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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. Chimayosa

    Oh, for crying out loud. I suppose we can be grateful she didn't issue a fatwa calling for the artist's death. She's certainly succeeded in giving the work (not to mention herself) a lot of publicity. Perhaps someone will offer her a makeover and an appearance on FOX news. Perhaps that was the whole point.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  2. ranulf

    Fantastic. As a target because some religious madmen have decided to take issue with some otherwise innocuous cartoons I can say only one thing: if you truly want to destroy your nation, let the nutjobs have their way. If you want to preserve your freedom, throw the book at them as they transgress. There can be no compromise with the freedom of expression – once lost all the other freedoms will disapper quietly...

    October 9, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
    • Pauli

      Then you do not mind that she expressed herself with an action that is covered by free speech doctrine. Her free expression against the La Raza exhibit is totally justified.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
    • Argmemental

      @Pauli

      Justified, how? And according to whom? You? Are you God? Would you like to answer some questions on God's behalf?

      October 10, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  3. Doug

    Some of you people don't seem to understand this simple fact "we are at war". No, I don't mean the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. I mean the war of "good versus evil". I am a Christian. I believe in God and the afterlife. If I am wrong then what? I have lived a life of Christian values and tried to help my fellow man and led a life guided by principles of brotherhood and if wrong then when I die it is simply "lights out". If you atheists are wrong then what? You have led a life of going out of your way to be mean spirited and in wasting your time and lives in the persuit of telling me I am "stupid for believing". When you die if right then it is "simply lights out". If you are wrong then...... And this added to the fact that I enjoyed my life helping my companion travelers in the voyage of life. Will you have enjoyed a life of going out of your way just to try and demean people who believe? If your answer is "yes" then you should also understand when I say we are in a war against people like you, a war of "good versus evil". The day will come when, probably sooner than later, when we will see armed fighting in the streets of this country. Who will stand with and for you? Who will you have to place your trust in? People who have spent their lives trying to demean the lives of others or people who have spent their lives trying to help others because of their beliefs?

    October 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • wrack

      I'm not sure why you assume that atheists have no standards of conduct or sense of duty towards their fellow man. I live my life to high standards and I do what is right, not out of fear of hell, but out of love for humanity. My morals aren't dictated to me.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • wrack

      And this asinine concept that we "are at war with evil" is what causes most of the unthinkable activities of mankind. To consider people of different beliefs as "evil" you dehumanize them and consequently justify all types of horrible retaliations. There is no evil, only differing perspectives. There are cultures rithg now that consider you and your religion "evil". Either one of you is incorrect or both of you are.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Tom

      Yes, because as the Bible says, kill everyone who disagrees with you, judge everyone, and take up arms against the non-believers!

      Wait, what? It doesn't say that? Well dang... What's plan b?

      October 9, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • entiharmon

      If you think you are "at war" with other peaceful people, or that destroying things you disagree with it OK, then you are NOT a man of Christian faith at all. You are a liar and don't believe what you say you do.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • Wars have many levels

      @Doug
      Since I consider myself to be a warrior fighting for truth, honesty, and the good of humanity, you appear to be on the wrong or "evil" side of this war, because most religions avoid truthfulness and honesty and logic and reason like the plague.
      I think that makes it pretty clear.

      Face reality with a healthy skepticism. Be cynical of what others tell you. Do not trust words that could be false but test and examine and question everything.

      Evil can wear many faces. If you prefer the comfort of being obliviously religious, then remain religious, but don't bother saying you are against evil if you do so. Unless you want to lie about it, like many do.

      You must be as painfully honest as you can be. If you can't do this, you risk being on the wrong / evil side of any action -like so many other people of "faith".
      I am not asking for perfection, just a good general direction from everyone. This war is about mind control. Do not listen to lies but consider everything as best you can without words.

      It is a characteristic of brainwashed people to blindly deny anything that threatens their beliefs. This is a proven fact in psychology. It is a defense mechanism of the brain taken to extremes and used by those who desire the manipulation of others. It is very easy to control most people and it is not your fault that you are a victim.

      If you are one of those people, do not bother saying you are on the side of Good when indoctrination has insured that you have no freedom to make that judgment for yourself.

      And please do not quote any religious propaganda at me by way of "arguing". If you cannot think for yourself you are a tool, a robot, a victim deluded of the most basic human rights.

      I am fighting for you, though you might not be able to see that. If I could lay my life down to save humanity from our tendencies towards delusional thinking, I would do it in a heartbeat.
      Do you say that this is evil?

      October 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Raider

      Hmm, fighting in the streets you say? Maybe I should convert then! After all, religious people are by far the best at killing others! They've had so much practice!

      October 10, 2010 at 3:10 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Doug

      You have trotted out a version of Blaise Pascal's Wager' from philosophy 101. The rest of your argument just flat out sucks.

