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Today Little Lulu is in a self-righeousness snit — actually a combined self-righteousness and victimization snit — because of a six-foot naked chocolate Jesus on display in a midtown Manhattan gallery. The anatomically correct sculpture portrays Jesus in a crucifixion pose and is made of 200 pounds of milk chocolate.

Little Lulu complains
because the evil “MSM” is covering — well, not covering, actually — the naked chocolate Jesus: “No pixelation. No withholding the photos in the name of respect for Christianity. No taboos.”

And she brings up the infamous Danish Mohammad cartoons — the MSM wouldn’t publish racist cartoons out of respect for Islam, but they will publish photographs of a naked chocolate Jesus. No fair.

I don’t know what the sculpture’s intentions were, but seems to me a six-foot naked chocolate Jesus amounts to a powerful statement on the commercialization of Easter. If there had been some chocolate Easter bunnies at Jesus’ feet, so much the better. That a suffering, exposed and vulnerable Jesus should be taboo while Disneyfied pagan fertility symbols are OK is just one more example of What’s Wrong With America, seems to me. But alas, because of whining from people like our good buddy Bill “I hate everybody” Donohue, the sculpture is no longer on display.

The Carpetbagger reports:

And guess who was behind all of this? The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, who called the chocolate display was “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.” (Really, Bill? Ever? In two millennia, this is among the very worst?)

David Kuo
, formerly of Bush’s faith-based office, had a different, and less unhinged, perspective, concluding that the six-foot, milk-chocolate sculpture might be “the perfect piece of art for holy week.”

    Jesus’ story isn’t nice, it isn’t neat, it isn’t comfortable. It is the opposite of all of those things. In so many ways those of us who say we follow Jesus actually want a sort of “chocolate Jesus” of our own – one that is sweet, one that demands little from us, one that we can mold into our forms – perhaps politically conservative, perhaps liberal, maybe happy with just a few of our dollars given to the poor every now and again, perhaps content with those who simply say they love him and then lead lives little different from anyone else.

    It is easy for some religious leaders to decry a piece of art and say – as some have (apparently with a straight face) – it is “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever.” (I suppose that genocide in Darfur is merely an “affront” to Christian sensibilities?) But instead of getting all amped up over this “art,” Christians should be spending time facing the real and very challenging Jesus found in the Gospels and encouraging others to do the same. I know that is what I need to do.

Bill Donohue, I think he’s talking to you.

The gallery should put a six-foot tall cutesy-poo chocolate Easter bunny where the Jesus was, with a sign saying “How wingnuts view the passion of Christ.”

It seems the nudity bothered the wingnuts more than the chocolate, even though the Bible seems to say Jesus was naked at his crucifixion — “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots” (Matthew 27:35, King James version).

This can’t be the first time in two millennia that Jesus has been betrayed nude. There’s a nearly naked Jesus on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, for example. The bit of gauze might have been one of the modesty drapes painted over Michelangelo’s masterpiece by Daniele de Volterra at the request of Pope Paul III. (People had complained about all the weenies flapping around on the ceiling.)

In other religion news —

Barack Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, a mainstream Protestant denomination. The particular church he attends has an African American congregation. Some elements on the Right have spun this into a claim that Obama is part of a black separatist cult. (And these are the same people who claim to be the champions and protectors of religion.) Pastor Dan at Street Prophets writes to Sean Hannity about this little misunderstanding.

Update: Via Clif at American Street — the chocolate Jesus was removed from the gallery because of fears of violent retaliation from Christians:

The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails about the exhibit. Semler said the calls included death threats over the work of artist Cosimo Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the decision to cancel the display.

“In this situation, the hotel couldn’t continue to be supportive because of a fear for their own safety,” Semler said.

Shades of Idomeneo. Michelle was upset because the Berlin Opera canceled a production of the opera because of a scene showing Mohammad’s severed head. The Berlin Opera was afraid of retaliation from Muslims, and Michelle said,

I have far more of a beef with the Muslim censors leading the Religion of Perpetual Outrage than I do with a goofy German art director messing around with Mozart.

Et tu, Michelle?

