Milk Chocolate Jesus

A New York art gallery has decided to cancel an exhibit of a chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ after protests by a US Catholic group. The six-foot (1.8m) sculpture, entitled “My Sweet Lord”, depicts a naked Jesus Christ with his arms outspread.

…”We’re delighted with the outcome,” said Kiera McCaffrey, spokeswoman for the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Ms McCaffrey had called the exhibit “an assault on Christians”.

“They would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the Prophet Mohammed naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan.”

…Canadian-born Mr Cavallaro is known for using food ingredients in his art, on one occasion painting a hotel room in mozzarella cheese.

He used 200 pounds (90 kg) of chocolate to make the sculpture which, unusually, depicts Jesus without a loincloth. It showed him suspended in air with his arms spread wide, as if crucified. [via BBC]

This is a confusing story. Part of me wonders if things like science and art can complement and co-exist with religion rather than attacking it, and vice versa. But part of me also wonders why Michelangelo’s David hasn’t been dismantled yet, based on religious sensitivities. I honestly don’t know where the rights and wrongs lie anymore and it’s not like art is an absolutist subject, at least not most of the times.

Then again Christians always seem to entwine Christianity with food. From the Last Supper to finding Mary on a grilled cheese sandwich to chocolate Easter eggs representing…I’m not saying anything, it’s just an odd and random observation.

Anyways, a few months back there was a painting of the virgin Mary with two children, hovering on a cloud in heaven above the express checkout of a Wal-mart, except Mary was actually Angelina Jolie. The painting didn’t stir up much ruckus like the chocolate Jesus, but it did offend Angelina; mostly because she says she wouldn’t be caught dead in a Wal-mart.


  • Nas,
    This has nothing to do with relegion, it is all about culture, what is accepeted now couldn’t have been accepted 20 years ago.You can look at jordan and see the difference in our behaviours, in the 80’s it was strange when you saw a woman driving, but now it is strange if she is not, maybe relegion is different in our community as we are arabs and muslims.
    One time some one told me that when civilizations begin to focus on art, this means that their end is soon, he told to me look at our school in the US and said:”look how many art students we have, it is the biggest college in the school”.

  • this is less to do with an assault on christians in america and the assault on them- then with their assault on the secular nature of the american culture. we have a religious war going on here in america and i feel that when religion wins out- that signals an end to the civilization. religion is static and unchanging and cannot handle new discoveries and information. one can argue that the chocolate jesus was in poor taste (no pun intended) but if your faith is so fragile that it can’t withstand a sculpture- i think you have bigger issues.

  • I pretty much think it’s Liberals vs. Religious folks

    It got a teenager mentality (You know, when s/he suddenly go to college and live alone, they just go nuts, and do the exact opposite of what their parents didn’t allow them to do)


    I know that my parents taught me to respect others, no matter how their customs,ideas,language looked strange to me.

    What’s even worse are those commenting on Alaribya’s site regarding this : Oh look, they even have no respect for their own prophets. they think that the West are all Christians, man someone should update their school textbooks and ban all these stupid TV channels like AL Nas, Iqra ( Al Nas TV is a real name).
    Christians are a minority in the West(mostly Europe).

    I’m glad they are finally speaking up in the US! About time.

    So where does the line stand? It’s a no brainier!

    Christians always seem to entwine Christianity with food. I don’t about this, it’s like saying Muslims always entwine Allah’s name with Animals (God’s name on a goat,sheep,fish, etc) not a smart observation.

  • Firas: i never said it was a smart observation, i said it was odd and random. and you’re right, a lot of the zealots do seem to find Allah’s name mostly on animals. but then again, Christians seem to outnumber us when it comes to such discoveries of calligraphy.

  • Why is it ok for us muslims to comment on any other relegion, and it is not ok for them..Either we all not talk or we all talk about each others beliefs, which I think won’t work, so it is better for us not to talk about it and leave eachone with his own beliefs, and firas yes I know that reading the comments on alarabiya make you wanna throw up.