      October 10, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  4. tony

    Just another "freedom loving" pitbull with lipstick, showing us how to live our lives – her way. Another great candidate for leadership of the tea party I think.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Whoa whoa whoa. Pit bulls are nice dogs. Its the Michael Vick religion of dog fighting that corrupts them.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  5. chuckmartel

    Well at least she didn't try to kil anybody or threaten to kill anybody.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @chuckmartel

      Please see @Addison's post above. Maybe she wouldn't, but apparently Addison is a crazy nut job who would..!

      October 10, 2010 at 2:32 am |
  6. Addison

    I am a scientist and not at all religious, but I applaud this woman. This so called art is meant to provoke anger but not enough to worry the creator of the art. to prove my point.. how many of these "artists" have put mohammed in a bottle of urine? NONE... if the person really felt it was art, you would see an equal number of art displays provoking all religions.. since you never see mohammed I can easily conclude this is not art but just anti cristianity.. that is not art.. sorry..and no museum shoujld display it. good for the woman.. next time I hope the crow bar hits the "person" who made this crap.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • tony

      You should pay her fine then.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • robert

      @Addison, you are not a scientist, you don't even play one on TV. Freedom of speech is protected not because we are all supposed to only say nice things about one another so we aren't forced to be violent, speech is protected precisely because people are often unwilling to hear criticism of things which they hold dear. Speech is protected so that no one can claim their particular point of view to be above criticism. That is why you are not a scientist. That is basic logic, something a scientist would know and understand. You are a fundamentalist Christian trying to give the impression of impartiality. Isn't lying violating one of the ten commandments?

      October 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • Tom

      Yes, how dare we let people pick on Christians because they don't engage in terrorism against those who do so. I know... Let's all encourage Christians to engage in terrorism against those who denigrate them. That'll show everyone!

      October 9, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • GodIsForImbeciles

      Your entire post reeks of BS.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Addison

      You said.... a lot of things that I don't have the time to 'demolish', but.... your last line...."next time I hope the crowbar hits the person who actually made this crap"

      LOL...! Really Addison.... ? Yes, lets just bash someone's skull in because they made some piece of art that somehow offended YOU...! That's definitely the way to go here.

      Thank you... You have just become the official poster child of 'insanity' on this particular article.

      Let me know where you live, so we can warn any and all artists to stay away from your hometown, as, you know... who would want to get the their head smashed in with a crowbar by 'YOU'.

      Wow... the crazies on this blog....!

      October 10, 2010 at 2:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @Addison: I'm offended by what you wrote. Please post your address so I can come by and bash you with a crowbar.

      October 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      I find it hard to believe that a scientist would call for harm to a Stanford professor. Maybe you meant Scie ntol ogist.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  7. ange

    Are you serious? If a museum wants to display art of any kind they have the right to do so.If it offends someone than they obviously didn't read the brochure to see what the show is about. Just like tv. There is so much controversial things on tv and there are ratings to give you an insight on whether or not you'd want to watch it. One person does something and this person gets offended, That person has done this and I'm offended. I did this and you are offended....so on and so on. What's new? If you don't want to be offended than stay at home, close your curtains, disconnect the cable and just be a hermit. This is America people. We aren't like any other country and that's ok. I mean come on, Southpark has defaced almost all religion or lifestyle out there and counting, who cares? People don't have to watch it. The creators put thier put of view out there on how ridiculous things just are. I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up on there next week. Get over it. People have the right to create what they want, they've been doing it for thousands of years. The only thing that I have been offended of was from a children's coloring book of noah's ark where they are on a boat looking at the water at people drowning reaching for help. That disturbed me. I would not get that for my kid. Hey look kids, pain and suffering is ok. But I'm not picking up the books and ripping the pages out. I didn't like it so I shut the book and went about my life.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • Dusty

      "a city-owned museum"

      Do you people not read? This is not a debate over whether private art can mock religion. It's a matter of whether a publicly owned museum can mock religion. If they can't support it, then why can they mock it... ?

      October 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • tony

      I\'m a member of the public and this bovine brain certainly doesn't speak for me. I'm happy to see criticism of religion in my city museum. How can you offend what doesn't exist???

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

      The debate over whether a part-public-financed museum can hang art that might be considered offensive is long since settled. The answer's yes. The continued disagreement with that doesn't change its legal state of resolution.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  8. robert

    Seems that the people who claim to love Jesus and believe the bible without question have a hard time living by it's message. But perhaps it isn't the message they care about. Perhaps all they care about is being a member of a special club that stands in absolute judgement of all the other clubs and makes you feel like you have the ear of the almighty. So perhaps it is vanity, arrogance and elitism that drove this criminal to commit her crime rather than the noble love of god.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • Frogist

      @robert: Absolutely. I agree with you that some christians are exactly as you describe them.