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19 Comments

16 Comments

  1. erinyes  •  Mar 31, 2007 @2:10 pm

    Bill Donohue, a real life Archie Bunker.
    It has become painful to see the reactions from the supposed (extreme ) followers of Jesus Christ regarding just about everything.
    In my travels today, I heard Jimmy Buffet sing “Idon’t know where I’m a gonna go when the volcano blows”, Pretty much sums up the way I feel.Observing this macabre theater of the absurd called “the Bush Administration, which for some reason beyond my comprehension, we can’t seem to boot out. I mean “Jesus tap dancing Christ”, the man has launched at least three wars ( that we know about), shredded the Constitution and the Geneva Convention, installed a number of homicidal maniacs to key positions,made up words like “The Decider” , “misunderestimate”, and “the internets” cut taxes and increased spending beyond even a rabid liberal’s wildest dreams, and now threatens Iran.
    All this, and more, but his base is riled over a nekid chocolote Jesus.This is some crazy shit.
    As a footnote to this rant ,beware:
    George P.Bush has just signed up in the Navy Reserves.
    Soon he can claim he has “served” his country in uniform, and during “a time of war”, and will be on his way for a run at the presidency. We need another Bush in office as much as I need an episiotomy…….

  2. Marcus  •  Mar 31, 2007 @2:32 pm

    Peeps! You forgot the peeps!

  3. maha  •  Mar 31, 2007 @2:35 pm

    Well, of course, peeps. That goes without saying.

  4. VJB  •  Mar 31, 2007 @2:35 pm

    It used to be ‘Who ate the ears off my chocolate bunny?’ Now there is the possibility of ‘Who ate the ______off My Sweet Jesus?’

  5. biggerbox  •  Mar 31, 2007 @2:41 pm

    Wasn’t it Voltaire who wrote “If offense did not exist, Malkin would have to invent it?” Or was that about Donohoe? I forget.

    One imagines that, had this same work of chocolate appeared above the buffet table at a convention of evangelicals at a mega-church in Dallas, no one would have batted an eye.

    It’s tempting to point out that in Islam, portrayals of Mohammed are a violation of a fundamental precept, whereas in Catholicism portrayals of Jesus are a fundamental feature, but soing that would be accepting the false premise that Malkin is trying to make sense, or argue rationally. As would pointing out that none of the pictures I’ve seen in the MSM show more of Jesus than can be seen walking into any of the Catholic churches I’ve visited, unless you count the chin, since he is usually depicted bearded. (On the other hand, the chocolate one seems not to be bleeding, and is missing nails through the arms, and a spear in the side. Outrageous!)

    I’m sure the irony of the exhbit’s closure will be lost on Malkin.

  6. erinyes  •  Mar 31, 2007 @4:02 pm

    In answer to question #4, I vote Ted Haggert……

  7. joanr16  •  Mar 31, 2007 @5:15 pm

    If Malkin was around in the time of Voltaire, that would prove my theory that she’s some kind of demon.

    And if glow-in-the-dark dashboard Christs don’t cause a firestorm, why should a chocolate one? Chocolate is one of God’s (if you believe in such) greatest gifts to humankind.

  8. maha  •  Mar 31, 2007 @5:57 pm

    I don’t care if it rains or freezes
    Long as I got my plastic jeezus
    Ridin’ along the dashboard with me …

  9. abgdinstr  •  Mar 31, 2007 @7:04 pm

    “Sweet Jesus” worse than “Piss Christ?” Thats pretty bad. I thought all the wacked out were “really” upset about that?

    mark

    proudtobeaburdenonsociety

  10. Daniel DiRito  •  Apr 1, 2007 @2:56 am

    A number of years back Tom Waits did a song called “Chocolate Jesus”. See a video clip of that song and a satirical attempt to answer the pressing question, “Does Jesus melt in your mouth, not in your hand?…here:

    http://www.thoughttheater.com/2007/03/should_jesus_melt_in_your_mouth_not_in_your_hand.php

  11. Buck Batard  •  Apr 1, 2007 @8:41 am

    My wife says most paintings of the baby Jesus in the early Catholic church showed the baby Jesus—- with a penis— to prove that he was human.

    Remove his penis and he’s no longer a man.
    Imagine that!

  12. Buck Batard  •  Apr 1, 2007 @8:47 am

    Here’s a link to some samples:
    http://www.bridgemanartondemand.com/index.cfm?event=catalogue.qsearch&searchString=infant%20Jesus%20Christ

    What are they going to do next? Burn all the baby Jesus artwork from the 1400-1500 period because it shows his penis?

  13. maha  •  Apr 1, 2007 @9:31 am

    Folks: Be sure to check out the “Common Sense Political Thought” pingbacked link in #14. It’s a textbook case of pathological denial.

