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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. Muslim girl

    The artist is ALLOWED to display this art, but should have CHOSEN to be respectful of others by keeping it out of the public. The woman who damaged the art should have ignored it and gone on with her life. Too bad people make inconsiderate choices and enjoy provoking hate.

    October 10, 2010 at 1:05 am |
    • Frogist

      @Muslim girl: Art is meant to be viewed. We might as well not create art, if we fear offending someone and hide it away. Freedom of speech is the realm of the artist. It is not their job to be nice, but to push the boundaries of what we consider normal.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  2. David E.

    This is how things should work. No one should keep you from expressing your point of view. If you cross the line though you get arrested. Btw, all you 1001, 1002 dollar people are cheap asses.

    October 10, 2010 at 1:04 am |
  3. Vetti

    Its true as a christian she failed in praying 4 da artist and did wrong. For this action, she only did what Jesus said the Pharisees did- she made all these anti-Christ commenters, twice the sons of da devil.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  4. Proponus

    Kudos to the woman!

    October 10, 2010 at 12:53 am |
    • Grace

      I applaud her too! God be with you as you fight this.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:35 am |
    • ChristianC

      I agree wholeheartedly. This woman showed courage. She is to be commanded for it.

      October 10, 2010 at 2:01 am |
    • Raider

      Take the above as proof that nutjobs don't stand alone! They're out there in numbers!

      October 10, 2010 at 3:25 am |
    • Frogist

      @Raider: Nutjobs and hypocrites. When someone is offended and reacts with violence is it good or bad? When it's christians, it's good. When it's anyone else, it's bad.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  5. J

    Consider this, no matter your view... As you are taking your last breaths in this life and you feel it all slipping away, is your freedom of expression going to be the last thing on your mind? As someone who has been there, I can say that was not the case for me, I thought of everyone else in my life. The right thing here is for an artist not enrage, but that did not happen. This is why we have to have yield signs in our roads, some people just go no matter what the consequences to others. America is losing its civility because we are becoming a culture of individuality, self promotion and pride. As for me, I wonder what the law would say if Jesus overturned the money changers tables today.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • Frogist

      @J: Jesus would probably be held for assault and destruction of private property. As he should be. The law comes before all else. All civil rights proponents, from Ghandi, to Mandela, to Dr King, have understood that if you break the law, even for a just cause, you still have broken the law. And they accept their punishment with grace. This woman is on the other end of the scale. She is not fighting for her rights or the rights of others. She is destroying a person's efforts which the artist may have put hours of time and money and care into. And in her haste to destroy, she didn't stop to think or care or consider what the artist felt or what the work might have meant. Holden did the opposite of what you are asking for. She was not civil. Nor did she care about anyone else but herself.

      October 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      J,
      Jesus would be punished for what He did because man still holds man’s law above God’s law in this country.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:19 am |
  6. Holly

    The Patriot Act applies here. This was a terrorist act. Jesus W. Bush wants her held without an attorney and sent to Guatanamo for enhanced interrogation techniques.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:37 am |
  7. Paul http://www.youtube.com/ny007ny

    How about , don't like it don't look at it. Pretty simple huh?

    October 10, 2010 at 12:36 am |
  8. ducdebrabant

    ALL fanatics are SINCERE. The Afghan Taliban destroyed all representational art they could get their hands on, including two ancient rock-cut Buddha statues, because they sincerely believed Islam required it. Why is it that, to the right wing, "sincerely held beliefs" can justify destroying a work of art, but not creating one?

    October 10, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • ChristianC

      If you want to see "a right wing work of art" I suggest you take a look at MichelAngelo's art in the Sistine Chapel.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:41 am |
    • Frogist

      @ChristianC: I don't think we can hypothesize that Michelangelo was a part of the religious right because he painted angels on commission from the Pope. He actually had many disagreements about the work and thought it was arrogant to represent the church by such a grandiose image. A little art history and a little less arrogance would probably serve us all well.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  9. Jon H

    Goooooooooooooooooooooo KATHY FOLDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She should be given a medal,finally someone standing up for their beliefs

    October 10, 2010 at 12:25 am |
    • Roolark

      OH YES! Lets hear it for vigilante, puritanical justice!

      October 10, 2010 at 12:34 am |
    • Xamin

      You know who else violently stood up for his beliefs? Hitler.

