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Video of crucifix removed from Washington gallery
December 1st, 2010
02:06 PM ET

Video of crucifix removed from Washington gallery

By CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi in Washington

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery removed a controversial video Wednesday after drawing criticism that the piece was offensive to Christians.

A four-minute video clip by the late artist David Wojnarowicz was part of a larger exhibit titled "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," which looks at "sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture," according to gallery curators. Gender and sexuality are strong themes in the exhibition.

The clip, from Wojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly," included a scene showing ants crawling over a small crucifix.

The complete video of "A Fire in My Belly," is over 30 minutes long and includes masturbation and full frontal male nudity. Wojnarowicz, who was gay, died from AIDS in July of 1992.

His companion of seven years, Tom Rauffenbart, said Wedneday that while they never talked about Wojnarowicz's intent for the piece, he was "extremely disappointed they pulled this."

"I'm pretty angry about it. It doesn't surprise me, though. David was always controversial. I just wish he was alive," Rauffenbart told CNN.

Curators for the portrait gallery and media specialists from New York University's Fales Library, where the original work is housed, worked to edit down the video into a four-minute clip to include in the exhibition. While a small portion of the full frontal nudity was shown in the edited video, the sexually explicit portion was edited out.

But it was the ants on the crucifix that drew the ire of the Catholic League and politicians. "I didn't register any other objection with this exhibit, it's not my taste. But this is hate speech against Christians," William Donohue, president of the Catholic League told CNN.

Donohue said he did not personally view the exhibit or the offending video as it was presented. After being alerted to the matter by a reporter for the New York Post, he watched another edited version of "A Fire in My Belly" on YouTube, he said.

On Wednesday, CNN was able to view the version that had been pulled from the museum. Both the version on YouTube and the version shown at the museum featured several shots of a small crucifix being overrun by ants. The portion shown at the portrait gallery also showed someone sewing their lips shut, legless beggars in Mexico, silver coins falling in a dish of blood, and a single bloody eyeball on a string.

"Obviously there's a judgment call here," Donohue said. "Obviously there is a role for criticism of religion in art. But this (the crucifix scene) crossed the line."

Martin Sullivan, director of the gallery, said in a written statement the intent was not to offend Christians.

"I regret that some reports about the exhibit have created an impression that the video is intentionally sacrilegious," he wrote. "In fact, the artist's intention was to depict the suffering of an AIDS victim. It was not the museum's intention to offend."

"Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture" cost approximately $750,000 to put on and was done so using private donations, the Smithsonian said. The video in question appeared on a 17-inch touch-screen video kiosk with another video titled "Pink Narcissist." Attendees had to navigate the touch screen to see either video.

Over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend 22,000 people came through the exhibit. It opened in late October, and museum officials said prior to the media attention about the ants on the crucifix, they only received one complaint, regarding the sexual nature of the works.

The portrait gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institution museums, which are federally funded with taxpayer dollars.

Donohue sent a letter to the House and Senate appropriations committees asking them to "reconsider the propriety of funding the Smithsonian Institution." The House and Senate committees in part control how much money the museums receive.

"What gives the government the right to pick the pocket of the taxpayer to insult religion?" Donohue told CNN.

Donohue is not alone. There is a rising chorus of Republicans in Congress who are suggesting federal funds ought to be monitored more closely when given to the Smithsonian. the presumptive speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio; and House GOP Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia have both come out publicly with similar comments on the matter.

Rep. Dan Lungren of California is the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee. He said in a written statement to CNN, "In light of this inappropriate use of funds, we plan to carefully review the process by which exhibits are selected by the primarily federally funded institution."

Lungren's staff said he had not seen the exhibit in person, saying the Smithsonian's vast collection makes it impossible to see everything firsthand. His staff also added that while the exhibit itself was funded privately, taxpayers were footing the bill for costs from the exhibit space to the electric bill.

