Cork Politics: Because All Politics Is Local

June 22nd 2011

UCC must ensure religious tolerance
Tags: Alma Lopez, Cork, Exhibition, Ireland, Jerry Buttimer, Our Lady and Other Queer Santas, politics, UCC

CORK South Central Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer has called for UCC to recognise and respond to the upset and distress caused to Roman Catholics and other Christians by the art exhibition “Our Lady and Other Queer Santas”.
Deputy Buttimer said that UCC should afford those opposed to or offended by the exhibition an opportunity to simultaneously offer a counter point of view in the same exhibition space.
The exhibition by Alma Lopez is due to open on June 23rd and is to run concurrently with a conference hosted by the Mexican Studies Centre.

Deputy Buttimer said ,“As we move towards a pluralist society we must ensure that there is respect for all religions and none.
“However, it is not acceptable for any person or artist to denigrate another’s beliefs or to use art as a catch-all excuse for bigotry, prejudice or blasphemy.
“It’s important that we have a debate about the interplay between faith, belief and society.
“Religious iconography and stories have formed the basis of art and literature over the centuries but it has always had at its core a respect for and an understanding of the sensitivities of believers and followers.
“Universities should be a place of acceptance and tolerance of all beliefs and opinions.
“If UCC considers itself an inclusive place for study and research then it must ensure that all beliefs are respected. It should not permit any one set of beliefs to be ridiculed.
“UCC should be at the forefront of promoting religious tolerance in a pluralist society. Those in charge of UCC should reconsider whether or not it is appropriate to permit this exhibition to take place on its campus without affording others the opportunity to present an alternative and balanced point of view.
“They should not be lending their support to an event which is considered by many to be overtly blasphemous and blatantly disrespectful,” he said.

7 Responses to “UCC must ensure religious tolerance”
Chris Redmond says:
June 22, 2011 at 4:55 pm
The blasphemy law is just utterly insane. If people get offended because someone points out the warped logic of believing in something for which there is no evidence, then that’s just tough. We don’t keep believing in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, so why should God, for which the evidence is equally sparse, be granted special dispensation?
Elena says:
June 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm
I see no intent to ridicule or denigrate another’s beliefs in the publication of this image. If you read the information available on the UCC website, you will see that the image is being displayed as an example of Chicana artists’ responses to their own cultural heritage, within a conference that is precisely about “Transitions and Continuities” in Chicano culture. The image is part of a long tradition of representing the figure of the Virgin as a powerful icon for women. It would be nice to see a little more cultural awareness rather than this reckless redeployment of the image completely out of context.
Max says:
June 24, 2011 at 8:26 am
Ah, you mean the same overwhelming tolerance that religions show towards gays, women, atheists, etc…. ?
gerry says:
June 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Reading Mr Buttimer’s statement, one might assume that this is simply an exhibition of ‘ Dirty/ Controversial pictures’ ! On researching this a little, the art exhibitions are a part of a wider conference being held at UCC entitled’ Transitions and Continuities in Contemporary Chicano/a Culture ‘ and being run by the Mexican Studies Dept of UCC. The UCC site gives the following description of the conference :
‘.The notion of transition seems particularly pertinent at this historical juncture, a point somewhere between the hegemonic sweep of globalising neoliberalism and a future as yet uncertain. Continuity, on the other hand, marks that sense of indebtedness to the past that involves conflict, tension but also creativity. This conference will aim to explore the notions of transition and continuity as they are articulated in recent Chicano/a culture including film, television, literature, theory, art, music, performance and theatre and other genres and narrative modes including corridos, mitos and folklore. ‘ Papers for discussion at the conference were invited and particularly in the following areas :
* Borders, frontiers and territorialisation
* Migrations and mobility
* Sexuality and constructions of gender
* Religion and spirituality
* Bilingualism and code switching
* Resistance and affirmation
* The Internet and new media
* Globalization and the family
* Chicanismo and Mexicanismo: points of convergence/divergence
* E-scholarship and virtual spaces
So it looks to me as if UCC were more than willing to afford time and space for any views the TD might have had on the subject matter of the Conference. There is little to suggest that Buttimer made any attempt to involve himself in the conference so one has to question his motive in bringing out this statement. I suspect that the main intention is to garner voted from those anonymous people who are apparently appalled and upset at the exhibition.
I wonder if they have any pictures depicting the victims of Clerical Sex Abuse ?
John says:
June 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm
Well done Jerry Buttimer for standing up for decent people who simply want their religious beliefs to stop being mocked. You would not see any university dare to be offensive to Islam or the gay people given both their media savy militant groups. Yes its invogue to attack Christianity and make a name for oneself in the process but its such a shame that the UCC has degraded itself by jumping on the bandwagon. I am delighted that ordinary folk are standing up for themselves and common decency. So their ‘event’ will go ahead as planned and long after its finished and forgotten its the ucc that will be remembered for allowing such garbage to be passed off as art. Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.
Brian Harvey says:
June 24, 2011 at 8:33 pm
Well done John, your comment is bang on ! So many so called ‘artists’ of our time use obvious controversy to poorly cover an extreme lack of talent !! Mocking religion, tacky yes, disgusting yes, original NO ! You would never see such tolerance from gays or athiests who shout their cause at every opportunity and none. Well done Jerry Buttimer about time a politician spoke up for the ordinary people. SHAME on the UCC. SHAME on the ‘artist’ and shame on the haters above defending her sad actions.
gerry says:
June 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm
John of course has a point in saying that UCC wouldnt be offensive towards Islam or Gays – not much chance of see a copy of the Danish Cartoons poking fun at the Prophet in UCC I suppose.
Brian Harvey goes and spoils it then by referring to ‘ haters above’ !
Question for Brian Harvey ; did you know that the last person murdered by the Catholic Church/Inquisition was Cayetano Ripoll (allegedly from Solsona 1778 – Valencia 1826), was a schoolmaster in Valencia, Spain, who was hanged to death on 26 July 1826 for allegedly teaching Deist principles.[1] [2] Ripoll has the dubious honor of being the last of the many people known to have been executed for having committed the illegal act of heresy:
Now it wasnt that he didnt believe in God, he did. It wasnt that he was a ‘Hater’, he simply believed in God the wrong way ! I would much prefer to see an exhibition devpted to real Christian martyr’s such as Cayetano Ripoll than to the current one in UCC, but that isnt going to happen is it ? Not in ‘Tolerant God Fearing ‘ Cork is it ?