[O]n Palm Sunday morning, four people in sunglasses aged between 18 and 25 entered the exhibition just after it opened at 11am. One took a hammer out of his sock and threatened the guards with it. A guard grabbed another man around the waist but within seconds the group managed to take a hammer to the plexiglass screen and slash the photograph with another sharp object, thought to be a screwdriver or ice-pick. They also smashed another work, which showed the hands of a meditating nun.
The gallery director, Eric Mézil, said it would reopen with the destroyed works on show "so people can see what barbarians can do". He said there had been a kind of "inquisition" against the art work.
In a statement, he said the movement against Piss Christ had started at the time of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party’s controversial debate on religion and secularism in France. At a record low in the polls before next year’s presidential election, Sarkozy has been accused of using anti-Muslim and extreme-right rhetoric to appeal to voters and counter the rise of the Front National.
Asked by the daily Libération why the Piss Christ protest had happened now, Mézil pointed to Sarkozy’s speech in March lauding "the Christian heritage of France" at Puy-en-Velay, where the first Crusades were preached.
He said: "Clearly we saw in Saturday’s demonstration that a Catholic fringe wanted to take the president at his word, with extremely violent appeals." . . .
Myers is right to compare this destruction of art to the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. And he is right to condemn it. But that is as far as he should have gone.
If you have read this blog for a long time you may remember PZ Myers, the college professor who publically and intentionally desecrated a stolen consecrated communion wafer, which he called an *expletive* cracker. You may remember that he nailed it to a page of the Quran, and threw it in the trash with coffee grounds. And he photographed this act and posted pictures on the internet, all to make a point.
Now, in his most recent posting about the condemnation of the destruction in Avignon, he writes:
I don’t want to hear another word from Catholics about my destruction of a mass-produced cracker. Their extremists use violence and the destruction of private property to deface a work of art in a museum.
First of all, this was not a Catholic act but the act of a fringe group of Catholics. And there is no comparison between the intentional destruction of religious art and the destruction of Eucharistic wafers. Can’t he see that? And if he thinks there is something of a comparison then is he not condemning his own actions?
Not all Muslims will destroy religious Buddhist art. Not all Catholics (or Christians of any tradition) will destroy an offensive crucifix even if it is masquerading as art. Not every Atheist goes around destroying a consecrated host.
Has Myers forgotten that many Atheists condemned his behavior. Fringe is the word Mézil used. Yep, that fits. I’ve said Myers seems immature. Fringe, too.