Chocolate Jesus

I first saw this story on MSNBC last night and thought about doing a story on it, but procrastinated. This morning Eschaton links to a post on Feministe about it.

Here is the background. The fuss centers around a chocolate statue of Jesus. The problem:
Jesus has a penis. After receiving numerous death threats and complaints the exhibition (no pun intended) of the statue was canceled. From MSNBC:

The “My Sweet Lord” display was shut down by the hotel that houses the Lab Gallery in midtown Manhattan, said Matt Semler, the gallery’s creative director. Semler said he submitted his resignation after officials at the Roger Smith Hotel shut down the show.
The six-foot sculpture was the victim of “a strong-arming from people who haven’t seen the show, seen what we’re doing,” Semler said. “They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions.”


The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails about the exhibit. Semler said the calls included death threats over the work of artist Cosimo Cavallaro, who was described as disappointed by the decision to cancel the display.

Says Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

“All those involved are lucky that angry Christians don’t react the way extremist Muslims do when they’re offended–otherwise they may have more than their heads cut off.

A statement largely unreported in the mainstream media – which has opted for repeating less inflammatory statements by Donohue – because implied threats that angry Christians might take to cutting off people’s genitalia might give folks the wrong idea about religion.
Update 1: Since this post is over two years old and the quality of the comments has decreased rapidly, I am closing this thread.

44 Responses

  1. And thus Donohue demonstrates once again that there is little difference between one group of fundamentalist myth believers and another.

  2. Donohue may be a hot head, but he made a good point. Ooh, he was “implying things”… crazy stuff… implying that Catholics wouldn’t be doing something violent. He was implying a negative, by the way…
    He’s making the point that if you publish a cartoon depicting one religious figure, followers of said leader will kill nuns. If you hang up a chocolate, naked Jesus in a hotel,
    once again…
    a chocolate, naked Jesus …
    then Catholics make angry phone calls…
    that’s pretty fanatical….

  3. Apparently, you skipped over the part about death threats…

  4. Of course JESUS had a penis and testicles – he was made human after all and he also had sexual desires like all men do. Any person who says otherwise hasn’t seen a naked man before.

  5. Sigh … I am an artist and a Christian, and this is silly. First of all, it is silly to do your art this way because of the unnecessary offense it brings to believers. It’s also silly to provide an opportunity for mockers to pour shame on the One who determined to leave heaven and pay for the sins of mankind. The mockery was already done by Pilate’s soldiers, and the Pharisees around the cross. In that time and culture, it was shameful for anyone, male or female to expose themselves in this way. When Jesus was crucified, they stripped him naked to shame Him. Why would anyone (Mr. Cavallaro) repeat that exposure? I don’t care what else the Renaissance artists used to do, they generally avoided displaying Christ fully nude – out of respect, I expect – or maybe from concern that Christians would write letters to the Roman Times. Whatever. The point is, it *is* offensive. It should be. It was intended to be 20 centuries ago, and unless you intend to repeat that shaming; adding your artistic efforts to the soldiers’, it always will be shameful to those of us who still love the Lord of glory.

  6. The fact of the matter is that this art is silly and all the supposed controversy surrounding it is even sillier. Have ya looked at the chocolate statue? (Which, by the way, chocolate statue? Wow.) It’s true that 2000-something years ago, public nudity was a source of shame for most people. But we live in a modern world and this statue was made in a modern country where we needn’t be so squeamish. If this was a chocolate statue depicting just somebody, I daresay nobody’s life would have been threatened.

  7. i’m a muslim guy and it’s really silly to do like those stuffe about jesus christ,,..there are always some of an idiot people who’s don’t know what they doing

  8. free lance Artists some times exercise thier artistic ability without a slight of insensitivity of the religious conscience and faith of the people. it is most of the time thier self pride, glory and insanity that they portaray God and goddess that people worship. they must remember that they too are made of flesh and bones and they too are not spirit. Little deviation and incorrect thoughtlessness attitude of an individual can be the cause of destruction of another. So respect.

  9. I wonder what what the motivation and thought process of the artist was? What was he trying to say? Well naked or not it is a reminder to all that Jesus was humiliated on the cross for our sins. So even if it is a joke, perveted or art with good intentions. – The message (penis or no penis)is in your face. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever beliefs in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

  10. It is hard for me to say anything other than, “Please Take my Saviors resemblance as a naked man off the Internet..” Also any displays of what this person calls art, that is not art we do not Mock God or His Son He sent for the redemption for our sin. Some things you just do not do and this is one of them. Please take HIM down and off the Internet. Falcon Better Tomorrows

  11. It’s very simple. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it…

  12. Yeah this guy has gone off his head.
    Lord Jesus dying on the Cross asked Abba Father to forgive them for they do not know what they do.
    Lets forgive this person and also forget about this incident and lets get this out of the internet.
    this one of the many things that satan does to harm our relationship with GOD our Almighty Father.
    Let it not bother us. We should be focussed in sharing love and all good things of life with the people around us.
    GOD Bless us all.

