The Pope has condemned a disgusting taxpayer-funded exhibition in which visitors are invited to write their stories back into the Bible
Visitors were offered pens by gallery bosses so they could write comments on the text - leading to a host of puerile and 'obscene' remarks.
Pope Benedict's anger over the show, organised by council-funded arts body Culture and Sport Glasgow, was expressed by a senior Vatican priest.
The adviser to the Pope said: It is disgusting and offensive. They would not think of doing it to the Koran.
Public complaints about the exhibit at the prestigious Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow have forced organisers to put the vandalised Bible on show in a locked case, while still allowing visitors to write comments on blank sheets of paper. The
staff moderate the comments and insert acceptable pages into the bible.
The Made In God's Image exhibit is the work of Glasgow artist Anthony Schrag.
He wanted gays and transsexuals who felt left out of religion to write their way back in to the holy text.
Schrag worked with members of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Edinburgh on the project. But MCC minister Jane Clarke who devised the exhibit said: I had hoped people would show respect for the Bible. I am saddened some have
chosen to write offensive messages.
Writing our names in the margins of a Bible was to show how we have been marginalised by many Christian churches, and also our desire to be included in God's love.
As a young Christian I was encouraged by my church to write my own insights in the margins of the Bible I used for my daily devotions - this was an extension of that idea. I still have that Bible, although it's rather tatty now.
She added: It was never my intention to offend anyone - believers and non-believers alike. I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art. I am saddened that some people have
chosen to write offensive messages.
The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art's controversial exhibition celebrating gay life and love has stirred up more outrage - this time, however, it's for censoring art that might 'shock' the public.
Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), the body which runs the city's museums and galleries, has been accused of censors art at the shOUT' exhibition after it refused to show three works about HIV positive gay men at GoMA because it contained nudity and
references to drugs and sexual acts.
The works are by Dani Marti, an internationally renown artist. He said CSG's decision not to show his two videos and a sound installation at the city centre gallery went against the very purpose of the exhibition, the fourth in GoMA's social justice
series of exhibitions.
shOUT is about civil rights, he said: But they are compromising freedom of speech. They are compromising the permission of the people in my art works to speak about their emotions in public. The reaction of GoMA and the council is exactly the
same that is happening to these individuals, making it hard to talk about coming out, about being gay, about disclosing their HIV status.
He blamed political pressure from within the council following earlier controversy around the exhibition.
One of the videos, Time Is The Fire In Which We Burn, was commissioned especially for the exhibition. It is an interview with a man called John from Glasgow, a former male prostitute and porn film actor, who talks about his life in Miami, being HIV
positive, taking the drug crystal meth and extreme sexual acts he has taken part in.
The second video, Ausmusdad, is a portrait of a 63 year old who came out to his family in his late 40s and is HIV positive. It features full frontal male nudity. It has previously been shown in Zurich.
Culture and Sport Glasgow were uncomfortable with nudity and the reference to drugs and sexual acts, according to Marti. He, however, said the videos showed HIV positive men enjoying life and not being victims.
The final work planned to appear at GoMA was a sound installation, recorded in the basement of a gay club in Glasgow. A fourth, more conventional, installation - several large red drapes of scourers woven together and hung from the central staircase -
was originally allowed to be shown at the gallery. Marti, however, said it could not be shown without the other three works and withdrew it personally.
To protest the city's decision, in the coming weeks he plans to create guerilla artworks around the city in front of council property.
The letters and emails come in a daily tide. Filth! they cry. Shame on you ; You
are a very sick person ; The soul that sinneth shall DIE . For the past six months, the head of Glasgow's museums and art has been under siege from Christian fundamentalists, who have vowed to oust her from her job.
Dr Bridget McConnell, head of Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), the £100 million charity in charge of the city's culture, says she is alarmed by what she describes as a personal witch hunt against her.
It is almost like being physically abused, she said. You get knocked down by it every day and you pick yourself up, but then you come in the next morning and it happens all over again. It's attrition.
Since July, when a row broke out over an art exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) featuring homosexuality and religion in which comments were written on a Bible, Dr McConnell — whose organisation funded the exhibition — has been targeted
by an organised group of protesters. Related Links
She has received up to 2,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls attacking her and objecting to the art show. There have been petitions and personal visits to her office. Her office has been routinely picketed by groups with a loud hailer, calling
upon her to repent, and her staff have been harassed.
Police are known to be concerned at the targeting of Dr McConnell and on at least one occasion officers had to be called to demonstrations outside the art gallery when staff were seriously intimidated .
On a website linked to an English organisation called Christian Watch, www.csgwatch.com, the campaigners openly declare their intention is to have Dr McConnell removed from her post.
The controversy began last summer as a result of an exhibition called sh[OUT]!, which contained works by renowned artists such as David Hockney and Robert Mapplethorpe, and had as its theme the representation of gay people in art. The exhibition
was part of a wider contemporary art programme on themes including violence against women and sectarianism. A secondary exhibition within sh[OUT], called Made in God's Image, invited visitors who felt excluded from the Bible, especially on the
ground of sexual orientation, to record their names in its margins.
But some people recorded doodles and obscenities. The Bible was placed behind glass but the story reached the newspapers where, in Dr McConnell's view, it was distorted by parts of the media to suggest that people were being actively encouraged to
deface the Bible. The story was picked up by the international media and stirred outrage around the world. The majority of people who are complaining didn't see the exhibition, but were responding to the Daily Mail story, she said.
On the website set up by Christian Watch, www.csgwatch.com, the protesters state their aim is to stop the city supporting events and programmes that insult Christ, the Bible, Christians and to have Bridget McConnell removed from her position