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

    Observer – try instead of religious fanatics or zelots to be concerned about any group that feels that the time talking or dialouge is past and more drastic measures must be done so that people will begin to pay attention.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • Observer

      I agree, but more often than not, such zealots use religion to justify themselves.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  2. Roolark

    These comments about hate speech against christians is kind of ironic, and hypocritical. I'm not going to say that all christians are hateful, but the majority of hate speech I hear in the work place comes from the mouths of christians.

    Anti-gay rhetoric. Anti Islam rhetoric. Anti immigration / humanity rhetoric. All of this, of course, being hateful.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. – Blaise Pascal

    October 9, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
    • Acaraho

      Best post I've seen in a long time. You are right on the money.

      A born again I worked with told me a couple of years ago his church sent bibles along with some reservists deployed to Iraq for conversion efforts. Clearly against military regs but do they care if they put other Americans at risk, no because they don't respect people who have different beliefs than them.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  3. pmo5010

    christians taking notes from radical muslims...

    October 9, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  4. Nate

    He gets to interpret his image of jesus his way just as she does her way, for her to decide he is wrong is as stupid as stupid does......any questions? I was disappointed to her a carrer trucker only had a 18 in crowbar available would of expected a little more resourcefullness. "RELIGION the worlds biggest political party"

    Every religon has a "do not kill" clause, yet.......
    More people have died fighting in/for the name of their god than any other reason in history and yet we hold religion any form is still ok? Sound like time for humanity to die out and give someone else a shot.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
    • Pauli

      The" do not kill" is actually translated "do not murder". She did not murder anyone, only removed garbage from a museum. Had she put the crow bar through the La Raza supporters head, then that would have been another story.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  5. sarah

    I just find it amusing that since this woman brought such widespread attention to the artwork, it will become even more popular and sought after.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  6. LMD

    Like anything else,if you do not like something do not watch/go to see. What one finds art may be objectionable to another,but it does not give any one the right to destroy it.It is getting quite absurd they tactics religious zealots are taking in this country,,to book banning's and book burning's. from protesting at deceased soldiers funerals to wanting to burn the Qu'ran. The next war of religion is shaping up to take place within our country,pitting American against America. Tine really to stop the idiocy/

    October 9, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  7. Educated American

    Yes, what this woman did was wrong; however, the piece should never have been displayed at this museum in the first place. I have worked in museums for a number of years and this incident shows that the director and/or curator are clearly out of touch with the museum population they serve. I would bet that someone is going to loose their job.

    This work was clearly of a "prurient interest" which is illegal, regardless of the Jesus connotation. The artist can say "oh no it wasn't" but this work is clearly over the line in imagery, context, and text. It was displayed in such a location as to be easily accessible to minors – another poor decision on the part of the curator. A privet museum or gallery has a greater ease in showing offensive art. This museum, on the other hand, is supported fully by city taxes and to have such disregard for the culture of the area clearly shows a need to replace administration. You can have "controversial" art without it being offensive. I have curated a number of shows with borderline art and the important thing is to balance the museums mission with the community culture. If you offend your public you'll loose the museum. If you act like you don't care you will never have a positive dialog and thus negating the purpose of art all together. It's a balancing act and some cities are more conservative than others, it's not a bad thing it is just different. Respecting that will bring positive changes.

    As to the monetary amount, the work may or may not be worth $1000; however, the vitrine or Plexiglas case it was under does cost that much I guarantee.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
    • Hortense and Her Enormous Cat

      Educated American does not even know the difference between "loose" and "lose." The Flying Spaghetti Monster is not amused and intends to punish your stupidity with intense gas.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  8. Infidel

    She should have. She shouldn't have. Whatever. A big fat "waaah" to all who are offended. The entire islamic world would have been marching and burning flags and people if this had been a picture of mohammed the molester. This was one woman. Why are Christians STILL compared to islamic extremists? Did she throw acid in the face of the artist? She made a wrong choice and failed to pray for him like all the other Christians.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Infidel: She acted violently out of an as-sumed threat against her religious beliefs... that's why christians like her are rightfully compared to islamic extremists.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  9. Ortizimo