      ~ This concludes the test of the Emergency Godwin Law System ~

      October 10, 2010 at 1:09 am |
    • Forth

      I don't mind someone standing up for their beliefs if they are being reasonable about their reasons for doing so.

      But anything can be used as part of a belief system.
      I have absolutely no doubt that, like this woman with the crowbar, those Catholic pedopriests justified their actions to themselves and others using their religion as a shield and a justification when needed to avoid accountability.

      So far, this article is just another example of why freedom of religion needs to go.
      It's time to crack down on these world-wide criminal organizations that use religion as a front and a basis.

      Because as long as they can use religion as an excuse...no crime is too big / no victim too small / no act too horrific or insane.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:48 am |
    • Frogist

      LOL@Xamin

      October 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  10. Tyler Durden the Narrator

    I thought christians were peaceful and only muslims were crazy?

    could it be that all religion drives people to do stupid things?

    October 10, 2010 at 12:23 am |
    • albie

      Christians have ALWAYS been crazy - it's just more apparent now. I have learned to doubt someones intelligence when they declare they are a christian.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:37 am |
    • ChristianC

      Albie: You might want to reflect on Psalm 14:1 (below):

      The fool says in his (her) heart,
      "There is no God."
      They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
      there is no one who does good.

      October 10, 2010 at 1:46 am |
    • Peace2All

      @ChristianC

      See, that's the problem with you 'extremist' christian fundies. You rarely seem to be able to debate with any kind of logic or reason. Quite often you tend to resort to quoting the bible..chapter and verse as your fall-back position when you don't have a leg to stand on.

      October 10, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Peace2all,

      …the Bible is part of what makes up the foundation of our Catholic beliefs….we have Tradition, Magisterium, and the Bible...like a 3 legged stool, take away one leg….or two….oops! So don’t be surprised to hear us use quotes from the Bible…it is part of our foundation…we understand others don’t have this foundation in their lives but I doubt if these people really expect us to throw out something that has concrete Truth for us.

      October 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @CatholicMom

      Hey there CM..! Hope that you are well.

      Respectfully, I would remind once again, that claiming bible=absolute fact or *concrete* truth, is as you know...... Totally inaccurate to assert. You may believe it to be truth, but as you know, there is a big difference between believing something to be truth vs. something that has been actually, proven as truth.

      There is no concrete proof of God, or any proof that there is a god, at least not yet, anyway.

      So, while I respect your right, as always to 'believe'...even 'believe' very strongly, that is still in no way shape or form FACT.

      As long as we recognize that, it is belief or 'faith'.... and recognize it for what it is, we are o.k...

      Anyways, hope that you and the family are well...?

      Peace and respect to you...

      October 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Peace2all,

      Thank you; we are all fine, and hope that you are, too.

      Actually everyone one on here…. good health to all believers of God and non-believers! If not all are of good health…may God bless them with it.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:10 am |
    • Frank

      " If not all are of good health…may God bless them with it."

      Hopefully including mental and emotional health. That's even harder to come by than physical health.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:31 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Frank,
      When I first visited these blogs I was quite surprised…there is need for all kinds of healing. The thing is, many may be cured of their sickness but they are not healed…that is, they are still bitter about something…and so they are still suffering.

      Sometimes there is a pleasant blog where people sound much more happy and it is so refreshing but those comment pages end with few comments. Sort of get the impression that ‘if you can’t say anything ugly don’t say anything at all!’

      October 12, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  11. Vetti

    And how come no one has made Bin Laden pay 4 bringing down the towers just because he dont like the USA.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:23 am |
  12. bill

    Art like this should be considered a hate crime. If the art were directed toward other politically protected groups, the outrage would be directed at the art instead of the response.

    And .. in a more general sense, if art is supposed to elicit a response, congratuations to the artist for being offensive enough to do that. Now are you brave enough to offend non-Christian groups as well or do you just have a personal agenda beyond your art?

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

      Bill, do you believe offending non-christian groups is warranted?

      And are you christian?

      And if you answer to both is yes, I'd contend you're a hypocrit. If your first answer is yes and your second no, then at least you are an equal-opportunity hater. If your first answer is no and your second yes, congratulations, you're likely in the blessed minority.

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

      Bill, I totally agree with you.
      Roolark, you seem to think in rather convoluted fashion. I suggest you take a deep breath first. Then, if you have a minute make sure to check the proper spelling for "hypocrite".

      October 10, 2010 at 1:56 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Roolark

      Excellent post....

