Religious Art Wars

It seems almost incredible that in 21st century Western society there are still religious forces potent enough to attempt to censor art exhibits and dismiss directors who offend their theology. Such is the ongoing case against Spanish ‘Reina Sofia’ museum director Manuel Borja-Villel who is being sued for misuse of public funds by the Spanish Association of Christian Lawyers for exhibiting a matchbox by the collective Mujeres Publicas displaying the phrase “The only Church that illuminates is the one that burns”. The offended justify their rage by asking if the museum’s display would be removed if the phrase instead promoted the burning of mosques or Synagogues so it appears they want to claim the same religious intolerance often on display by zealous Zionists or Muslims. But isn’t this exactly why they should separate themselves from that attitude? It seems that as the Catholic Church of Pope Francis tries to be more tolerant and innovative its flock pulls in the opposite direction. The controversy over the exhibit has generated competing petitions – one requesting the removal of the offending artwork and the museum’s director, another supporting the director and artistic freedom. Not surprisingly the latter is backed by the international museum community and has gathered about 2,000 signatures to the former’s 40,000 so public sentiment is running about 20 to 1 in favor of removal. The exhibition is titled ‘Really Useful Knowledge’ and is scheduled to run from October 29th through February 9th in Madrid. You can sign the petition against religious censorship and in support of the director at this link: