The Women's Museum in Denmark
Hosting Crucified Pregnant Teenager
On 14th February a 5 metre high crucifix in copper with a pregnant teenager is set up in front of the Women's Museum in Aarhus, beside the Cathedral. The crucifix is a global sculptural outcry from the controversial Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot against Bible fundamentalists’ allegation that God allows nothing else than chastity and unprotected sex.
The sculpture is titled In the Name of God. The sculpture has just been exhibited for more than two months in front of the Cathedral of Copenhagen. Other copies have recently been displayed at the World Social Forum in Kenya. The artist is envisaging exhibitions on St. Peter’s sq. in Rome, in the European Parliament, in the US and some other sites. The project is an artistic comment to the extreme Bible fundamentalists – with President Bush and the Pope in the lead – who preach sexual abstinence until marriage as the only method to avoid HIV contamination and unwanted pregnancy.
They will bomb back sexual education and ban information on contraception that they see as an invitation to voluptuousness. In the same token the Roman Catholic church asserts that contraception is impermissible according to the biblical doctrines, so they advocate the absurd allegation that only ‘unprotected sex’ is admissible. The consequences may be disastrous for the proliferation of AIDS an STD’s and so the result will be increased suffering, Jens Galschiot says and continues: The sculpture is not a comment on the issue of abortion or stem cells, but should be seen as an artistic advocacy for the right to contraception and unprejudiced sexual education.
The first sculpture was put up in front of the Cathedral of Copenhagen on 1st December, the international AIDS day. Dean Anders Gadegaard, the municipality of Copenhagen and Our Lady’s Church had authorized the sculpture to be set up on the square in front of the Cathedral. Anders Gadegaard explains: It is important for the church to join this art manifestation to emphasize that the Bible should not be used to preach against contraception, but on the contrary churches everywhere should join the efforts to combat the proliferation of HIV and display compassion and solidarity with those infected and their families.
The pregnant teenager symbolizes innocence. The child that has been lead astray due to ignorance, impulsiveness or maybe is the victim of rape is mercilessly exposed to the ultimate punishment. The association to Jesus as the innocent sacrificial lamb is apparent.
The sculpture is not a global accusation against Christianity. On the contrary, I admire those Christians who take the Gospel’s claim of charity seriously – and act accordingly. I think that progressive Christians should dissociate themselves from the abuse of ‘their’ God for the sake of a reactionary contraception policy, Jens Galschiot declares and continues: To sustain the debate we have uploaded comprehensive documentation on our website: www.aidoh.dk. There you’ll also find a debate forum.
The American development aid for family planning and fight against AIDS is only granted for programs advocating sexual abstinence until marriage, while information about safe sex and condoms has been banned. The fatal consequences are already apparent in many countries: increasing number of HIV contaminations and unwanted pregnancies, particularly in Africa.
The Roman Catholic Church is deeply rooted in many developing countries. Hence it has a considerable impact on their sexual policy. But also in the West it’s becoming a powerful factor. After 2004, with the admission of several East European countries, Catholicism has at a single blow become the biggest religion of the Community. The Vatican is exerting a massive lobbying effort in the EU and the UN. Due to their special status of being a state and a religious community they join the negotiation of the inner political circles.
The Bush government and the Vatican make up a powerful alliance in their common crusade against contraception and sexual education with a considerable sway on the sexual policy as well in the West as in the developing countries. Their strategies represent a frontal attack on the advances of feminism, on women’s right to decide about their body and on the right to education about sex and health, including contraception.
Jens Galschiot, Denmark, born 1954, sculptor. He stakes his art to defend the ethical values of our society, regardless of political, religious or economic interests. His sculptures suddenly appear in public areas and start the performance. Best known are My Inner Beast (European cities in 1993) and the Pillar of Shame (Hong Kong, Mexico and Brazil).
The projects are financed through the sale of Galschiot’s bronze sculptures to art collectors all over the world. He has a huge industrial area in Odense, Denmark with a bronze foundry, gallery and workshop.
More information: www.aidoh.dk/InTheNameOfGod