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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. Purple Snit

    So – if you think the Egyptians were misguided Pagans, you can break into a museum and smash their stuff? Can she burn Hindu temples to Krishna? Or Mosques? Where do you stop? People have the right to agree or disagree – they don't have the right to vandalize anything they disagree with. They need to throw the book at her for committing a criminal act, not for her religious belief.

    October 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  2. Mark from Middle River

    Freestate – Well first, please say some radical Muslims. Now those would also burn down or blow up the building. Which they would feel would be the key to stopping or causing pause for other forums to put up simular items.

    If the museam across town sees the first museam that displayed a negative image of Jesus burned down then they will begin to put Jesus in the same grouping as with Mohammed.

    This scares me folks, big time.

    October 9, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Lack of free thought scares me more.

      October 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  3. Rob

    It is all of your faces who I want to see come rapture..
    "Oh what is that?"
    ..then you will believe then it will be TOO LATE..
    And YOUR reaction to THAT is what I would DIE to SEE..
    : )

    October 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rob

      Wow.. Yes, just what we need...! A radical christian fundamentalist zealot nut-job, who can't wait to bring on the 'rapture'...and then, enjoy seeing everyone that is a non-believer go to some place of 'eternal torment'..

      Nice.. Rob... really nice....!

      October 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Actually, the rapture isn't going to happen. The book of revelation was written at a time when the Christians were really being persecuted by the Romans. The 666 character was Nero Caesar. This was not a prediction for 2000+ years into the future.

      Jesus predicted he would return in the 1st Century. Fundies try to muddy the water, but Jesus did say he would return.

      The Preterists take Jesus at his word, and believe everything was fulfilled by 70AD when the temple was destroyed.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rob

      I just had to post again..... It's bad enough for believing literally that Jesus the man of peace, will be coming back ...oh, at some point, as a warrior to destroy the non-believers...

      But, what makes you truly 'EVIL' .... Is your stated anticipation and taking delight in seeing the faces of people that would be going to hell.

      You are truly a sick man.... Please seek help.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @David Johnson

      LOL...!!!! I am laughin' so hard right now, seeing you use historical fact and logic for Rob. A new tactic...?

      Ahhh... i think you and I both know that our friend Rob here, don't think he is going to buy it.... Just a guess.

      His motto is..... "Bring on the end of Days baby".... and can't wait to see you unbelievers suffer... as he gets to watch.

      Wow...

      October 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
    • me

      @rob, I can't wait to see your face when your god denies you access to heaven for having such a drastically backward viewpoint from the teachings in your so called 'holy' bible. Doesn't it say to bring others to christ? You're not even coming close to convincing me your religion is anything but a group of hate filled nutjobs looking for a reason to continue your pathetic lives.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Rob,

      John Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren, put forth the Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory around 1830 after traveling to northern Scotland to meet with Margaret McDonald, a woman in who had a "vision" during a serious illness. This "vision" convinced her that Christ would come in two stages. (This was near the time Joseph Smith wrote the book of Mormon because of a "vision") Prior to that, no theologian or denomination had ever suggested a "two stage" coming of Christ; not Martin Luther, not Calvin, not Wycliff. The Early Church Fathers never suggested Christ would come again in two stages.

      Rob, for your own sake, don't be taken in by these false teachings......

      October 9, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
    • Argmemental

      Wow, the irony is amazing....a Catholic talking about false teachings....wow....

      October 10, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • krashundburn

      Rob, whatcha doin' on December 20, 2012? Since the rapture is supposed to be the following day can I have your life savings for my Christmas shopping? You won't be needin' the money, am I right?

      October 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  4. Sparky

    Christianity is such a peacefull religion

    October 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  5. Mark from Middle River

    "The artist should do something in the form of Mohammed next!!"

    Yep, that has worked out so well around the world. Isn't interesting this guy could make a image of Jesus in a negative act and the art world and some athiest declare its "expressive" and it should be up. But when South Park attempted to do a epsiode about Mohammed they were too scared to do it. Is this what all people or groups of faith are going to have to do from this point on? If the media and society bends for Islam then what lesson does that teach to other groups. The creators of South Park said this in a intervew that it will open the door for pretty much any group.

