Managing Editor's Note: The following is adapted from a news release issued earlier today:
Alexandria, VA – As CNSNews.com reported yesterday, the taxpayer funded Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is hosting an exhibit during this Christmas season featuring images of an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as "homoerotic."
[Link to CNSNews.com story here. WARNING: Story contains graphic photographs of items on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.]
NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center (MRC) president Brent Bozell reacted:
“This exhibition is a direct assault on Christianity and the timing – the Christmas season! – shows how offensive it is intended to be. This federally funded vulgarity by the Smithsonian Institution must come to an end immediately. How dare anyone use a federal facility – The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery no less – to exhibit such obscene materials.
This is an insult to every Christian. This disgrace of an exhibition must stop immediately, but that is not all. We are also calling on Congress to launch a full investigation into the approval process of the Hide/Seek exhibit.
We are sending the following letter to Speaker Pelosi and Speaker-Elect Boehner on the House side, and to Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell in the Senate to demand an investigation. Americans should not rest until we receive answers to why this exhibit was approved, and how the Smithsonian justifies using tax-payer dollars for such a display of anti-Christian bigotry.”
Links to PDF versions of the letters are found here:
The text of the letter sent by Brent Bozell to Congress is included below:
On behalf of all tax-paying Americans who respect and support freedom of religion, particularly the overwhelming majority of Americans who call themselves Christian, I call upon you today to take immediate action to halt the obscene and bigoted anti-Christian “Hide/Seek” exhibition currently on display at the venerable Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery. Moreover, we call on you to hold Congressional hearings to investigate the Smithsonian Institution for its attack on Christian values and common decency.
The federally-funded National Portrait Gallery, one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, is currently showing an exhibition featuring obscene and offensive “art” that includes, among other atrocities:
- Images of an ant-covered Jesus Christ,
- Displays of Male genitals,
- Naked brothers kissing,
- A man "chained and shackled to his dominant, horsewhip-wielding partner,"
- Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and
- A painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show’s catalog as “homoerotic.”
The exhibit, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” opened on Oct. 30 and will run throughout the Christmas Season, closing on Feb. 13.
The Smithsonian Institution has an annual budget of $761 million, 65% of which comes from the federal government. And, a spokesperson for the gallery’s external affairs office has said that the cost to mount the “Hide/Seek” exhibit is $750,000, making it the most expensive exhibition to-date at the National Portrait Gallery. The argument that this exhibition is not tax-payer funded because private funds were allocated toward it is patently false. It is housed in a federal institution funded by the American people.
This is a breach of face with the American public. This type of overt federally-funded assault on Christianity would be intolerable at any time of year – but, its exhibition throughout the Christmas season is especially heinous and proves just how offensive it is intended to be.
We find it particularly troubling that this obscene and blasphemous federally-funded vitriol escaped your oversight. Thus, we are also calling on Congress to launch a full investigation, complete with open hearings, into the approval process of the Hide/Seek exhibit.
Americans will not rest until we receive answers to why this exhibit was approved, how the Smithsonian justifies using tax-payer dollars for such a display of anti-Christian bigotry, and what corrective actions will be taken.
I trust in your prompt and appropriate response to this outrage, and I look forward to reporting it to all the members and supporters of the Media Research Center.