Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is Nothing Sacred?

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., has always been the storehouse for artifacts and memorabilia that has marked the history of this country.  Within its massive walls you will find such things as John Glen's spacecraft Friendship 7 that carried the first American to orbit the earth.  The venerable Spirit of St. Louis, the plane piloted by Charles A. Lindbergh, the first flier to cross the Atlantic alone, can be found suspended from the Air and Space wing of the museum.  A complete collection of the evening gowns worn by the First Ladies of this country are also on display.  Nearly anything with historic value and interest can be found within the Smithsonian's confines.  For all of its history, it has been a dignified repository of America's historic pieces.

However, in the last few days, the museum has seen fit to display a vile image of large ants eating at Jesus crucified.  The display entitled "A Fire in My Belly," also included other questionable pieces of "art."  But this image of Jesus on the cross being consumed by ants is way over the top.  To say the least, it is a defilement of an image that millions of people across this land hold sacred because of what it represents to them.

We do have freedom of speech and expression in this country but does that really mean that anyone can say and/or do anything they want and label it as freedom of speech.  One of my greatest objections to this display has been the complete disregard for believers in Christ the artist and the Institution have demonstrated in allowing this display.  Their freedom of speech seems to completely disregard of countless Americans to worship as they please.  Where is the diversity displayed in this exhibition?  Where is the compassion and the caring for those with whom you may have a philosophical disagreement?

Certainly the question must naturally arise, would the artist and the Smithsonian permit this exhibit if the victim of the hungry ants was Mohamed?  I think not.  The Muslim community would raise a chorus of protests and rightfully so.  The more extreme wing of the Muslim faith would most likely promise violence as a form of retribution for such a public display.

Is nothing sacred these days?  It seems not, especially when it comes to the Christian faith.  Those who preach tolerance seem to mean through their actions that they will tolerate only those who happen to agree with their particular points of view.  Anyone who disagrees with them is fair game using any method to attack.

There is very little explanation why there is such ignorance in the world with the exception of stating emphatically that this exhibit is yet again a sign of the reality of Satan in the world.  There are those who groan and moan and roll their eyes at the mention of Satan, relegating that particular belief to the status of myth that only those who are uneducated and unsophisticated believe.  Even the President of the United States joined in in this philosophy when, as a candidate for president, he talked about the masses who cling to their religion and their guns.

We need to pray for these individuals.  This is a form of persecution, this exhibition.  But we could and should have seen it coming for Jesus predicted it.  To paraphrase Him, He told us that we should not be surprised if we were to be persecuted since those of His time persecuted Him for His teachings.  What makes us any different as followers of the Master?

Fortunately, late today, bowing under pressure, the Smithsonian relinquished and closed the exhibit.  However, the damage to this venerable institution has been soiled badly.  We must look to Christ for direction in situations like these.  We must condemn the actions of groups like these but we must also remember to treat them with dignity and integrity for they, too, are children of God even if they do not believe.

Is there nothing sacred?  Yes there is!  And it is the dignity of man simply because we are all children of God.  The battle will not be won on some field somewhere with weapons.  It will be won with prayer and gentle, yet firm admonishment of artists and institution who are insistent on exhibiting such vile pieces of "art."