So there certainly is a crowd of Democrats that hopes Barack Obama is the messiah their forefathers spoke of. But seriously, this? Last Saturday, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago put on display an undergraduate’s papier mache sculpture of Obama in the Son of God’s robe and with a neon halo around his head.
In the 2008 presidential race, in which Obama is trying to beat out Hillary Clinton and then the Republican nominee, religious beliefs have already become an issue. There were the flimsy reports by the Washington Times’ sister magazine and Fox News that Obama studied as a youth at an Indonesian madrasa (recruitment academies for Islamic fundamentalists). Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times, however, had this more informed, nuanced take on Obama’s faith.
As for odd religious images, the Obama sculpture is hardly alone. The day before it went on display, the planned Holy Week exhibition of a life-size chocolate Jesus—being crucified in the nude, with respect to anatomy—was cancelled after it was widely ripped by Christains. But that’s nothing in the history of outrageous art.
* Updated: As expected GetReligion has, rightfully so, posted a piece criticizing the Obama sculpture reportage:
In all seriousness, the first news report I saw on this item was frightfully poor. A.J. Sterling of Fox News Chicago states glibly that “some may be offended by the suggestion that Christ is black, or that the United States could have a black president, but they donât seem to be at the exhibit this night.” I guess the Grand Kleagle of the closest Klan had a previous engagement.