Green Room

‘Piss Christ’ returns to New York along with ‘Piss Moses’

posted at 11:01 am on September 27, 2012 by

Midtown Manhattan has been the scene of much religious reflection and blasphemy of late. One act of solemn reflection took place at the 140-year-old Central Synagogue on 55th Street, where Jews assembled on Wednesday to observe Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. While they prayed, a few blocks away a man who has called the state of Israel a “malignant cancer” prayed as well—for their and its destruction. In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly (video here), outgoing Iranian “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked God to bring “a new order” that “will do away with … everything that distances us.” If the intent wasn’t clear enough, he later explained in an interview with the Associated Press that he expects that Israel will soon become an “historical footnote.”

Today the blaspheming continues at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery on 57th Street, where the state-sponsored “artwork” Piss Christ goes on display for a month. The work, in case you missed the controversy that swirled around its debut in 1987, consists of a photograph of a crucifix floating in the artist’s urine.

The week has been noteworthy not only for its anti-religious acts but for the conspicuous inaction on the part of those whose faiths were defiled. Jews chose not react to Ahmadinejad’s incendiary remarks by storming the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York or by burning the Islamic flag in the streets of Manhattan. Christians did not fire bomb the D.C. headquarters of the National Endowment for the Arts, the government agency that funded the creation of Piss Christ, or demand that its artist, Andres Serrano, be “cut up into little pieces” (the fate suggested by one Muslim protester for the maker of the anti-Islamic film).

One more act of religious reflection was a speech on Tuesday by President Obama, also at the U.N. In it he observed:

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims and Shiite pilgrims.

This effort at rubbing an all-purpose balm on the “hurt religious feelings” (to borrow a phrase from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo) of practitioners of all faiths fails on a number of fronts. James Taranto has a spot-on analysis of the problems inherent in this sweeping apples-and-oranges pronouncement for those interested in pursuing it further.

But the best way to see the folly of Obama’s outreach and its disconnect with reality is through a litmus test of sorts proposed by Mario Loyola at National Review Online:

Find an enterprising young artist willing to create a ‘Piss Mohammed’ version of Serrano’s work, and ask the museum to hang it right next to the Piss Christ. It could be part of a ‘Piss Religion’ exhibit. If the gallery declines (as it surely would), then perhaps one could gather together a small group of Manhattan atheists to march ‘piss portraits’ of Mohammed and his fellow deities/prophets right up 1st Avenue past the United Nations, in homage to the First Amendment.

Every last person who complains will have to explain why they said nothing during the 20-plus years that the revolting Piss Christ has been touring art galleries around the world. They will be forced either to treat Islam and Christianity the same (i.e., stop trashing the latter) or finally admit the cowardly truth, which is that their degree of respect for any given religion is proportional to its proponents’s [sic] propensity for violence.

The same test could be easily applied to putative remarks along the lines of Ahmadinejad’s screed that disparages Islam in like fashion and calls for wiping Mecca off the map.

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“The world must not belong to people who insult the prophet of Islam. However its OK if it belongs to those who insult and murder Christians, Jews, Hindus …”

clippermiami on September 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

It could be part of a ‘Piss Religion’ exhibit.

Be sure to include a Piss Madalyn Murray O’Hair or a Piss Karl Marx (for whom I’ll donate the piss.)

rbj on September 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM

I am submitting Piss Mohammed….

Scrumpy on September 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM

i’m so glad you put “artwork” in quotes. this is not art. i’m an artist myself and it’s insulting to me when this trash is called “art” when it really isn’t.

Sachiko on September 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM

It should really be pig urine……..

GWB on September 27, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Speaking of Moses, I saw this recently on FB… I don’t know if it’s a true story or not, but it’s great either way…

TO WHOM DOES THE LAND OF ISRAEL BELONG ???

An Israeli sense of humor at United Nations set the record straight.

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly and made the world community smile. A representative from Israel began:

“Before beginning my talk, I want to tell you something about Moses: When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, “What a good opportunity to have a bath!”

Moses removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them!

The Palestinian representative at the UN jumped up furiously and shouted, “What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren’t there then!”

The Israeli representative smiled and said, “And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech….”

The Rogue Tomato on September 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The Rogue Tomato on September 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Nice.

Howard Portnoy on September 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM

The Rogue Tomato on September 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Thank you for making my day.

MadisonConservative on September 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM

What?

