While going through a book on the late artist Keith Haring a very interesting picture from one of his New York exhibits jumped off the page and slapped me in the face. I guess that is what real art is supposed to do. In this painting I was struck, more like assaulted, by an image of a cross…so far not heinous…juxtiposed either above or below the cross, (I do not remember which it was), was a money symbol, ($).
I found this extremely offensive. That was my gut reaction. As I digested the image two thoughts came to me; the first, “That is the impression of religion that a lot of people have.” second, “This is exactly what the men running the Catholic Church did, money trumped doing the right thing. Money trumped Jesus.” Then I really got offended and not by Keith Haring and not by the image he created.
I was/am offended that the impression of so many people, that religion is just about money, has been reinforced by so many priests and bishops in the Catholic Church. All of the good things that the people of the Church have and continue to accomplish have been negated in the minds of so many people. Luckey the good accomplished is itself not negated.
There was a time I would have fought and argued against Mr. Haring’s interpretation of religion. He was not wrong in his condemnation of leaders of religion. The leaders are humans, and all humans are sinners, but true faith is not corrupted in the minds and hearts of believers by the corruption of men, (women too). The reason is that God cannot be corrupted. God is perfect. God’s followers are not.