One artist's chocolate Jesus sculpture won't be going on display here as planned. It still amazes me how closed people are in today's society. How organizations would rather call for a boycott or a cancellation of an art exhibit rather than simply having an open dialogue and a respectful disagreement with the work as is. Sure, they may not like the artist's representation, but that doesn't mean they should seek to censor it.
I felt the same way in regards to that controversy over the Danish newspaper that published cartoons of Mohammed. The American press mostly shied away from reprinting the images, while many outlets in the world ran them uncensored. And we're the "land of the free"?
For there ever to be honest discourse with regard to controversial topics, the first step is to be able to have free, open expression. Do I agree with all work done in the name of art? Of course not. The man who set up blenders with live goldfish inside certainly earned my disdain. However, expression shouldn't be stifled.
I understand how some people might find these things personally offensive, but those of us on the outside of such things should still be able to make our own choices as to what we see or not, not have them made for us. This reminds me of the absolutely ridiculous overreaction by Rudolph Giuliani where he attempted to withdraw public funding for the Brooklyn Museum over a reverent painting by artist Chris Ofili, a Christian. The painting in question featured a black Virgin Mary with one breast crafted from elephant dung (which is a material he uses often), and vaginas cut from porn magazines around the painting.
People claim Ofili's painting was "splattered" with dung and thus somehow irreverent. This rumor persists today, and I just saw the term "splattered" used in an article about this chocolate Jesus incident. However, the Ofili painting was not splattered with anything. The breast was a round lump attached to the painting. The lesson I'm trying to get at was Giuliani attempted to shut down a local institution, one that has been serving Brooklyn and the city for a century, over one painting. A painting that he was ignorant about and hated based on misinformation.
Giuliani is an extremely stubborn politician, but perhaps, just perhaps, if instead of a big buzz of controversy there was discussion. Open discussion instead of attempts at censoring others' expression. Maybe peopple would have learned something.
A chocolate Jesus–a naked chocolate Jesus– isn't going to make or break Catholicism. There's no real reason to be personally offended by this sculpture. The main reason the Church seems to be upset is because this nudity humanizes the Jesus figure.
In any case, I hope another institution steps up and agrees to host this sculpture. Our freedom of expression does not halt for religious groups, and indeed, it shouldn't. No pun intended, but they're not sacred cows, and they shouldn't be treated as off limits.
On a different, yet still religious and sweet note: boy these look good, and I'm not even Jewish.