  13. actually i am hinduism,but i dont agree bout the statement here,,,,very silly to judge an avatar like that..He is a God of ane religion, same like u had affronted your own God.

  14. LOL… your all silly asses, the artist for trying so hard, the hotel for being pushed around by “angry callers”, the art director for thinking this wouldn’t happen, the christians for threatening peoples lives because of it, should I go on…
    God is sitting wherever right now going, LOL! hey, hey Jesus… come look at these silly asses…

  15. Anyone ever heard of Freedom of expression? Hypocritical christians, I think this earth would be much more peaceful without religion.
    If god did not exist
    it would be necessary to create him.
    An angry free man

  16. I am Catholic and ashamed at the statue as Jesus was not crucified naked. I also agree with Christopher Pradhan.

  17. please do’nt use this image in Christ’s

  18. Then you all should really love this. Wickipedia explains the tradition:

    Possible reasons for placing a man who is in the act of excreting waste in a scene which is widely considered holy include:
    * Tradition.
    * Perceived humor.
    * Finding the Caganer is a fun game, especially for children.
    * The Caganer, by creating feces, is fertilizing the Earth. However, this is probably an a posteriori explanation, and few cite this reason for including the Caganer in the Nativity scene.
    * The Caganer represents the equality of all people: regardless of status, race, or gender, everyone defecates.
    * Increased naturalism of an otherwise archetypal (thus idealised) story, so that it is more believable, taken literally and seriously.
    * The idea that God will manifest her/himself when s/he is ready, without regard for whether we human beings are ready or not.
    * The caganer reinforces that the infant Jesus is God in human form, with all that being human implies.
    The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since the 17th century.

    Apparently, they can even be found at Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. Catalonians feel very strongly about their traditions (again from Wickipedia):

    In 2005, the Barcelona city council provoked a public outcry by commissioning a nativity scene which did not include a Caganer. Many saw this as an attack on Catalan traditions. The local government countered these criticisms by claiming that the Caganer was not included because a recent by-law had made public defecation and urination illegal, meaning that the Caganer was now setting a bad example… Following a campaign against this decision called Salvem el caganer (Save the caganer), and widespread media criticism, the 2006 nativity restored the Caganer, who appeared on the northern side of the nativity near a dry riverbed.

    i think this is really funny!
    of course jesus has a penis! he probably has an ass too!
    awe this kills me…

  20. If somebody made a naked, chocolate statue of me after I was dead I would be damn proud. Christians should be glad that Jesus is being portrayed as having a visible penis. I heard a rumor that they exaggerated the size a bit though. If I were a Christian, I too would be embarrassed if my savior had a small penis.

  21. May God in forgive you,i don,t think you know what you are doing. If you want to make mokery of something or someone, why don’t you take a nude photo of yourself and posr it to the world, via internet and tell them how well you can be so stupid, senceless,ungrateful and ….. really i lask words to express how or tell you how useless you are. YOU ARE A DISAPPOINTMENT TO THE GOD ( YOUR CREATOR OF HOST,JESUS AND ALL CHRISTIANS. YOU WILL SURELY GIVE ACCOUNT OF WANT YOU HAVE DONE.

  22. you guys do realise that Jesus was hung on the cross naked?!
    it was a mockery to be crucified, therefore their entire self was on display! yet again, the world corrupt by ‘pristene white jesus’ – no he wasnt hung with a white cloth perfectly positioned to cover his penis!
    What i am more concerned about is the truth in this.. where is the cross? where is the crown of thorns? seriously people,
    he was male.. the SON of God. he has a penis!!!
    signed a proud committed christian AND a proud commercial artist.

  23. why you do this??? it is not polite!!!
    I Will angry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    you foooooollll
    you fuck
    you asshole

  24. Son of Jesus – I am in awe at the perceptive and inspired comment you have left. Truly, the christian religion has a worthy representative in you.

  25. that is just wrong you guys are not smart

  26. I am a Christian and I am not offended by this statue, I know that it happened like this, it makes me love Jesus even more…
    I don’t interpret it as re-mocking, rather as expressing provocatively something that truly happened whatever the intentions of the artist was. I don’t get the chocolate though…
    Anyway, I am rather ashamed of the bigotry of Christians, who dare to threat others and even curse in His name. I apologize for them in the name of my Lord, who loves this artist dearly and died for his salvation too, as he did for you, my limited-minded brothers and sisters. Even if this guy was the enemy of Christ, He commands us to love him, bless him and do good to him, haven’t you realized? Mt 5, 43-48. Read the Bible instead of defending God, He does not need anyone to defend Him, He is strong and mighty.
    God bless you all…

