Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Comment

Appended to If not Islam, then who? by Dr. Demarche

OK, look, I’m no Christian, and I have no idea what personal and spiritual daimons motivate Andres Serrano, but I thought “Piss Christ” was one of the most moving works of holy art I’ve ever read about. What is the essential act of Christianity? God — the supreme deity — descended from eternal heaven and partook in the blood and piss and shit of human existence. The creator lowered himself to the level of the creature, for some noble purpose. That’s an asonishing statement, from a theological point of view.

Greek and Roman and Hindu gods sometimes took the mask of humanity, but to seduce or to punish, never to suffer. I don’t believe the Christian story, but I honor that aspect of it.

And Christianity, since then, has spent so much time and effort elevating God back into Heaven — untouchable, unknowable, untainted by human dirt — that it seems to have lost touch with its most powerful image.

And in one blasphemous opus, this Serrano character re-connected God and man. Perverse! And brilliant.

Now, as to the rest of it, the difference between a scattering of delusional Christian bigots and a state-subsidized, community-supported mass of them capable of taking down embassies and executing translators in far-flung lands is — exactly that. The problem of Christianity is in its wild fringes. The problem of Islam radiates from its core.

I call myself a liberal still, though most Americans who wear that label deny me membership in their club. But I say any liberal who only stands up for the right to blaspheme when the object of blasphemy is the religion of their own homeland deserves not the name of liberal.