18 May 2009
God is Love -- Jesus Supports the Use of Condoms
I fully expect to offend people with the picture that leads off this post. I do not apologize for the message of this piece. Thanks to the Freethinker for illuminating this controversy for me here and here.
Sexually transmitted diseases of all types are slowly but surely decimating our collective future. The idea that abstinence is the answer has proven to be clearly not the case. The need here is to ensure that people are fully educated and therefore able to make informed decisions on their own. If abstinence happens to be that choice, then all well and good. However, if the choice is a different one, then at least those individuals will have at their disposal the knowledge that may just save their lives.
The art work is by Ben Heine, a Belgian, and was in direct response to the statements of the Pope and his fellow clergy members who seem to believe that it says somewhere in the Bible that condom use is strictly prohibited and that the use of condoms actually makes the HIV / AIDS tragedy in places like Africa even worse. The art work was posted on a site called DeviantArt. Unfortunately, DeviantArt in their infinite wisdom deemed the work too offensive or controversial or something because they removed it, and then ultimately banned Heine from the site.
I fully support the right of websites to determine their own content. However, a quick look around the DeviantArt site turns up quite a lot of art that would best be described as pornographic and perhaps even offensive to some, not to me though. So, why single out this piece of art for censorship? Come to think of it, I am not offended by Jesus wearing a condom or the idea that the Christian God is a God of Love and would be cool with a pro-condom message. This is not because it encourages promiscuity but to the contrary because it saves souls from agonizing and pointless deaths.
The right to freely express one's ideas is a core tenet of my philosophy on life. I have not and do not advocate that there are no limits to free speech, in fact quite to the contrary. However, sometimes free speech sometimes offends, and causing offense does not necessarily mean that it has crossed that uncrossable line in the sand where it is no longer protected. My personal opinion is that I can accept some people will be offended by the image, but I do not believe the image crosses the line.
Is it in bad taste? To each their own.