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Sacrilegious CCP and Government; Let’s Totally Privatize Arts

August 8, 2011

Where is blasphemous here? Find out in this article.

Personally, I don’t think Medio Cruz’s “anti-Catholic” works can be considered as a work of art. However, what we all know is that no less than the government’s ‘arts authority’ gave its blessings to Cruz’s and other artists’ “blasphemous” and controversial works. I say, let the people or the markets decide whether or not an impressionistic painting or a piece of wood is indeed a work of art. By supporting the controversial art exhibit, the CCP is morally “sacrilegious”  for violating the aforementioned unwritten public policy.

I condemn not the alleged “blasphemous” and “sacrilegious” Cultural Center of the Philippines’ exhibit, but the fact that since the CCP is a public agency it should NOT be sponsoring or funding any exhibit or event that could potentially spark social discord. It should not misuse public funds.

Since we are still a secular society in spite of embracing a number of pro-religious constitutional provisions and laws, the government should not engage in, support or fund any event, program, celebration, gathering or exhibit that could trigger social division, chaos and controversy. Public funds that come from the country’s taxpayers should solely be used to finance the legitimate functions of the government. But since we are a semi-socialist society due to the many socialistic provisions in the 1987 Constitution, the government is somehow justified to use and waste public money to promote our collectivist culture, traditions, and our so-called national identity. This is the reason why former first lady Imelda Marcos spearheaded (I believe this is the most appropriate word instead of “funded” or “financed” because she did not use her own money) the building of the CCP during the reign of his dictator husband Ferdinand Marcos.

Now we all know that it is the mission of this government agency, which also has proprietary functions, to “nurture and promote artistic, Filipino aesthetics and identity, and positive cultural values towards a humanistic global society.” It’s no surprise that CCP was created during the dictatorial reign of late strongman Marcos.

Politicized or political promotion of national culture and identity is one of the symptoms of a collectivist regime or government. You know that your government is becoming more and more collectivistic or dictatorial when it begins to promote what it calls national culture, national identity, national economy through protectionism or Filipino first policy, national traditions and norms, among others. All of these programs/policies were put in place during the more than two decades dictatorial rule of Marcos.

Today that Marcosian mission is still embraced by the present administration of the CCP, and this is the reason why it is now drawing flak from the religious sector for sponsoring and financing a “sacrilegious and blasphemous” art exhibit.

So what is this controversial art exhibit all about?

The CPP is scheduled to conduct an exhibit dubbed as “Kulo” that will run from July 17 to August 21.

Outspoken representatives of the Catholic Church claimed that the exhibit mock the Catholic religion because the “controversial” collage “Poleteismo” done by UST-trained artist Medio Cruz illustrates:

  • A religious image of Jesus Christ. Attached to the religious image is a wooden replica of the male genital protruding toward His face. The male genital replica is draped with the Rosary, hanging by the base and top of the replica. To a crucifix is attached a red male organ.
  • A similar religious image of Christ, where His eyes are darkened by black ink which appears to flow out from the eyes.
  • A crucifix and cross draped with a pink, stretched-out condom.
  • Various religious images and pictures of Christ, Mary the Mother of Christ, Holy Family, saints, and the rosary — all closely surrounded and placed beside pictures of women who appear to be modeling for underwear or a skin product.
  • A picture of Christ’s disciples surrounding a dark silhouette of Christ in the middle. Right above the facial portion of the dark silhouette of Jesus Christ is a drawing resembling the icon of Disney’s Mickey Mouse.
  • A religious statue of Christ seated. Attached to the tip of His nose is a red ball. Above His head is an imposed pair of red ears the same as Mickey Mouse icon.

They claimed that the organizers are liable for violating Revised Penal Code’s (RPC) Article 201 on immoral doctrines, obscene publications, and indecent shows.

Article 201 of the RPC states:

Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows. — The penalty of prision mayor or a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine, shall be imposed upon:

(1) Those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals;

(2) (a) the authors of obscene literature, published with their knowledge in any form; the editors publishing such literature; and the owners/operators of the establishment selling the same;

(b) Those who, in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place, exhibit, indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, whether live or in film, which are prescribed by virtue hereof, shall include those which (1) glorify criminals or condone crimes; (2) serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; (3) offend any race or religion; (4) tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and (5) are contrary to law, public order, morals, and good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts;

(3) Those who shall sell, give away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculpture or literature which are offensive to morals. (As amended by PD Nos. 960 and 969).

This proves my point that we are ‘somehow’ a secular country in spite of some pro-religious policies and provisions in our legal system. For instance, apart from the aforementioned provision in the RPC, the same code also penalizes “crimes against religious worship.

These pro-religion crimes are as follows:

Art. 132. Interruption of religious worship. — The penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon any public officer or employee who shall prevent or disturb the ceremonies or manifestations of any religion.

