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Clashes Over the Koran and the Crucifix

June 21, 2005

Re "Religion and Art in the Toilet," Opinion, June 19: Bravo to Christopher Cole for pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of the liberals who've expressed outrage at the possibility that a terror suspect's Koran might have been splashed with urine at Guantanamo Bay. As Cole points out, 15 years ago many of these same people championed the taxpayer-funded work of "art" by Andres Serrano that consisted of a crucifix dunked in urine. Christians who balked at having to pay for such blasphemy were derided as intolerant. Cole's essay brings up a question that no one on the left has seen fit to answer since the Koran "splashing" incident was reported: If desecrating a religious symbol is a positive thing when done at taxpayer expense and in the name of art, why is it a negative thing when done in the name of obtaining information from terror suspects that might save thousands of lives?

Marlon Mohammed

Baldwin Park

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I'd bet my next paycheck that not one of the U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay ever heard of Andres Serrano or John Fleck, nor their art works. The behavior demonstrated there finds its origins not in a liberalized view of complacency regarding religious symbols; rather, it is in a view that more likely originates with a feeling of superiority of one's own religion.

Watch any of the self-proclaimed Christians on the talk shows (Pat Buchanan, for one) and the repeated mantra about the U.S. being a country founded on "Judeo-Christian" principles echoes over and over. I doubt any of the interrogators would tolerate a Christian Bible being urinated upon.

Sorry, Mr. Cole, but fringe art's impact does not venture much beyond the crowd that creates and views it, grandstanding politicians notably excepted.

Kathleen Cook

Los Angeles

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