I watched the 20 minute video. You can see it in full below. The 11 second 'offensive, anti-christian' section of ants on a cross is no reason to pull the work from the Smithsonian exhibit. In this art piece the ants represent AIDS crawling across the body of suffering patients (the Christ figure). How wonderful if this would provoke discussion about the concept of suffering and illness, instead of knee-jerk censorship of a crucifixion metaphor.
USA has lost its way and is now drowning in its own ignorance... a cultural hinterland. It's governors are calling for removal of the entire exhibit on these flimsy grounds. It is clear in their other words that they are mainly offended to see gay art in any context in a national museum.
Please send an email to the Smithsonian after you have watched the film.
Or post a comment on their Facebook Page: Smithsonian Institute.
"Smithsonian secretary G Wayne Clough ordered Fire in My Belly pulled on Dec 1. Neither the curators of the show nor the director of the NPG – a division of the Smithsonian, consented to the removal. The decision came after a group calling itself the Catholic League referred to Fire in My Belly as anti-Christian because of an 11-second clip in which ants crawl over a depiction of Jesus on the cross. In response, US congressmen John Boehner and Eric Cantor threatened to call for hearings on the NPG's future funding." Xtra.ca
Of course, it's pretty clear that this has almost nothing to do with religion. Eleven seconds of an ant-covered crucifix? Come on.
This fuss is about the larger topic of the show: Gay love, and images of it. The headline that ran over coverage of the matter on the right-wing Web site CNSnews.com mentioned the crucifix - but as only one item in a list of the exhibition's "shockers" that included "naked brothers kissing, genitalia and Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts." (Through a bra, one might note, in an image that's less shocking than many moves by Lady Gaga.) The same site decries "a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show's catalog as 'homoerotic'. "
The attack is on gayness, and images of it, more than on sacrilege - even though, last I checked, many states are sanctioning gay love in marriage, and none continue to ban homosexuality.
And the Portrait Gallery has given into this attack. Blake Gopnik, Washington Post
Here is the Smithsonian's damage control webpage: