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Art Is Creating Irrational Behavior Among Religious Zealots


By James Donahue

Feb. 5, 2006


The big news this week has been about the violent response by Moslems to a Danish newspaper cartoon depicting a bearded Mohammad with a towel shaped like a bomb on his head.


When the cartoon was copied by newspapers across Europe, it sparked street violence leading to the torching of the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria, large scale protest marches in major European cities, and reports that the artist who created the cartoon has gone into hiding for fear of his life.


The newspapers involved, including a New Zealand paper that published the work in the midst of all the ruckus out of pure defiance, are declaring their right to free expression of opinions. And the concept of followers of the Prophet Mohammad walking into public buildings with bombs strapped to their bodies in sacrificial suicide attacks, certainly is expressed in such a cartoon.


So why the anger? Why the violence? If we can draw the face of Osama bin Laden on a Christ figure hanging on a cross, and if the people in the Far East can endure images of a fat Buddha on the public square, it shows that we, as healthy members of the human race, can still laugh at ourselves. Or can we?


I noticed a story this week from a New York publication about a Christian who violently objected to what he believed to be an artist’s depiction of the face of bin Laden hanging upside down on a cross at a public art exhibit. The man wrote CBS News declaring how the painting “is outrageous. This is an attack against my religion. How can an artist go so low?”


The writer of the story contacted the Harlem artist and the exhibit’s directors, and learned that there was no intention of casting the radical al Qaeda terrorist leader as Christ in the picture. It just happened that the images of Jesus and bin Laden both show lean Middle Eastern faces with full beards.


It is easy to see a slight resemblance. That both the Arab and Jewish people are akin to one another, through a common link with Abraham, makes them distant cousins anyway. So why the beef?


I would say that if you posted the Jesus picture, the bin Laden picture and the Mohammad cartoon along side one another, there would be a slight resemblance in all three.


Brothers of the brush so-to-speak.


Methinks we are taking our religions too seriously these days. There has been too much bigotry, too much prejudice, and too much unwarranted hatred between people who aren’t as different from one another as they might believe. They are simply following the wrong angel and it is causing a lot of unnecessary trouble.


It is time for us all to lay down our guns and stop trying to relive the crusades. That happened back when humans were supposed to be living in the dark ages and did not know any better.



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