Back in 1988, Andres Serrano submerged a crucifix in a vat of his urine, photographed the result and called it “art.”
Naturally, many of the world's two billion Christians were bothered by his antics. Members of the U.S. Congress called for a hard look at the National Endowment for the Arts, which had helped fund Serrano. Public outcry against Serrano was vocal and widespread.
As the uproar grew, numerous editorials in defense of Piss Christ, Serrano's controversial creation, were printed in U.S. and European newspapers and the Western cultural elite quickly sprang to his defense. For months, the New York Times beat the “freedom of expression” drum for all its worth, publishing numerous articles and opinion pieces sympathetic to Serrano and depicting him as courageous. In New York City, where Serrano lived, 400 New York artists held a public rally in support of his work and his right to create and display it. Serrano became a celebrated art world hero.
Though some criticisms of Piss Christ, and the man who created it, were intemperate, Serrano's art was never forced underground, nor was his life seriously threatened, nor was he forced into hiding a la Salman Rushdie or placed in protective custody. Violence-prone packs of Christians did not roam the streets of Paris, or London, or Frankfurt, or Madrid, or New York calling for the head of Piss Christ's creator.
Serrano as “art star,” soon faded like the controversy caused by his tasteless creation. Today, as in the 1980s, he freely and openly produces provocative, blasphemous and often pornographic art including that which reflects the cultural elite's unending obsessions with, and deification of, homosexuality, transgenderism, and bodily mutilation. He never has, nor will he likely ever, push the outer limit of controversial artistic expression by creating work critical of, or disrespectful towards Islam.
Contrast the Christian reaction to Serrano's openly blasphemous Piss Christ, with that of the Muslim reaction to a series of cartoons recently published in the Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper.
Late last year, the Jyllands-Posten decided to test the limits of free speech by publishing a series of cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed. Politicized and radicalized Muslims have reacted to their publication by calling for the deaths of the cartoonists, by beating up shopkeepers who sell Danish products and by holding vocal, and often violent, demonstrations.
Members of the terrorist Islamist “Glory Brigades” now threaten Denmark with homicide bombing. The murderous savages comprising Palestinian Islamic Jihad marched on the UN headquarters in Gaza, Palestinian thugs took over Gaza's European Union office to protest the cartoons and demand their removal. Danish flags are being torched and shops selling Danish products are being boycotted and vandalized all over the Arab and Muslim world. Even Libya got in on the act, closing its embassy in Copenhagen to protest the Danish government's refusal to force Jyllands-Posten to remove the cartoons.
Christianity is routinely mocked and vilified in most counties where Islam is the dominant religion. Countless thousands of Christians have, in recent years, paid the ultimate price for practicing their faith among Muslims, including three young Indonesian girls butchered by Muslim psychopaths as they walked to Christian school. Hate-filled anti-Semitic cartoons pepper the pages of Arab and Muslim newspapers. Programs meant to incite hatred of Judaism and violence against Jews are regularly featured on Arab Muslim television networks. And yet, politicized Muslims, who rarely, if ever, categorically condemn the barbarous acts of their co-religionists and often cheer those same acts, behave as if they desire to see “infidel” blood spilled over a series of provocative drawings. Is their religion not strong enough to withstand the cartoon assault on it?
The response to all this, from the appeasement-prone Western cultural elite, has been a predictable, Theo van Gogh-like silence. The response from the American main-stream media, a virtual news blackout.
In spite of the glaring lack of support by, ironically, those in America ideally positioned to suffer from any restrictions on free expression, Denmark and its government refuse to cave in and apologize to the Muslim cultural police, even as the leftwing government of Denmark's pathologically “tolerant” neighbor, Norway, stumbles down the path of dhimmitude by doing exactly what Denmark will not.
How can one support the Danes in their critical fight for freedom of expression? Easily: Contact the major American media outlets and ask them to publicly get behind the Danes. Urge them to defend the Jillyand-Posten's right to free expression as vigorously as they once defended the same rights of Andres Serrano.
A list of some MsM contact points and e-mail links follows:
Arthur Sulzberger, NY Times
Washington Post and Newsweek
NBC Nightly News
National Public Radio
Another thing you can do to show solidarity with Denmark is to purchase Danish products. Go to the History News Network for a listing of some outlets where you can buy fine Danish goods.
Most importantly, directly send the Jyllands-Posten a letter of support by clicking here.
Tell those who work there that you stand with them, and with all of Denmark, against anti-free speech Muslim radicals, whose ultimate goal is to dictate what the world sees, hears, and believes.
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