Theological Editions - Indepth daily religious news, views, reviews & key theological resources

In-depth religious news, views, reviews, features & resources for the thinking person



Liturgy & Prayer

News & Magazines


Texts & Resources


The prudes who crucify for want of a loincloth on a chocolate Jesus

by Graeme J. Davidson 7 April, 2007

So, it’s not his stark nakedness, but the prudes who insist on the loincloth who are the affront to Jesus’ humanity and the ignominy of his suffering.

So, the conservative and bullying Catholic League is upset about a life-size chocolate Jesus. And the largest Catholic civil rights organization in the USA isn’t concerned whether the cocoa beans are fair trade or the product of slave labour.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue angrily denounced Christian food sculptor Cosimo Cavallaro for committing "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever". That suggests his chocolate crucifixion statue, “My sweet Lord”, must be obnoxious and pernicious and on a par with the Emperor Nero persecuting Christians for the Great Fire of Rome. But how can chocolate be so vile? After all, every chocoholic knows it stimulates love-related hormones. And Christianity’s definitely about love?

But it isn’t the thought of a 90 kilogram, 485,460 calorie milk chocolate Jesus that infuriates the League. American candy companies have produced chocolate images of Jesus for years.

In the League’s eyes, Cavallaro has committed the unforgivable sin of creating what the American press coyly call an “anatomically correct” Jesus. This doesn’t mean the size of the statue’s feet but the absence of a discreet loincloth over what the Monty Python team labelled “naughty bits”. Women and children passing by the downtown New York art gallery would be compelled to see the chocolate Jesus’ circumcised genitals during Holy Week, when, of course, their thoughts should be on higher things.

Donohue insisted, “This is hate speech. And choosing Holy Week makes it a direct in-your-face assault on Christians”. Another spokesperson for the League, Kiera McCaffrey, stated that the politically correct New York art community “would never dare do something similar with a chocolate statue of the Prophet Mohammed naked with his genitals exposed during Ramadan." Donohue went further: “All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don’t react the way extremist Muslims do when they’re offended — otherwise they may have more than their heads cut off.” He wasn’t referring to their feet either. So the League organised a boycott of the Roger Smith Hotel and its Lab Gallery where the naked Jesus sculpture was to be exhibited.

The artist retaliated by inviting the public to come and have a bite of his chocolate Jesus and, grudgingly, the hotel hoisted the white bed sheet. The gallery’s creative director likened the deluge of abusive phone calls and emails they received to hate speech and the boycott to a fatwa.

Donohue was delighted with the League’s victory and refused to tell the 500 organisations that it had brought on board to call off the boycott: “Because we did not like the way the Roger Smith Hotel handled the decision to drop the display”.

Muslims generally avoid making images of Mohammed as Islam prohibits idolatry. In contrast, Christianity champions representational art, including works that show “naughty bits” like Michelangelo’s uncircumcised “Ðavid”. And there are countless images of Jesus which glorify the blood and gore of his torture and crucifixion. Why isn’t the Catholic League objecting to this form of vicarious violence? Is it because they believe that showing the passion in all its brutality helps bring home the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice? But wasn’t it customary for the Romans to add to their victims’ humiliation by crucifying them naked? The bible says the soldiers at Jesus’ crucifixion divided his clothes among them. So, it’s not his stark nakedness, but the prudes who insist on the loincloth who are the affront to Jesus’ humanity and the ignominy of his suffering. In fact, art restorers have found that Christian prudes added loincloths to earlier naked images of the crucified Jesus.

As Jesus was dying on the cross, he forgave those who put him to death. Reconciliation between others and God was the whole point of his mission – a fact that seems to have escaped the self-righteous Catholic League as they continue to crucify the Roger Smith Hotel for the want of a loincloth.

As for eating the chocolate Jesus, didn’t Jesus tell his followers at his last meal to eat his body? He meant the bread that represented his body, not chocolate, but “My sweet Lord” makes Christians think once again about what it means to embrace the body and blood of Christ at the Eucharist. It’s also a reminder that when we eat those chocolate Easter eggs, they symbolise the new life and hope that reconciliation brings.



