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. Mark from Middle River

    Drew I wish it were that simple. To call Her a common criminal is a bit like saying the 9/11 hyjackers were thrill seekers.

    These groups are going to tear us apart and I see fault on all sides just as a person who posted earlier. If those who are anti- Christians feel they are backing Christians or any persons of faith into a corner or off a cliff then what did you expect?

    I would love to hear a person not of faith tell me if there is a way folks can coexist. There has to be some common ground between letting a nativity scene or a kid passing out christmas cards and gay marriage and abortions. Some one did make a good point that if this was a public museam then this town should not have a problem with a Christmas tree or a nativity scene this December. If it does have a issue then the town is not tryng to coexisit and they will reap what they sow.

    Come on folks. Find a common ground for folks to stand on or they will find ground on the fringes

    October 9, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mark: A nativity scene isn't art per se. It's been seen before and unless it provokes unique thought or emotion it would not be considered art. It is the artistic equivalent of a bowl of fruit. And it does not belong in an art museum. Coexistence requires an understanding of boundaries. You are out of bounds when you require something that is not art to be in a museum, or when you require a museum not to display art.

      October 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • Selfish Gene


      Leave me alone, don't try to force religion into legislation, and everyone will get along. Come knocking at my door with rapture talk, and get ready for the crow bar. Does that sound fair?

      October 11, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  2. BillyD1953

    Throw the book at this art destroyer. No piece of art is liked by everyone and many are hardly liked by anyone. Art doesn't have to pass her test or anyone else's. She had no right whatsoever to destroy a piece of art because she found it offensive. If she doesn't like the artwork then she should just not go see it. Now nobody can see it. Self-righteous religous nut. She took it upon herself to deny everyone who would have wanted to see this piece of art the right to see it. Who does she think she is! Does she really want to live in a society where everyone is permitted to destroy any art they don't happen to like? She should have been born in Berlin in the 30s. She would have loved it there.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
    • Ken

      Must be a typical CNN atheist moderating this thread who is refusing to allow any pro-Christian posts, but gleefully endorses posts like this that equate this woman to Hitler. Then again, what can one expect from an organization whose bigoted founder (Ted Turner) called Christianity a "loser religion."

      Proves once again that CNN is not a news organization – it is an atheist propaganda organization.

      October 9, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
    • nimitta

      That's called 'projection', Ken – you rail against patterns of thought that are actually afflicting you. Sorry to break it to you, but you are the propagandist, not CNN. It's perfectly plain to see that there are tons of posts here from Christians on this comment page, with all sorts of reactions including disapproval of Kathy Folden. So, the fact that you haven't noticed them shows that you've got monster blinders on. It also shows that one doesn't have to be an atheist to think her actions were misguided.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
    • Raider

      Yeah Ken, you pretty much let everyone know that you didn't actually bother to read any of the comments before posting.

      October 10, 2010 at 3:19 am |
  3. Keith

    Speaking from personal experience, I know how this turned out for me, but as a test.. if you really want to see who is who and what they believe.. take two cars.. place a "I Love Jesus" bumper sticker on one. .. a Darwin fish on the other.. and see which paint job remains intact the longest.. have to love true believers..

    October 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      I have the evolve fish, the science rocket, and the FSM. My truck has been hit, keyed, and I'm pretty sure, peed on. Thanks for proving the point, xtians.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  4. elgeevz

    Regardless of their bearing, depictions of Jesus, Allah, Buddha, or any other religious subject should be restricted to private galleries. They do not belong on public property.


    October 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  5. Mark from Middle River

    The question is not if or if not she had the " right" to do this. I am pretty sure that she knew she would be going to jail and in some way she probubly welcomes jail time. This is what so many here fail to understand or hoping to hide from society..... This lady did what she felt was right and what are the cry baby athiest going to do .... Persecute her?

    Wow for all we know, that which you all are threatening to do to her she will look upon it as being part of a long line of those that defended the faith.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
    • Observer

      "The question is not if or if not she had the " right" to do this."

      MOST Americans believe in LAW, but obviously not some.

      October 9, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Do you really not know the difference between persecute, and prosecute?

      October 11, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Jack

    What a wonderful American Nazi! There just aren't many of those left these days. Not with the balls to destroy art or burn books, anyway. Man this brings back memories of Kristallnacht with the Brown Shirts running around forcing everyone to believe only their way and the long trains and the death camps and the hundreds of millions of people who suffered as a result. I hope God or a big butch cell-mate can set her straight.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  7. Greg

    What was it Jesus said about turning the other cheek? Funny how so many of his most extreme followers don't follow all his teachings.

    I will say though, having seen the print, I wouldn't call it art; I'd call it stupid. It was clearly an attempt to generate controversy for the sake of fame. This dumb woman played right into the artist's wishes, too.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  8. nonPCrealist

    The American Taliban at work.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  9. Observer

    Just another example of religious fanatics.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  10. dj

    This woman is one of 10's of millions bursting at the well head......... sorry but thats what happens

    October 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  11. Drew

    How is this different from the Muslim reaction to the Dutch cartoon?
    Religion is not above reproach. All topics in life are subject to artistic interpretation.
    I may be totally offended by the Sistene Chapel or the Temple Dome mosaics, but I do not insist upon or act to their destruction.
    That would be entirely unAmerican. Just like this person is, and all who agree with her actions are.
    She is a common criminal, nothing more.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  12. jay

    Where is Obama?

