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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. denco8

    Wow.. okay I feel the need to comment on this. I am Christian and you know what? First of all, this woman who calls herself a christian defaced a piece of art that contained Jesus. Regardless of how he is portrayed, that is not right. Second of all, it is art. The point of art is to get people talking. It is to get people to feel a certain emotion and its going to make every single person feel something different. I can't stand Christian who do not practice what they preach. Forgiveness and Love mean nothing to the intolerant.

    October 10, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Kyrie

      Tell me: Where in the Scriptures and Sacred Tradition did "art and discussion" suffer death on a cross ? Did art and discussion rise from the dead to save the world? NO! Jesus Christ did...and this is way we treat Him? Make an insulting piece of trash and pass it off as art?

      Forgive nonbelievers for they know not what they do, but there is no excuse for a Christian to take the position you have taken. You have in essence, denied Christ. You are supposed to follow God's law, not pander to the prevailing trends and fancies. Romans 12: 2 says :"be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

      Sure, there's a picture of Jesus in it, but that picture was distorted in an effort to make Jesus look bad. You're OK with that? That's the klind of mentality that believes any publicity is good publicity. No it is not! How would you feel if it were your mother, your sister, your friends being disrespected like this? So it's ok to disrespect Jesus Christ, THE SON OF GOD?????

      There are too many so-called Christians who are afraid to stand up for the right thing. Too busy trying to fit in with the world and be considered "cool." Christianity in 2010 gotten too soft and lazy. You've forgotten what it was like for those in the Early Church. These were people who loved our Lord so much they were willing to DIE for him! They lived their lives on the edge. The world didn't understand their faith, they ridiculed them, they tormented and tortured them. Yet, they didn't compromise...and the dangers facing them were far greater than mere societal disapproval.

      At the end of the age, every Christian must give an account for their action or lack of action...and remember if you deny God, He will deny you! Don't forget what it says in Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose ye this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Sorry, denco8, you can't have it both ways...it's either God's ways or the world's ways...and the world's ways seems to be to disrespect God and His ways at every turn.

      October 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • Raider

      Yes, christians have always been quite happy to die for and to make others die for Jebus and his cronies. This is a good example of why it should be removed from society outright. The world would be a much better place without christianity. I'm sure the same goes for the other religions, but they don't annoy me on a daily basis as christianity does, so I'll give them a bye until the main cancer is removed.

      October 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
    • Thomas

      @Kyrie

      Here's something you may not have considered: art expressed by traumatized victims of child ab-use.

      What sort of blandishments are given by child abusers when they are Catholic priests? Might they bring Jesus into the conversation and use Jesus as a justification and a shield for the evil they are doing?

      And if someone tries to express that to the world in an artistic way, would you still call it blasphemous and seek to suppress it? To silence the vi-ctims?
      The Catholic Church is a disgusting pit of evil. They paint and carve blasphemous images of Jesus all the time.
      The Catholic Church is nothing but the moral descendants of the Pharisees manipulating everyone within reach of their filthy claws.
      If I were to destroy blasphemous images of Jesus and God, I would start in the Vatican and burn it to the ground.

      October 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  2. JennyTX

    How many violent acts are caused by religion???

    October 10, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  3. Thomas

    Why is it that normally sane individuals become insane when religion is introduced. The statement "sincerely held religious beliefs" is becoming synonymous with "serious mental issues."

    October 10, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Kyrie

      Yeah? and I'd say those who have violent reactions AGAINST religion are the ones with serious mental issues. After all, that's why they go out of their way to make such so-called "art."

      October 10, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • Raider

      Kyrie, can you link me a single news item regarding a violent attack by a non-religious person against a religious person? I can only find the articles about religious nutjobs attacking one another and anyone else who gets in the way. But you seem to have some source I'm missing. Please enlighten us!

      October 10, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  4. Reality

    One more time:

    Just another citizen suffering from a SEVERE case of being Bred, Born and Brainwashed in some form of religion!!! She should plead insanity because of this SEVERE form of the Three B Syndrome, a very common problem around the world.

    The cause of such "suffering"? The randomness/accident of birth!!!

    To wit: From Professor James Somerville-

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed."

    October 10, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  5. Boston Guy

    But this would cause Trish and so many other "so called" Christians to actually do something "Christ" like. It's easy to pray but to actually help someone in need is way too much work.

    October 10, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  6. Jersey Joe

    If art is meant to be "thought provoking", why is it that most "artists" seem to only to use Christian symbols. Seems that most don't have the guts to attack Islamic symbols for fear of retribution. Now that would be thought provoking. Attacking Christian symbols seem to be a bit old hat, passe.

    October 10, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  7. Mama Bear

    This is the most poorly written piece of the day, and just demonstrates why CNN has lost any credibility as a journalistic source. The National Enquirer is better!

    October 10, 2010 at 11:11 am |
    • Raider

      And yet, you apparently still read it!