If the crime shall have been committed with violence or threats, the penalty shall be prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods.

Art. 133. Offending the religious feelings. — The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.

Also, some religious critics have a point in criticizing the state-funded exhibit. Atty. Jo Imbong, executive director of the St. Thomas More Society (STMS), an association of Catholic lawyers, said that since CCP is a public agency,  “the exhibition and hosting of an exhibit hostile to the very mandate of that agency — on public property and by a public agency — is an abuse of public authority and a breach of public trust.”

“It does no public service except to subvert the common good, appealing as it does to the baser instinct rather than to higher and more edifying dispositions of the human person,” she added.

Indeed, this proves my point that the government should not use the public funds in supporting, sponsoring or financing any event or exhibit that could cause public uproar. It should not also support any religious group because that would be in violation of the separation clause in the Constitution. It is the job and duty of the government to remain neutral.

Now in response to a Facebooker who said that “mutual respect is the best policy” and the the CCP artists should have exercised their freedom of expression “without having to unduly harm the sensitivities of others”, I said:

Blasphemy is now a thing of the past, and it’s very unfortunate that we still criminalize an act called “offending religious feelings”. Celdran’s case is a good example. That pro-RH bill fanatic should have been charged with an offense related to violation of property rights.

“Harm the sensitivities of others???” Well, those others could just ignore that blasphemous exhibit. In the first place, since CCP is a government entity it should not have sponsored that exhibit. I would support that exhibit if it were sponsored and supported by a private entity. But since I’m for free speech, I support the artists’ freedom of expression because blasphemy is a victimless crime. If you people support the criminalization of blasphemy, then for god’s sake allow us atheists to sponsor and pass a law that would protect us against religiots and fanatics.

Thus, what is sacrilegious and blasphemous in this particular issue is not the context and nature of the exhibit, but the very fact that the CCP- and the government, which the former represents- are in breach of some unwritten rational and sacred public policy: the policy that the government should not engage in, support or finance any activity, event or exhibit that could ignite social uproar and conflict.

I believe this issue is a good reason to abolish or privatize the CCP, which is passing itself off as the country’s authority of arts and culture. Apart from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the CCP is acting as the government’s arts authority. In effect and by virtue of their functions, these institutions determine what should be valued and considered as a work of art. Both the NCCA and CCP should be abolished for wasting taxpayers’ money. As for the CCP, it should be privatized. As for the NCCA it should be abolished, as it cannot be privatized for having no social and economic value at all.

Personally, I don’t think Medio Cruz’s “anti-Catholic” works can be considered as a work of art. However, what we all know is that no less than the government’s ‘arts authority’ gave its blessings to Cruz’s and other artists’ “blasphemous” and controversial works. I say, let the people or the markets decide whether or not an impressionistic painting or a piece of wood is indeed a work of art. By supporting the controversial art exhibit, the CCP is morally “sacrilegious”  for violating the aforementioned unwritten public policy.

However, if the cancelled art exhibit were sponsored or supported by a private entity or organization, it would have been a very different story. But since it was supported and financed by a government entity, the people involved should rightfully take the blame and face the ongoing public outcry. The difference between a government “arts authority” and a private entity is that the latter knows how to determine whether a piece of statue or painting has an artistic and commercial value, while the first is usually motivated by politics and influenced by its stakeholders’ ideological beliefs and inclination. This is the reason why the government should not be involved in the promotion of arts.

Thomasian visual artist Midea Cruz and the blasphemous work “Poleteismo”

Thomasian visual artist Midea Cruz and the blasphemous work “Poleteismo”

22 Comments leave one →
  1. barefoot cinderella permalink
    August 9, 2011 3:38

    and as the vanguard of artistic integrity why is the CCP allowing this child’s piece of work to be considered as “art”.. doesn’t art require skill, mastery, craftsmanship, workmanship and ultimately produces either beauty or usefulness? shame on the CCP for allowing the “art” to be defamed like this.. they should title this “the defamation of art”.. any idiot with a hammer can attach a wooden penis to a wall..! da vinci would turn over in his grave at the crassness and sheer mediocrity of this display.

    • August 9, 2011 3:38

      Well, I’d like that government entity to be privatized. It’s indeed passing itself off as the authority of arts and culture. Apart from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), CCP is acting as the government’s arts authority. In effect and by virtue of their functions, these institutions determine what should be valued and considered as a work of art. Both the NCCA and CCP should be abolished for wasting taxpayers’ money. As for the CCP, it should be privatized. As for the NCCA it has no social or economic value at all.

  2. ryohei miyazawa permalink
    August 9, 2011 3:38

    even though im a liberal catholic … this is still to much i have to agree with you this is defamation … not only to art ,,, not only to religion … but to us filipinos ….tsk ….

    ryohei miyazawa……

  3. August 9, 2011 3:38

    The question I’m always asking myself is “why liberals have to mock religions (except, of course islam, the liberals’ religion of peace)?” Cruz, is a liberal as he claimed. Anti globalist.