Dianne Apostolos-Cappadona, professor of religious art at Georgetown University, said she disagreed with the museum's decision to remove the work. "This is a museum that receives public funding (but) an artist is supposed to have the ability to express what you're feeling and thinking and seeing. So that comes from whoever you are [as an artist]. It comes from within. It comes from the world you've been socialized in."

"When did the public become so narrowly defined? So are we only going to show (only) the work of heterosexual white males?" she asked.

Gallery director Sullivan spoke Wednesday with CNN's John King about the exhibit and the controversy.

"Art in general has always been an instrument through which society is kind of challenged to think about, 'Well, what do we truly believe in, what can we tolerate as a society?' So we feel that this exhibition is consistent with the mission that Congress gave the Portrait Gallery when it was created," Sullivan said.

He said museum officials were taken back by the criticism.

"The criticism, which was vigorous and aggressive, came almost entirely from people who had seen neither the exhibition or video, but who read certain accounts of it that got them convinced that this was intentionally a sacrilegious placement of a piece of work," Sullivan said.

"It was made in Mexico, the artist was very deeply influenced by the vivid Latin American imagery, which often has a lot of blood, a lot of violence in it. The religious element is a standard dime-store crucifix, which was set in the sand and, just as (with) decomposing bodies, there were ants crawling over it," Sullivan said.

Rauffenbart said the video and an accompanying still-photo component were created "around the time of AIDS crisis. There was no cure and people were dying all around us. Most of the images were directed toward that kind of thing."

Sullivan said the decision to pull the piece from the exhibit was difficult to make for the museum.

"The artist is dead. He died of AIDS, so we can not speak for him on what he intended. But the argument that the portrait gallery as a part of a museum complex was deliberately supporting a sacrilegious statement seemed to us a reason to say, 'OK, that was not the intent. We wish you would take a look at it.' But we would rather the largely and more important theme of the show continue to be available."

The full exhibit features works from 105 artists including Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Annie Leibowitz. At the beginning of the exhibit there is a sign that reads, "This exhibition contains mature themes." Sullivan said although the piece by Wojnarowicz was being removed, the sign will remain in place.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Art • Catholic Church • Christianity • DC • Homosexuality • United States

soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. Justin

    This is utterly disgusting, i saw part of this video and it I felt it was completely hateful. I felt almost scared watching it, the ants and the cross it felt almost demonic... I am very open to various life-styles, religions, and art; but for heaven's sake I hope this does not reflect any of those. This is one of the most disturbing things I have seen. It is bad enough that some 'person' would create this, let alone it be allowed anywhere near a tax-payer funded site. I used to be against all government censorship, but this is about the strongest case for censorship I have ever seen.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Justin:
      So you want censorship of art that scares you? If you are very open to art, then you must know that art is supposed to challenge you. And yes, the piece was hateful... hateful to the disease of AIDS and how people were treated because they had AIDS. You ever considered this might not be about being angry with Catholicism, but about showing the suffering of someone pure by showing Jesus's suffering in conjunction with the suffering of someone who is sick? Why does it always have to be offensive when religious ideas are used symbolically?

      December 2, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  2. LiberateUs

    More Anti-Catholic comments, huh? Your hate filled comments accomplish nothing, KKK. You can bash my faith all you want, but it won't make us leave.

    December 1, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Reality

      This might:

      Saving Christians from the Big Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now even Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology grad school notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      The single Step continued:

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus very possibly would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
    • Donajam

      "Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place."

      Einstein (and Spock) figured it out.... they ascended into heaven by becoming Pure Energy (E=mcˆ2)

      December 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Andrew

      Donajam

      As a physics major, allow me to ask you a rather important question. What on earth is "pure energy"? Why do I get the feeling that E=mc^2 is the only equation you know from physics? By the way, a proper formulation has that equation E=γmc^2, valid for all massive particles in any inertial reference frame, or E^2-p^2c^2=m^2c^4, valid for massless or massive particles in any frame. E=mc^2 is the trivial case for a massive particle at rest, it's quite boring, but it leads me to believe you can say "pure energy" all you like and have no idea what energy is. Protip, it's a lot like spin or color, in that it is a property OF particles, not a "thing" in it of itself.