    If it was for all these CHRISTIAN EXTREMIST we would all be "doing" it through holes in our bed sheets. Get ready for a soon to come religion war within the states. Apparently Christians are beginning to act like Muslims. Freedom of religion and expression is under attack and I for one as an Atheist–and Hispanic–will not stand by and wait for these dumb@$$es to hurt me or my family. See this is what religion does to people's minds. When was the last time you heard of an Atheist molest kids, deprive freedom of expression and create chaos like all these extremists are doing nowadays.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
    • Shanx

      You're calling for war on Christianity? Expect those people to defend themselves. What you said was an outright threat. Bad idea. Also, you made some completely unsubstantiated claims and looked like a fool in the process.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
    • Argmemental


      If you want threats, I'm sure we could all have fun thinking of scary things to say, but Ortizimo's post was hardly threatening to anyone. I can make threats sound pretty nasty. It's not that hard. But there is not much to fight over here.

      Maybe you should think about it a little more before you spew back a challenge to someone you don't know on the internet.
      I'll take you on – pick your topic, punk.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • Dawson Romer


      LOL @ internet tough guys like you.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  10. Robin Bray

    I don't care about her "beliefs". She destroyed property that did not belong to her. That is a crime anywhere in the world.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
  11. Ronco Popeil

    Here's the difference between a Christian and a Muslim. This lady destroyed this "artwork." Had this been a depiction of Mohammed, it wouldn't have been the display that had been destroyed. The artist would have been targeted.


    October 9, 2010 at 11:25 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Ronco: Here's another difference... the image of Mohammed isn't generally used even by muslims in a positive image in mosques. This has been a tradition going back hundreds of years. Fact.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  12. Doug

    Thanks for the replies to my post and for calling me "asinine". I hope my posts made you think. I am not religous. By that I mean I do not prescribe to any particulare religion. I do however believe in a higher power that I find convenient to label "God". I do prescribe to the generalities of religion in that I believe in precepts of doing good for its own sake. I do not take kindly to what I consider "hate speech" against Christianity. Most western civilizations have their laws based in the precepts of religion. But the need to tolerate the disrespect for Christianity implicit in the "art" piece this story is about, this I do not tolerate. I am a man and wrong or right I stand by my conviction that I support the action of the destruction of the piece as just. I do believe that we must at times act or our moral beliefs and "Ceasar" be damned. Not becuase I have to justify my actions to God but because I have to justify them to the person I see everytime I look in a mirror. The more we justify be "tolerant" the more is taken from us. As Christians we should not be saints but warriors of and for our beliefs. Those of you who cannot see the war brewing around you are just blind. I for one am getting ready. I have my Bible and my guns and I am ready for you.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:21 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Wow... so much for *not* being religious nor being a part of any one particular religion..?

      Seem like guns and bibles, etc... Hmmmm sounds like you are a christian extremist to me.

      October 10, 2010 at 4:41 am |
    • Stop that nonsense right now


      Wracked didn't call YOU asinine, but the concept of "being at war against evil" because your interpretation was likely to be equally at odds with every other religion's definition of "evil". At least that's what it seemed like to me.

      If you would fight against evil, then you'd better do something about your normal human tendency to make mistakes in judgment. Otherwise you might easily do horrible and evil things in your so-called "fight against evil".

      You listenin to what I am saying? You go jumping to conclusions without any thinking going on in your head and you will be asking for a world of hurt and deserving it, too if you harm anyone.

      If you can't handle guns responsibly, then you should not be allowed to even touch one. YOU HEAR ME?

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

      @Doug: It's talk like that that make this world a less civilised place.

