Just recently, the Philippine Daily Inquirer criticized the art of Mideo Cruz entitled “Polygamy” exhibited in the Cultural Center of Philippines (CCP). The art consists of a collage of religious posters and images apparently culled from religious calendars showing Mary and the rest of the saints with condoms and phalluses stuck on the religious icons.
Inquirer, then, defended Catholicism when it argued the Catholic iconography does not mean that Catholics worship various gods in the guise of graven images. For instance, Mary. They said that they do not worship Mary but merely “venerating” her. Lastly, they accused Cruz of insulting the monotheistic practice of the Catholics by using Catholic iconography. Isn’t it that the media should stand in between?
The Philippine Constitution provides that the people has the right to freely express themselves whether it is through oral, written or symbolical languages. This right may not be absolute on grounds that they can express opinions only insofar as public concern is addressed.
The people has the right to express opinions whether through art, speaking or writing, for as long as it is confined in a particular forum, then, it follows that no matter how offensive the expressions are, the opinion maker cannot be accused of any charges or violations.
The art maybe offensive to Catholics, but to the non-Catholics it is not. It maybe offensive to the believers but to the Atheists it is not. In simpler thought, what may be obscene to one, it does not follow that is obscene to the others also. It is but an opinion expressed through art.
Here comes the news. At the end, the Government ordered that the exhibit be closed since it was offensive for Catholics. Isn’t the Government supposed to be on the neutral side? Isn’t that the Government, because the Catholic Church opposes the art, should not go on their side but remain neutral? What about those who does consider the art as a mere art and expression? They should also have been given the right to opinionate. But what happened was censorship in application. The Government ordered the closure for the reason that it violates the beliefs of the Catholics.
It’s just like saying: The Government established a Church to be used by all worshipers of God on the basis that they belong to the different churches using public funds. On the other hand, the Church established using public funds is closed to the Atheists who are also paying their levies. Isn’t this unfair? More so, this a violation of the equal protection clause of the constitution.
The CCP was established using public funds. It was intended for everybody to express everything they want whether offensive or not. It is maintained using public funds. Public includes believers and non-believers. The art was exhibited on that place and it was confined only within the parameters of that the venue. If that is so, then every expression may be expressed whether offensive or not, only on that forum. If exhibited there, then, it is also subject to criticism and appreciation.