Saturday, March 19, 2005

Want Controversy?

As we enter Christianity's most Holy Week, this Last Supper ad by French fashion house Marithé and François Gribaud seemingly attacks our sensitivities and is being banned in such cities as Milan, the very city where Leonardo Da Vinci's original fresco exists. Roman Catholics especially are saying the poster does "great injury...because it represents the Last Supper in denigrating conditions." The fashion company says it is a tribute to women, inspired by Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

In less than a week we will commemorate Good Friday and, more specifically, the Last Supper Passover meal at which time Jesus says someone present will betray him. From there we will go into the Passion of the Christ, leading to his death and resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In other words, the setting of the Last Supper in Christianity's doctrine is of utmost severity and horror: Jesus predicts his imminent death by the betrayal of one of his own disciples sitting at table with him. His disciples' response is their incredulous, "Is it I?!?"

So, is this fashion ad a sacrilege? Is it a sacrilege to you?

For me, the sacrilege is only in the trivialization of a somber moment by focusing on the fashion statement of the disciples. What's next--a fashion ad of what Jesus could have been wearing while hanging on the cross?

Beyond that, I am not offended. Are you offended by the fact that Jesus is protrayed as a woman? And likewise the disciples? Could God's "only son/child" have been a daughter and how would it have changed history? Would we be living in a matriarchal world with men as second-class citizens? Does God care about the gender of Jesus' disciples? Is gender the point?

The male model in this ad is a take-off, of course, from Dan Brown's interpretation that the person to Jesus' right in the Da Vinci painting is a woman, namely Mary Magdalene. Even that does not offend me. And if Jesus actually married the woman and had children with her, does that change the basis of Christianity?

Are conceptions that don't fit our own beliefs, viewed by us as offensive, akin to intolerance? And to ban such an offense akin to censorship? Where do we draw the line?


  1. I would love to know who left that comment, especially because it's positive. :) In other words, who are you?

  2. Sorry there, that was me. And I still stand by what I said earlier. Well said.