      December 2, 2010 at 2:01 am |
  3. Patrick

    "exhibit"

    The better question is why is this exhibit not OK... but however it seems that it is OK for taxpayer money and tourism dollars to fund a bible based theme park in Kentucky...here we have the hypocrisy of republicans on full display.

    http://nky.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20101201/NEWS0103/312010046/Creation-Museum-seeking-tax-breaks-for-theme-park

    So we the taxpayers have to fund a complete fiction (modern man walked with the dinosaurs, yeah right) but we shouldn't fun the museum in which a non taxpayer funded exhibit was placed.

    Hyprocrites....

    December 1, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • EmeraldCity

      That's exactly right. Tax breaks for churches far and wide. But they want Smithsonian dollars policed.

      6 of my comments didn't make it through. Let's see if this one does.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  4. Ritu

    What pathetic and bitterly hateful remarks about Christ and Christianity!

    December 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm |
  5. randy

    Somebody is working on maggots on Mohammad right?

    December 1, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  6. Chris

    I find Christians offensive. Can we take them away?

    December 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
    • Luke

      I wonder how many Nazi's thought the same thing of the Jews before they started killing them en masse? It's people exactly like you who will be doing the same thing to Christians before too long.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • required

      @Luke – If anything like that happens again, it will most likely be at the hands of people who take themselves too seriously...

      December 2, 2010 at 6:56 am |
  7. JT

    And yet you don't hear a peep from Donahue about the tens of thousands of children r@ped by his precious pedophile priests. I'm so glad he has his priorities in order. He gets into a full rage about ants crawling over a plastic man on a stick.

    December 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Plato101

    "The best thing is to let Christianity die a natural death.... When understanding of the universe has become widespread... Christian doctrine will be convicted of absurdity.... Christianity has reached the peak of absurdity.... And that's why someday its structure will collapse.... ...the only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.... Christianity the liar.... We'll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State."
    Adolph Hitler – 14th October, 1941

    December 1, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • Me

      Plato

      I am sure you can back up your non-belief in rteligion with evidence. You call religious beliefs "absurd". but perhaps you forget that science seems to have forgotten that its positions on the beginning of our universe are only theories. It is not a good argument to deride anothers "faith" in an unproven God by using unproven theoretical science as your evidence.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • bob

      You obviously don't know what the definition of a "theory" is. It's baffling how you choose faith in an invisible deity, rather than giving credence to observable evidence. You're one of those "god did it" people, yet you can't even prove your particular god exists in the first place.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
    • Jewls

      My goodness... I didn't think he'd ever said anything good.

      December 2, 2010 at 4:34 am |
  9. Tabs

    Few months ago we were talking about Moslems creating a havoc on cartoons of Mohammad... and we thought that was stupid and they were crazy.. Why is this picture creating controversy then? Whatever happened to freedom of speech? Or are we sending the message that religion and religious figures are off limits?

    December 1, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • bob

      Religious people don't seem to realize that blasphemy laws affect their rights as well.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  10. dawn

    Let's see, this makes HOW many times the image of Jesus has been used in art forms that are considered by most offensive?? Isn't it Mohammads turn yet?

    December 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Bob

      This is why I left the Catholic Church. They act like children and apparently are led by people who have about the same intellect as one. From the bullship of the hypocricy rose the atheist Bob. One who challenges nonsense and shouts "for me to poop on" when confronted with abject bible scripture.

      Catholics are very touchy about their faith. Because they know it's all nonsense. They just live in a comfortable ignorance of it. But woe be to he who shakes the boat by pointing out the silliness of their faith.

      "Thank God when something goes wrong, but it's your own dang fault when something goes bad." ROFL.

      December 1, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
    • Bob

      Above should say "Thank God when something goes right"

      December 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Dawn

      I was sympathetic to your bleating about jesus being depicted in a manner offensive to his sheep – until you dragged mo into it! Wouldn't it have been better to ask for all religions to be treated respectfully?