    Imagine that .... terrorism. Additionally the posting saying groups should not bring themselves down to the level of the Taliban or Hamas type of groups... I fear the growing push to emulate them will drown out all the voices attempt to shame them not to act as such.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • ryan

      It wasn't Matt Parker and Trey Stone who wouldn't post a picture of Muhammad, they had every intention of using an image that looked like a muslim man. Comedy Central, a subsidiary of another huge entertainment network, would not allow it and thus South Park got creative and put "Muhammad" in costumes. Know the facts before you spout off. Matt and Trey were threatened, but they weren't about to back down and let religious nuts tell them what they could do (see their Scientology and Mormon mocking episodes) the network would not broadcast the images, so they changed it so we could still see what they were trying to do. and QUIT TALKING ABOUT ISLAM, we aren't here discussing ISLAM, we are talking about a crazy Christian woman who destroyed a piece of art. By equating it with Islam, you are saying well, she didn't kill anyone... but man they should kill this artist.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Google before you reply next time.
      http://www.georgeadamsgallery.com/artists/painting.php3?picture=2453&exhib=11

      October 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  6. mensaman

    As much as we all hate to hear this, the woman was legally wrong is destroying the "art."
    It's free speech, like it or not. The Supreme Court is arguing about the rights of those religious nuts from Wesboro Baptist Church who interrupt and slander people at soldiers funerals. The SC will rule that they are allowed to do this.
    Any other decision would open a billion lawsuits and we would have a mess.
    The best way to handle this is specific legislation through Congress or the individual States.
    I say lets pass a few laws so "hate speech" like this art, can be minimized.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Frogist

      @mensaman: Are you really calling for a ban on free speech in museums? An artist's purpose is freedom of speech. That is her/his goal. To remove their ability to question the perceptions of religion by humanity is to remove an artist's purpose from society.

      October 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Kate

      @Frogist

      The risks are far greater. Alternative media like art, or TV shows, or comedy, have long been vehicles to examine society and religion and all sorts of things in a more effective way that head-on debate can provide – look at Stephen Colbert for one example – any, any restraint on those media is a direct assault on freedom itself.

      Just sayin'

      October 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  7. T. Regan Moore

    I'm glad she did it. No one should distort any image of a religion's divine leaders or representatives.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @T. Regan Moore

      I think the Muslim world would whole-heartedly agree with you.

      October 9, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • Frogist

      @T Regan Moore: Well ok, which church would you like to start with? Heck any church with those images of a white Jesus are a distortion, aren't they?

      October 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  8. WDrad

    The artist should do something in the form of Mohammed next!!

    October 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • FreestateDoug

      The problem is the Muslims would destroy the so-called "art" along with the so-called "artist": Islam isn't nearly as tolerant Christianity.

      October 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @WDrad

      Because..... You'd like to see this artist killed( by some crazy nut-job muslim) just because you don't agree with his/her art...?

      Is that what you are really saying here...?

      October 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @FreestateDoug

      No s-h-i-t.....!! But, there are plenty of radicalized militant christians, that when they get their chance, and some have, would like to accelerate the 'end of days' prophecy. You know them one i'm talking about.

      Wasn't it just a few month's ago that several hundred 'militant fundamentalist christians' got arrested in Michigan, by the DHS and the FBI, as they were preparing to go on a killing spree, as they were spouting from the book of 'revelation' believing they were doing god's work..?

      There have been numerous articles by law enforcement about these radical christians are arming themselves to the teeth to bring on the end times in the name of jesus.

      But, I digress.... this is an article about (art) and someone just plain not liking it and destroying it, in the name of jesus.

      What's the big deal right..?

      October 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      He did. Google is fantastic.
      http://www.georgeadamsgallery.com/artists/painting.php3?picture=2453&exhib=11

      October 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  9. FreestateDoug

    "People don't have a right not to be offended, and they certainly should not go destroying property because someone offended their cherished beliefs."

    I'll be sure to bring that point up the next time the atheists get all silly about crosses as memorials along the highway and such. Isn't it interesting how easily offended those people are of my all powerful imaginary friends they say they don't believe in? You would think they would be more confident in their faith and worldview.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • Kevin

      Nor do you or anyone else have the right to promote hate. Nor harass people.

      October 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @FreestateDoug

      The difference is inumerable crosses up and down highways, on public land, is illegal actually. You can put all of the crosses you want on your private home's front lawn, but not on public property. You can keep them in your church on its private property.

      Because with your thinking we should let the muslim's put their star and crescent symbol of their religion all up and down the roads... then you christians and muslims can fight to see who can just infest public land with 'your' symbols. Forget the law and everyone else who doesn't like it nor agree with you. What the heck...

