The radio talk-back waves have been crackling with strong debate this week over a Sydney art gallery’s display of photographs by controversial Melbourne artist Bill Henson. The 20 photographs are of a naked girl and boy believed to be around the ages of 12 or 13. These photos have been seized by Sydney police and charges are expected to be laid.
The comments on the radio have been many and varied and this issue has obviously polarized the community. There are a number of things that I find fascinating from this debate but I will focus this blog on two of them:
First is the call by Cate Blanchett, and dozens of other 2020 Summit delegates, for the Prime Minister to retract his criticisms of Bill Henson as they “damage Australia’s cultural reputation.” And showing naked pictures of adolescents doesn’t do damage? There is something even more sinister here when the so-called cultural elite want to gag free speech from those who disagree with them. I applaud Kevin Rudd for his courage in taking a stand on this issue. Political, church and other community leaders have a right and a responsibility to exercise a prophetic voice that speaks out for truth and righteousness.
The other issue is the justification of these photos by some people. If a paedophile is found to have such images in their possession they are arrested and jailed – and rightly so! In one interview these photos were described as “High Art” and that was used as justification for their legitimacy. So the man or woman found in possession of photos of naked minors in various poses in alright as long as it’s in the name of high art? The problem here is that we have a society where black and white are viewed by many as merely shades of grey! That’s why I love the Bible and my Christian faith. Some things are right – other things are wrong! Thank you Mr Rudd for speaking out on this – please don’t let people silence you even if they do happen to be famous!