Offended (2)

I first came across the French Catholic fundamentalist group, “Institut Civitas’ in a story posted here a month or so ago. Here they are again:

Paris police have arrested around 20 Christian fundamentalists who burst into a theatre and threw stink bombs to protest against a play featuring the face of Christ drizzled with fake excrement. Police made the arrests at the Theatre de la Ville, on the banks of the Seine near Notre Dame cathedral, during a performance of “On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God”, directed by Italian Romeo Castellucci. The play, which runs until October 30, is the story of an incontinent man being looked after by his son.A copy of a huge portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina hangs at the back of the stage and appears to be covered in excrement towards the end of the performance.

After days of trying to get in, the protesters on Wednesday “entered the theatre and threw stink bombs into the auditorium, shouting: ‘Enough Christianophobia!'” a police source told AFP.

France’s ministry of culture blamed the demonstration on members of the Institut Civitas, which in April protested US artist Andres Serrano’s renowned “Immersion Piss Christ” photograph in the southern papal city of Avignon. Civitas head Alain Escada said: “Our mission is to spread the word about this performance and to organise a response.”

A spectator described the protesters as “very young people who are very angry but very well dressed.” Faced with a police cordon, they throw eggs and oil at the theatre and those going in, chanting in Latin or praying on their knees.

The association of French Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday condemned “the violence perpetrated during recent performances… France’s Roman Catholic Church is neither fundamentalist nor obscurantist (opposed to enlightenment).”

I noted before that the Civitas crowd appeared to have taken a lesson or two from the more extreme followers of another religion I could mention, and so they have in quite a few respects. The use of the ridiculous term “Christianophobia” only underlines that point.

The play itself sounds like a nightmare, but there is no, repeat, no right not to be offended.

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10 Responses to Offended (2)

  1. Polichinello says:

    Civitas was engaging in performance art, you philistine!

  2. Polichinello says:

    Let me note one mitigating circumstance for Institut Civitas: if they were to put on their own play doing the same thing to Islam, the gay movement or any other “protected” minority, a few rotten eggs would be the least of their worries. They’d be facing full on prosecution from the French state. That doesn’t excuse them, but we have to remember this isn’t taking place in an American milieu, where all the concerned parties have equal free speech protection.

  3. Acilius says:

    You make a good point about French and EU human rights laws, Polichinello.

    Also, I wonder when the last time was any of these protestors had an eye exam. Have they seen a crucifix recently? What’s worse for a person, to have a bit of chocolate syrup splattered on a painting of him, or to be tortured and executed?

    I’m not being flip here. Isn’t the whole point of the Easter story, and thus of the liturgical calendar, that Jesus suffers our pains and indignities with us, and that by sharing our sufferings he redeems us? If that is the point, and if the protestors sincerely believe such a point to be true, how could they possibly be offended by an indication that as the character suffers indignity in caring for his father, Jesus suffers the same indignity? I would think that the logic of their position would require them to welcome that aspect of the play.

    Perhaps they are being illogical. Or perhaps they follow some brand of Christianity which does not regard the Passion of Christ as especially significant. Or perhaps their protest is of the “doth protest too much” variety, and they have chosen this play to disrupt because it highlights an aspect of Christianity that is too challenging for them to take on board.

  4. Sam Schulman says:

    Still, measure the indignation of the Mayor of Paris at these Christians: “Nous ne pouvons tolérer au coeur de Paris, ville qui promeut à travers le monde les valeurs humanistes de liberté et de démocratie, de telles expressions d’intégrisme et d’intolérance.” ccmpared to Hizzoner’s remarks on the Muhammed cartoons:
    dit se sentir « proche » des musulmans qui ont ressenti la caricature du prophète Mahomet « comme une profanation ». « Aucun amalgame ne peut être toléré, ni même suggéré entre une grande religion porteuse d’une part de l’universel et les quelques fanatiques qui sèment la barbarie en son nom »
    Surely the Christians who protested against this fine dramatic performance were partially incited by the outrage on the part of the bien-pensants about the feelings of those who might resort to violence, compared to the outrage directed against those Christians who were outraged.
    This material came from the Salon Beige blog:

  5. Sam Schulman says:

    Nor, in Europe, does the term “Christianphobia” seem ridiculous to me, when such blatant hyprocisy emanates from one’s rulers toward one religion, while Christian and Jewish pieties which until recently were treated with mild respect have suddenly become “savage” and “primitive” – if they are not actually made illegal. One would expect more understanding from Secular Right when secularity has become a dead letter regarding one religion, and conservative has become a dead letter regarding two others, and the traditional code of conduct which loosely emanated therefrom.

  6. j mct says:

    They didn’t learn that from Muslims, they learned it from lefties, who’ve been doing stuff like that for decades, and taught the Muslims how to do it.

    The “Christophobia’ word is lame because of the ‘phobia’ part. I do not think anyone is afraid of Christians, and using the word phobia, saying that one is feared, is a loser strategy for pumping oneself up, i.e. bad and silly self flattery.

    The ironic thing about it is who is really ‘phobic’ and to who? People who are against same sex marriage are ‘homophobic’ when whatever they might be, afraid of homosexuals is not it. One might except someone is show business who won’t say they’re against gay marriage in public, they stay in the closet about it, because they’re afraid of getting blacklisted, such a person would seem to be homophobic wouldn’t he?

    It seems that the mayor of Paris is an Islamophobe by his comments, doesn’t it?

  7. Mike H says:

    Yeah I don’t see the similarity to Islamists really as much as to leftist “direct action” theatrics – which in Europe are of course extremely common and generally tolerated by authorities.

  8. Behavior that is rewarded is repeated. When leftist do that sort of thing, they get rewarded. When Muslim extremists do that sort of thing, they get rewarded. Why wouldn’t fringe Catholics — under culture siege in Europe — take the hint and start behaving in the same way? Of course they will. It is human nature.

  9. Polichinello says:

    Meanwhile, another religion was tossing something more potent than rotten eggs to protest a cartoon:

  10. Acilius says:

    Good point, Mark. If anyone who chose to do so were free to print money, we’d expect a lot of inflation. So why are we surprised that lots of people make obnoxious displays of offended-ness when we treat those displays as a form of currency with which you can buy the silence of people with whom you disagree?

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