Anger after Bible defaced in British gallery

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM EST

Christians voiced anger and dismay Tuesday after a Bible, which was part of an exhibition inviting viewers to add their reflections, was defaced with offensive and foul-mouthed scrawl.

Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art has decided to put the Bible in a glass case after the exhibit, called Untitled 2009 and part of a show entitled Made In God's Image, was vandalised.

Artist Jane Clarke, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Church, asked visitors to annotate the Bible with stories and reflections, as a way of making it more inclusive.

But visitors to the gallery took the invitation a bit further than she had anticipated.

"This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all," wrote one person, while another described the Bible as "the biggest lie in human history" and a third wrote: "Mick Jagger and David Bowie belong in here."

On the first page of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, someone had written: "I am Bi, Female and Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this."

Clarke said: "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.

"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."

On Tuesday over 100 people gathered outside the gallery to protest at what they said was vandalism.

Letitia Reid, a housewife from Glasgow, said the Bible should not be desecrated.

"As a Christian I am offended by this because Christians hold the Bible to be sacred. For it to be publicly defiled in this way is very offensive," she said.

As well as a glass case, the gallery now has paper and pens, with which they can write down their thoughts, to be inserted into the Bible later by members of staff.




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