Less than a month ago, the atheist student group at Lorain County Community College in Ohio made headlines when promotional posters for the group depicted a possibly gay Jesus:
Aaron Weaver, the president of the group, has now taken it one step further.
He’s now using his First Amendments rights to draw focus on Islam:
On Thursday, which happened to be Sept. 11, Weaver announced a contest for artistic depictions of Muhammad, and he put up a $100 prize for the best. The winning picture will be posted online and around campus.
“Activism like this needs to be done to challenge the environment we live in,” Weaver said. “It’s a pressing issue.”
He said the contest was inspired by the editorial cartoons of Muhammad printed in a Danish newspaper in 2005, which led to violent protests and the deaths of 139 people. The cartoonists have since faced prosecution.
“I think it’s important to remind people of our rights and the reason that we have them,” Weaver said. “I’m sure there’s going to be some outrage, but (this contest) will provide the perfect opportunity for discussion.”
Here’s what worries me:
There’s no criteria I can find for how the “best” poster will be judged. Is it the one displaying the most artistic skill? The most offensive? The one drawing the most negative reactions?
And since we don’t really know what Muhammad looked like, what are these drawings going to be based off of? Caricatures? Stereotypes?
That said, we shouldn’t fear depicting or even mocking other faiths. There’s no reason religion should get a free pass from satire or criticism.
To their credit, the school is not putting a stop to this contest — Other groups can run poster contests, so there’s no reason the atheists cannot either.
But if this is done with the sole intention to piss off religious people, I’m worried about the types of atheists the group will attract.
I mean, would you want to be a member of this group?