Glasgow City Council subsidises Bible desecration
There is apparently an exhibition in the Gallery of Modern Art (Goma) in Glasgow, entitled Made in God’s Image.
It encourages people to deface the Bible in the name of art — and obliging visitors have responded with predictable abuse and obscenity. This can come as no surprise to the ‘artists’, who included in their creation a video of a woman ripping pages from the Bible and stuffing them into her bra, knickers and mouth.
Cranmer has never been one for the burning of books, a logical corollary of which must be the freedom to burn a book if one so wishes, or place a rasher of bacon within it and call it ‘art’.
But when that book is burned with taxpayer subsidy, the offence is multiplied a thousandfold, for the good people of Glasgow are forcibly paying for the desecration of a sacred book, and they are therefore unwittingly complicit. This, to Cranmer, would be a just reason not to render unto Caesar.
Bizarrely, or naively, the exhibit, Untitled 2009, was proposed by the Metropolitan Community Church, which ‘celebrates racial, cultural, linguistic, sexual, gender and theological diversity’. Their idea was to reclaim the Bible as a sacred text: they simply wanted those who ‘felt excluded’ from its pages to ‘write themselves in’.
And so one writer has altered the first line of Genesis from ‘In the beginning God created Heaven and Earth’ to 'In the beginning, God (me) I created religion.’ Another has written ‘The Gospel According to Luke Skywalker’ (Cranmer suspects one of the Jedi fraternity). But the principal expression has been one of blaspemous derision: one message says ‘F*** the Bible’.
Cranmer is all for religious and theological protest, but this is taking Protestantism a little far.
According to The Times, the Church of Scotland has ‘expressed concern’, the Roman Catholic Church called the exhibit ‘infantile’, and a Christian lawyers’ group said that the exhibition was ‘symptomatic of a broken and lawless society’.
It is, of course, concerning, and even infantile. But it is no more symptomatic of a broken and lawless society than Luther’s 95 Theses: it is simply a reminder of the depravity of the human heart, which is inherently sinful or 'broken'. And Cranmer has, in any case, a high degree of ‘broken’ fatigue: he is sick of hearing about the 'broken society'. It is written: 'Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet' (Mt7:6). This is simply cause and effect. Art is supposed to invoke, evoke, awaken and incite. Untitled 2009 is as incongruous as placing Tracey Emin's enseamed bed, stew'd in corruption, on the altar of Westminster Abbey. By placing a holy text in a secular setting and inviting 'comment', the protective sacred canopy was removed and the swine duly and obligingly trampled it under their filthy trotters. And the artists knew exactly what they were doing, and so – unless they are incredibly stupid – did the church. Any Christian group which chooses to preach 'racial, cultural, linguistic, sexual, gender and theological diversity’ instead of Christ and him crucified simply reaps what it sows.
A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church said: “One wonders whether the organisers would have been quite as willing to have the Koran defaced.”
Reason: ‘Most Christians are a pushover; some Muslims are likely to riot, cause criminal damage or threaten death’.
And therein lies the most important consideration for artistic liberty and freedom of expression, in exploration of which a degree of taxpayer subsidy might indeed be justified.