let that get in the way of good historical fiction.

    The Yanks have just pulled an ad featuring a ‘bobble-head’ Pope. Organised religion has always been an enemy of supposed civil liberties like free-speech and freedom of association. Why should we be surprised that the media follows suit?

  2. I think a significant difference here is you’re not out in the streets with a hundred or so of your fellow believers burning flags, attacking embassies and declaring Jihad (or should that be The Crusades II, or did Dubya already start that?) Fundamentalism is never good (see the US for any number of examples of Christian Fundamentalists) no matter what the belief. Frankly, I tend to regard people who close their eyes and raise their hands while singing hymns as a bit suspicious. I think Catholics though, certainly Australian Catholics, are far too laid back to muster anything more than a bit of righteous indignation.

  3. I can see your point about the difference in reactions Lemmiwinks, and you are on the money when you say the fundamentalism is never good. That said, we rarely hear of Christian fundamentalists being decried in the media the way that Muslims are. If anything I worry more about Christian fundies because they manage to get themselves nice and cozy position near the seats of power, especially in the US. The hypocrisy of the media is still the issue that annoys me.

  4. Hypocrisy in the media is always going to be a problem as long as it remains a commercial entity. How can we expect a media outlet to remain impartial when their funding is entirely sourced from private advertising? Of course, the opposite is Big Brother.

    Perhaps we need a compulsory school subject on being media cynics: Lesson 1- A Current Affair: fantasy or fiction? Lesson 2 – Today Tonight: Evil or just plain dumb? Lesson 3 – Women’s Weekly: Is fan fiction news? etc…

  5. I don’t know if you can blame the media for not damning the Catholics over this as much as they damned the Muslims who went absolutely ballistic over the Danish cartoon of Mohammed. I mean, news is news and I doubt footage of an upset Catholic priest is anywhere near as intertesting to the viewing public than footage of crazies attacking embassies and generally behaving like fanatical lunatics.

    Talking about censorship, did you hear that the Indonesian Government has closed down Youtube & Facebook and has barred any internet sites that allow access to the recent anti-muslim Dutch film? Servers who do not comply face 6 years in jail.

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