Bad news, folks: Andres Serrano’s “Immersion (Piss Christ),” one of America’s most important and venerated gratuitous artistic insults to Christians (it depicts Jesus covered in urine), has been damaged by vandals while on display in Avignon, France. So terrible that such a violation of free speech could occur in a supposedly enlightened, Western country. Watch out everybody: zealots are on the march.
In other freedom of speech news, this story from the California Catholic daily:
Investigators suspect arson in a fire that destroyed St. John Vianney Church in Citrus Heights over the weekend.
“The investigators have been quite definitive to me, this was very definitely a deliberate act,” Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told the Los Angeles Times.
The fire, which began shortly after midnight on Saturday, left only a burned out shell where the 5000-member parish’s sanctuary once stood. Various press reports said the blaze caused an estimated $8 million to $10 million in damages. The fire burned for almost three hours before firefighters were able to extinguish it.
The arson at St. John Vianney Church is the latest in a string of crimes against Catholic institutions across California. In January, a vandal spray-painted the words “Kill the Cathlics” on the walls of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim and St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine. Beginning in December 2010, Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale was forced to tighten security measures after a thief repeatedly broke into collection boxes used by parishioners to donate money to the needy.