• Christians Are Offended Again

    phenomenal world
    Photos by Ricardo Perini

    I was listening to my local NPR station the other day and came across an interesting story. Artists created a mural in Philadelphia and surprise, surprise, Christians were offended and destroyed the mural because that’s what people do when they are offended.

    The mural says, “This goddam phenomenal world” and is apparently a quote from a J.D. Salinger book. But since the mural was mere blocks away from churches, religious believers got offended by the word “goddam.” For the record, every place is mere blocks away from churches in America. Churches are like weeds. There is pretty much a church on every other street corner.

    Within hours of the mural’s completion, someone (almost certainly a Christian someone) painted over the offending word. Could you imagine if someone went around and painted over some religious art or vandalized a religious billboard or sign? Fox News would be talking about evil atheists and the war on Christians in America. But when Christians do it, no one even bats on eye. Even the NPR news story attempts to justify the vandalism and only used this story as part of a larger story not even about vandalism.

    They pointed out that the woman who was responsible for creating the mural didn’t go around and ask the churches for permission first. Because every time religious people put up religious murals, signs, and billboards, they always ask atheist leaders for our permission, right? Keep in mind that the mural was legal. They didn’t just paint over some random wall without the owner’s permission or without a government permit. No, the problem was that a small handful of religious people were offended.

    Now, I don’t really know the context of the quote because I have not read that particular book, but I do like the quote itself because we do live in a phenomenal world. The universe is amazing and our world is full of wonders and mysteries that we as a species are just beginning to explore and understand. It is an incredibly uplifting quote from that standpoint. But because religious believers are offended, destroying this uplifting message through vandalism is justified even by NPR’s standards.

    I am outraged by this. I am offended that they are offended. I am even more offended that their offensiveness has led them to vandalize this work of art and that the media has either been completely silent or has justified the vandalism.

    Again, if a church mural was vandalized, you would see prominent atheists apologizing on behalf of the greater atheist community. We would denounce the vandalism and there would probably even be some campaign for atheists to donate to undo the vandalism. As a humanistic atheist, I support free speech even when it is speech I don’t agree with. So if there were a mural that said something like, “Jesus died for your sins” which implies that you would be tortured for eternity if you are not a Christian, I would defend their right to have that mural. If it were vandalized, I would be against the vandals. I wouldn’t try to justify the hate nor would I make excuses like, how no one asked my personal permission or consulted local atheist bloggers or sought the opinion of the local atheist meetup group or society of ethical culture group.

    It really pisses me off that Christians get offended by everything and then feel justified in destroying anything that offends them. We live in America and if you get offended by some piece of art, well then, that is your fucking problem. You don’t have the right to destroy someone else’s art because you feel offended.

    When Christmas comes around and atheist complain about the church/state violations of Jesus Crèches on public property, Christians always claim that atheists have no right to be offended or that our being offended means nothing to them. Even though it has nothing to do with atheists being offended but rather has to do with the merging to church and state and the erosion of the Jeffersonian Wall.

    My point here is that they belittle the idea of being “offended” at Christmas even though that really has nothing to do with anything, but then they turn around and cry about how offended they are at this or that and actually break the law to rid the world of anything and everything that offends them.

    There are surely plenty of Christians who don’t do this and who don’t support vandalizing art that might offend fundamentalist sensibilities, but why aren’t they speaking out about this? Why aren’t they raising funds to restore this mural? Where are the moderate religious believers who are willing to stand up to the extremists who destroy other people’s art?

    Here is a link to the artists’ blog post about this incident.

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    Category: #ChristianLoveAtheismfeaturedFree SpeechsecularsecularismViolence


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.


      1. i would paint over the face of the painter because life must offend, that MAY OFFEND A FEW, BUT PAINTING OVER OFFENDS MORE
        world wide AND in that neighborhood. they likely do not like Gone With the Wind for Rhett saying Damn

    1. Could you imagine if someone went around and painted over some religious art or vandalized a religious billboard or sign

      Remember when that kid simulated a sex act with a christian statue and posted pictures of it online? Religibots went ape-shit.

      1. Christians are offended? All Christians? Some? How many.

        They way you talk about Christians is the way bigots talk about Blacks and Jews.

        And that IS offensive.

        Moroever, how do you know a Christian did it. It is just a likely that an atheist did it for publicity. After all, I know they sometime pose as Christians on the internet and make vicious remarks.

        Atheists are liars. How do you like that remark? Look at the lying former preachers like Loftus, Barker, DeWitt, McBain and others who admit they they lied to their congregations for months, even years.

        1. You’re pretty butthurt about this, me thinks you’re a religious retard. How does he know a Christian did this? Logic. Think about it, assuming you can think.

        2. First let me say for the record I am not an atheist or a Christian. I find it funny that you started off all pissed about how someone used the word “Christians” to generalize an entire group of people and assuming they are all like-minded or the same but then ended your rant by doing the thing to all Atheist. Hypocrite much??? Does that make you a bigot too?

    2. Well Npr isn’t the height of journalism, they’re paid for with hedge funds. They probably just had a religious contributor that they wanted to make happy that week. The christians are just dumb they think they want to cleanse everything but they don’t know what clean is. The dumbed down explanation of good and bad has been drilled in and mixed up in their little brains for so long, they just don’t know anymore. They have to lash out aimlessly at any whisper of defiance. See, the mural said god which means them and dam which is what a beaver makes. And it’s not like they read, so. Clearly it’s the only intention by any mushbrain standard. Was the npr slant that they asked for it? Because, it is pretty predictable. Maybe we can donate to fix the mural. And eventually they’ll stop defacing it.

    3. Of course, the perpetrator will be mightily upset at IS trashing Assyrian art, because that offends their islamic sensibilities, and be completely blind to the irony of that.
      However, I’m going to draw that comparison. And rank them similarly. I hope someone shows them this.

    4. Wow, do you suck at reading comprehension.
      The author said a person did it, then guessed that that person was a christian, which is a pretty good guess and a hell of a lot less judgmental than your statement about atheists.
      Religions are ideas, really, really bad ones, they do not equate to race or ethnicity.
      Loftus, Barker, deWitt, et al, lied to their congregations precisely because of predictable reactions like yours.
      The belief systems propagated by the religions are patently ridiculous. In an age when people have almost universal access to the majority of human kind’s accumulated knowledge via the internet, in a matter of seconds no less, any decently educated adult should be embarrassed to believe this nonsense.
      These belief systems retard human progress, inspire and sustain oppression and are an albatross around the neck of critical thought. The small amount of succor offered to the religious in the practice of their faith comes at far too high a cost for humanity. Just because someone has religious freedom doesn’t mean they get to practice a belief system that is screwing up the world and never get called out on it.

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