  • “so it is better for us not to talk about it” i disagree mohanned. to say nothing of the fact that if a christian found a sculpture of jesus offensive then it’s likely a Muslim finds it offensive as well, but also, when you give up that ground of talking about religions then half the battle is lost.

    religions should be discussed, they should be examined, they should be studied and they should be honored.

    for every negative comment firas has read about christianity, i’m betting there’s at least twice that amount in anti-islam remarks on the web. there has to be an acknowledgment that in this world there exist uneducated dumbasses, zealots, radicals and much more.

    the key remains in the approach.

  • Nas,
    Until we can have people that can debate logicaly on both sides I say we don’t get into these kinds of debates at all.
    it is the same in tha saying”Ma jadolt 3aleman ella 3’albtoh, wa ma jadalto jahelan ella 3’alabni”
    The thing is that both sides when they debate they assume that the other side is infidel and all of his beliefs are wrong, till we get to the point where each one respects other peoples beliefs I think the debate will only fuel the fire. I live in the US and see what anti-islam remarks are, but it is not their fault, it is our fault that we allowed islam to be hijacked by some fanatics who destroyed the picture of islam in the west, maybe their actions made some people look for what islam is, but in all we lost this round becasue it is our fault, not theirs..Once someone said”I am not saying that all muslims are terrorists, but most of the terrorists are muslims”..
    We have to get islam back from them…

  • mohanned: debate tends to generate a sense of much needed logic and encourages the voice of logic and reason to grow louder. saying nothing and just waiting around tends to kill it.

  • I find it really entertaining when hypocrisy surfaces from the depths of Western cultures.. I mean, now with a naked chocolate Jesus, Catholics think they can protest but they furiously deny the Muslim’s rights to protest insults to their prophet.. I mean I’m not a Muslim (ex-Christian-now-nothing) but damn people, you got to follow the rules you create!! you want respect for religion, which I see vastly unnecessary and oppressive, you apply it on both ends!!

    Now I know it’s a huge and wrong generalization to group U.S. Catholics and secular Europeans under the umbrella of “Western Culture”, but sadly enough that’s the only way I can view this issue with 😀

  • Hanna: you make a valid point, but don’t forget there was a big difference between how this group chose to protest and eventually enjoy the success of that protest…and how some Muslims in the Muslim world chose to protest which only encouraged stubbornness and was met with resistance.

  • I totally agree with your point.. although I would not call it stubbornness.. I would more likely refer to it as defending free speech

  • Hanna: yeah we could say that but i think with that particular controversy it just got to a point where the defenders made it more about not conceding or compromising, which made things worse.

  • good point.. I guess the danes took it a steep too many with this issue.. but with the catholics.. I just wish I had a chance to tell the catholics to stfu (shut the eff up) and live up to your effing constitution

  • Nas, art and religion were one in ideology for quite some time. Sadly, it wasn’t the greatest time in the applied theology of Christendom, but it was the time that Michaelangelo produced reverent works of depiction (with no wierd food angles). This sculpture is by no means reverent unless it is making a point about about the elevation of chocolate as an object of worship, or how Easter has become nothing more than an egg hunt.

    The difference between M’s is David and this guys Christ is all position. David, as all the prophets of era, was a godly man with major faults. It is also recorded that he danced naked. Conversely, Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of our faith, our sinless Saviour. His role as prophet was not exclusive, he is also our high priest and king. To depict my Lord in this way, at our holiest time of the year, seems nothing more than media inspired provocation.

    Note than MSM had no problem posting images of this humiliating work, but out of ‘respect’ to Islam, would not publish the Danish cartoons. I wish it was truly out of respect, I think it was more out of fear.

    HANNA, was the ‘Catholic’ reaction to disallow Muslim’s right to protest or the manner in which some were protesting? (ie: violently and unworthy of the majority of their followers?)

  • kinzi: which i suppose begs the question: in the absence of respect, is fear a better alternative to keeping the peace?

  • Well, now that is a question! Looking at the human propensity toward evil, maybe. But looking at reactions based on fear, and especially those comments on Al-Arabiyya, I’m wondering who is going to pay for a ‘peace at any price’ mentality. People who act based on fear will at times overreact when their last sand-drawn lines are crossed.

