They Would Not Think of Doing This to the Quran
Christians outraged after Bible defaced at Scottish art exhibit
By Trevor Grundy
Edinburgh, 30 July (ENI)–Organizers of an exhibition in Glasgow which encouraged society’s marginalised to write comments in the margins of a Bible have now placed the sacred book behind a transparent screen to prevent offensive messages being written on it.
The exhibition, “Made in God’s Image”, at the city’s Gallery of Modern Art opened on 25 June and is scheduled to end on 22 August.
On show, as part of series of exhibitions focusing on human rights, was a Bible and a container of pens and a notice saying: “If you feel you have been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”
Comments written in the margins of the sacred text included, “f…k the Bible”, “Jesus is a bisexual”, “This is all sexist pish”, “I am bi[sexual], female and proud. I want no God who is disappointed in this.”
The controversy over the exhibit came days after the release of a report by Durham University which found that knowledge of the Bible is in decline in Britain, with fewer than one in 20 people able to name all Ten Commandments and youngsters viewing the Holy Book as “old fashioned”.
“It is the first recognition of something which we all knew in our gut,” said the Rev. Brian D. Brown, a visiting fellow at St John’s College in Durham University. “We knew it was there but we weren’t exactly willing to face it,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency
In Glasgow, a group of about 100 Christians gathered outside the art gallery on 28 July to protest against the exhibition. After the protests, organizers placed the Bible in a transparent container so it can be seen, but not touched.
Visitors are now given pieces of blank paper where they can register their names, their feelings about religion and the Bible and their comments.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported an unnamed advisor to Pope Benedict XVI as describing the project as “disgusting and offensive”, and saying, “They would not think of doing it to the Quran.”
The exhibit was meant to enable people who feel marginalised by society and the churches to express themselves, said artist Jane Clarke, a minister of the Metropolitan Community Church, which caters mainly for the spiritual needs of gay men and lesbian women.
“I am saddened that some people have chosen to write offensive messages,” she said in a statement. “Writing our names in the margins of a Bible was to show how we have been marginalised by many Christian churches, and also our desire to be included in God’s love.”
Two artists, Anthony Schrag and David Malone, created the exhibition in association with organizations representing Gay Christians and Muslims. Schrag, the gallery’s artist in residence, was born in Zimbabwe but was brought up in the Middle East and Canada. [484 words]
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