Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Not far from where I'm sitting, Manhattan's Museum of Biblical Art is hosting its final exhibition before closing. In the New York Post, Naomi Schaefer Riley tells us that it's closing because rich people are hateful bigots:
The surprising truth about the Bible & modern bigotry

In a little more than a month, the Museum of Biblical Art is going to close. It’s a small museum on the Upper West Side, but it has consistently put on high-quality exhibits and the fact that it will disappear is a shame.

But what’s even worse is the reason that it can’t keep its doors open -- it’s too religious.

The museum, founded in 1997, took a clearly secular perspective on its work -- suggesting that the “Bible is a culturally foundational text, which has greatly influenced artists historically and continues to inspire the creation of countless important works of art today.”

But apparently too many donors were wary even of that. As one former publicist for the museum recently told The New York Times, “Just having the world ‘Bible’ in the name says to many people that we’re a conservative, right-wing group, and that could not be further from the case.”

Which should tell you something about where the cultural elite is right now.
If I'm following that logically, it's not the Jesus that's preventing rich donors from giving, it's the perception of conservatism. So that's bigotry now? Should we have mandatory donations across ideological lines?

In fact, as we learn from The New York Times -- which has, by the way, called the museum's current exhibition "beautiful" and "soul-stirring" -- the museum is closing because it's housed in the American Bible Society's headquarters, and the ABS is moving to Philadelphia, which means the museum would be facing a steep rent hike in an extremely pricey real estate market:
... in looking at possible Manhattan sites for a new home, it concluded that it would need $1.5 million to $5 million more per year to cover rent, over its average annual operating budget of $2.5 million to $3.5 million. And depending on the kind of space it found, it might also have to raise millions more for capital renovation costs.
But, yes, fund-raising has been tough. Why are rich people so hateful? Why do they blackball religious museums?

Oh, wait -- in the Post, Riley tells us that a new religious museum in Washington, D.C., is opening soon:
The eight-story, 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible broke ground earlier this year and is scheduled to open in 2017.

It’ll include everything from ancient texts to multimedia exhibits to tell museumgoers about the Bible’s history, its impact and its narrative....

The museum is the brainchild of the Green family, which made its fortune with the Hobby Lobby chain and is now famously associated with a Supreme Court victory over the Affordable Care Act....
So why didn't the Green family pony up some money to keep the Museum of Biblical Art open in Manhattan? Or, for that matter, why wasn't money put up by some of the Greens' financial partners (who, we're told, include "Jewish groups, Eastern Orthodox Christians and even the Vatican")? Maybe they had bigoted feelings toward a museum of biblical art that treats the Bible as "a culturally foundational text" rather than as the undisputed word of God. Hatemongers!

For that matter, since this article appears in the New York Post (and is linked at Fox Nation), why didn't Rupert Murdoch (net worth: $13.5 billion) put up some scratch?

Oh, sorry, I forgot -- financing religious museums should be mandatory only for liberal "cultural elites."

1 comment:

Victor said...

Our American uber-Christians have tarnished their own brand to the point where the words "Bible" or "Biblical" is a turn-off to a lot of people of other religions, Atheists, and people like me - an Agnostic.

Maybe one of the uber-Christian TV preachers will donate some money, instead of hiding their profit in some off-shore bank.

Who am I kidding?