  14. Erik  •  Apr 1, 2007 @8:29 pm
  15. Susi Franco  •  Apr 29, 2007 @12:51 pm

    As a professional artist (defined as one whose entire living is derived from the making of art) I am outright horrified by the hue and cry over Cosmos’ Chocolate Jesus. The artist more than did his job by provoking dialogue, or in Bill Donohue’s case, a diatribe, with this sculpture. I applauded the hotels’ decision to display it.
    Where did we take this perjorative left turn ?
    Censorship has long been the magic wand of the Bushies; we see it daily in our conservative-leaning media, in the under-reporting of Iraq atrocities, in the Machiavellian manipulations of the entire Bush Admin to divide and conquer this nation to satisfy their own lusts for filthy lucre. And I DO mean filthy, considering it is earned primarily through the blood, pain, suffering and death of those we send to serve this nation in an obscene and illegal war.
    It has evolved in this country since Dubbya first cast his all-hat-no-cattle shadow over the land, that when he/they cannot otherwise control the unwashed masses, they can be effectively disarmed by calling them unpatriotic or sacrilegious, or worse, enemies of America. The key tool to undermining the media, the political opponents, the writers, film-makers and artists is to censor them. They routinely find ways to villify their opponents of whatever genre by whipping public sentiment into an emotional frenzy and then harnessing the resulting rage into rationale for removing the offending works from the beleaguered public eye.
    This tactic has become the battle cry & S.O.P. for conservatives everywhere; the Bush Admin and Cronies have made it an acceptable solution to those pesky dissenters.
    Here in Rhode Island, just this week a students’ painting was removed from an administrative building at University of RI because “people” complained it was too reminiscent of the VTech massacre. I have seen this work, by a talented young girl named Isis, and other than the use of the color red, I SWEAR I don’t get what these people are raving at. The work in question is a portrait, for pitys’ sake; she did a series of portraits of her friends for a class project, and this particular work was completed months ago, long prior to the VTech horror.
    It is a young man in a hoodie, done in high contrast color, much like an illustration or poster art. Some of the shadows on his face are in red as are his hands. Some local hysterics decided that can ONLY be blood, and poor Isis’s painting was taken down by the righteous who guard our sensibilities for us. I shouldn’t wonder that this incident will forever affect her career in art.
    We seem to have a whole lotta folks who are anxious to guard our sensibilities for us in this country. It is a tremendous irony that we call ourselves the Land of The Free while so many personal freedoms and Constitutionally-guaranteed rights are being usurped by folks like K Rove, Dubbya et al and Bill fat-ass Donahue. I was aghast that he called Cosmo Cavallaro “a loser”, and further, put a slew of other artists into that category with him.
    I am further intrigued by a self-proclaimed “leader of the Catholic Church” saying what he has to/about Cosmo when the Catholic Church ( I am Catholic so I get to say this; further, I get to say it even if I’m NOT Catholic) historically protected pedophilic priests ( say it with me now, people), ignored for decades the cries of the traumatized, only recently began to do anything substantial at all about the predators of our children hiding behind those voluminous robes. Looking through history, serious crimes against humanity have been perpetrated by ( SURPRISE !!) the Catholic Church. But we have to listen to this crap over a Chocolate Jesus ?? It is once again that ole’ neo-con tactic of distract ‘em with emotion while we yank their rights out from under them.
    Cosmo, I don’t know if you read this, love, but I adore the fact that you made Jesus edible. What better way to assimilate the loving qualities Christ tried to give us ? And can someone rationally explain to me why thin bready-cracker-y wafers are okay to eat as the body of Christ but chocolate is not ?? Whether the work was meant to point up the crass commercialization of Easter or to offer Jesus to us in a sweet medium to make more corporeal His love for us, I regard Cosmos’ work as magnificent and courageous. You know a work is successful when peoples’ reactions to it tell you more about the viewer and less about the work itself. Very revealing, and what I’m seeing lately isn’t anywhere near as pretty as a Chocolate Jesus.
    PS–Bill Donahue can kiss my entire ass.

  16. Ashley  •  Jun 16, 2007 @2:58 am

    for Cosmo
    My prayers are with you…. I am offended people who call them self Christians have decided to cast stones at you…. I am always saddened by people who do not understand the message of Christ. I hope that people will grasp the beauty of your art and I commend you for your Christian faith!!! Remember Christ is with you and he is the church through you!!!! It is not our morals that open the gates of heaven but his sacrifice! And you have glorified this sacrifice with the sweetest thing on earth, Chocolate. God bless and live for Christ……. naked (honest, real) chocolate (perfect) and resurrected (alive!) now that’s a sweet Jesus!!! HAPPY EASTER. I see the beautiful representation. The sweat taste of chocolate being a symbol of the memory of Jesus! And that was what he asked us to do with his body at his last super. As for his nakedness I imagine that is more realistic then Iconic! However there is only one truth Jesus had no sin therefore his nakedness is not shameful!! So if you meant it as an icon good for you because I believe Jesus Christ was blameless! To understand the meaning of such a beautiful thing is a great gift from God. Good thing Christ decides if heavens gates open or close!
    Your loving sister,
    Ashley

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