      October 11, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  9. mickey

    Speaking as a Christian- what this woman did was wrong. Plain & simple. Dislike of something does not give one the right to distroy someone else's work. That's all there is to it. She gives a bad name to Christians everywhere. Jesus said to love our neighbors, not to trash their property. Personally, I'm curious to know what the piece was so I could learn and understand the artisit's point of view. Tolerance and understanding, ladies & gentlement, is the way to peace.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @mickey

      Thank you for being a voice of reason and sanity as a Christian.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  10. Gena

    You wonder why people hate Christians? GG, Kathy Folden. Did you really think you were doing the rest of Christianity a service? As a Christian, I am embarrassed. We MUST believe in different Gods. Mine doesn't say it's OK to go break the law and destroy someone else's property just because you feel like it.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
    • me

      I commend you for having a rational point of view on this... She obviously doesn't believe in the teachings of the bible...just like 90% of the people posting on this message board who claim they are christians. just a bunch of hate filled bigots.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  11. Dusty

    "a city-owned museum"

    Do you people not read? This is not a debate over whether private art can mock religion. It's a matter of whether a publicly owned museum can mock religion. If they can't support it, then why can they mock it... ?

    October 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
    • Artist

      No, the debate is about why someone thinks that they can destroy someone else's property because it offends them. The community certainly has the right to decide what art and issues affect them, and what they want to display.

      October 10, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  12. Ray

    Here are a couple of questions to the so called "liberal" that are all about freedom of speech that practice double standards no more or less than any others:

    1) What benefit does a piece of art bring, if all it does is defame an image of a religious figure (Jesus Christ in this case)? Is this how he is going to turn people away from Christianity? Or isn't it just going to create more animosity between people?

    2) Why is it okay to for someone "liberal" to say their offensive opinion but it is not for Christians? I am not saying what the woman did was okay but just speaking in general. So why was Ms. California attacked so harshly for defining marriage the way she THOUGHT it was? Why was Mr. Perez Hilton not attacked by you, same people, who are attacking this woman now? Why did they spend all their power to defame Ms. California's image just because she said her opinion, which happened to be a Christian-based opinion?

    Lastly, I can't wait till the "nation of Islam" penetrates into our government and social life, then all of you so called "liberals" will wish the good old christian values come back!!

    And by the way, I am not looking for answers and I won't read any more comments...Yes, because I am a "closed minded" person unlike your intelligent tolerant selves.

    Thanks.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
    • Catie

      Good for you, Ray, well said <

      October 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • Eric

      What is it that Christians or those on the right only see hatred or destructive commentary directed at them but have no awareness of all that they say or do to inspire or encourage it in the first place? You seem to think you are the only ones on the side of truth and therefore can say whatever you want without compunction or consequence? You are quick to judge and attack others and seem to bare no awareness of your own bad behavior. You are the dangerous and destructive ones.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • Gena

      Actually, Eric, I do agree with you. Sometimes it seems that religious groups, especially Christians, feel that everything is out to get them If someone truly believes that the God they worship is bigger than life, why would that God then care what some artist thinks? The art does not mean that the artist is "Out to get those Christians". It's merely the artist's interpretation.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • wrack

      typical right-wing response. You stick and run. When did conversation become so threatening to you all? This is the same mentality behind the filibustering. No talk, no negotiation, no dialogue. It is this close-mindedness that makes your stance one of total weakness.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Ray: It's not just the 'so called "liberal"' that is for free speech. Or don't you recall the story of a cartoonist who received threats to her life for her Draw Mohammed day? I seem to recall many on the right proclaiming their love for freedom of speech on that day. My position, unlike those who want to persecute the artist from the christian side, has not changed. Freedom of speech is the realm of the artist who must be protected especially if they express ideas that are distasteful to us.
      1) The benefit of art is to express opinions in an unconventional format to challenge the norms that society creates. So right off the bat you are mistaken. "All it does" is not defame a religious figure. That might be what you see at the surface, but it already has prompted even you to talk about freedom of speech and religious perception in our society. This discussion proves this piece's worth.
      2) Everyone has the right to speak their mind. But there is a difference between what an artist does and what you as a christian does. An artist is supposed to push the boundaries of how we see the world. A christian is supposed to be christ-like. Did Christ live his life being rude and violent? No. So you as a christian must stick to your rules, like this artist stuck to their rules.
      2-a) Ms California, was not an artist, and gets to speak her mind surely, but was also in a compet!tion. She said something that was controversial and that generally takes you out of the running in any beauty pageant. If you are looking for free speech. That is a bad place to look. Also when you say "they" can you define that? I'm not sure who you mean. But if you would like to talk about equal rights for gay people in this country, this is not the topic at hand.
      The rest of your fearful ranting is not worth replying to. I, for one, welcome any muslim who wants to be part of our govt. We need more diversity in our public representatives.
      At least you have a grasp on who is closed-minded and who is intelligent and tolerant. Thank you for that.

