A Public Offense To Religion.

“Ecce homo erectus” (image courtesy Hogre).

“Ecce homo erectus” (image courtesy Hogre).

Anonymous artist Hogre wasn’t expecting to be arrested while checking their email at an internet café in Rome. Neither were they anticipating being charged under an archaic Italian law that punishes a public offense to religion with a fine of up to 5,000 Euros or a prison sentence of up to two years.

Hogre was one of two artists who, on June 1 of this year, placed satirical posters in bus stop advertising spaces in the Italian capital. Hogre’s poster “Ecce homo erectus” depicts Jesus with a conspicuous erection, resting one hand on the head of a praying, kneeling child. This was a response to sexual abuse charges against Cardinal Pell, the third highest-ranking Vatican official.

The other poster, “Immacolata conception in vitro,” is by Hogre’s friend doublewhY. Less obviously inflammatory, it shows two women holding a baby; one of the women is flipping off the viewer. The text and image suggest a parallel between in vitro and immaculate conception.

The moral panic that ensued was instigated by right-wing politician Fabrizio Ghera, who called for the resignation of the transport official responsible for the posters. The Italian media fanned the flames of this panic; according to Hogre in an interview with Hyperallergic,“the articles that were around looked like they were written by parrots and pigeons.”

Ads by Hogre and doublewhY at bus stop in Rome, Italy (photo courtesy Hogre).

Another lofty height achieved in the annals of pious hypocrisy. “Jesus with an erection, the whole world will fall apart!” but it’s perfectly okay for the Catholic Church to keep playing transfer the rapist, making denials, and protecting and sheltering those who sexually assault and abuse. Is that not an offense to religion? Might be nice if the church was more concerned about actual harm, rather than depiction of Jesus’s boner.

Hyperallergic has the full story.


  1. busterggi says

    Of course believers will be upset -- they know that Jesus was incarnated as fully human so he could experience fully human life -- except for his lack of original sin, lack of sexual desire, lack of greed, lack of ambition and his ability to do miracles like raissing the dead.

  2. says

    Yep, yep, yep. I’ve brought this up to christians before. If you want to fluster the hell out of them, ask them about Jesus’s sex life: did he have one with Ms. Magdalene? Because he was supposed to fully experience what it is to be human. Leaving sex out of the picture is hard to buy in that scenario.

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