Andres Serrano (some NSWF images) has made controversial art for decades, with his piece Piss Christ causing controversy shortly after it was created in 1987. In 1989, the photograph initiated outrage against the National Endowment for the Arts because of "anti-Christian bigotry". Then the piece was physically attacked two times in one weekend, when it was first shown in the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997. In December 2010, the Collection Lambert museum of contemporary art in Avignon, France opened a show called "I Believe in Miracles" that includes pieces of minimal art, conceptual art and land art, and includes Piss Christ. The photograph had been shown in France before without disturbance, and had been shown without incident in Collection Lambert for four months, but around 1,000 protesters marched to the museum on Saturday, and on Sunday vandals succeeded in attacking the picture, breaking the plexiglass shield and slashing the photograph. The museum is open again, and the damaged work is still on display. [more inside]
Who Goes to Hell? An editorial response (by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, posted on Foxnews.com) to the controversy of Chad Holtz, a Methodist Church pastor in North Carolina, having been fired for questioning whether hell exists.
Science vs. Religion: a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast. Also, here's a webcast from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
The Producer Cites Religious Controversy. The Director points to a recessionary trend against "serious" movies. A new film about Charles Darwin's life ("Creation") is reportedly having difficulty finding a US distributor. ( Creation: IMDB / Official Site / Trailer / Spoiler-laden review from Roger Ebert / LA Times review // Darwin: Previously on MeFi).
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed? Carl Zimmer wonders. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled with Christianity?
Teacher sues over limits on history curriculum. "A seventh-grade social studies teacher in Presque Isle [Maine] who said he was barred from teaching about non-Christian civilizations has sued his school district, claiming it violated his First Amendment right of free expression."
Johnny Hart at it again? "B.C." creator Johnny Hart is getting some negative publicity (again) for a comic that some say is anti-Islam. See the comic here. An outspoken Christian, Hart has had brushes with religious controversy in the past. Are people reading too much into this, or does it look like bigotry to you? (via Atrios)
How NOT to Start an Ancient Religion Not so much a DIY guide for time-travellers as "a list of 16 factors to be considered -- places where Christianity 'did the wrong thing' in order to be a successful religion." Hopefully thought provoking...
I know what I'm buying this year. Reverend Rose of the Grace Episcopal Church in Hartford, CT has released his annual Warped Toy List. "A variety of toy stores and discount chains are visited on a monthly basis by members of the Grace Church Warped Toy Committee, in order to track what sort of toys are being offered for children ... Only the very worst, most psychologically dangerous and most offensive toys are selected."
Sinead enters the competition for this year's Donea Memorial Ambiguous Orientation Award.