October 9th, 2010
02:44 PM ET

Woman charged for destroying controversial Jesus art in Colorado

Editor's note: A lawyer for Kathy Folden, who was charged Wednesday by Loveland, Colorado police with criminal mischief - a felony - said she will plead not guilty.

“Kathy is an ordinary American with some sincerely held religious beliefs, and like a lot of Americans and a lot of people in Colorado she was pretty upset by some of the displays at a city-owned museum,” one of her attorneys, Cliff Stricklin, told CNN Friday.

“The real issue is the city of Loveland, which is not supposed to be endorsing or belittling religion,” he said. “They specifically endorsed a piece that belittled Jesus Christ.”

Striklin said that Folden will challenge the charge on the basis that a felony is supposed to involve destruction of more than $1,000 worth of property. “There’ no way the state can prove that this piece was worth over $1,000,” Stricklin said.

Folden, 56, of Kalispell, Montana, was released from jail Thursday on $350 bail. Striklin said that this weekend she will return home, where the mother and grandmother works as a long-haul trucker.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Art • Colorado • Jesus • United States

soundoff (895 Responses)
  1. uisignorant

    OK libs.... Where is the screaming about separation of Church and State????
    If you can not display religious based icons, you should not be allowed to display anti-religious icons either.

    October 10, 2010 at 8:08 am |
    • Frogist

      @uisignorant: (wow appropriate name) Publicly funded museums are allowed to display religious art.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  2. Razorback

    This is my first visit to the CNN Belief Blog. For it to be the "Belief Blog", there sure is a lot of hate and intolerance toward Christians and Christianity. Seems like there are a lot of trolls on here with nothing better to do than criticize and belittle (I think the word of the week is "bully") others for their beliefs. I agree the woman was wrong to destroy the "art". But I also believe that had the "art" depicted Jesus in a positive light it would have not been permitted in a publicly funded art gallery; some "tolerance" group would have seen to that. Flame away, trolls; I won't be back. And no, I won't let the door hit me on the rump as I shake the dust off my feet.

    October 10, 2010 at 8:07 am |
    • Frogist

      @Razorback: Another example of fear of debate. Want to say anything you like, but not hear what someone else has to say. This is the reason we have the issues of ignorance and hatred in our country. You won't be back? Too bad. You might have learned something.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  3. Jim P

    Muslim terrorist, Christian Terrorist. No Difference.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  4. Harvey Wallbanger

    She destroyed public and should be prosecuted. If she finds the artwork offensive, she has the right stay away from the museum. She does not have the right to decide what is offensive for someone else. Censorship is an evil; be it by the government or by an individual.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  5. DrJStrangepork

    It is called being considerate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    She didn't have the right to destroy it, but the artist and the curator should be a little more respectful regarding the content. This is exactly what our problem is in the US today (and the world for that matter)... people are unwilling to be considerate to each other. Just because you have a right to free speech doesn't mean you should say anything in front of everyone. At the same time, people shouldn't assume their beliefs give them right-away to step on other people's rights just because they disagree.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:56 am |
    • Frogist

      @DrJStrangepork: Sorry, but an artist's job isn't to walk on eggshells to prevent anyone from feeling bad. Their job is to make you think and feel. Anyway, imagined or real feelings of hurt are not reason for violent acts.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  6. Ed

    This woman is stupid, but all of you people with your vehement hatred for all things religious are equally so.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  7. Alvaro Covarrubias Lara

    Good on her for her destroying such rubbish. Even if she goes to jail, it's worthwhile making a point that mocking religious beliefs is not tolerable in a democratic society. Shame on the museum for exhibiting such offensive garbage.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:45 am |
    • Frogist

      @Alvaro: A civilised society, especially a democratic one, protects free speech even the kind you don't like.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  8. ace from Georgia

    What a country. Even the White House doesn't want a copy of the Koran burned, but our laws and public opinion treat followers of Christ as criminals if they object to an obscene offense against their beliefs. This is a bizarre and sad chapter of American history. This wasn't art. This was an effort to incite someone to do just what this woman did. At some point, common sense needs to re-enter the discussion.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:08 am |
    • Frogist

      @ace from Georgia:
      Our laws are not stacked against christians. They are the same for everyone. The difference seems to be that christians like Holden think they are above the law. If you really were calling for common sense, it would be that she takes her punishment for disobeying the law. If you're asking for civility, it would be that this woman apologises for the harm she has brought on the museum and the artist.

      October 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  9. Cynical Randy

    I'm more interested in the church/state implications brought up by her attorney. She's a trucker.....I've had the misfortune to know a few.....they're never the sharpest tools in the shed.

    October 10, 2010 at 7:00 am |
    • Frogist

      @Cynical Randy: From what I read a museum, even one publicly funded, has the right to show artistic works that depict religious icons. There is some question over controversial pieces of art that depict what is considered lewd. But in recent years the freedom of expression of artists, even controversial ones, have been upheld in court the majority of the time.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  10. Interesting

    How many of you Christophobes would be bidding on a painting of Muhammad being desecrated? Oh silly little birdies talking tough behind your keyboards. Wasn't Hitler an atheist??? Wake up!!!!

    October 10, 2010 at 6:57 am |
    • huh? wut?

      ....oh, just another one of those butthurt trolls....hardly worth the trouble...never a fcking clue in their heads....couldn't think straight to save their lives...can't argue worth a damn.....don't know why they bother to post......................................zzzzzz

      October 10, 2010 at 7:19 am |
    • Raider

      Er, I think Hitler was actually a christian if I remember correctly.

      October 10, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Saying you are a Christian is often different than being one. Hitler tried to abolish religion.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:29 am |
  11. Lisa

    The people screaming about the desecration of Jesus are the first ones that will scream for a mosque to be torn down. They are also the first ones that will mock people of Islam. You can't have it both ways folks. Before anybody asks, I am Christian, American and I am lily white to boot.

    October 10, 2010 at 6:42 am |
    • Whap

      What does being "lily white" have to do with anything? You deserve a boot to the head.

      October 10, 2010 at 7:01 am |
    • Peace2All


      I think you just 'totally' missed the whole point of what Lisa said.

      October 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  12. cassarit

    God bless this good woman

    October 10, 2010 at 6:03 am |
    • gesundheit

      ...for being such a bad example for the rest of us!

      October 10, 2010 at 6:17 am |
    • RJB

      Far too many haters in this thread. True she wrecked someone else's property, but so would you if the painting incited such emotion in you. Think you wouldn't? What if someone created a picture of your wife or daughter, or someone you loved with all your heart, and depicted them in a vial situation for the intention of entertainment or just to be mean? Most people could care less, except you and maybe a handful of other people. Don't hate just because you don't get it. The artist probably had intentions of offending people. Unfortunately, In this country it's legal to be as mean and hateful as you want to be.

      October 10, 2010 at 8:08 am |
    • mightyfudge

      Every breath this woman takes is a waste of Oxygen. I sincerely hope that demons spend eternity peeling off her flesh and eating in front of her.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Unfortunately, you and from what I can tell, a few others, have tried to make the same argument. RJB- you just 'can't go around destroying someone else's property, nor attacking someone physically because they said something that you didn't like or made a piece of art..! It doesn't matter if they are supposed loved ones or not. WE HAVE LAWS against destroying property and physically attacking someone just because you feel emotional about it. Well... I mean you 'can'... but, you will be arrested. That is a fact...!

      Would it be o.k. for me, because I don't like your religion or the religious crosses out on you, your car or maybe all of the depictions of JC being crucified and bloodied... So, it's o.k.. for me to go and DESTROY your property, or even possibly attack you because i just have a strong emotional reaction to it...?

      Of course it is NOT o.k....! I am not saying that you have to like the art, or whatever..... but use discipline and emotional control.

      October 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  13. D.D.

    What a bunch of mean spirited commentors! Totally overwhelming. Where is the love and spirt of forgiveness?

    October 10, 2010 at 5:39 am |
  14. Monopolydog

    what was the theme of the painting?