  27. Semi-Bitter Sweet Jesus!!!
    I have to say bravo to the artist for creating such a piece. I am just sorry the statue did not go on display as planned, but for all those angry Christians out there who did not want the statue to be displayed I think they have an even bigger audience now and no stopping it!!
    Eneh Kiss maybe it was made of chocolate to symbolize how we eat of his flesh. That chocolate damn sure tastes better than bread. Maybe those angry Christians were upset it was not made of cheese, then they would have had something to go with the whine. HA!
    Crazie Catholic

  28. You are pathetic people.

  29. Yes, the hostility and insults displayed by some of the people of faith on this thread are pathetic and disappointing…

  30. To the world: Remember the scripture where Jesus said if a part of the body offends you “cut it off”??? Well, I have a friend who did just that. He/she used to be male and it didn’t quite work right so he just had it “cut off” and became a she legally. I don’t really judge her because I can see why she did it. She is a devout Catholic and she has never been gay or had any sex in her life. So, I don’t judge her. And yet, all kinds of Christians are trying to tell her how wrong she is and how she is going to hell because of her decision. I am her caregiver and I don’t judge her at all because she is also dying of a rare infectious disease. After reading these posts I really do think that Christians need to rethink their faith. Does it really matter whether Jesus had one or not (a penis that is) but I think that the artist (since I am an artist) makes a very valid point!!!! Fundamentalists of any religion always want to fight and kill for their God and I think we need to re-evaluate this concept. Would a loving God want His children fighting and killing each other???? Would God want us to destroy the world he made for us with Nuclear power or other weapons? Would WE as parents want our children to destroy their selves with their toys and say “we did it in the name of our parents”? Well, isn’t this what fundamentalist Christians do??? Think about it!!!! Me, being an artist and a Caregiver really feel for the people that think that destroying the world by nuclear weapons or other such fighting toys is in God’s will!!!!!! Think about it!!!!!

  31. a few things to note:
    while some, ‘Catholic Christians’ have called in death threats, no one has died. that cannot compare to Muslims who do kill for events much smaller in scale. some Muslims in Iran have killed Christians who were only on their way to church.
    Christ did die naked- it was Roman custom to crucify naked. Catholic crosses do not show it- but he was.
    i do notice that people on this thread only take note of ill mannered comments from those of faith- not those without. people of faith are, seemingly, the only ones making, ‘pathetic and disappointing’ comments.
    certainly i do agree with Eneh, if it takes a secular artist to show what Christ did for the world in chocolate, so be it. and, as i know Eneh, you can bet that not all ‘Christians’ are the same–and we do not believe all unbelievers are the same. please do not think of the negativity of some, but on the whole of others.
    peace, and indeed, God bless!

  32. I beg you artist never to think about this again there is a spirutallity but you are misusing it really.

  33. When we say that covering nakedness with cloth was because of shame we have to remember that shame was the result of sin and Jesus was sinless. Therefore when we get mad about Jesus being exposed naked we are mad because of our shame, not His shame, because He doesn’t have any (because He is sinless). Pilates soldiers saw it as shameful to be naked on the cross but Jesus us as worthy of the sacrifice.

  34. I`m not agree with that picture !!

  35. “I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
    so long as I’ve got my chocolate jeezus,
    sitting on the dashboard of my car.
    Chocolate jeezus, you’ve got to go,
    those bastards stole my radio,
    chocolate jeezus, you won’t get me far.”

  36. So sorry to have people like this artist in this world, and more sorry for those (christians) who agrred with him. don’t you ( the artist) know that God will judge you one day? did you asked yourself if this will build others faith or not? I’m praying that may God help you and have mercy on you because you are sick.

  37. the person who drew this picture, the person who put it in the internet and the person who bring it into public debate are deliberate sinners. they all are fools. They should cry for the forgiveness of Christ. Men and women there are lot of things to be discussed, not this. Jesus is THE SAVIOR. He is the in-corination of the only universal God. Please do something good to this world are to the people. Don’t spend time unnecessarily like this. By George (india)

  38. So heartless of some sculptors to publish the saviors body naked even though he was crucified naked. Think of his mission when he was crucified before you do such.

  39. And yet, despite their objections here they are still looking at the picture they claim is offensive. I wonder why?

  40. Jesus said “if you betray me in front of your friends i will betray you in front of my father!”
    Who cares if jesus has a penis—every man on this earth has one !!!!!!!

  41. i love u jesus.u r mine

  42. are you stupid of coarse he had a penis but you dont have to make a big deal about it!!!!!11111111

  43. you are on the wrong way.

  44. Being we are mankind and my Lord God Jesus came to earth to save the mankind and hence he born as man. It is quite normal to have human organ. It seems the artist has full of evil thoughts like lucifer/sattan to crucify the feelings of christians. However, my Lord of Lord God Jesus will forgive the artiste’s sin and save him also.
    I born and brought up in Hindu family but after seeing my God Jesus I followed CHRISTIANITY where I could find REAL GOD WITH TRUE SALVATION.HE IS ALWAYS IN ME AND GUIDE ME Psalm 32:8
    I have changed my name also JOHN CHRISTOPHER

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