In an age where 70 percent of U.S. troops believe Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed, where their superiors also agree such a discriminatory policy should be removed, where another state has approved civil unions – radical right wing conservatives found a new way to attempt to demonize gays and lesbians. Even though the GOP majority in the House stated they would block legislation on such trivial matters as DATA until our tanking economy was addressed, John Boehner still found time to help the right strong arm the Smithsonian into removing artwork from a gay artist they deemed an “assault to the sensibilities of Christians.”
The offensive assault on Christian sensibilities centers on an exhibit called Hide/Seek, which contains a video depicting Christ on the cross with ants crawling on Him. The intent of the artist was to “depict the suffering of an AIDS victim,” something sadly apparently lost on its detractors. Boehner and others condemned the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian for the use of tax dollars for funding and threatened the NPG with “tough scrutiny” come January when the GOP plans to hatchet undesirables from the federal budget. The only problem with their logic however, is that the 55% of the Smithsonian’s budget paid by the Fed doesn’t pay for the exhibit. Exhibits such as Hide/Seek are funded privately.
As the hot culture wars continue, I think it’s more than worth noting that for a religious and political group that often shrieks cries of oppression, they seem to have plenty of power to push cultural institutions to bend to their will even when they don’t understand what they’re offended by or where the funding comes from.