    October 10, 2010 at 5:29 am |
    • Community Chest

      a collage with implied se-xual overtones for a pseudo-Jesus character, among other things.

      (Rule 34 with a lot of IRL cutting-and-pasting).

      She should have used a picture of Oral Roberts or Mohammed tho. Not too imaginative, really.
      Why? Do you think something like that really matters?

      October 10, 2010 at 6:27 am |
  15. StopTheMadness

    Let's look at three things here.

    1. She destroyed property in a museum the property did not belong to her.

    2. She has violated the artists right to freedom to and from religion

    3. She is a whacked out bible thumper who thinks she is better than others and her faith is more important than others.

    4. She has a lawyer who think it is o.k. to destroy art because her opinion of it is poor.

    5. She is nuts and will probably either get off with two years probation or spend two months in county and get time served


    It doesn't matter who or what you are it doesn't matter what your religious foundations are destroying art because you don't like it is on the same level as Hitlers book burning. This lady is a fascist PIG.

    October 10, 2010 at 5:19 am |
    • MuDdLe

      Which three things did you want us to look at?

      October 10, 2010 at 6:55 am |
    • Raider

      "One, two, five!"
      "Three sir!"
      "Right, three!"

      October 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Yeah.. I have got to say, I was with you on a lot of your comments....... but the lack of counting thing, really blew it for me.

      However..... Maybe it was just possible that you were so passionate about your posting that you lost track, and decided to add-in over and above the original 3 things ??

      Trying to help you out here @StopTheMadness....!!!

      October 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      I think it's more like...

      "Our chief weapon is surprise... surprise and fear... fear and surprise...
      Our two weapons are fear and surprise... and ruthless efficiency...
      Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...
      and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope...
      Our four... no... "

      October 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  16. rmanis

    i noticed the church which she is so fervently defending did not come to bail her out.

    we are americans first. period. whenever an american acts like they are a member of the taliban it threatens all of our freedom. an artist and their work should have their freedom protected. if we forget this basic principle of our democracy then we are no better than the brutal regimes around the world who have attacked us for these very reasons.

    October 10, 2010 at 5:19 am |
    • bulovah


      "brutal regimes"?? LIke WE haven't been doing anything but having bake sales or quilting bees or something? Are you serious?

      October 10, 2010 at 6:32 am |
  17. Jeez

    A bit of derision for truckers at the end. The only thing this article didn't mention is which trailer park they lived in. You know those deluded hicks, they'll believe anything. Too bad they can't join the know-it-alls in posh middle and upper class America. When big-Science admits climate change is normal I'll stop believing in the big G.

    October 10, 2010 at 5:18 am |
  18. Henry Miller

    And in 2001 in Afghanistan, the Taliban blew up a pair of 1700-year-old, 100-f00t-tall, statues of Buddha.

    Religious nuts are the same all over the world, killing or destroying anything and everything that's not consonant with their idiot religions.

    October 10, 2010 at 5:00 am |
  19. Randall

    Send this lady to jail – punitive damages are deserved and somebody needs send this country a message. Religious views do NOT trump property rights in this country. Nobody destroys your garden flamingo or bad hat because they hate it. Liberals don't destroy your car because it's polluting. When some lunatic throws paint on a fur coat, guess where they go. Nope, it's not a cruise to Mexico, it's JAIL. Works for all parties. LIFE LIBERTY PROPERTY. It's not a game of Choose Two.

    October 10, 2010 at 4:22 am |
  20. Andrew S.

    @Tim D. "...Why don't you see if you can get a T-shirt with this image on it for that $1000. Then when you die, you can tell God how proud you were to wear an image that dishonors Him. It'll go down really well when your judgement comes!"

    HA! Great argument! Considering your God is probably the most forgiving person of all time (I guess that's what makes him a God) you think he is going to make his "final" judgement based on a T-Shirt? Also, I didn't think REAL Christians were supposed/allowed to be judgmental. Looks like you are not "well educated" (t-shirts) and are a terrible attempt at a Christian (judgmental). Try again, Chief.

    October 10, 2010 at 3:55 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.