      December 1, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  11. Lisa

    To each his own. No one is forcing anyone to see anything at the museum. Why should I miss out on an exhibit because someone's belief's are more important than mine? Why should someone else's be foisted upon me because I choose to see something they don't like? This country is supposed to be founded upon tolerance. Can't tell that these days anywhere. Too many frightened power mongering folks wanting things to only go their way. Thank you "If you're not with me, you're against me" politics and beliefs. When will enough be enough and when will we really act civilized as in "Live and Let Live?"

    December 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bob

      You're not being denied the exhibit because of someone's faith. You're being denied the exhibit because of someone's potentially subjective analysis of an exhibit as offensive to their particular belief.

      Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn't it.

      December 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Brad

      Come on folks, it is about using federal money to promote anti-religious bigotry. The same should happen if it were Islam or Judaism. Do your weird art all you want but don't make me pay for it out of my hard earned money.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:05 am |
    • Daniel

      Federal Money? The article clearly states that the exhibit was put on using funds donated by private investors.

      December 2, 2010 at 3:17 am |
    • Kyle

      So all the egyptian exhibits are promoting egyptian religion and should not be shown? So great works of art from the renaissance should not be shown because so many are religious in nature? Practically by definition any showing of one religion is offensive to another. If you are going to federally fund ANY art then you cannot pick and choose what type you fund because that is discriminatory.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:10 am |
  12. Luke

    So much for free speech.

    December 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bob

      You forget, the most basic human right, to express ideas is something God abhors and will not allow. Remember the second commandment. Funny how most civilized, educated nations in the world have done away with this part of "God's Will."

      December 1, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  13. betsy potter

    Why is it that so called liberal 'artists' cannot have a creative thought without including a smack at religion? Their puerile rebellion is amusing. They, in effect, say, "I hate you, but don't hate me."

    December 1, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
    • Luke

      I suppose you are missing the point of the art. It doesn't say that at all. What it is, in fact, is a challenge to the status quo. In America particularly, our culture demonizes (pun intended) those that challenge religion. It's as if those that disagree with religion are supposed to shut up while the religious treat them (me) as if we had a tail and horns and a lesser citizen, a la George H W Bush, who famously said that atheists should not be considered citizens. In America, it's like religion gets a free pass from scrutiny. The artists are challenging that stigma through art instead of words. That is what artists do, right? They make a statement through art rather than a book or epic poem. The artists in question here certainly made that point, but were silenced. Get it now?

      December 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bob

      I find it very pathetic and sad that you equate an attack on your religion as an attack on you. You need to intellectually grow up as a rational thinking adult.

      December 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
    • Steve O

      Sorry, I missed the part of the article that mentioned the artist's political leanings.

      December 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
    • bob

      Religion deserves to be smacked. You obviously hold your own religion in high regard, but in reality, your preferred religion has the same logic (or lack thereof) as religions you don't agree with. I'll bet you hate Scientology, for example, but their claims about Xenu are no different than yours and your deity. You have a holy text, so does every other religion. You have "personal relationships" with your god, so does everyone else with their god(s).

      December 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • BigJ

      @betsy potter: Have you even been to a museum or gallery in the last decade or so? Or do you get all the info you need from the Bill Donohues of the world?

      December 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  14. Realist

    In the complete absence of talent, one can always depend on shock and shlock to lay claim to one's 15 minutes of fame.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • Ruby Long

      So it seems. Origionality is hard work.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • cm

      I concur. So called artists who get grant money can only come up and display hype so they can get noticed. Waste of time, money and creativity.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  15. J Patcher

    Oh what a pity – it was offensive to Xians.

    December 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • DWTT

      Seriously, the article needs to fix that. It's not Xians, it's catholics. Big Difference.

      December 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Me

      What are xians? Maybe we should call atheists "theists", after all "theist" could be short for atheist, and I'm sure atheists would love it. From a CHRISTian and proud of it.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • hardtvetica

      A theist is someone who DOES believe in a higher power, so the point is kind of lost there. We can discuss prefixes and the like later.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • Kam

      Catholics are Christians. They believe in Christ. (Although it's interesting that difference is being pointed out when people talk about Muslims in blanket terms even though there are sects.)

