A mural described as ‘a direct attack on Christians or anyone who believes in a God’ was obliterated last week by Christian vigilantes.
According to this report, the work – “The Happy Ending” – by street artist Scott Marsh was done to celebrate Australia’s vote in favour of marriage equality in a plebicite. It featured two homophobes – former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who vigorously campaigned against same-sex marriage, and Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who is facing multiple charges of sexual abuse.
Last Friday, a day after the mural was painted over, a group of about 20 Catholics visited the site of the painted-out mural to pray the rosary in reparation. They knelt down and bowed their heads as they prayed. One young man wielding a thurible purified the area with holy incense.
The mural was painted on a wall of the Botany View Hotel on November 15.
A 28-year-old Catholic named Charbel along with a friend took it upon themselves to cover the offending image with black paint as passers-by called them names such as “fat wog” and “bigot”.
Charbel called the mural “offensive to the general public” and “pornography.”
This is homosexual activists saying we are here, we are loud and strong and when you oppose us we’ll accuse you of hate and not being reasonable and acceptable. What I want to know is, where’s our acceptance?
The mural’s painter told reporters that he only intended his mural as a satirical piece in support of same-sex marriage and that he did not intend to target Catholic opposition to homosexuality.
But the mural included Pell wearing a clerical collar and zucchetto, signs that he is a consecrated celibate priest and a cardinal.
I’m conscious of people’s religions, I tried to make it about George Pell. That’s why I didn’t include any religious iconography.
One of the men who gathered at the painted-over mural to pray the rosary on Friday said that he wouldn’t want young children, such as his niece, exposed to the material.
I’m all for freedom of speech – I think it’s what makes a country like ours great. But I also think it has to have a basic level of common decency and respect for one another.
The man said the group was there:
To pray peacefully and to pray for those we disagree with.
John Haley, writing for the Australian Independent Media Network, said he was told by a “Catholic informant” present at Friday’s prayer session that the protesters had came from three separate Christian churches and were not the “Catholics” they initially pretended to be.
The vandalism of Scott Marsh’s work didn’t stop at the image of Abbott and Pell. A Facebook group called “Christian Lives Matter” instigated and provoked “Christians” to continue attacking Scott Marsh’s work which included a privately commissioned image of George Michael on Devine Street Reserve, painted by private commission a year ago.
One person has been arrested for defacing that image, and another lost his job, when he was filmed defacing the mural while wearing his employer’s logo on his shirt. They are both facing fines for vandalising private property.