See also
Should we intervene to prevent suicide? >> more
Divorce risk indicator >> more
When you feel like you're sharing a bed with a stranger >> more
Surving the breakup >> more
Suicide terrorism as a desperate weapon of liberation >> more
Ned Flanders — popular face of Christianity >> more
Seven common myths about religion >> more
Moral divide between church leaders and laity >> more
Unholy silence over MPs hypocrisy and greed >> more
Anglican schism over gay clergy inevitable >> more
My agonising path to enlightenment >> more
More than ever, it's a time for generosity >> more
National's ethics smell of political expediency >> more
Pope's trip to Holy Land fraught with potholes >> more
The resurrection may have been superfluous >> more
Rasputin — from sinner and seducer to saint? >> more
Religious delusions and the Jerusalem syndrome >> more
Protest mild compared with Jesus' vandalism >> more
What Castro and Obama have in common >> more
Holidays can revive romance or widen cracks between couples >> more
Dubious scholarship reinterprets Jesus to fit secular creed >> more
Furore over gay marriage echoes the conflict over slavery >> more
If only politics were as certain as dear old granny >> more
You've got to have faith to win the White House >> more
The problem of evil >> more
TV Programmers let lose Roman circus >> more
Prostitutes welcome in the kingdom of God but not in Dannevirke >> more
Church too busy navel-gazing to take lead over crime >> more
Will the Anglican Church split over gay clergy and same-sex unions? >> more
Faith in secular western society >> more
The Vatican's pelvic theology >> more
Abuse and the Beijing Olympics >> more
Would the real Jesus stand up? >> more
Hypersensitivity perverts ethics >> more
God and presidential hopefuls >> more
A three-ghetto church based on politics >> more
Good and bad intentions >> more
Deliver us from exorcists who harm >> more
How effective is prayer? >> more
Masters of non-violence, resistance and kung fu >> more
Was Mother Teresa living a lie? >> more
Double standards over child sex abuse >> more
Soppy inspirational and pseudo-spiritual emails >> more
Caring organisations and pyschopathic bosses >> more
The new anti-religious evangelists >> more
Call for religious education could backfire >> more
Blessing creatures great & small — but what about blowflies? >> more
Does God exist only in the brain? >> more
The Prudes who crucify >> more
tomb raiders and the bones of Jesus and his family? >> more
Jesus loves Osama >> more
Is God more like a matchbox or a number? >> more
Confessions of a failed axe murderer >> more
Bacchanalian festivals and sentimentality >> more
Manners: insignificant social customs? >> more
The 109 fighting boys >> more
Trying to exhume the historical Jesus >> more
Is global violence really on the increase? >> more
Polygamy, circumcision, atheist journalists and religious diversity >> more
The Christian Right stands by Israel out of a misguided theology  >> more 
What a rat taught me >> more
The Church is becoming a retirement hobby for granny clergy >> more 
Is there an anti-Christian conspiracy in Hollywood? >> more
Have church schools sold out on Christianity? >> more
How good a Christian is President George W Bush? >> more

Hitler, Lawyers, Politicians SUV owners and life after death >> more

Were the Christian hostages really idiots for peace? >> more
Infidelity: in hot pursuit of a better organsm or better intimacy? >> more
Skulduggery and controversy over discovery of religious texts >> more
The cartoons aren't about secular freedoms versus intolerance >> more

Christian Zionists hinder justice and peace in the Middle East >> more

Should making more money be your New Year's resolution? >> more
My early life as a black sheep in a nativity scene >> more
Different types of suicide bomber: what makes them tick >> more
Cheating a short cut to sucess in winner-take-all society >> more
Life after death: Is it logically possible? >> more
Is it Anglican to practise apartheid? >> more
Da Vinci Code unlocks controversy>> more
Bishops' statement: pompous, pious, out of touch and verging on the heretical >> more 
Church leaders unconvincing over prostitution law reform >> more
Divorce risk factors >> more
How global are we?  A Christian's view of globalisation >> more
Victims of dirty tricks & friendly fire: Machiavellian tactics in the Church militant >> more
A redundant resurrection >> more
War, violence, ethics, religion and hypocrisy >> more
If St Peter was interviewed for ordination today >> more
13 ways to empty a church without really trying >> more
How tolerant is the Museum of Tolerance? >> more
A church comes out and reconciliation divides >> more
Micah's dream — too much to ask? >> more
Has the revised Anglican Church in New Zealand instigated a benign form of religious apartheid? >> more
The case for St Judas Iscariot >> more
Exorcism: the ministry of deliverance >> more