  • Nas,

    Perhaps you didn’t realize that this sculpture is a deliberate mocking of Jesus and the Easter holiday. In the US, on Easter rabbit comes in the night with chocolate for children. This is from the non-Christian history of the holiday (the name Easter itself is the pre-Christian name for the holiday).

    This sculpture is a joke based on this tradition: “Ha ha! Stupid Christians celebrating Easter by eating chocolate! What does chocolate have to do with Jesus? Here’s an Easter chocolate for you! Ha ha ha!”

    The commenter made an important comment about the treatment of Islam as opposed to Christianity in the West. Secular Liberals in the West hold Islam in contempt no less than they do Christianity. But they don’t dare offend Islam publicly because they consider Muslims to be homicidal maniacs and Christians merely irrational yet civilized.

    The fact that no artist would defame Islam in the same way (and no hotel would be stupid enough to display it) is actually an emphatic slur on Muslims.

  • kinzi & Nas,

    Fear of violence doesn’t “keep the peace”:

    1) Those enforcing their will through the threat of violence are never satisfied. They always want more and more.

    2) Just because someone doesn’t make a chocolate Mohammad out of fear, does not stop people in countries where most people are not Muslim (out of fear) from not renting a house to a Muslim, not giving a job to a Muslim, not kicking Muslims off planes. It would be better to have a naked Mohammad statue on every corner than to have that happen.

    This was the argument for the Danish newspaper to print those Mohammad cartoons. And that was why the newpaper was right and those who claimed “free speech does not include blasphemy” were wrong.

  • CMARII: apparently the decision to close it down came as a result of the place receiving death threats.

    so hey, maybe there are christians out there that are homocidal maniacs like us muslims.

    as for your points.

    i agree with the first. as for the second, i would rather be refused housing, or a job or the boarding of a plane than have a naked statue of mohammed pbuh on every corner.

    moving countries or taking another plane is the solution to the former problems.

    and while blasphemy is too heavy a word, i think there are certain limitations on freedoms. we accept such limitations every day as part of the social contract.

  • CMARII, that was my point, why I put the words in quotes. There is no true peace motivated by fear, only a veneer. Those in fear will retaliate eventually, and I don’t like to think what will happen when it does.

    Nas, I don’t think the death threats came from the man who spearheaded this campaign. The social contract idea is an interesting one, but I don’t think East and West are going to budge on either side to agree on what is says.

  • moving countries or taking another plane is the solution to the former problems.

    I hope that Western non-Muslims don’t decide that that is the solution for Muslims facing fearful discrimination.

    and while blasphemy is too heavy a word, i think there are certain limitations on freedoms. we accept such limitations every day as part of the social contract.

    I agree, although a “social contract” is not the right word. I’m under not “agreement” to speak nicely about anyone else’s beliefs. Governments that are not tyrannies have social contracts with the governed. Individuals live under social “expediencies”.

    But contract or not, part of that arrangement is that even if you don’t like what I say, create, or believe, you will not kill me or threaten me into saying, creating, or believing like you. I’m free to act. You are free to be offended or not, and choose to stay at my hotel or not, or even insult me if you want. That’s a truly *equal* arrangement.

  • I hope that Western non-Muslims don’t decide that that is the solution for Muslims facing fearful discrimination.

    me neither, but it’s better than having them offend us on every street corner, you know what i mean.

    I agree, although a “social contract” is not the right word.

    you’re right of course. what i was trying to say is that we as a people within a society have generally agreed on the limitations of freedoms to a large extent. we generally agree that taking someone’s life transgresses the lines of freedom of expression, as does slander and hate speech for freedom of speech.

    so when someone attacks another’s religion it should be considered flat out hate speech, unprotected by the protections of freedom of speech. if the same rule of law is applied to ethnicity, origin and skin color, then religion should be the same.

  • asalamo 3alaykom wa ra7mato lah wa barakatoh achkorokom 3ala hada lbarnamaj aljayed ma3a tamaniati lakom bitaofik mina lah 3aza wajal amin yaraba el3alamin

Your Two Piasters: