The Corner

Celebrating Blasphemy in Manhattan

As if by divine intervention, the revoltingly sacrilegious “Piss Christ” portrait will be going on display this Thursday at a ritzy Manhattan gallery right around the corner from the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly. For those who don’t know, this particular instance of free speech consists of a photograph taken of a crucifix floating in the artist’s urine. It caused a stir in the late 1980s and 1990s because the artist (Andres Serrano) had been subsidized by NEA and other public grants. Of course, Democrats staunchly defended both the work and the funding, and Serrano is a star among Manhattan’s elite liberal socialites.

Coming so soon on the heels of Obama’s condemnations of the Mohammed spoof trailer, Representative Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.) is calling on President Obama to condemn the Piss Christ exhibit.  

That’s wrong. First of all, the president shouldn’t be condemning any work of art. But if you really want him to condemn the Piss Christ, this is what you have to do: Find an enterprising young artist willing to create a “Piss Mohammed” version of Serrano’s work, and ask the museum to hang it right next to the Piss Christ. It could be part of a “Piss Religion” exhibit. If the gallery declines (as it surely would), then perhaps one could gather together a small group of Manhattan atheists to march “piss portraits” of Mohammed and his fellow deities / prophets right up 1st Avenue past the United Nations, in homage to the First Amendment. 

Every last person who complains will have to explain why they said nothing during the 20-plus years that the revolting Piss Christ has been touring art galleries around the world. They will be forced either to treat Islam and Christianity the same (i.e., stop trashing the latter) or finally admit the cowardly truth, which is that their degree of respect for any given religion is proportional to its proponents’s propensity for violence.

Mario Loyola — Contributing editor Mario Loyola is senior fellow and Director of the Center for Competitive Federalism at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. He began his career in corporate ...

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