1. Interesting follow up Maureen. From the nature and volume of responses to the previous post, I had a feeling that most of your reader response would have been via private channels.

    It is interesting that you are choosing to take your blog in this direction. I can only speculate at what has taken you from smiting Michael Fried to Secularism and Islamists. I have to admit, as a reader, the former was more entertaining, but that is only personal preference.

    I hope going in this direction doesn’t provide an undue amount of stress or harassment. Good luck!

  2. Dan Harper

    Taken as objectively as possible (for a former Catholic), the cross is an instrument of torture. Given the tortured emotions 9/11 still arouses, I suppose it’s only fitting.

  3. Studio Matters

    Oh, H, your note unsettles me some. I don’t intend a different direction. Not at all. But somehow, these more current concerns landed in the lap of Studio Matters. So . . . . There is art, and then there is the culture that produces it, valorizing some of it and ignoring or diminishing another portion of it. I am not sure that the question of meaning—which is what we care about—can be separated from the inner necessities of our time. These manifest themselves in images. The cross at Ground Zero is one of those images. The lawsuit against it treats it, in effect, as an art work. An offensive artwork, to be sure, but an artwork nonetheless.

    These are strange times. Given your own passion for art history, you must—I would think—be on guard against leaving questions of art’s ends only to recognized products of the art world.

  4. Studio Matters

    Yes, Dan Harper, you put it more clearly, perhaps, than I did. Your comment underscores what it is about a simple cross (distinguishing it from a
    crucifix) that makes it applicable to a mass gravesite.

  5. RC

    I’ve always found it frustrating to dialogue with atheists or secularists whose grasp of intellectual history doesn’t recognize the Christian basis for human rights. Human rights is taken for granted, as if the apparatus of beliefs we in America share about human dignity is written in DNA, or dropped from the sky, rather than the fruit of religious people working out the meaning of the Gospel over several centuries.

    So you get shallow arguments about how “Christianity threatens secularism” rather than an open appreciation for Martin Luther’s theological foundations for secularism itself. Or how Christianity justifies slavery, rather than provides the intellectual and ethical basis on which it has been, and is still being, abolished.

    When doctrinaire secularists want to enforce their understanding of equality, as is the case here, it’s like a child demanding everyone have equal time at the water faucet, but can’t grasp where the water itself and plumbing come from. Such secularists must actively not know or ask the question, because to do so would destabilize their self-styled egalitarianism.

  6. Studio Matters

    Thank you, RC. Your comment reminds me that FDR included prayer in his weekly radio addresses. He prayed as a Christian—Episcopalian, I think— yet was, and is, revered by non-Christian citizens.

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