    The thing I’m against with his “modern or contemporary art” is the place where it is presented. It should be in a private place where viewing his arts is by his invitation.

    Let’s have this thing as a two-way street. How would he feel if somebody publish in the internet a graphically naked photoshopped photo of him and his graphically naked mother giving him a head and titled it “Mideo Cruz Mother’s Wisdom”? For the sake of contemporary art, of course!

    I won’t hold my breathe. I’ve got a feeling that he would like it. He is as an artist. He would be very proud of it.

    • August 9, 2011 3:38

      “The question I’m always asking myself is “why liberals have to mock religions (except, of course islam, the liberals’ religion of peace)?”

      — Yes, oh that puzzling question of our time. The left’s and liberals’ aggressive defense of Islam and demonization of Christianity came after 9/11. They saw and believed that Islam is the religious minority on earth. The left and the Islamists share the same political hatred of America and of the Western civilization. Both camps think they are minorities. So it’s no surprise that the left is more sympathetic with Islam. The leftists and liberals are also anti-Israel. Remember Michel Foucault? This statist philosopher of the past century supported the rise of Islamism in Iran. Atoussa H., an Iranian exile in France, wrote in response to Foucault’s post-modern folly: “The western liberal left needs to know that Islamic law can become a dead weight on societies hungering for change. The Left should not let itself be seduced by a cure that is perhaps worse than the disease.” —>>>

  4. theodore joseph labial permalink
    August 10, 2011 3:38

    Damned Person! you’re nothing but a garbage dude!!!! you’re work isn’t art at all but you raise your idea from hell… damn you mr medio cruz!!! and damn you CCP EXECUTIVES! your souls will be consumed into fire! you will not have peace of mind till the day you die!! and you will regret the day you were born damn you CCP EXECUTIVES & CRUZ!

  5. August 10, 2011 3:38

    To all People Of Philpines… toTHose Who posted a Imural Painting,,,, ITs Antoi CHrist,, Shame ON.. THose People Who are CRating This… Its a Blasphamous… Be Watchful now Thats Are the sign of Coming Of JesUs… ITs Have Been Near And Yet Near Fullfilling…..

  6. August 10, 2011 3:38

    What SHAMe… Pina Hihiya Nyo Lang Sarili nyo and BAnsang Piplipinas.. Is That a n Art………………

  7. CabbesSkandy permalink
    August 10, 2011 3:38

    Tama ang tinuran ng bawat isa sa inyo ngunit naisip nyo rin bang NA ang paglalathala nila ng gantong uri ng art ay nagpapakita rin at sumisimbolo sa kahihiyang nangyayari sa bansa? Ang La Pieta, si Mama Mary ay may hawak na RH na gamot. Tayong mga tao ay ginawa ng Diyos na naayon sa kanyang imahe. Ipinakita lamang ng mga estudyante na ang nangyayaring kahihiyan sa atin ay nakakaapekto rin sa imahe ng Diyos. Hindi ba’t ang mga nangyayari sa bansa ay puno ng kahihiyan, katiwalian at pangbabastos. Iyon din ang ipinapakita ng mga estudyante. HOWEVER, may limitasyon at obligasyon ang mga artists sa kanilang gawa. Kelangan nilang maging sensitibo sa kanilang paligid sapagkat magkakaiba ang pananaw ng bawat tao. Isa pa ang MEDIA, kung mapapansin, bakit isinapubliko ang mga grabeng larawan AT parang mas binibigyan nila ng pansin ang panig ng mga Nagrereklamo kaysa sa panig ng mga artists. Off the record, 15 yrs old lang ho ako. Ngunit sa nangyayari, maski sa edad naming ganito ay natuto na naming imulat ang mata namin sa tunay na kalagayan ng bansa.

  8. August 10, 2011 3:38

    Very offensive. I agree with barefoot cinderella. Art requires skill mastery craftsmanship and workmanship. If this is your way to get popular or get attention. You have offended many. May I suggest Mr. Midea Cruz to just use your Dad’s photo next time you want to stick a wooden ashtray with a male’s private part. And for a female model use your mom’s photo instead.That way you don’t offend many.

