Gay stations of the cross evoke controversy

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Doug Blanchard, an artist and Episcopalian and Kittredge Cherry collaborated on a new book of the Way of the Cross. The publicity around the publication has evoked praise and controversy:

From IJReview

There have been plenty of contentious and/or inflammatory artistic depictions of Jesus Christ over the years. One of the most recent comes from a book published in July, titled “Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision.”

The book contains two dozen paintings by artist and “very agnostic believer,” Doug Blanchard, with text written by Kittredge Cherry. Cherry calls herself a “lesbian Christian author and art historian.”

The series of paintings, which appear to be loosely modeled after the Catholic Church’s Stations of the Cross, tells the story of the Passion of Christ using images of modern people – the most notable one being the portrayal of Jesus as a gay man:  From one commenter:

“I found the paintings and idea to be beautiful and refreshing… Personally, I do believe that if Christ was to appear in the U.S.A. today, he would be killed for his radical support of caring for the poor, the orphans, the homeless, acceptance of all.”

From Huffington Post where the discussion turned into one of the most commented stories they have published:

The contemporary queer Christ figure is persecuted, killed and rises again in the 24 paintings by New York artist Doug Blanchard. A surprisingly diverse group of friends join the gay Jesus on a journey from suffering to freedom.

Right-wing Christians denounced us as “blasphemers” and condemned our book as an “abomination,” “disgusting” and “an outrage to mock Christ in this manner.” Facebook canceled ads for the book because it was too “shocking.” When the LGBT community protested, the social media company reversed its decision and “resurrected” the ad. LGBT Christian visions are important now because conservatives are using religion to justify discrimination against queer people. Whenever anyone commits violence against another, Christ is crucified again — including when LGBT people are attacked or killed because of who they are.

Every group envisions Christ in their own image from their own context, and now there is a gay vision of Jesus, shaped by the political, economic and cultural forces of our time. LGBT people often identify with the hurt and humiliation that Jesus experienced on the cross.

From the book trailer:

 


 

posted by Ann Fontaine

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Eric Bonetti
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Eric Bonetti

I am not sure I would classify Blanchard as a non-Christian. In my experience, agnostics are often very close to Christians and vice versa, much as love and hate often are intertwined. That Blanchard took the time to explore these issues via art suggests a yearning to understand and explore. "Seek and ye shall find."

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Most Rev. Raymond Decelles Sawyer
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Most Rev. Raymond Decelles Sawyer

yes, this is a beautiful depiction and the theology is sound.

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Eloise Leslie Weaver
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Eloise Leslie Weaver

Hope everyone was blessed at Good Friday services. <.

Re Ms. Cherry's book, the art work loses impact for me, because the artist is not a believer in Jesus Christ. It would have more meaning if Blanchard was a follower of Jesus, because that would mean he had something invested.

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robert lewis
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robert lewis

How much of the world's truly great art and literature comes from those who are not "believers"? I'll take Caravaggio over his more orthodox contemporaries any day of the week,any hour of the day, ...

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Jean Lall
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Jean Lall

Anyone who has followed Doug Blanchard's work over the years knows that he has a lot "invested". Congratulations to Doug and to Ms. Cherry!

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June Butler
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Eloise, your comment made think me of Caravaggio, too. He's one of my favorite painters in the world, and I especially love his religious paintings. The artist, whose behavior was most certainly not that of a pious "believer", often used street boys as models for his depictions of saints, yet Caravaggio's work is no less brilliant and numinous for all that.

Doug states that he is a "very agnostic believer", and I'm amazed that you are able to read into his soul so closely from those words that you conclude that he is not a follower of Jesus and that he is not invested in telling the story of the Way of the Cross. Four years and 24 paintings indicates quite an investment and interest in telling Christ's story through his art.

Anyway, the negative and sometimes hateful criticism of Blanchard and Cherry's book has boosted sales enormously, and the original edition is now sold out, and there will be a second printing.

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