Jesus and His Father: Offensive Cartoon Has German Christians Fuming
The German city of Kassel is best known for the art exhibition Documenta, which is currently taking place. These days, though, a local caricature museum is dominating the headlines with a controversial cartoon hanging in its window, depicting Jesus on the cross. Christian leaders want it removed.
Lampooning religion has proven an easy way to get into hot water in recent years. Caricatures poking fun, or outright hostility, at Islam have been especially prone to producing controversy -- or even violence.
"I find it problematic when a caricature disparages the very heart of a faith," Barbara Heinrich, a Protestant official in the city, told German news agency DPA. Local Catholic priest Harald Fischer has likewise criticized the caricature, according to the local paper, the Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine (HNA), as have Catholic and Orthodox Christian leaders from the area.
The cartoon in question is hanging outside the Kulturbahnhof, a cultural center which houses the caricature museum, known as Caricatura. It depicts Jesus in agony on the cross as a voice calls down from heaven, "Hey, you. I fucked your mother."
'Not Good for the Church'
The artist behind the caricature, Mario Lars, likewise expressed surprise at the burgeoning debate. "It was not my intention to hurt the feelings of the faithful," Lars said. "I was just making a joke . (The church) should stand aloof of such things and address more important problems. Such a large commotion over a small joke isn't good for the church."
The mini-imbroglio recalls a recent scandal involving the German satirical magazine Titanic. The publication recently printed an image of Pope Benedict XVI soiling himself front and back under the headline: "The Leak Has Been Found." The Vatican was not amused and filed a cease and desist order against the magazine.
cgh -- with wire reports
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