      December 2, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • You

      @Me
      The X comes from the Greek Χριστός, which means messiah, anointed one, or Christ. It is not an insult.
      Read a book before you take offense to something that is not offensive.
      While you're at it, look up "theist."

      December 2, 2010 at 12:53 am |
    • Andrew

      @Me
      Apparently we have another like Bill Donahue who gets offended at the slightest provocation. As was already mentioned, the "x" is derived from chi, χ, the first letter of the greek spelling of Christ or messiah. Hence you see "xmas", or "xtian", and it carries no negative connotation unless you happen to be fairly ignorant of your own religion. Then, you apparently get offended by an entirely legitimate abbreviation... when it's your own ignorance for being unaware of the derivation.

      As for being called a "theist", I wouldn't be offended, it'd simply be wrong. I am an atheist, meaning I lack a theist position on any gods, calling me a "theist" as a shorthand would be quite confusing indeed because it would be calling me something I am not, by dictionary definitions. Now, if somehow we redefined the word "theist", then maybe it'd be appropriate, but the issue doesn't come with offense, the issue comes with the inability to properly communicate ideas by using the wrong word. If "xtian" meant "not christian", you might have a stronger case, but as is rather obvious, that isn't the case.

      Get over your persecution complex.

      December 2, 2010 at 1:52 am |
    • Tim

      For the record, the Greek word christos does not mean messiah or annointed. It means "wet". So xians are literally all wet.

      December 2, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Me
      You said: "What are xians? Maybe we should call atheists "theists", after all "theist" could be short for atheist, and I'm sure atheists would love it. From a CHRISTian and proud of it."

      theist is a word. A theist believes at least one god exists.

      An atheist believes no gods exist.

      But other than being completely wrong, you certainly made a good point for the Jesus. LOL

      A brain is a terrible thing to waste!

      Cheers!

      December 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  16. Reality

    What the first part of the video should have shown:

    The Apostles' Creed 2010:

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary.

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many local semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension story was promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    December 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  17. DWTT

    Stupid Trinity – Jesus ain't on a cross anyways.. who cares if ants crawl over it.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @DWTT

      Better ants than roaches. Everything is relative.

      Cheers!

      December 5, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  18. Ykcyc

    The Ant and I.

    A tiny Life form, Ant
    Appeared to me one day
    The Ant said,
    “Humans lost their way”.

    “No way! Ant”, angrily protested I,
    “I’m bigger, smarter, than you are
    I live much longer than you do
    And I could kill you, if I wanted to!”

    “You could”, agreed the Ant with me
    “I don’t need mind like yours to be
    It may well be, just as you say
    But ask yourself these questions, if you may”

    “Am I less mortal, than is he?”
    “Is Life less fragile in me?”
    “What makes me think that I deserve
    My thoughts of ME to be preserved?”

    “You twist your thoughts to fit a dream
    Your story isn’t what it seems
    You think of future, as if you know
    The ending to your “special” show”

    “Don’t trust your thoughts, they are not real
    Just BE, don’t think – try truly feel
    True freedom is, when no longer you
    Believe your thoughts are what is true.”

    “You don’t need to pretend or lie
    You don’t need thoughts about “what’s mine”
    All that you need here is to know
    You’re one with all that IS, right NOW.”

    “There’s no beginning, there is no end
    There is no foe, there is no friend
    There is only peace, there’s joy and bliss
    When you are one with WHATEVER IS.”

    “Oh yea? Than hear me out”, mumbled I
    “Your logic here does not apply
    I can do something you can’t do:
    Destroy this world and me and you!”

    “To think, to suffer, live in fear,
    Believes, ideas, need to fight
    To love, to cry and shed a tear
    To kill or be killed, to be right”

    Then, in a blink, was gone, the Ant
    “Come back, I am not finished”, shouted I
    The Ant my teacher and my friend
    Said nothing back, not even “goodbye”.

