"I don't care if it rains or freezes/
Long as I've got my chocolate jesus..."

NEW YORK (AP) -- A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday after Cardinal Edward Egan and other outraged Catholics complained.

The ''My Sweet Lord'' display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Roger Smith Hotel president James Knowles cited the public outcry for his decision.

The reaction ''is crystal clear and has brought to our attention the unintended reaction of you and other conscientious friends of ours to the exhibition,'' Knowles wrote in the two-paragraph cancellation notice.

Matt Semler, the gallery's creative director, resigned in protest.

The six-foot sculpture was the victim of ''a strong-arming from people who haven't seen the show, seen what we're doing,'' Semler said. ''They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions.''

They think they own the copyright on Jesus and any and all images of same -- same as with the African Madonna with elephant dung representing magical fertility, but which Rudy Guiliani decided was an attack on the Catholic Church (as if there would be anything wrong with that as done by an art work and not via vandalism in a society dedicated to free speech. I still remember the young sociopaths coming after me screaming "Faddah said you killed our lord.")

What they actually do is devalue Jesus, turning him into a keychain ornament and the doctrine and dogma into a product -- a video game, actually -- and the Holy Roman Church into a particularly vicious Wal-Mart, selling indulgences to those who will toe the line.

In the words of Voltaire:

"As long as men believe in absurdities,
they will continue to commit atrocities."

On the other hand, when the dead Jew on the cross says "This is my body you eat..." and it's CHOCOLATE! Hey, ok. Might bring a few people back to the church.


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