Christ-on-cross cartoon provokes Christian outrage

Anger from Germany's faithful after Kassell museum uses 'blasphemous' cartoon in poster

LAST UPDATED AT 12:17 ON Thu 23 Aug 2012

A GERMAN cartoonist has offended adherents of a major religion with a controversial drawing – but this time the religion is Christianity, not Islam, and the cartoon makes fun of Jesus, not Mohammed.

Der Spiegel reports that the cartoon is being used to advertise an exhibition at Caricatura, a cartoon museum in the central German city Kassell. Blown up to an enormous scale, it hangs in a window looking onto the street.

The cartoon, by Mario Lars, who is not well-known outside Germany, shows Christ on the cross looking unhappy while a speech bubble coming from the heavens above him observes: "Hey… You… I fucked your mother!"

The media spotlight is currently turned on the city as it hosts Documenta, a five-yearly art exhibition, and some of the city's religious leaders have taken the chance to criticise the cartoon which they say is blasphemous.

Barbara Heinrich, described by Spiegel as a "protestant official", said: "I find it problematic when a caricature disparages the very heart of a faith." A local Catholic priest, Fr Harald Fischer also criticised the cartoon, as have other Christian leaders.

The local paper, the Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine, says the museum's director, Martin Sonntag, has refused requests to take the poster down. He said the museum couldn't "remove caricatures after every complaint" and pointed out that if the museum was sensitive to all faiths and other interest groups it would be paralysed.

As for the cartoonist, he said: “It was not my intention to hurt the feelings of the faithful. I was just making a joke… [The church] should stand aloof of such things and address more important problems. Such a large commotion over a small joke isn't good for the church."

In 2006, the Belgian newspaper Jyllands famously published 12 cartoons showing Mohammed leading to an international outcry, bomb attempts and assassination plots. The offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed last year when it published an edition with a Mohammed cartoon cover. · 

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