12 “blasphemous” artworks censored or vandalized by angry believers

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Jesus on a plane

Photo courtesy Gabriel Britto via Flickr

A Leon Ferrari piece with Jesus on a war plane

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A New Yorker who recently penned an erotic version of the Bible woke up last week to find “BLASPHMY” spray painted across his front step. From Piss Christ to elephant dung Mary, here’s a look at 12 artworks that have been silenced or destroyed for exploring “blasphemous” themes.

  • gilhcan

    There is no genuine art anywhere when anyone tries to stifle the personal expression of anyone else. The solution is simple. If you do not like the work of an artist, don’t look at it, don’t study it, don’t attend the display–or walk out. This is yet another attempt by religion to control everyone else. Creating art and viewing art is no different than speaking and listening or writing and reading. It is basic to human freedom. No one has the right to control any aspect of expression as long as it is not forced on anyone else as these religious cranks are attempting to force their religious views and values on others.

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  • ultprinefan

    Religion can and will be criticized and even insulted-and it will be, and the religious fanatics better get used to it. When they start reacting violently like they do in the middle east we have the right to defend ourselves even if we have to use our guns to do it.

  • Stan Cook

    I viewed all of the images and I could not find anything offensive. Of course, as a humanist I would not.

  • TattooedSnakeLady

    The ONLY thing I found offensive was the way people are trying to censor art.

  • Nauj

    All of it is blasphemous. You really call that art? True art is beautiful, inspiring, creative and emotionally captivating. That of which I saw on the list is not art, its just disturbing images from the minds of fools & pervert’s. It’s blasphemy because its the crime of assuming (which is for idiots, know the facts first) to oneself the rights or qualities of God!

  • RM

    See Sister Wendy’s wise words concerning Serrano’s “Piss Christ” and on the dangers of judging art too quickly:


  • Berty

    I find the images beautiful, inspiring, creative and emotionally captivating. If you are offend, so be it.

  • Earold Gunter

    Like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder. Although I am not a believer, I find some religious art absolutely beautiful. I also find some of the things other people call art, not what I would call art, as I think all people do. However it is precisely this reason we should not censor creativity.

    Consider living life, and loving people, without needing to believe in any reward for doing so, or punishment for not.
    Good day!

  • wanderingwacky

    I think anyone has the right to diss anyone’s beliefs. I’ve been prayed for, told I’m going to hell, and had people ostracize me for choosing not to believe in a single one of the 2870 deities that humans have worshiped since the invention of writing. Let me tell you some of the ways religion offends me:
    I’m offended that churches are tax-exempt institutions and are amongst the richest in the world, and have the wealth and means to eradicate poverty, famine, and many diseases, and instead only give a very tiny percentage to those things, and of course the aid is dependent on the acceptance of a religion. I’m offended that a man can throw acid in his wife’s face or kill his daughter without any consequence. I’m offended that adults are permitted to have sex with children, who cannot give consent. I’m offended that children are mutilated. I’m offended that beliefs have caused young people to feel so horrible about themselves that they end their own lives. I’m offended when I hear “god had a plan” or “it was god’s will” after a natural disaster or a school shooting. I’m offended when some man who will never have to make a choice tells a woman she’s a sinner/whore/murderer for making her choice about her body. I’m even more offended that those same men refuse to fund sex education, free birth control or indeed any program that may help those fetuses after they’re born. I’m offended when I hear someone say “I prayed and god granted my prayer!!” when millions of starving, diseased and suffering innocents are simply praying for their misery to end and get nothing.
    A lot of things offend me about religion, but I don’t desecrate churches or temples, I don’t demand that the crosses be removed. I don’t go around ripping down signs for church dinners or worship services, I don’t burn bible and quarans, and I certainly won’t tell you you can’t believe in whatever you want.
    Because I am NOT threatened. Because the things I know to be true don’t cause any cognitive dissonance in my life. Because I know that eventually we will grow up as a species and quit hurting each other over fairy tales.
    You scream about blasphemy because you see that day coming, and you are too weak and frightened to live in this life of reality, to live for the right now, because you know deep down this is all there is, and it scares the crap out of you.
    But please don’t be offended when I want to point out what a hypocritical idiot you are for not seeing the truth in front of you.

  • Will

    No, we do not have the right to not be offended. People take themselves and their sensitivities way, WAY too seriously.

    You do not get some sort of special rights just because you’re offended by a thing. You’re certainly entitled to like or not like anything you want, but that’s pretty much where it begins and where it ends. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, don’t look at it, don’t read it. And while you’re at it, here’s a free tip: don’t promote it by raising a sanctimonious, self-righteous stink. Yes, every time you throw yourself a tantrum someone new learns about the thing you’re complaining about. Ain’t irony a bitch?

    Anyway, the point is we all like what we like. It’s completely possible to enjoy the things you like while simultaneously avoiding the things you don’t. AND it’s perfectly possible to do the like/dislike thing without transforming yourself into a violent, overzealous, judgmental freak. It’s true! I do it every single day! The things I don’t appreciate, I make a wide circle around. I continue on with my happy existence and don’t waste even 5 seconds allowing someone else’s artistic expression to ruin my day. If it sucks, I’m happy to say so. Then I walk away, never to think of it again.

    Blasphemy … what a friggin’ joke of a concept: arrogance, self-loathing, inferiority complex, all rolled into one big, grotesque ball of hate, judgement, disrespect, and nonacceptance.

    All these biblical edicts I see preached about so hard and heavy, why is it none of them are actually =practiced= by so-called true believers? Is your faith so fragile and shaky that lashing out at any challenge is the only way you can maintain your weak grasp? “Love thy neighbor” is somehow conditional? It only counts as long as your neighbor is exactly the same as you? Yeah, that makes all kinds of sense. But then again, there’s nothing logical about zealotry, is there?

    Anyway, long story short: NO! you do not have the right to not be offended. Period.

  • Epicurus

    Facts? Religion is based on faith not facts. Faith that an invisible man tells us it’s ok to kill as long as it is in his name.

    READ your religious text, then decide who is the idiot.

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