The First Mass by Carlos “Botong” Fransisco
My thoughts on the reception towards “Politeismo”
I’ve shared my thoughts already on the controversial art installation by Mr. Cruz, but I haven’t delivered my views yet on the general reception towards the form of the piece.
In case you haven’t known about the public’s reaction towards the installation (which is also the reason behind the closure of the exhibition), read this:
“”Due to numerous emails, text messages and other letters sent to various offficers of the CCP, and to the artists themselves, with an increasing number of threats to persons and property, the members of the Board of the Cultural Center of the Philippines have decided to close down the Main Gallery where the Kulo Exhibit is on display,” the CCP said.”
(GMA News, 2011)
Mhmm, “threats towards persons [involved in the artwork]” was one point considered in the CCP’s decision to close the exhibit. Take a look at this too:
“Mideo Cruz, the artist responsible for the installation – intended to be a commentary on icon worship – has been branded a “demon” and bombarded with death threats and hate mail since his work featured in an exhibition in Manila that began June 17.“May your soul burn to [sic] hell, you Devil pro [sic] artist,” wrote a furious Facebook user, one of dozens denouncing Cruz’s work.”
Now we’re not only talking about threats. We’re talking about death threats and condemnation.
I’d label this display of hate coming from Christians as a kind of idiosyncracy in respect to the ideals of Christianity. My pocket dictionary has an informal alternative definition for the word Christian that says “having or showing qualities associated with Christians, esp. those of decency, kindness, and fairness.” Anyone with half a brain could tell that condemning someone to hell is not something a decent, average, and fair individual would do.
Here comes more irony. I find this quote from Mahatma Gandhi very relevant to this situation:
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Look at its irony saying Christians who are named so because they follow the models set by Christ fail to be like their very model. The reaction of staunch and violent Catholics to Politeismo serves as a testament to that.
Did not Christ teach us a morally radical lesson that is to love your enemies?
Why can we not remember to remain peaceful and loving in defending our own faith that in itself promotes peace and love?
I guess some of us Catholics really are Christian by sacrament and not by spirit.
See, this is what I think Mideo is also trying to point out in his installation. We call ourselves followers of Christ by the regularity of our praying of the rosary, our impeccable physical attendance at the Holy Mass, our display of images of saints, the Virgin Mary and Christ, and other superficial manifestations of our faith, but beneath all of that, there is really not much of Christ in us. I think it is about time to realize this weakness in our culture that is a residue of the ineffective evangilization of the Spaniards, because if you’d ask me, I think that religion’s biggest purpose is to mantain a moral backbone in us.