You can see what you want to see on this crucifix on display at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Oklahoma. The artist says that she based the depiction of the Son of God on an earlier icon, on display in Assisi, Italy, which shows Jesus having some pretty darn incredible abs.
Of course, people see what they want to see and apparently, what people really really want to see is a penis. A really, really, big penis. And hey, who doesn’t like that?* I presume the artist knew she had been given a commission for an actual church and wasn’t being ultra-subversive in executing the art; it’s not like this was intended to be Piss Christ. So she imitated the original artist’s way of showing Christ’s Ripped Six-Pack Abs and now, well, we’ve got ourselves a new candidate for Outrage Of The Week. After all, many Christians aren’t comfortable with the idea of Jesus portrayed as a sexualized being, much less one with a groove unit proportionally better-suited to an equine. Seriously, is this Jesus on the cross or Priapus?
Personally, I think this inspires some thought, and although thinking is sometimes uncomfortable, it is the most uncomfortable thoughts that are often the most profitable. So let’s assume that Jesus really existed. An assumption, but not as big a one as many die-hard anti-theists would like it to be. He would have been a man. Unless he had suffered some sort of terrible injury or birth defect, he would have had a penis and testicles. If you go the next step (which Christians by definition must) and say that Jesus was also God Made Man, then he was still a man which means he still had the frank-n-beans going on down somewhere below his tunic. So if one were to depict Jesus as having a penis, well, that would be accurate, wouldn’t it?
Indeed, if Jesus had a fully-functioning set of sexual organs, he must have had sexual feelings at some point in his life, too. Why should Christians be threatened by that? If he was a man, then that means he had at least an impulse, an instinct, to do something with his penis at some point. Maybe he didn’t act on that impulse; who knows, maybe he did? Seems to me that the Gospels are silent about that. Well, I think I’m getting too far afield here. Christians have a right to believe what they want to believe, and it’s not for me to tell them what they do or don’t think about their deity even if it sometimes seems inconsistent to me. But the point of good art is not always to inspire you to marvel at its beauty; good art sometimes derives its good qualities from the fact that it makes you think. A sexualized depiction of Jesus, even if it is only inadvertently sexualized, certainly has the power to do that.
Hat tip to Friendly Atheist.
* That would be “lesbians.” At best, a lesbian is indifferent to the penis.