      October 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  10. ben ben

    What cracks me up is NOBODY knows what Jesus looks like therefore whining about this piece of art showing Jesus is plain stupid. All it is is a picture of what the artist thinks Jesus looked like. I'm sure the picture is nowhere near what He really looked like.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • WDrad

      Same goes for MoHAMmed right?

      October 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • Ruspanic

      I've known a Muslim who said that, actually. That all depictions of the prophet Muhammad are invalid because no one knows what he looked like, so therefore people who get offended are idiots. Meanwhile, another Muslim friend of mine had to avert his eyes while watching Passion of the Christ, because he believes his religion forbids him from looking at any depiction of any prophet. Quite a difference.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  11. David Houston, TX

    The early Gnostic Christians use to drink sperm and treat it like communion wine. I swear I am not making this up! Google Christians drinking sperm.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • T. Regan Moore

      Other cultures have sacrificed children and eaten people as part of their culture and not part of their religion. So what's your point.

      October 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @T Regan Moore

      Yeah.. I agree, lets just keep it to the God, who liked to ki-l-l, and destroy people and demanded 'sacrifices'... you know the God of the Christians.

      October 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  12. Jim Gentile

    what's that old biblical reference to casting stones?
    i don't know anyone without some small subjectively perceived offensive thing in their life to balance against likewise thought-of artwork.
    Stop. Think. Shutup. Move On.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  13. Popepuncher

    Whether it be a weird painting or Jesus, or a "normal" painting of Jesus, it is still a painting of Jesus, So basically she bashed Jesus in the face with a crowbar... That should get her right in front the heaven line for sure since Jesus's father basically did the same thing. Oh I forgot God is the only one allowed to murder and torture.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Popepuncher

      Now THAT was just too dam-n funny..! 🙂 LOL..!

      October 9, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Phil

      We don't really no what Jesus looks like , I would have liked to see this so called art ,why is this so called art so stongly protected ,what she did was wrong there are other ways to state your opinion with out breaking the law. Those who are using this to attack Christions should get a life ,you are the most angry ,intolerent people I have read in these blogs.

      October 10, 2010 at 8:13 am |
    • Raider

      Other than the christians of course!

      October 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  14. David Houston, TX

    Her God is so weak he can't destroy artwork on his own if he chooses?

    October 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
    • T. Regan

      In actuality He destroyed false prophets. Art work is too easy.

      October 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @T Regan

      So... God not only 'destroys' people, but only the ones that are a 'challenge' for him...?

      October 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  15. David Evan

    In this case all parties are at fault, the artist, the museum, the art-smashing-woman. Freedom of speech doesn't negate acting with responsibility, both in action and reaction.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
    • Kevin

      I like this comment. Good one!

      October 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • ryan

      no, its ignorant. There is nothing irresponsible about the art. Some people don't like it, doesn't make it irresponsible. I don't like 'Dancing With the Stars' does that make broadcasting it irresponsible? No, you only support this woman because she attacked something that you would like to attack. So, "attacking" Jesus by making art that depicts him in a way Christians find offensive is wrong, but destroying the art, well, you only think thats wrong because the artist made it and the museum showed it, so its kinda okay that she destroyed it, because she wouldn't have if they hadn't created it/ showed it. NO. No one was harmed by this piece of art, the only thing that we do not allow when it comes to free speech is the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" exception. This does not fit. No one was harmed by this art. This woman is a fool, and a religious zealot (same thing) she deserves the max sentence and fine for destruction of property and censorship.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
    • Phil

      I agree ,when we make a choice it comes with the responsibility to act wisely and with respect for others . we have free choice but it might come with a cost we can't handle.

      October 10, 2010 at 8:03 am |
    • Scrunt

      @ryan

      Boy, you really know how to pick the worst examples, don't you? "Dancing with the Stars"? Really?

      October 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      @David Evan: To say this artist did not act responsibly because some idiot with a crowbar was violent is misplacing the blame and ignoring the purpose of art and artists in our society. An artist's job is freedom of speech. They have no other purpose than to push the boundaries of thought and feeling and expression. That is their sole purpose. And this artist acted as responsibly as is possible by adhering to their honest interpretation of what they see.

      October 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  16. Mark from Middle River

    Daniel – I think that since the price was set at 1000, that there is a good chance she would not even need to leave the state let alone the county to get the funds from folks to pay for it.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  17. Militant Atheist

    So many christians so few lions!