      @ChristianC You obviously don't have any idea what you are talking about as you seemed to have missed the well asserted comments by Roolark.

      October 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Frogist

      @bill: You seem to be a bit illiterate when it comes to art. I'll try to help you. If the message of this piece is about the hypocrisy and childish nature of christians, then the artist has done his/her job in spades. That is the artist's truth created by that hand. It is not up to this artist to create your truth. So no, they do not have to take on non-christian groups, if that is not what they wish to show. That's not how art works. I would tell you to take a moment to view the piece yourself and try to understand what it might mean so you can educate yourself. But unfortunately some daft zealot destroyed it. So now, even if I might come to christians defense about it being offensive, I can't, because I can't see it.

      October 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  13. Vetti

    And how come no one has made Bin Laden 4 bringing down the towers just because he dont like the USA.

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

      Well in the case of Muhammad or bin Laden... the situation is a little different. Christian zealots are bad enough, but muslim zealots are, well... let me put it this way:

      I'd rather have my colorful artwork of Jesus wrecked by a christian than my colorful statue of Muhammad or bin Laden causing me to land in an early grave.

      Both cases, however, show why religious people should become hermits.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  14. GOPron

    people who criticize fundamentalist Christians do so because of the hypocrisy and hatred of these people. They're not against Christ or Christianity, but they are against hatred that is purportedly in the name of God. It is wrong to use the God of any religion to justify bad behavior.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:21 am |
  15. Almighty Xenu

    Wow. I see a bumper sticker that offends me. So of course I have the perfect right to go wreck that person's car to expunge that horrid, nasty bumper sticker from darkening the sunshine of my world. Naturally ! Especially if they insult my favorite invisible sky-pixie.

    if God is offended by something, and God is the All Powerfullest of the All Powerful Sky Pixies, then God is perfectly capable of expressing God's Own Displeasure by causing a rain of aircraft carriers and rabid weasels to fall upon the offender. He is a Big God and can handle it All By Himself. He does not require the services of long-haul trucker defenders of the faith with crowbars.

    Or maybe , you know, he was taking His own Son's advice and like, turning the other cheek and stuff. The ways of Sky Pixies are mysterious.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:12 am |
    • Roolark

      That bit about God doing it himself doesn't really work out well. Why?

      Most of the christians who do things of this nature praise God for the work. Undoubtedly this lady is praising God for helping her wreck the artwork.

      So you see, God did intervene through his humble servant.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:25 am |
  16. AJ

    So much for being Christian. As a believer in God, it is not for me to judge anyone else. Everyone has an opinion and that is great. But you do not have the right to force your beliefs on anyone nor do you have the right to destroy anything. There is a lot that others do that I do not approve of. I just keep to myself and mind my own business. Life is to short to be angry and hurt other people. We should all be taking care of our own families and enjoying every day to the fullest. When you don't like what someone has done walk away. I wish that I was able to see this artwork that is displayed.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:12 am |
  17. Acaraho

    This was a piece of art and not meant to be an unholy symbol. I mean if it was used in some pagan or satanic worship then I'd say it was offensive but come on, this is someone's private expression of art. The artist also has a right to express his beliefs.

    October 10, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  18. Jackkk

    Our country is becoming a religious training camp for radicals....Christian, Jew, Muslim, Church of the Month. She broke the law plain and simple. What if some nut objected to a child wearing a cross on his or neck, ripped it off and said it offended him? Protest outside, bring friends, church members or whoever has some axe to grind and go from there. Our country is going nuts with religion.....keep it in church and in your homes....leave the public alone.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  19. Acaraho

    It amazes me that this woman was so offended by this piece of art that she traveled 974.84 miles to destroy it (Kalispell, MT to Loveland, CO). Seems to me, there should have been more important things for her to do in her own backyard rather than getting involved in something that is none of her damn business.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  20. I get it

    Kathy Folden said she did it because the law in the city of Loveland, which is not supposed to be endorsing or belittling religion, said she believed “They specifically endorsed a piece that belittled Jesus Christ ”. To prove it was only about the law she added that next week she will be wielding her crowbar to the "shroud of turin" display, planned by the city, cause she only does what the law says. I'm sure she will. Kind of a hero.

    October 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Hortense and Her Enormous Cat

      If she would only "an hero" we'd all be better off.

      October 9, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
    • Acaraho

      And we all know the Shroud of Turin is a fake – the ultimate denigration of Christ.

      October 10, 2010 at 12:17 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.