While recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and expression, State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus said these rights must be coupled with press responsibility.
"Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable," Hironimus said. "We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices."
Tough call, really. On one hand, our government starting to express limits of the freedom of the press is not exactly comfortable territory, even if it's not mandated limits but merely the official stance (or peer pressure). But really, why did our government even feel the need to make an official statement? Is it simply because there is such turmoil in the middle east that they felt it might help defuse some of the bombs that are likely to show up?
On the other hand, I can see where having your primary religious icon mocked would be offensive. I can compare it with a picture of Jesus on the cross, but naked and with a huge erect penis. (I'm thinking circumcised, but I wonder if it would be funnier uncut?)
I think it's a safe bet that there are more than a few who would find that offensive.
It does remind me of an art piece that I wanted to do, which is a figure on the cross in the classic Jesus pose, and with the beard and crown of thorns, but obviously a nude woman's body. The purpose would be along the same lines as some of Serrano or Marcel DuChamp's work, trying to point out the distinction between the symbol and the thing it represents (semiotics, anyone?). Though now I'm thinking I may need to do a whole crucifixion series.
Though I also want to do a movie about the Zombie Jesus-- back from the dead after three days, but this time with a hunger for brains...
Yeah, I know. Goin' to hell.