Friday, August 25, 2017

In the Guise of Sacred Art

Copyright © Edward Riojas

This wasn’t supposed to be a serious post. This was supposed to be another silly entry aimed at getting a few yucks at the expense of bad art. But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to publication: I ran across some very dangerous art in the guise of sacred art.

Before my attention got diverted, I found a very kitschy hooked rug of the Nativity that looked more like amoebic dysentery. Taking the time to create something on which someone might wipe their feet somehow added to the humor. Pretty hilarious. Then I found awful portraits of Jesus holding kitty-cats. And riding dinosaurs. And holding deceased puppy-dogs, over which was slathered an-out-of-context quote by Billy Graham. Yes, each was bad enough to elicit a small snicker.

Then I came across something much worse – schmaltzy, demon-inspired Mormon art. At first I thought it humorous in LOL doses, but then I realized, as in theology, how the slightest turn of a word or a flipped visual can mean the difference between heaven and hell. No, it isn’t so funny.

The problem is that, to the undiscerning eye, the art is acceptable and lovely and heart-warming. But Holy Scripture does not place our emotions in the scales of salvation. Warm and fuzzy does not, and will never, get us to heaven. And any attempts to add to the writings of Holy Scripture, as in the spiritually-bankrupt, hell-produced Book of Mormon, will be a great millstone around the neck of the faithful. Whitewashing over this truth with pretty, sentimental images will, in the end, get extremely ugly, indeed.

So let’s peel away the thin veneer of prettiness in these damned paintings, and see what lurks beneath.

If I only had two examples to show the reader, then I’m sure they would be entitled “Dumb,” and “Dumber,” but this first one is just simply D.U.M.B. I don’t even know where to start on this non-crucified super-human. It’s simply idiotic. It sidesteps the reality of the cross; the crucifixion; the pain; the real humanity of Christ; His suffering; His death, and makes Jesus Christ out to be untouchable and unable and unwilling to bear our sin. The only thing missing is a nifty cape and a cool insignia on His chest. But wait...

Next up is a disturbing, quasi-political, mash-up of faltering, founding fathers from the flop house and Jesus with a cool insignia on His chest. Mormons, one must know, equate Jesus with the tree of life. And they underscore that idea with evidence from [drum roll, please] images of a pre-Columbian god. Nice. Hence, the tree thing. Too bad they ignore the greater tree of the cross. The problem with this trash is that anyone with half a brain would hesitate putting any of those folks definitively on the “good side” of Christ.

And what is Jesus holding in His hand? Yes, that is the U.S. Constitution, which is held by many Mormons to be divinely-inspired. Wrong. The piece has lots of faces from Americana, but where are the Old Testament prophets, the noble army of martyrs? This painting should come with a shovel. And lighter fluid. And a match.

Our next gem is something so disturbing that it should come with a “Viewer Discretion” notice. If you don’t get the overt nod to polygamy, then you are blind. At this point, Mormon art has long since left the tracks and the locomotive is summersaulting through haystacks and corncribs. Jesus’ decided leer; the suggestive flowers; the proximity of the figures all put this mess in a basket destined for Hell. Feel free to gouge out your own eyes after looking at this.

If you aren’t scared yet, then perhaps a totally heretical piece like the Jesus-Jesus painting will give you a wake-up call. This is Jesus, and this is His Father, Jesus. Meet Jesus and Jesus. There are so many versions of this idolatrous piece of crap that it would take countless manure spreaders just to rid humanity of them. Neither are there words enough to underscore the damage done by this sort of Mormon heresy. Frankly, I’d much rather see Jesus hugging a hamster.

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