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Old Time Religion

The latest news from the Traditional Values front comes to us from Roseville, Michigan, where we find that the defenders of public decency are marshalling their forces to preserve our precious culture and heritage–by launching a legal assault against a local artist for his reproduction of part of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s ceiling for the Sistine Chapel:

In Ed (Gonzo) Stross’ eyes, his variation on Michelangelo’s Creation of Man mural is art.

In 39A District Judge Marco Santia’s eyes, it’s a crime.

Santia ordered jail time, a fine and probation — a sentence that sounds a little harsh to a state senator, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and fellow artists.

Santia ordered Stross, 43, to serve 30 days in jail, do two years’ probation and pay a $500 fine for violating a city sign ordinance. Roseville officials said letters were prohibited on the mural and Eve’s exposed chest is indecent.

Besides jail time and the fee, Stross is to tastefully cover Eve’s breasts before reporting to the Macomb County Jail on Monday morning, and to paint over love by May 1.

— Detroit Free Press 2005-02-18: Muralist’s vision has jail staring him in face

(Link thanks to Copyfight 2005-02-23 and No Treason 2005-02-22.)

Of course, a bare-breasted Eve wasn’t too much for Pope Julius II; he not only approved of its public display, but was glad to have it on the ceiling of the most important church in all of Western Christendom. You might have thought that some of our traditional values include glorifying God and Creation through beautiful art, or at least respect for the achievements of our forebearers. But when it comes to the community standards of our day–which are, after all, mostly set by reference to the sensitivities of the most obnoxiously vocal and litigious segments of the Religious Right–it appears that all of these pale in comparison to the importance of ensuring that no child see boobies, ever. Anyway, since when have traditional values had anything to do with history?

This, it seems, is the modern Religious Right: a horde of know-nothing busybodies, apparently hell-bent on making Mencken’s definition of puritanism look plausible, and going to the mat to enforce the values of a past that–fortunately for the achievements of Western civilization–never existed.

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2 replies to Old Time Religion Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Jeanine Ring

    “I asked the olive tree, ‘speak to me of God’, and the olive tree blossomed.”

    • Nikos Kazantzakis

— 2006 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

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    Traditional Values

    Sydney McGee is an art teacher at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in the northern Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas. She has 28 years of classroom…

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