Saturday, August 11, 2007

Double Standards

We Must Overcome Our Fear of Islam
by (more by this author)
Posted 08/03/2007 ET

What do you call a photograph of a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of urine? If you’re part of the liberal establishment, you might call it “modern art” worthy of a generous taxpayer-funded grant. Or how about the burning of an American flag in a protest? Our courts say that act is protected as freedom of speech.Now, what do you call a Koran submerged in a toilet? If you were part of the liberal elite, you’d call it a “hate-crime” and a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. Perhaps you remember my first example.

“Piss Christ” was the blasphemous photograph that won an art competition and $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts. But you may not yet have heard about the student at Pace University in New York who was arrested last week on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment (both felonies) for twice throwing a Koran into university toilets.



Danny Wright said...

This really doesn’t make any sense to me. If the elites think Christianity is oppressive wait until they find themselves under Sharia Law. But then again perhaps in the end this is what they really want: to be able to kill Christians. For me this is proof positive that Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Man so hates the idea of a real God that he would gladly join hands with a band of lunatic murderous thugs masquerading as the mouth-piece and back hand of God before he will enter into the peace and liberty of the one true God.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I removed a post that was uncivil and not constructive. Let me affirm that I condemn the student's action of putting a Koran in a toilet. That is mere inflammatory action without purpose or good effect. However, to criminalize it, is something else.

However, we must face the historical realities of Islam, which are not compatible with Western Democratic order. See Islam and Terrorism by Mark Gabriel.

Ed Darrell said...

I suppose it depends also on whether you know what you're talking about. The cross in the urine was a protest about people claiming to be Christian who urinate on Christian doctrine. Bauer was a target of that protest, so I suppose he's a bit sensitive to it. But it's clear he got the point -- it's not okay to urinate on the cross.

So, when somebody viciously desecrates a Koran, doing exactly what the artist was protesting (though to Christianity), Bauer thinks it's okay? (By the way, it didn't get any prize from NEA. NEA had nothing to do with the creation of the work. An NEA-funded gallery displayed it. Bauer doesn't give up wrong ideas easily.)

Double standard. Hypocrisy. Bet Bauer doesn't get it.

Douglas -- you don't endorse Bauer's view, do you?

Both acts should raise one's hackles at least, if not one's righteous ire.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Bauer nowhere condones putting the Koran in the tank. There is no reason to think he does.

Sacriligious art (against Christianity) has received funding by the federal government. "Piss Christ"--not my term, but one commonly used--was not the only example. That means that my tax money goes to support it. It's clearly wrong.

Tax money should not go to supporting sacriledge against Islam either. I defend the First Amendment: freedom of religion, speech, no establishment of religion, no proscription of religion. It's the American way.

Ed Darrell said...

I think we should be more careful in what we say about federal funding of art. The crucifix piece got no direct funding from the federal government. It was displayed at a gallery that had some federal funding. No federal official approved, no federal official said "yeah, that's good art." The only First Amendment issue would be in defense of the artist -- or should be. There simply was no government action supporting the piece (You can get the hearings, probably, from the Senate Labor Committee. This thing is more than 20 years old; if you have other examples, I'd like to hear 'em. This one has been beaten to death.)

The Koran incident was designed as fighting words. It wasn't claimed as art. The sole purpose was to destroy the Islamic scriptures in a way to offend the most people. Apart from the criminal acts involved, which do not apply to the art case at all, that it was done solely to provoke and insult casts it in rather a different light.

These are difficult cases. But there is a huge difference between censoring what some consider to be art, and catching someone who steals books from a library and uses them to clog toilets in a way to create a hostile atmosphere for certain religious groups.

The artist in the first case may have been clumsy -- but what else could he have done to get you to protest against Jerry Falwell? It was a lost cause from the start. That most of the targets willingly distorted it produces a thick layer of irony. None of the preachers who campaigned against it spreading falsehoods ever recanted, including especially the Rev. Donald Wildmon. It was an eye-opener to me to see so many public Christians spread falsehoods, and when asked to stop and shown the error of their words, they refused.

Perhaps if he'd put a copy of the Constitution in there, and stated whose urine it was, the message would have been clearer?