No elephant dung Holy Virgin Mary? [possibly NSFW]

FlatFoot on September 27, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I guess we’d be perfectly justified then to burn NYC City Hall along with the gallery to express our outrage. Equal opportunity and all that.

riddick on September 27, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Urine is toxic waste. Aren’t there laws against transporting this around?

Blake on September 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Blake on September 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

LOL. It’s just a picture of the thing, Blake. And, not a terribly well-composed one, iirc.

GWB on September 27, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Here you go! ENJOY!

Opposite Day on September 27, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Does this gallery receive any federal or state money? After all, just as the govt cannot promote any religion, neither can it do the opposite to any religion. If this gallery receives ANY govt funding, this would be a 1st amendment violation. They should be sued on that basis.

happi on September 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

I just finished my Piss Obama creation. I’m now starting on my Golden Shower Pelosi extravaganza.

Sam Widge on September 27, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Don’t worry….God knows…..He’s taking names….

schatziliebe on September 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Urine is toxic waste. Aren’t there laws against transporting this around?

Blake on September 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Bloomberg just said that if no larger that 16 oz it’s ok…

so I pray harder (Christian style) that the big quakes come that detach the coasts and send them elsewhere. Sorry in advance to Ireland that will most likely get NY and Mass).

teejk on September 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Blake on September 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM
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Barney Frank is an a**hole who carries around a lot of urine. I guess that came out as a double entente – sorry. There should be laws against him. Wait there are laws against him in every country in the Middle East.

I wonder which scenario would serve Middle East diplomacy the best:

1) Have a female Secretary of State or female Ambassador ministering to the Middle East.
2) Assign Rep. (NY-D) Barney Franks as Ambassador to any Muslim country.
3) Continue to apologize for anything that has or will offend any Muslim country.
4) Keep giving money to countries that show nothing but disrespect to our country and our allies, which randomly kill anyone who doesn’t practice Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. in accordance with Muslim ways, and that still practice slavery.

Well we have 1, 3, and 4 in place. How’s that working?

I want them to at least try 2 before Franks retires. We should not discriminate anymore. There’s an important job over there and the US should draft Franks. So good luck and God Allah speed. Hillary will brief you about the protection you will be receiving. And send Dodd or any other trough feeder as his sidekick.

HHW on September 27, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Does this gallery receive any federal or state money? After all, just as the govt cannot promote any religion, neither can it do the opposite to any religion. If this gallery receives ANY govt funding, this would be a 1st amendment violation. They should be sued on that basis.

happi on September 27, 2012 at 4:43 PM

it says “state-sponsored” art above so i guess you are right!! interesting! where are all the atheist groups who want to ban public displays of crosses, and street names that make a reference to religion? they should be outraged against this too…

Sachiko on September 27, 2012 at 7:54 PM

…the controversy that swirled around its debut…

Ha!

Tzetzes on September 28, 2012 at 1:06 AM

There is no controversy here. If your religion is phony, you resort to violence when it is attacked. It’s the same with politics.

Finbar on September 28, 2012 at 8:14 AM

They need to man-up and do a Piss Mohammed.

kemojr on September 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Blake on September 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM

I wonder which scenario would serve Middle East diplomacy the best:

1) Have a female Secretary of State or female Ambassador ministering to the Middle East.
2) Assign Rep. (NY-D) Barney Franks as Ambassador to any Muslim country.
3) Continue to apologize for anything that has or will offend any Muslim country.
4) Keep giving money to countries that show nothing but disrespect to our country and our allies, which randomly kill anyone who doesn’t practice Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. in accordance with Muslim ways, and that still practice slavery.

Well we have 1, 3, and 4 in place. How’s that working?

Blake, they had non-Frankian version of #2 in place, as well. While I’m not saying we should kowtow to Muslim views, Obama seems willing to throw the 1st Amendment overboard in favor of females, gay men,international weakness and bribery to Muslims. He swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, not the Liberal agenda…maybe, what with all that Choom Gang stuff in High School and all, he forgot.

Kenz on September 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM

I think “piss koran” in a jar of pig urine would make an excellent exhibit.

ProfShadow on September 28, 2012 at 8:19 PM

If we’re truly going to be fair, then we need to have the ever vocal atheist movement represented. I suggest Piss Dawkins, though somebody else will have to step up to arrange that. I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on Jeopardy.

Gingotts on September 28, 2012 at 9:49 PM

Amen. No religion deserves to be placed above others in such a way that it is immune from all criticism on pain of violence or death. So in the name of free speech, I hereby vote for “Piss Mohammed” and “Piss Allah” to be put on display at the same time.

Ryan Anthony on September 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM