The Haifa Museum of the Arts has angered Israeli Christians with a piece titled “McJesus.” Created by Finnish sculptor Jani Leinonen, “McJesus” displays a crucified Ronald McDonald. Members of the minority Christian community have demanded that the museum remove the blatantly blasphemous and tasteless piece. Interestingly, the piece’s creator wants his artwork removed, too.
According to NBC News, Leinonen wants “McJesus” removed because:
He says he supports Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, a Palestinian-led movement aimed at pressuring Israel to change its policies toward the Palestinians. The group has made significant gains in recent years, persuading a number of foreign artists to cancel performances in Israel.
The area Christians, of course, want the piece removed because they find it offensive. After images of “McJesus” began making the rounds on social media, hundreds of Christians started staging protests outside of the museum. One local artist who is also a Christian said that he doesn’t consider “McJesus” art. Explaining that as an artist and a Christian he finds the piece offensive, Amir Ballan said, “We will continue through peaceful rallies and candle vigils…. We won’t be quiet until we reach a solution.”
The museum is standing strong and refusing to cave to the pressure from both area Christians and the artist. After the protests began, the museum’s director Nissim Tal did have a curtain hung over the piece, although he expressed surprise at the uproar created by “McJesus.” According to Tal, the piece isn’t intended as a commentary on Christianity but as a way to point out the area’s worship of capitalism.
One can’t help but wonder why Leinonen didn’t choose to create a Ronald McDonald-Muhammad mashup to critique capitalism. Actually, one doesn’t need to wonder. As Wadie Abu Nassar, an advisor to leaders in the Haifa Christian community, pointedly stated, “If this work was directed against non-Christians, the world would be turned upside down.”
A Ronald McDonald-Muhammad mashup would have elicited condemnation from the “enlightened” left around the world. Not to mention the high possibility that people would have lost their lives at the hands of Muslim extremists.
Speaking as a conservative Christian, I find “McJesus” tasteless and, frankly, indefensible. However, I am not a fan of censoring the actions of heathens. One day Jani Leinonen and the Haifa Museum of Art will answer to God for their actions. Christians are not called to censor others; we’re called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are living in rebellion against their Creator.