      October 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  13. Andy

    Interesting that even as a likely crazy Christian she tried to destroy the art, not kill the artist. Anyone noting a serious difference with Islam here?

    October 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Maybe.... she didn't kill the artist because she is .... waiting for the 'rapture'... You know, 70% of Christians and 30 to 40% of Americans in general think that JC is a com-ing back soon, like 'real' soon.

      She would then have to burn in hell for her sins, and miss the jC party co-ming soon to a planet near you.

      October 10, 2010 at 4:29 am |
    • Kate


      "Where are we going??"

      "Plant Ten!"

      "When are we going??"

      "Real Soon!"

      No matter where you go – there you are.

      Just quotin'

      October 10, 2010 at 5:01 am |
    • Peace2All


      Good night my friend... I hope to be seeing you more here. I mean, christ, it's been put on my shoulders to have to try and keep David Johnson from starting world war 3 with the fundies...!!! And as for Reality... Well, he is 'totally' out of touch with himself..!!!! We miss ya' and would love to see you here a bit more. Me, Frogist and NL are keeping the peace.. well, maybe not so much.. 🙂

      Just arm twistin'

      October 10, 2010 at 5:17 am |
    • Kate


      But I like the idea of siccing David Johnson on the fundies. What can I say – I'm lazy

      Just lazin'

      October 10, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  14. johnrj08

    Folden is no different in her mentality than the Taliban who blew up the giant statues in Afghanistan. She had no right to destroy anything, especially someone else's religious expression. Religious fanatics are a danger to every country in which they live.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  15. Mark from Middle River

    Observer – try, just try to understand this. I would bet good money that she knows it was against the law. I do not believe she thought she would not be placed in hand cuffs and be made to pay for the crime she did.

    Observer, to her and many others the handcuffs are a symbol that she did the right thing. I do not agree with her , but I do in some ways understand why she did it. I also better understand what might be the general Muslim feelings aboutthe radicals that exist on the fringes of Islam.

    Take this grandmother to jail for destroying a peice of property. Attempted murder gets how many months? In some states with budget shortfalls they are releacing non- violent crimminals, so how long do you think she will get.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • Observer

      I don't think she will get very long in prison. There are more important crimes. The fanaticism of another religious zealot is the scary part.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  16. Geoff

    This was performance art, par excellence. She's forcing you to recontemplate your rigid atheistic views

    October 9, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      that's rich

      October 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  17. John

    This is a disgusting act of bigotry, art is a free expression of thought. If you don't agree with it, don't look at it.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  18. Weazerdogg

    Andrew's teapot post is the most entertaining post here. Most of the rest of you are wasting pixels. Atleast one good thing comes from all the hate and death created by religion. It leaves more oxygen for the rest of us who really don't give a damn. 🙂

    October 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  19. E

    The Bible calls for people desecrating God and performing acts that are blasphemous to God to be executed by stoning. If the police of Loveland is promoting the desecration and blasphemy, they should be punished according to the Bible.

    October 9, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
    • Observer

      The Bible also says that anyone working on the Sabbath is to be killed. It says that we should kill unruly children, too. Don't just pick what you like, because it sounds SO hypocritical.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
    • Damiana

      So? Empty out your head (plenty of rocks to be found there, no doubt) and lob the contents at the Loveland police. I can guarantee they won't return fire in kind.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hmmm Stoning one to death. Now that sounds familiar... Hmm.. Oh yeah... That's what the 'extremist muslim zealots' do to people of the christian faith if you draw a picture of muhammad.

      Wow.... You guys are alike..! christian zealot... I'd like to introduce you to muslim zealot...

      Let the stone throwing begin...!!!!

      October 10, 2010 at 4:22 am |
  20. Mike in SA

    Interesting...now, if she had been Muslim and this had been art belittling the Mohammed dude...the building would have been destroyed with a large loss of life by the bomb she would have set off. I'm just saying...

    October 9, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
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About this blog

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.