A story coming out of Glasgow caught my eye just now, one regarding a modern art gallery holding an exhibition titled “Made in God’s Image”. This exhibition had a Bible on display and they actively invited people to write in it. Now that said Bible has had messages written in it they don’t like, certain people have claimed it has been defaced and are upset. Of course, they reach this conclusion without actually thinking the matter through at all.
An art gallery is a place designed to be an expression of ideas, ideals, emotions and personal thoughts. This is a very good thing indeed. An exhibition where they actually invite people to place their personal thoughts and feelings into a book (regardless of what it might be) should not be surprised in the least if they get responses which are from right across the spectrum of opinion.
People, specifically Christians in this case, should have no right to be upset if they end up with messages in that book which don’t mesh with their personal beliefs. The Christian faith (varying from denomination to denomination) actively marginalises whole sections of communities which, of course, is going to annoy others. You go and invite those people to express their thoughts in writing and … well, I don’t think I need to join the dots any further.
It is also very hard to figure out how the writing in the exhibited Bible could count as ‘vandalism’ when people where doing exactly what the gallery had asked them to do; write down their thoughts in the book. They might not liked what those thoughts and feelings were but that’s just tough luck – Christianity has no one to blame for certain people being annoyed at them except Christianity itself. This does seem to be yet another case of a religion crying out about being offended/persecuted/whatever when they bring it upon themselves and have no respect for the feelings/beliefs of others.
Some of the so called offensive comments are anything but:
This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all
That’s certainly true. The Bible has some extremely sexist passages which direct policy of many denominations in the current day.
the biggest lie in human history
Debatable but certainly a valid comment, since said text has continually failed all manner of tests of authenticity (archaeological, geographical, historical, etc etc etc).
Mick Jagger and David Bowie belong in here
If you can get better moral guidance from Optimus Prime than from the Bible, then you might be able to get it from two old rockers. Fair enough.
I am Bi, Female and Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this
And what could be possibly wrong with this? A person wrote down their experiences/feelings/thoughts on the Bible/God/Christianity – specifically that the Bible teaches entirely backwards thinking and closed mindedness. Fair enough.
The artist responded with: “I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity…”
I would respond with: Maybe the Bible and Christianity should show respect for everyone else first and stop trying to interfere in places it has absolutely no right to do so. You can not set up a place for people to express their thoughts on religion/god/whatever and then get miffed if they write in something you do not necessarily like.
Christians voiced anger and dismay on Tuesday (local time) after a Bible, which was part of an exhibition inviting viewers to add their reflections, was defaced with offensive, foul-mouthed scrawl.
Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art has decided to put the Bible in a glass case after the exhibit – called Untitled 2009 and part of a show entitled Made In God’s Image – was vandalised.
Artist Jane Clarke, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Church, asked visitors to annotate the Bible with stories and reflections, as a way of making it more inclusive.
But visitors to the gallery took the invitation a bit further than she had anticipated.
“This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all,” wrote one person, while another described the Bible as “the biggest lie in human history”. A third wrote: “Mick Jagger and David Bowie belong in here.”
On the first page of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, someone had written: “I am Bi, Female and Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”
Clarke said: “I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art. I am saddened that some people have chosen to write offensive messages.
“Writing our names in the margins of a Bible was to show how we have been marginalised by many Christian churches, and also our desire to be included in God’s love.
“As a young Christian, I was encouraged by my church to write my own insights in the margins of the Bible I used for my daily devotions – this was an extension of that idea.”
On Tuesday, over 100 people gathered outside the gallery to protest at what they said was vandalism.
Letitia Reid, a housewife from Glasgow, said the Bible should not be desecrated.
“As a Christian I am offended by this because Christians hold the Bible to be sacred. For it to be publicly defiled in this way is very offensive,” she said.