    October 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • T. Regan

      Doesn't matter the amount of lions because many times, the mouths of the lions were shut. Many of those accounts are still being revealed as well as those instances where Christians were set up for destruction and the one who set the trap fell in it.

      October 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • ryan

      Regan-No.. No they're not. There is no evidence of any lions every not eating a person who was supposed to be fed to it. There is no evidence of "traps" being set for Christians, and their "trapper" being caught instead. You can make up stories all you want. The bible is nothing but fairy tales and fables from 2000 years ago. They are not true. There is ZERO evidence of the most important parts of the bible. Garden Of Eden, Adam and Eve, Virgin Birth, the resurrection, any of Jesus's supposed miracles...ZERO evidence, you believe in these things based on FAITH, which means you believe in them despite the lack of evidence, if you had FACTS on your side it would be called Truth, not faith. if a God exists, and I am rejected from whatever after life there is without having ever killed or intentionally hurt another human being, than I really don't have any interest in that God anyway.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Ryan,
      That is called pride in one’s self and an unthankfulness towards your creator.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • ryan

      no its called common sense, and a belief in truth, in FACTS and KNOWLEDGE. You people who believe that you know, what know one can know, are hilarious. I can not disprove the existence of God, any more than you can prove that one exists, but I can disprove the Bible, the Koran, and any other religious non-sense. God doesn't write books, people do. And I will not worship a man's word without evidence and PROOF of what they say. Catholicmom, you are free to believe what you want. But my parents created me, the same way yours created you. The same way dogs, and cows, and every other mammal creates offspring. It is not miraculous, and it doesn't make you special. If your God can not see the good that i try to do every day of my life, and rejects my soul based on the mere fact that I didn't buy into fairy tales from 2000 years before I was born, than I will gladly spend eternity else where. So funny that your God of Love and Compassion, forgiveness, has a special place to torture people for eternity... you'd think he'd be better than that. Oh, thats right, those are the beliefs of men. Not any God, because God didn't write those books.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Ryan,

      Life really is a miracle!

      You are special!

      I am sure God can see every good in you and I am not doubting that you try to do it every day of your life. I have no doubt that God loves you; and just because He does…He will not force you to love Him back. God isn’t going to place you somewhere to torture you for eternity…it will just feel like it, perhaps, because that is how it will probably feel to be completely away from God as you choose to be.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Dywat

      it's funny listening to catholicmom's rant. If you really, really, really, really, REALLY, take a look at what was written to you above your last post, you realize you are wrong. That is why you are spewing your love nonsense. Because you know you are wrong. It's a pathetic ruse to make you feel superior to others, while deep down you know you are wrong and your explanation is inadequate. Just like these anti-abortion nerds. It's not about those 'babies'. Its about controlling women. If it were about those babies they would be the ones adopting them. How many of those nudnicks do you know that have actually put their money where their poorly painted signs are?? None I bet. Because they are phonies. Just like you and the turds that will be sitting next to you in church tomorrow.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:32 am |
    • Dywat

      furthermore, as a catholic, you know you're not qualified to determine what's a miracle and what isn't. You need someone 'informed' to do that for you and tell you what to believe, because you can't and aren't allowed to think for yourself. Thinking is the devils work!!!

      October 10, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  18. Kermit Roosevelt

    What are we now, Muslims?

    October 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  19. RainbowB

    mmm what happened to Freedom of Speech? This is a country where religious and the non can speak their views, if more wackos act out i'm packing my bags and moving out.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  20. Joe

    It was art, of this world. The art of man requires you to feel emotions such as offense, anger, lust, pride. God's art is all around you. His though seems more creative, considering you smile when it is observed.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
    • Andrew

      Yeah, &#RTWA magnets, how do they work?

      Seriously though unless you can give me a compelling reason to believe that your god exists, some actual empirical evidence, I'm not so inclined to think everything on earth is a miracle or "god's art".

      October 9, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Joe,
      I believe all the beauty of the world is God’s art, too. I happen to have a peac0ck as part of my chicken flock and every time I look at those little feathers that stick straight up off the top of her head, it makes me smile and think… ‘God, that was the perfect finishing touch to that piece of art!’

      October 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • Dywat

      @CatholicMom
      Yea, god was a sweetheart when he made that chicken head. And when he gave that family down the street a 2 kids – 1 with downs syndrome and the other with cancer. Yea, he's the cat's pajamas.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Dywat,
      Everyone has a cross to bear. What is yours? Perhaps the anguish you feel for others who are suffering?

      October 10, 2010 at 10:59 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.