      October 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  8. Dan

    Anyone want to lay a wager that this dummy is also one of the FAKE Americans who loves to wave the flag and chant about "freedom"....all the while she is, like far too many others, just another self proclaimed "christian", another fanatic no better than the Muslim Taliban who think they have the "right" to dictate how others should live? Maybe it's time to bring back the lions and of course....make sure they get well fed....

    October 10, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  9. Joeseph Mamma

    Kooks with a capital "K"

    October 10, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  10. Mr. T. Bag

    Don't mess with the Christian Taliban...

    Reverend Sammy Ben Laden will come after you.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  11. Jim

    Agree to dissagree and then go get some icecream.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  12. Pratt

    It's sort of a hate crime to make art such as this. If say a picture depicting a gay person becoming straight was endorsed by a city organization be sure that the ACLU and GLAAD would be there protesting it.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Pratt

      Well, lets just assume as hypothetically speaking what you posted was potentially true.

      You still mentioned the word *protest* (hopefully 'civil' protest) If there was some 'radical wing-nut job like this 'extremist chritian woman who drove almost 1,000 mile and took a crowbar and smashed some art, well, I would expect the 'nuts' to be locked up too.

      October 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  13. Pratt

    Bud Shark = ultra left fringe nutcase. Why the city put his scratchings on display is very peculiar. She has a point.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  14. jesuswaswellhung

    What is the difference between Jesus and an oil painting?
    It only takes one nail to hang an oil painting.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  15. Jim

    Based on her violent reaction I fully expect this woman to be one of those people who stand in front of abortion clinics shooting at physicians and protest against the gay people at military funerals. Shame on her. I don't expect that she will be getting any cookies and milk when she gets to her heaven. She obviously has no faith in her faith! Wouldn't an all powerful being be able to take care of him/her self? Would that being be so angered and weak to seek the assistance of one of his/her disciples to commit a crime against another of his/her creations for the peaceful expresion of free thought? A strangely hypocritical and confused philosophy. This is the reason that seperation of church and state is so important so that we can all live in peace. It makes me want to put on a devil costume and go dance around in front of her house. If the expresion of a "thought" offends you to this level then you may want to seek medical attention.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  16. jesuswaswellhung

    What is he difference between Jesus and an oil painting?

    It only take one nail to hang an oil painting.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  17. Boston Guy

    To be a true Christian you have to be Christ like and so that means there are not many left in this world. The woman who destroyed this art is far from being a Christian. She like so many other "so called" Christians only want to promote their hate and intolerance to anyone who doesn't believe just like them. They are extremist just like the ones we are fighting in the Middle East. NO DIFFERENCE! I am sure that these bullies in our schools today are all in Church every Sunday and because another child is different they think they have a right to torture them everyday with their words and punches. You can call yourself a Christian until the cows come home but that doesn't mean you are one.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • Kyrie

      So you think it's OK to have disrespectful blasphemous trash passing as "art?" Do you think Christians are supposed to lie down and play dead while people trash and mock Christ?

      October 10, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Raider

      Well Kyrie, it would be nice for a start!

      October 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Kyrie

      YOU are sounding like 'radical crazy zealot Muzzie' talk... That's a little scary...!

      October 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  18. Ric

    I guess its not just the Muslims who have religious extremists on their side.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  19. JonPeter, Hartford, CT

    d42 - "The woman should not have destroyed property that wasn't hers, without doubt. But Unless the city museum paid $1000 or more to obtain the piece, there is no proof that no-one ever valued this art at $1000 BEFORE it was the center of national controversy. Since it is not this woman's burden to proof the piece was worth less than $1000, but instead it is the prosecutor's job to prove it WAS worth more than $1000, which absent the above evidence, they are going to have a hard time doing."
    – – – – –
    I strongly disagree, what you are saying is that if peopledestroy neighbors property they dislike, the neighbor has the burden of proof to show value. Don't like that ugly tee shirt someone is wearing, rip it off, it has no value.. The fact that this piece of art has evoked strong responses demonstrates that it does have value, and the burden of proof now falls on the person who destroyed it to show it was worth less than $1000. This is another example of someone acting stupid, then they and their lawyer trying to argue what they did was not wrong. I find Kathy Folden to be far more offensive than the piece of artwork, but would never suggest that someone should use violence against her. she should be similarly tolerant toward the beliefs of others.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  20. Joshua Ludd

    Nothing quite like yet another christian proving what a peaceful, loving, and tolerant group they all are. The lesson is, I guess... its totally okay to destroy other people's property and to silence non-believers and/or heretics when they insult your god. But, of course, one could easily argue that another christian could torch this woman's church if it has pictures of jesus in it, as one of the 10 commandments is not to make any graven images. ... or maybe we should just learn from the history of christianity and its numerous internal conflicts and NOT do stupid stuff like this in the first place.

    October 10, 2010 at 10:26 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.