Bible defaced for gay art exhibition

Thu, 23 Jul 2009

Obscene and offensive messages have been scrawled over a Bible at a taxpayer-funded exhibition in Glasgow.

The city’s Gallery of Modern Art is displaying a Bible with pens next to it and a notice reading: “Are there any gay people in the Bible? Out of the tens of thousands of people who appear in the Old and New Testaments, there must have been.

“Same-sex love, such as that between Ruth and Naomi, existed, but has been written out over time.”

Visitors are asked: “If you feel you’ve been excluded from the Bible, please write your way back into it.”

A number of crude comments and angry remarks expressing hatred for the Bible’s teaching have since been left.

The idea for the exhibition came from the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) which teaches that homosexual sex is not sinful but to be celebrated.

MCC minister Jane Clarke said she regretted the comments made on the Bible.

She said: “It was our intention to reclaim it as a sacred text”.

George Reid, of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is on the board of the council-funded arts body behind the show and expressed his disappointment.

He said: “Defacing the Bible will not help to build an inclusive and tolerant society.

“It is a sad form of sensationalism which will cause gross offence to believers of many faiths,” he added.

Simon Calvert, of The Christian Institute, maintained that graffiti written on the Bible did not “change the truth”.

He said: “We all know that they wouldn’t allow that if it was the sacred text of another religion.

“That a taxpayer subsidised gallery should see fit to give space to something like that is disappointing.

“Wouldn’t it be more constructive to encourage people to read the Bible for themselves rather than inviting them to deface it?”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: ‘We have got to a point where we call the desecration of the Bible modern art.

“The Bible stands for everything this art does not: for creation, beauty, hope and regeneration.”

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church said “One wonders whether the organisers would have been quite as willing to have the Koran defaced.”

The exhibition is in the same gallery which recently produced a show featuring pornographic images designed to raise awareness of homosexuality.

In April, the exhibition, funded with £240,000 of public money, sparked further controversy when local secondary schools were invited to view it. Their visit has since been scrapped.

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