    October 9, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  13. jaysunstar

    That art is clearly a freedom of expression and protected under the 1st amendment and should be respected as such. The same kind of religious fundamentalists are claiming free speech argument to justify bashing gays at a Marine's funeral. This is some kind of double standard when a religion respects the 1st amendment only when it is convenient for them.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
    • Ken

      Free spech, huh?

      Well I'm all for that.

      So when I want to erect a nativity scene in that same city owned museam, they should not be allowed to deny me the right to my free speech, right?

      Or does the city (i.e., the government) get to decide which free speech it approves (that which bashes a religion) and which it denies (that which uplifts a religion)?

      October 9, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • nimitta

      You're not paying attention, Ken! As was pointed out just above, pictures like "Adoration of the Magi" are already in museums, along with beautiful works like "Resurection" by El Greco, or Raphael's Crucifixion. Duh...

      October 9, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Ken

      Yeah. That is an apt comparison. This woman's art is definitely on a par with Raphael and El Greco.

      But I don't think any government-funded museum should be funding pro-religious art either. No Madonnas. No Passions. No Adorations.

      Frankly, I don't think government should be in the museum business at all. Viewpoint discrimination is inevitable in such an enterprise, and government should be viewpoint neutral. However, maybe someday when our governments can build modern transportation infrastructures, provide quality education for all of our children, hire enough judges to handle cases in a timely manner, control crime, and balance their budgets, then maybe they can start worrying about art museums.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
    • Argmemental


      I like what you wrote.
      Our priorities as a country need reworking. But maybe you should be asking who profits by keeping things in such a mess? And what sort of influence they can bring towards making sure the country is run into the ground at every level?

      October 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Ken: Actually I think we need more art not less. There will never come a time when all those things you require are fixed, but that is not because of museums. That has other factors. Meanwhile art and it's growth is part of any civilised society. The purpose and benefit of art while it may be less tangible than other areas is no less important. Also I support government funding of the arts. I consider it a form of education that by the looks of this woman is desperately needed in this country.

      October 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Selfish Gene


      The artist as a male, a Stanford Professor. The criminal is a female, a truck driver. Now that the facts are straight, explain how violence is OK? I'm going to burn down your church if you convince me its ok.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Mark Silvers

    You brake the law, you pay the crime. Period.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
    • Raider


      October 10, 2010 at 3:17 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Mark Silvers

      Yeah... I'm with Raider on this.... What the F * * K.....? LOL..!!!!

      October 10, 2010 at 4:07 am |
    • Kate

      @Mark SIlvers

      So what you're saying is ... go to AAMCO, get overcharged, and do it once a month?

      Just translatin'

      October 10, 2010 at 4:16 am |
    • Peace2All


      Ahhh thats our Kate...!

      October 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  15. duh

    uh I believe during x-mas there is jesus everywhere. and jesus nailed to the cross is beautiful...wait no it's not it's gruesome and sick but that can be displayed where children can see. if you want a beautiful pic of jesus, paint it, sculpt it, whatever and display it. that's your right, so do it.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  16. Lucy

    Please tell me why it is OK to have a demeaning picture of Jesus on PUBLIC PROPERTY but we cannot have a beautiful picture of Jesus??? A manger scene? Why???? Because that old devil is pouring the kool-aid. Search for the truth for yourselves and you may find that Jesus is the best thing to ever happen to you.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • Observer

      You are right. We shouldn't have any pictures of Jesus on public property.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
    • Andrew

      Because it's a museum. You're allowed to have pictures like "Adoration of the Magi" in Museums as well. You're allowed to have things like "Resurection" by El Greco, or Raphael's Crucifixion in Museums. So why should we prevent paintings that might offend some Christians? Museums have no problem housing religious artwork, why should non, or even anti-religious art be off limits?

      Get over your martyr complex.

      October 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You ask good questions, Lucy!

      October 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
    • nimitta

      But Andrew has much better answers!

      October 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm |
    • Hortense and Her Enormous Cat

      CatholicMom might well be the dumbest person the Flying Spaghetti Monster has ever placed on this Earth. I am going to ask His Noodliness to sterilize her entire family.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  17. John

    It surprises me that "The Misadventures of Romantic Cannibals" got anybody riled up. The whole piece appears to be entirely composed of clip art from Marvel and DC comics circa 1976. Gluing a picture of Jesus' head onto a drawing of a woman's body is juvenile. Most kids have done stupid stuff like this growing up. Who cares?

    October 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • duh

      apparentally the woman with the crowbar cared...who wants to bet she still believes in, "spare the rod spoil the child?" plus her mug shot, doesn't seem like she smiles much. I bet you she gets angry at everything....

      October 9, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  18. mercfan

    If this woman found the piece of art offensive, that's her right. But she didn't have the right to destroy someone's personal property because of her beliefs. This type of destruction is the same as stealing it. I guess she missed the commandment about thou shall not steal.

    Why did she feel it's her right to force her beliefs on others that may have appreciated the piece for what it was. The artist said the piece didn't represent what this woman thought it did. The problem is you have people that blindly believe whatever their church pastor, reverend, etc tell them to believe. Whether it's that Harry Potter encourages people to believe in witchcraft or that Dan Brown hates the Christians. These are pieces of fiction. Why is that so difficult for these people to understand – the difference between fiction and non-fiction.

    October 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
    • duh

      because they are closed minded and believe that she was bullied into doing it even though she chose to walk into the building and look at it...and I don't believe there was a neon sign yelling, "i'm a religious contraversy, look at me..."

      October 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  19. duh

    there are priests worse than that

    October 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  20. duh

    it's not explicit and there are tv ads that are worse than that

    October 9, 2010 at 9:26 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.