Lesbian Gets Church to Remove Jesus Exorcism Collage, Artist Says Christianity Isn't a 'Safe Space'
A liberal British theologian and religious artist recounted crafting a collage showing Jesus performing an exorcism in an attempt to appeal to less conventional church-goers. Instead, the artwork was removed at the request of a lesbian. The artist and theologian responded by declaring that the church cannot be made into a "safe space," as that would destroy Christianity. Unfortunately, his own willingness to reinterpret scripture at the behest of the LGBT movement has already sacrificed Christianity for cultural relevance.
"Are holy snowflakes smothering the [Church of England]?" Theo Hobson, a theologian who studied at Cambridge and who has long embraced homosexual activity in the church, wrote in Britain's The Spectator.
Hobson recalled getting "a bit more serious" about his amateur religious art, and he recently made artwork for a church in London. "The vicar, a friend, suggested it might appeal to youngish people somewhat at odds with conventional church. I made a large fabric collage depicting an exorcism: Jesus casting out a demon," he wrote.
"A few weeks later the vicar told me that the picture had been taken down, following a complaint," Hobson recalled. The complaint had less to do with style than with substance: "this person felt very uncomfortable due to the anti-LGBT associations of exorcism."
The art proved too controversial for a lesbian visitor. "She thought that this was a community in which she could feel safe — and she had brought her girlfriend to a service hoping to show her how welcoming it was —and instead this slap in the face: an art work that seemingly celebrates the toxic practice of ‘deliverance’ used by anti-gay fundamentalists," the artist wrote. Reportedly, the lesbian woman was so shaken she was losing sleep.
Indeed, some Christians have abused LGBT people, resorting to exorcism in an attempt to rid a child of same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (the persistent condition of identifying with the gender opposite your biological sex). These abuses should not spoil exorcism, however, and they should not push Christians into rejecting biblical sexuality in an attempt to recompense for past sins.
Hobson marveled at being "accused of persecuting homosexuals, on account of having attempted to depict the theme of exorcism." The theologian rightly asked, "Isn't exorcism in the Bible? Would she like Jesus' exorcisms to be snipped from the gospels?" The vicar of the church in question "agreed that her complaint was theologically shaky, but said that we are living in a rising climate of sensitivity, including in the churches."
The push to make the church into a "safe space" comes from secular concerns more than a desire to be faithful to the gospel, Hobson suggested.
He spoke with a London vicar who had worked at a cathedral commissioning works of art. "What I've noticed is that sensitivity has become more secular than religious — it used to be that people were nervous of doing or saying something sacrilegious; now they're more likely to worry about giving secular offence," the vicar told him. "And often they are not really offended themselves but are imagining other people's reactions; they are upset on others' behalf."