      October 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  13. me

    How the hell do you plead not guilty when you did the crime? I have never understood that.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  14. Jim X

    This isn't a religious thing or a free speech . It is a civility thing. When will people learn that when you insult someone or make fun of their personal belief systems they will push back. You reap what you sow. It is natural universal law. Civility is not being practiced in America very much anymore. It is no wonder that violence is on the increase.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Artist

      So, under that reasoning, if I feel threatened or offended by something, I should be able to 'push back' as well?

      Gee, could the painting be already doing that? So in your own definition, he has the right to do so.

      Or wait, maybe I'm offended that, yet again, some religious idiot feels that they can enforce their will on the rest of us, by showing us what we can or cannot look at. Hey, maybe I should 'push back' at her somehow?

      Do you see how flawed your logic is?

      October 10, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Artist

      Well said...

      October 10, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      @Jim X

      It is no wonder that violence is on the increase.

      As long as you justify violence with faith, there can be no peace. Your bumper stickers offend me. I'm going to push your car off a cliff. Don't push me. I'll push back. An eye for an eye.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  15. Robert K.O.

    Why do I get the feeling if the "artist" created this with Mohammed, instead of Jesus, and a Muslim destroyed the "art", the response would be different?

    October 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Eric

      It would have because small minds can only see things from their narrow, minute point of view. This is true for both Christians and Muslims. And the small minds seem to be leaving the biggest foot prints these days.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  16. Catie

    Wow, there are some very angry people on this blog. This really touched a nerve. You know, the woman was saddened by what happened. She happens to take her faith seriously and was protective of Christ. I dont understand why you all turn it into a vile and hateful Christian-bashing moment. If you dont believe that is fine, but your hateful speech is merely making non believers look like unhappy hateful people, and I know that is not the case. Gosh, maybe there is a God and therefore a devil because you all are sure acting like the devil is in you.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
    • Gena

      I'm sorry, Catie, but as a Christian, I am very offended by what Kathy Folden did. SHE made a mockery of Christ. What does it matter what someone who is NOT a Christian says? First, She broke the law. My Christ is completely against that. Second, She destroyed someone's property. My God does not endorse that type of behavior. Christ said they will know you are Christians by your love. She has only hate and anger. No, my God does NOT know her.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
    • wrack

      I also doubt that christ needs protecting.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • vanz

      Thank you Catie, your remarks are about the only sensible ones on this link.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @vanz

      You ARE kidding... right...?

      October 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Catiee,

      If I burn your house down, because the Flying Spaghetti Monster tells me the color is offensive. Don't prosecute. I was protecting the Pastafarian lord.

      RAmen.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Selfish Gene

      Yay...! The Flying Spaghetti Monster.....

      Ramen...!

      October 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  17. wrack

    If you are secure in your religion you will see no threat in artistic depictions of any kind. Isn't this similar to how the extremist muslims were reacting to illustrations of their prophet?

    Let's grow up a little, please?

    October 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  18. David

    Well crime is crime, but hopefully Loveland will learn from this and not host such silly things in a public forum, which apparently they're legally not supposed to anyway.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  19. destiny

    WHY DO WE ARGUE OVER RELIGION???AS CHRISTIANS WE ARE TAUGHT TO FORGIVE AND FORGET...AS FOR THE MUSLIM ARGUEMENT, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PPL WHO BELIEVE IN GOD(ALLAH) BUT DONT BELIEVE HE(JESUS) IS THE SON OF GOD...LET PPL BELEIVE WHAT THEY WANT,AFTER ALL GOD GAVE US FREE WILL AND WE WILL ALL SEE IN THE END...I FOR ONE AM CHRISTIAN AND I WOULD BE OFFENDED BY THIS "ART" BUT IM NOT GONNA JUDGE BECAUSE THAT IS NOT MY PLACE...BUT I WILL NOT DENY HIM OR THE FACT THAT HE IS MY SAVIOUR..

    October 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • Can It

      Please turn off your caps; you don't need them to make your point.

      October 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
    • albie

      Christians always feel they need to yell and get into your fact to be heard - time has come to push back on these idiots who are steering our country into a pylon.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  20. robert

    The American Taliban strikes again. The cloud of a coming dark-age for the US is looming on the horizon. The republicans welcome it, the democrats are afraid to oppose it and the tea party is doing their rain dance. It will be interesting in a few decades when the civilized world is forced to defend themselves from a wave of christian extremists based out of the tribal region of the American south. Old testiment law applied with a bible and a rope is what the red states are longing for.

    October 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
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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.