Yes once again some "cutting-edge" artist has dared to push the boundaries with a new and Bold poke in the eye for established religion! Remember the "Piss Christ" - Crucifix in urine? Or the painting of Mary covered in Elephant faeces (which recently sold for US$4.6M)? Now, that's what the cutting edge call "Art"!
So look at the latest, there he is: Jesus on a dart board - with darts in him too by golly! Boy how edgy is that!? That'll prove the artist's bona fides to all the Right People. The artist is the Right Kind of challenging thinker not afraid to confront the entrenched religious thinkers - especially those with White Privilege - amongst us. A free thinker who just doesn't care if he offends you or me in the pursuit of truth, beauty and freedom of expression.
As a Rutgers student wrote on Facebook: “It’s hilarious, we don’t have to cater to the wills of the Church or any denomination of Christianity or religion.”
What guts. What courage. Now how about I go and put an artwork of Muhammad on a Dartboard up at a University library in New Zealand? What's that? I'd be a racist right-wing Islamophobe, riding roughshod over the beliefs and feelings of the Other?
Pardon? Sorry - how does this work? Why the discrepancy? Am I in fact missing a highly nuanced point that I simply lack the intelligence to apprehend? Because to me it seems nothing more than blatant hypocrisy.
Once again, back in the real world, we all know why nobody will do such a depiction of Islam's prophet don't we? There could be riots, death threats, international outrage as ambassadors from Muslim countries are withdrawn from New Zealand with such rapidity that the ensuing vacuum would produce a Black Hole.
But "boldly" seek to offend the will "of the Church or any denomination of Christianity" and everyone knows there will be no riots, no death threats and no ambassadors - or even church leaders - making sternly worded speeches to our government. This is because Christians realise that free speech - even very offensive expressions of free speech & free thought through art - are essential to a healthy society. We don't like this particular example but such losses are more than off-set by the gains that a free exchange of even bad ideas brings.
However the really disturbing point here is that, once again, we all seem to know that there is one particular religion, one particular ideology, that must not be offended - no matter what. Many argue that we must not use free speech (or art) to be needlessly offensive - "hate speech isn't free speech" we are admonished. Yet these very same people must know, in their hearts, that they are really showing this sudden attack of sensitivity because they are simply dishonest cowards. The reality that everyone knows but dare not say is that people are afraid to do or say anything that might offend this particular group of religious people. And many of us will use every excuse in the book to hide from ourselves the sad sad truth that we are simply too cowardly to treat this particular group as genuine equals. But it is there all the same.
It seems that some bold expressions of free thinking bring some artists (and others) a little too close to the cutting edge.