    Then, I realized, this is the end
    The end of thoughts of “I”, “me”, “mine”
    That It was really you and I’m the Ant
    That I can now see, while you’re still blind.

    December 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
    • Alehkhs

      Wow, I quite like that poem. Might I ask where it is from? Or did you write that?

      December 2, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • JesusisLord

      Christians have the right and obligation to decry sacrilege when we see it. Nobody's threatening to decapitate you.

      December 2, 2010 at 6:51 am |
    • Frogist

      @Ykcyc:
      Lovely exhibition of artistic expression... and from the comments we can see how people interpret it with their own point of view. If only we could recognize that is the point of art. To give everyone a chance to figure out their point of view. Instead of censoring it so only one point of view matters.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Ykcyc

      It came to me from, where all things come from. ;))

      December 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  19. Bob

    Donahue: "My freedom of religion usurps your freedom of speech. Deal with it heathen."

    December 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Sorry, I didn't summarize the statement correctly.

      Donahue: "My right to not be subjectively offended about something I believe in usurps your right to freedom of speech heathen. Deal with it."

      December 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  20. David Johnson

    Ants on a crucifix? You must be kidding. Aren't ants one of god's creations? What if it was a puppy that walked over the cross? I think people are too sensitive.

    Cheers!

    December 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • jeff

      Hey David, I've not seen the video, but that seems pretty silly to me, too. We think some folks are all hyper when others draw a cartoon, and then react badly to this. Not very consistent, is it?

      -jeff

      December 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Ooooo! Way to point out how touchy the Muslims are about such things. But alas, I have no dog in the fight. I find all religion silly.

      Cheers!

      December 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • Atinks

      People are not too sensitive Mr. judge, the devil is taking over this great nation. if you know anything, you cannot serve both God and money

      December 1, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
    • bob

      If this is "hate speech", then so is telling people of different beliefs that they are going to burn in hell.

      December 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
    • Andrew

      This is Bill Donahue, that man has no shortage of things he considers "offensive to Christians", and apparently if something is offensive to Christians, it's not allowed to be done. Because we all know our art must be entirely respectful, no free thought or expression should ever be aired if it steps on the toes of the highly religious.

      Seriously Donahue is a colossal joke on the world, his persecution complex puts Palins to shame.

      @Atinks
      Donahue seems to have found a way to serve both, although all of you Christians seem incredibly va-gue on any details establishing the validity of your religion. You say "the devil" is taking over, I retort, "so are leprechauns". Both are silly and unsupportable statements.

      December 2, 2010 at 12:27 am |
    • Bob

      More religious oppression!

      Here we go again! My original post that was reported...

      I'm going to take a poop on a crucifix to make things right. I'll call it "The Stinky Sacrifice".

      December 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Doug

      REPLY TO ALL........ No matter what faith or religion or does not practice. We are all a story of humanity. LOOK at the flies crawling over the faces of babies in 3rd world countries. LOOK at the Mom and kids dirty neglected living on our streets in the usa! LOOK at the mentally Ill that we hurry past laying on the side walk! LOOK at the sick broken alcoholic lying in the gutter!!!!! THESE ARE ALL THE BODY OF CHRIST!!! THESE HUMANS ARE CREATION..... HOW NICE WE WANT TO MAKE OUR RELIGION. WE REMOVE THE CORPUS FROM OUR CROSSES. SO SELF RITGHTIOUS FOLKS. IF YOU THINK GOING TO CHURCH MAKES YOU A CHRISTIAN.......DOES GOING TO YOUR GARAGE MAKE YOU A CAR! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!
      MANY OF OUR PETS IN THIS COUNTRY LIVE BETTER THAN THE HUMANITY GOD LOVES.

      December 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • Nunya

      Anyone who is offended by that deserves to be offended. I am a Christian, and there was nothing described that would be offensive on the basis of Christianity. Any offense that he took is entirely on his own shoulders on some other basis.

      December 2, 2010 at 11:32 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.