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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: April 2, 2005
Latest Update: April 2, 2005

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Index of Topics on Site The Bounds of Religious Art as a Present Social Issue

When does the destruction of religious art become a hate act? When does the destruction of art become a hate act? Is either a crime, and how do we define the harm it may do to another on whose civil rights we impinge? Quinney says that crime is socially defined. If we define someone's attempt to convey his/her contempt for a given iconology, what have we done socially that might define a crime? We may have denigrated something which is sacred to the other. Is that a crime? Is it a crime to desecrate the American flag by burning it? Should it be? Is it a crime to desecrate the American flag by wearing it as shorts, or a bra, or a scarf, or jewelry? Could we set up a Guttman scale to measure the uses we would permit for religious art? Guttman Scaling Website maintained by William M.K. Trochim is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. Look at his example for immigration.

If religious art requires some form of censorship, then we have moved into an area in which some form of crime and punishment or restorative justice is required for peace in the community. Censorship says you can't; so what if you do? What kinds of censorship techniques have worked or not worked with pornography, , sexual permissiveness, drugs, graffiti, use of pejorative language and labels, physical aggression and assault, emotional aggression and abuse, armed agression of the state, of the citizen?

Notice that we need to know some statistics and methodology to understand how to measure our sense of values on this complex topic. Notice that we need to understand some aspects of criminal justice to understand what alternatives have been tried and how they've worked or not worked. And this was a current even piece from the NY times on religious art. See how we end up crossing over disciplines in the liberal arts?

By the way "liberal" in "liberal arts" doesn't mean as opposed to conservative.

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