  9. Herry Ramos permalink
    August 11, 2011 3:38

    First of all, let me start by saying that i belong to the group who were offended with the nature of the exhibit. On the other hand, I also believe that he has a right to do as he pleases within the limit of his boundaries. Freedom of expression? True, pretty much we may have to accept the fact that artists have that privilege. Medio Cruz is simply doing what he’s good at, creating art. On the part where i got offended, it’s a personal thing which Mr. Cruz need not worry about. My emotions would not in any way hinder his work. Now i would like to point out some things. Being a Filipino, Mr. Cruz is aware of the consequences of his actions. I reckon that all the ruckus caused by the exhibit was something he already expected. Even more so for the officials who approved it. With this in mind, whatever may happen next is the price of practicing the freedom of expression through art. Many a time that artists go for the rebellious stance against tradition. This is an established behavior throughout art’s history. Modern artists like him are no exception. A lot of them paid dearly for art’s sake. If the CCP officials who approved the exhibit and Mr. Cruz would cry foul due to the pressure it caused them, they made a gross miscalculation of the odds that they needed to overcome. Otherwise, they could’ve chosen a different venue where the expected flak could be manageable. Each one of us should be responsible for our chosen actions. Mr. Medio Cruz made a mockery of the image of my faith, but being a liberal, I’ll let him get away with it for art’s sake. Although this is the case for me, i cannot answer for some fundamentalist who may not agree with my liberal views. For now, let’s wait and see how they will stand their ground to prove their point as artists.

    • August 11, 2011 3:38

      What Cruz created is not an art. It’s an art because a government “arts authority” said so. It’s NOT. In fact, Cruz bastardized the very essence and concept of art.

  10. jhaky permalink
    August 11, 2011 3:38

    I’m not a Catholic neither i’m not anti Christ but im so sad after i saw in the picture.. in my religion we have freedom of expression and freedom to chose. i know as an artist you have different meaning in you’re painting and i don’t know what you feel when u made that.

    we people created by GOD we are not here if he didn’t sacrifice everything. he was crucified for the sin that we have . he was been punished for what we have done . and now all the sacrifices that he had done. its sames like nothing for us. GOD love as so much..

    and why the CCP EXECUTIVES agreed to have an exhibit like this are they crazy. or they belong also to anti christ .!!!!!!

  11. August 11, 2011 3:38

    Ang masasabi ko dyan, naghahanap lang ng Publicity yan 🙂

  12. Bong permalink
    August 11, 2011 3:38

    The original images and religious crafts itself (without any attachments/modifications whatsoever) are blasphemies already to God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of Christ who is a Spirit. The work done by Mr. Cruz were just an enhancement of the “not-so-obvious” blasphemies which have been taught and preached for many centuries. May the gracious Lord pour out His grace to the Philippines and to the Filipino people that the Smoke-screens created by these religions to mislead the people will be cleared out. If we want to keep the TAG “The only Christian nation in Asia” – May everyone who profess they are Christians listen to the teachings of the Scriptures – not solely to what our religious leaders’ (laymen, clergies, pastors, ministers, founders, etc…) teachings.

    May God bless us all in Yeshuah’s mighty name, Amen.

  13. Transiscyrus permalink
    August 12, 2011 3:38

    Yes! we have the right to express our feelings in our art but we have FAITH to express our Love and Respect to our Lord Jesus Christ.

  14. Maureen Ruth H. Panganiban permalink
    August 15, 2011 3:38

    It happened already, imbes na magsisihan bkit hndi na lang natin bigyan ng maayos na solusyon? Lahat nman nagkakamali at may pagkukulang,.of course they have to pay for its penalty pero what if CCP should not just pay but they must also conduct a free concert that will uplift the morality of Filipinos and will promote christianity and good citizenship. Naisip b natin kung bkit kea ganun ang “art” ni mideo cruz? Ano kea ang interpretasyon nya? Sabi nila ang artist malalim mag-isip..subukan ntin. Cguro ganito: Ang kristiyanismo sa panahon ngaun ay nababalot at natatabunan na ng imoralidad at karupukan ng tao. We are called “christian country” but it’s not obvious, ang daming korupsyon, siraan, imoralidad, kahirapan at kamangmangan. I believe this is not what God wants us to be. Let’s think about it..reflect.
    We often blame. Puro sisi, pero nasaan ang aksyon?

  15. emz permalink
    August 17, 2011 3:38

    masyadong art nmn yan…… kng art p ang twag jan……… prang d nyo alam kng saan kau galing………

  16. lee'bhung permalink
    August 22, 2011 3:38

    what the f.. ano bang napasok sa mga utak yno?.. o baka wala kayong mga utak..

  17. Micah permalink
    February 15, 2012 3:38

    There is one and only sin which cannot be forgiven. Blasphemy in the Holy spirit.
    “Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my father in heaven.” -Matthew 10:32-33
    -totoong isang malayang bansa ang Pilipinas, at dahil dito maraming relihiyon ang naglipana…saan nga ba ang tama? ano ang dapat piliin? who are we to judge that they will not be saved? However, it’s not a valid reason to disrespect others beliefs. Religion is not important, it’s a matter of relationship and personal commitment to God. After I share this, i will rub’off my feet, for I have no accountability to whatever response you may have. You need Jesus, i’m just saying. ~mikas


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